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TKR Left TKR November 13, 2019

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Seatides

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Silly question: I have a hair appointment scheduled for Saturday and am not sure if I can manage it yet (3 weeks post-TKR). It takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours for cut, color, and wash, which means getting in and out of various chairs plus probably bending my knee more than I've had to do since the surgery. I'm leaning toward postponing this for a couple of weeks, but don't know if I'm being unnecessarily concerned or not. Any thoughts? Thanks.
 

sistersinhim

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I wouldn't have been able to do it and would have had to wait about a month later. You need to take into account traveling and waiting for your appointment, then getting back home, too.
 
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Seatides

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I think you're right. When I went to my surgeon's office early last week, the worst part was sitting in an awful waiting room chair -- I could not get comfortable! I think I'll postpone the hair appointment another week or so. Thanks, @sistersinhim.
 

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It was months before I could sit without elevating my leg! Hard to do at the hairdressers.
 

Sara61

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I only had my 1st hair appointment ( colour etc) at almost 8 weeks post op.
My roots were so bad it was scary but I managed until then using L'Oreal "magic root touch up" it's a spray that washes out.
Not sure I could have managed to sit so long before.
 

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Salon visits, in my humble opinion, should be for pampering, only. Let those roots go, embrace the shaggy, wait until it’s a treat, not a chore . . . This from someone who doesn’t wear makeup and considers dress shoes an affront to nature, so take it with a grain of salt. But I say be like Queen Elsa and
!
 

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@Helizabug - shaggy I can embrace but looking 20 years older no Thanks- I tried once to dye my blond hair ( to its now natural colour white ) and I can honestly say I didn't leave the salon till we re-dyed it - got the fright of my life haha- I'm all for going grey/white if you have the complexion /style etc to carry it off and I wish I did, but I don't ...so as long as blond hair suits it stays :)
My husband says I'm more of a rock chick, I wear combat boots with skinny Jeans - very casual.
New knee is getting used to skinny jeans although can't wear for too long as the scar begins to rub.
 
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sondrals

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I got my hair cut 5 weeks after my first tkr, I didn’t have an issue but my hair is very short and I didn’t color it, but probably could have. Mine rarely takes over an hour to cut/color though.
 

caredFL

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I did the whole color cut and dry at 3 weeks 1 day and it was a bit uncomfortable. Probably best to wait as you probably have already decided by now.
 

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I’m looking forward to my first trip to the salon, post knee replacement. My hair has an odd purple cast, on purpose, that’s fading now. Alas. Not sure I’ll do that any time soon, because of the time involved; but a good wash and cut will feel great when I’m up and around. Til then, I’ll enjoy hearing about everyone else’s adventures.
 
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Seatides

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Thanks for sharing your experiences, everyone! I did decide to postpone the hair appointment for awhile. But this brings me to something I've been feeling based on several comments I've heard from friends and relatives recently. I'm now 3 weeks and 5 days post-left TKR; yet in the past few days, I've been asked once if I'm driving yet and twice, if I'm working yet! (I work full-time, but am on disability leave now.)

Just today my own brother emailed me, "Are you back to work?" I try to give people who ask questions like this the benefit of the doubt, assuming that they have no idea what undergoing and recovering from a TKR is like. So I explained to him that my surgeon documented a 3-month disability period. I've completed home PT and will start outpatient PT tomorrow. I noted what many of you have said here: that my knee is very stiff in the morning, then loosens up, then gets achy and swollen by the end of the day. I told him that I need to ice the knee throughout the day, which helps, but that my sleep isn't good yet because it's difficult to get comfortable. Between that and the fact that I became anemic after the surgery, I'm feeling very fatigued, but that's starting to get better. I told him that I went out to my car yesterday to see if I can get in and out of it and I can! So I plan to try a little driving soon. I concluded by telling him that I've been advised that it's a slow recovery process.

What I think that no one who hasn't undergone this "elective" procedure (as if it's a tummy tuck or facelift) comprehends is the huge amount of pain, fatigue, and general life impairment most of us suffered for a long time before having the TKR. Personally, I was already exhausted from the growing daily struggle of living with my painfully deteriorating osteoarthritic knees (still have to do the other one) while working full-time. I truly feel that a significant part of my post-TKR recovery involves the absolute necessity of resting, of restoring my depleted energy and strength after being so worn down for so long. I am just SO TIRED.

So these questions about "Are you doing this or that yet?" are starting to irritate me, as if TKR is like swapping out an old car part for a new one; I should be good as new now, right?

I know of a number of people who've had hip replacements (including my brother's wife) and they've had pretty straightforward, relatively easy recoveries. So I think many people think that hip and knee replacements are the same. As we all know, they're quite different. This is an excerpt from an article about this from health.harvard.edu:

Which is easier to perform, a hip or knee replacement?

A hip replacement. An experienced surgeon could probably do a hip replacement blindfolded because you can feel everything, and components of the replacement are put right into the bones. But a knee replacement involves releasing ligaments, putting the components onto bone — and then getting things to balance out just right. The ligaments can be damaged or shortened by arthritis, so you really have to make sure the knee is stable. And the joint must flex and rotate.

And how about the results for patients?

A hip replacement is a much less painful operation. People are on crutches for a while, and then their hips feel normal. But it takes six months to a year to recover from total knee surgery, and even then, the knee just doesn't feel normal.

Why the difference?

The hip is really a much simpler joint. The knee has to balance off-center loads and move side to side. And with a total knee replacement, you are removing a lot of tissue and bone. Postoperative pain is higher with knees since the soft tissue affected by the surgery must stretch more than soft tissue around the hip.

*****

I'm the kind of person who tends to feel selfish and guilty anyway about taking care of myself, or doing something just for me, or if I'm not constantly doing something "productive." I don't see anything to be gained (and I thank all of you for your shared experiences here for educating me!) by trying to "rush" this healing and recovery process. I'm not "bad" if I don't recover as quickly as another person, and I'm not "better" than somebody else if I do. This isn't a competition!

I appreciate your patience with my venting about this and any thoughts you may wish to share! That's what's so great about this group: that you DO understand. Thanks.
 
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Seatides

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I'm thinking about taking Tylenol PM at bedtime to help me sleep (because the nighttime discomfort/aches/pains in my operated leg make it hard to fall and then stay asleep). Are there any reasons this wouldn't be a good idea? I'm not taking any Percocet anymore. I don't take muscle relaxants. I see Tylenol PM in 500-mg caplets, each with 25 mg of diphenhydramine HCl, which the Tylenol package says is "non-habit-forming." Thanks.
 

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:bored:@seatides Nights for me are the worst too so much so I dread going to bed- fortunately I'm still off work but apart from resting I never fall asleep daytime either - soon I too will seek out something to help :zzz:
I only started driving almost at week 8 - you will know when you are ready don't listen to anyone else it's your body not theirs - if we are not 100 percent ready to drive we become a danger to others.
Never compare hips to knees - knees are a far worse recovery - this is not a race nor competition we all heal at our own pace xxx
 
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sistersinhim

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I'm thinking about taking Tylenol PM at bedtime to help me sleep (because the nighttime discomfort/aches/pains in my operated leg make it hard to fall and then stay asleep). Are there any reasons this wouldn't be a good idea?
I think the PMs would be fine as long as you count whatever you're taking with Tylenol, (acetaminophen), in a 24 hour period. Don't go over 4000mg in 24 hours. Some people find that melatonin helps, too.
 

Helizabug

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I sympathize a lot with your feeling about these questions about when you’ll be back at work, back behind the wheel, back in the kitchen, and so on.

I cringe a little when people say how impressed they are that I’m walking. I’m thinking, ‘yes, walking with great effort and concentration.’ They are often trying to be encouraging, and I hear it that way, most of the time.

But, when you think of the demolition and renovation that was done on our poor little joints, it’s kind of horrifying. And to think that it will heal like an arthroscopy is kind of crazy, not that an arthroscopy is anything to sneeze at.

So, thanks for the article on hips versus knees. I may be pulling it out soon.
 
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Seatides

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Thanks, I think I will try the Tylenol PM because as Sara61 said, nights are the worst for me too; I put off going to bed because it's the most uncomfortable time of the day.

Yesterday I went for my first outpatient PT visit and I think that's why last night was exceptionally difficult. The therapist did some hands-on stuff on my leg (thigh/hamstring -- stretching something in my thigh -- I know I'm not describing this correctly) that was uncomfortable there, but hurt a lot during the night. I'm going back tomorrow so we'll see how the second O/P visit goes.

It's true, since we're not working while we're recovering, we can sleep badly and at least we know that we don't have to get up early and get to work. I started thinking about this today and I realize that I'm definitely in no shape to work (at my full-time job) yet. I get a modest number of simple chores done around the house throughout the day, but that's after first waking up late, with a leg that's very stiff until I can move around for awhile and loosen it up. Then I have to ice the knee 4 or 5 times a day to reduce swelling and discomfort and increase mobility. I also have to rest in between little bursts of activity because I get tired pretty quickly. In between, I do a few exercises and practice my walking and learn how to gradually persuade my new knee to work like a real one. Just slowly doing these things takes my whole day.

Thanks for the support for doing things (e.g., driving) when we feel confident and ready. We really do have to pay attention to what our own bodies are telling us -- no one can do that for us. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that most people don't realize how complicated -- that is, not simple and straightforward -- the recovery from a TKR is; did we? LOL. I appreciate this great group!
 
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Seatides

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I had bone-on-bone osteoarthritis in both knees, but decided to have only one TKR at a time ( I had my left knee done 5 weeks ago). Since a lot of members here may have been in a similar situation, can you please tell me if the remaining bad knee hinders the recovery of your new, good knee? My bad right knee sometimes locks up unexpectedly, and I wonder if its unreliability (compared to a healthy knee) makes things harder for my new knee. It probably does, because I feel that my new knee is more dependable than the old one, so I may be relying on it more than it's ready for at times. Could that contribute to my new knee's stiffness, tightness, and swelling? If any of this is to be expected, what's the best way to deal with it? Thanks.
 

Celle

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@Seatides
You'll notice that I have merged your two threads together as we prefer that members in recovery only have one thread.
Didn't you see the lat paragraph in the Recovery Guidelines that I left for you. It said:
While members may create as many threads as they like in a majority of BoneSmart's forums, we ask that each member have only one recovery thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review history before providing advice.

We only allow one thread for three reasons:
1. if you keep starting new threads, you miss the posts others have left you in the old threads
2. it often ends up that information is unnecessarily repeated
3. it's best if we can keep all your recovery story in one place so it's easily accessed if we need to advise you.

Please keep all your questions and updates on this one thread. Bookmark it, so you don't lose it.

If you would like a new thread title just post what you would like it to be and we'll change it for you
 

Celle

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My bad right knee sometimes locks up unexpectedly, and I wonder if its unreliability (compared to a healthy knee) makes things harder for my new knee. It probably does, because I feel that my new knee is more dependable than the old one, so I may be relying on it more than it's ready for at times. Could that contribute to my new knee's stiffness, tightness, and swelling?
If your bad knee feels unreliable, you may need to continue using a walker for a bit longer, but that's OK.
While your new knee may be doing a littel extrra work, it shouldn't impede your progress - after all, people who have both knees replaced on the same day don't have a recovery that's any longer than people who have one knee done at a time.

What may be contributing to your new knee's tightness is possibly doing too much during the course of your everyday life. check your activity against what we recommend here:
Activity progression for TKRs

Also,make sure that you're not doing too many exercises - and it's a good idea to tell your PT therapist Hands off my leg." None of that stretching and manipulating is necessary. And it did make you more sore the evening afterwards.
 

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