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bowhunter8

bowhunter8

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@Jockette I have had some interesting things take place on the job. encounters with squirrels, chipmunks, mice, snakes, birds, hornets, angry store managers or business owners, etc. Fortunately I ama commercial service so I don’t deal with residential. I do all service work for a nationwide pizza chain in central PA, West Virginia, Northern Virginia and Maryland with the help of 2 other technicians. HVAC/R is a challenging yet wonderful field to be in. What made your son switch from HVAC to demo?

My wife and I are still entertaining the idea of switching careers. As I think of phasing back to work in 7 weeks I still have many doubts. Long drive times, heavy equipment, lots of ladder time, squatting, kneeling, standing for a long time, falling, etc. My job is a VERY physical one and I typically work alone. It’s a tough call because I have a great boss and a lot of flexibility. I will be going back and will assess how I feel but I have been sending out some feelers to some of my local contacts to see what’s available. It would be easier to make a switch now than later down the road. My wife, who is a stay at home mom, recently got a job and has been working full time hours to help offset the cost of me being off. Having her work has shown us what life would look like with her working and if I need to take some time to transition to something new, I could.

@NavyGunns
After I made my appt. literally in a 2 hour period for the first time in a 5 day stretch I started feeling better. I waited until yesterday afternoon to make sure I was good and cancelled my appt. I have my 6 week follow up next Friday so I figured I would wait.

Feels good to not have that pain but definitly still hitting the ice, elevation and rest hard, even when I am feeling okay.
 
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bowhunter8

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Well I had my 6 week post op today. I am 0/135. Doctor says incision is healing very well, range of motion is great and everything is moving along smoothly. He wasn’t too concerned with the shin pain I was having, figured it was pretty normal. I haven’t had that pain for about a week now. I have been very active but making sure to get rest when my knee needs it. I was able to crawl up in one of my ladder stands which was awesome. I am only able to go up with my left leg first but it feels better than what it did prior to surgery. Not having that bone on bone pain is just amazing. I am hoping to get to a flat trail with the family this weekend. Looks like I will be phasing back into work around week nine and 10. I spoke with my boss today and I am very lucky. They are willing to have me work 20 hours but pay me for 40 until I am back 100 percent, what a blessing!

We are celebrating with pizza and Mountain Dew! First time I’ve eaten bad in about two months, feels good! Hoping to continue to progress from here, not gonna lie I am looking forward to getting back to the things I enjoy. No regrets so far!
 

NavyGunns

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@bowhunter, fantastic report! You will really begin to see rapid improvements in your progress. Not just because you are for real, but because you are just beginning to see what life will be like doing the things you love to do, but without the old knee pain. For a while, you will continue to have remnants of the surgical/recovery pains, but they are different than the bone on bone pain and they go away.

I know you’ve talked a bit about changing career paths, but it sounds like you work for a great company who cares about their employees. Not many people can say that. I’m sure that gives you lots to consider. If you do find some challenges doing all aspects of your old job, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were willing to work with you on modifying your responsibilities.
 
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bowhunter8

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@NavyGunns you are right...it seemed like after I bounced back after that set back I was able to do much more. I am doing stairs pretty much normal, slow, but normal and I can’t keep telling my wife and kids how good I feel...ha. I know I am going to have residual pain and possible setbacks but you are right, it is different. That bone on bone was horrible.

The job option is tough. My job situation is unique as I have to know HVAC/R and also commercial kitchen equipment repair for a nationwide pizza chain. Job comes with great perks...biggest one of them is making my own schedule. I don’t want to go back to being micromanaged all the time. I have been talking with my boss and he will be very accommodating with my knee. I work very hard for him and I know he appreciates that and wants me back full strength. I just couldn’t beleive that they would be willing to pay me 40 hours for only working 20 until I am able to be back to 40-60 hours a week. My plan will be to go back for now. I am contemplating slowly going to get my engineering degree. With my current job, I will reach my expiration date before my working days are over so I want a backup plan.

Still icing, resting, elevating and using my tens unit. My wife, who came to my appointment today said, “ya know, the dr didn’t say you still have to ice for hours a day”... ha. Ice is my best medicine right now.
 

NavyGunns

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@bowhunter8, sounds like you have a solid plan which is way better than no plan!

As to your wife’s comment about the ice.... I say... if it feels good - Do It!
 

SusieShoes

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You really do have an excellent employer who goes the extra mile. One reason I advise people to hold off so long on going back to work is because so many employers don’t take a TKR employee’s needs into consideration and expect too much of them. Full schedules. Heavy lifting. Lots of walking. Many people have physically demanding jobs and get no consideration at all from employers; for those people it’s best to go back later, not sooner. But your employer sounds heavenly and so willing to work with you, why not go back and see how much you can do? Just be honest with yourself about how well you’re handling it. :wink:

Going for your engineering degree sounds like a great idea. My brother did this years ago in his 30s. He worked in sheet metal. He earned his engineering degree over several years and went from the factory floor making beer dispensers into management designing them for the same company. A couple years ago he moved to a company you may have heard of, Zero Zone, that makes refrigerator cases, and he’s an engineer there. Great career move for him and he’s happy as can be doing work he loves.

The day will come when you just don’t ice anymore, but as long as you either enjoy it or get benefit from it, why not? :ice:
 
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bowhunter8

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So it’s been a while since I posted so I thought I would check in. Coming up on 9 weeks and doing pretty good. Just spent a Wet week up in northern PA at hunting camp with the family. Was able to get out and walk the smaller hills pretty good for 9 weeks. My plan was to hunt the flats mainly but I found some longer gradual access ways to get to some spots that were more desirable. I did way more than I should have done but did not visit the ODIC club. I stuck to ground blind and brush blinds and stayed out of tree stands.

What was amazing is that we went to our cabin in August as a last summer vacation before my surgeries and I was not able to walk much, split firewood, keep up with the kids, etc... I was able to walk more last week than I was weeks before my surgery and I split a ton of firewood too. I did make sure I iced more and stayed on top of Tylenol.

By choice I am phasing back to work next week. I woild like to stay off for 3 more but my boss is offering to pay me 40 hours a week even if I work 20 hours for a few weeks and my financials are getting pretty tight here.

A few questions:

I have moderate pain when I stand up and walk. It usually dies down to slight pain after a few steps but it causes me to limp a bit. My speculation is that it’s still bone or soft tissue still healing but wondering if anyone else dealt with that at this week 9.

I still have a slight limp most of the time when I walk. I believe some of it is still pain I feel and some from years of walking that way. Should I consider gait training at a PT? Or let it run it’s course after I have more healing under my belt?

How long should I be taking Tylenol? I am on average taking 4-6, 500 mg a day still and sometimes more depending on activities during the day.

Thanks a lot!!
 

SusieShoes

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Great to hear you've gotten out and enjoyed some hunting. Moderation is the key for now, to help with healing.

I have moderate pain when I stand up and walk. It usually dies down to slight pain after a few steps but it causes me to limp a bit.
The pain you're feeling is not unusual for your stage of recovery. I had pain (decreasing as time went on) on first standing for several months. It's caused by swelling in the knee. This swelling is in tiny spaces in the knee capsule, so can be invisible, and it can continue for a while. The limp is probably a result of stiffness and pain, which leads to your next question...

I still have a slight limp most of the time when I walk. I believe some of it is still pain I feel and some from years of walking that way. Should I consider gait training at a PT? Or let it run it’s course after I have more healing under my belt?
You could go to PT to get an informed opinion on what's causing your limp and how to correct it. How is your extension? Does your knee go completely flat on the bed? It can take longer to regain extension (normal is 0 to -1 degrees, or flat so you can't get fingers under it without forcing) than flexion. Walking and normal exercise will generally get extension to where it should be. There are simple stretches you can do also.

If your limp is due to something other than pain/swelling or extension, it could be as simple as bad walking habits. That's something you can work on by making sure you walk properly. It will feel artificial and deliberate at first but will become easy as you do more of it. I had this issue. When I started taking longer walks I noticed I'd fall into shuffling and limping slightly--for no good reason. It was habit to walk like that, because I'd walked that way for many years. So I'd make a point of catching myself doing it and forcing myself to stand straighter, use my hips better, and stride more confidently. Worked it out.

How long should I be taking Tylenol? I am on average taking 4-6, 500 mg a day still and sometimes more depending on activities during the day.
Take Tylenol as long as it helps your discomfort. You can take it daily for the rest of your life if you wish (don't worry, soon you will be back to taking it only occasionally). I took it for a couple months and just one day realized I wasn't taking it anymore. Just kind of stopped. If you have enough discomfort to think "Maybe I should take a Tylenol?"... take a Tylenol.
 

tarajenni

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Sounds like you are doing great. I still have pain in my distal quads when walking. PT has me exaggerate my steps making sure to engage the quads by flexing the quad as lift the leg then step down with heel first then toes. Not sure if your pain is in the same place but this really helps me. Wouldn’t hurt to see the PT for some guidance.
 
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bowhunter8

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@SusieShoes
My extension is at 0. I am able to get my leg completely straight. I am trying to be aware of how I walk and my wife has been “encouraging” me to put my shoulders back and not waddle like a penguin...ha

@tarajenni
My pain is on the medial tibia side where implant is. I had a medial partial done. It’s not too bad, just frustrating at times and it does appear to be getting better a little at a time...how are you doing with your second recovery? I need to get over and check out your thread.

Been busy today, did some drywall mudding around the house, started organizing garage and installed a new baseboard heater in the dining room. Looks like movie night with some ice but I am feeling good with my progress today.
 

NavyGunns

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@bowhunter8, great to see an update from you!

A lot of what you describe is exactly the same as what I experienced at the same point in recovery. The pain/stiffness continued to exist but improve right up to even today (I’ll be 7 months post op next week). Most times, I no longer have issues with pain other than the occasional pinch from residual tendinitis and stiffness is mainly when I first get out of bed or up from sitting a long time.

I was taking Tylenol daily right up to just over a month ago. Sometimes I could skip a few days, but most times no. These days I only need to take any when I’ve had a very busy day. Haven’t iced in months.
 

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I was still using a cane sometimes at 9 weeks - particularly to help me with good walking form. I found it easy on longer walks or outings to fall into a limping routine so I used the cane to help me be more deliberate about good form. I also asked my friends and co-workers to point out when they saw me limping -- as Susie said, we sometimes had bad walking habits and form prior to our surgeries that we become unaware of.
 
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bowhunter8

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Well yesterday, my knee was given the biggest test since surgery. I was given 2 tickets for the penn state vs Wisconsin football game. We are die hard Penn State fans and my 12 year old son has never been to one of there football games. I was a little concerned because I was hoping to rest this weekend since I start work on Monday but decided to go. Here’s how the day broke down.
Drove 1 1/2 hours to state college with ice on knee, walk 1/4 mile to bus stop, stand in bus line for 30 minutes in 30 degree weather and 20 mph winds, stand on bus to Bryce Jordan center, walk around stadium to our gate, walk up a lot of Ramps and stairs to our seats, get him lunch around halftime which was stairs and standing(also took meds here), sit in position where I could not straighten knee at all for 3 hours, stand up and sit down to cheer as needed and repeat walking, standing and driving on the way back.

My son was really concerned as we were walking back to the shuttles about my knee(as he was trailing behind me). I felt great!! Not to the point where I am ready to go on long hikes again yet but I just felt good. When I got home it all hit me and I think the sitting affected me worse than walking/standing. It still wasn’t bad but was exhausted. Iced, medicated and am feeling pretty good today.

Work starts tomorrow! I have mixed feelings but am excited to get back to some normalcy. As much as my wife loves me, I think she’s ready to have her space back :rotfl:.

I will report back this week with how work goes. Since I do a lot of driving, I’m just gonna make sure I carry my ice with me.
 

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sistersinhim

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Oh what a wonderful day you had! Wow! You are doing fantastic!
 
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bowhunter8

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Been back at work full time now going on 3 weeks. It’s been pretty good so far. I have definitly been a little more sore from being on my feet more and working from ladders. My knee is doing better going up ladders than it did prior to surgery. I still have to be careful because it still feels tender. It’s hard to not be able to get on my knee to work. Any work from waist down I have to sit down to do and it is annoying to have to constantly get up and down from a seated position without using the knees. I had my 3 month follow up yesterday and addressed this with surgeon. He said that it is definitly in the cards to work from knees and told me I could start “training” my knee to feel that pressure. He said to use a couch cushion or balled up pillow to go down on my knee for about 10 minutes a day to help get used to feeling. Did it yesterday and today and was actually surprised with how good it felt. I also started to a yoga stretch dvd. It’s strictly stretches and I have been feeling a little better and more limber since starting that. ROM in -2/140 which I was super pumped about. Surgeon was very happy with progress I have been making. Still feel very blessed to have found such a gem. Only recommendation was to continue to lose weight and maintain it, exercise more for heart rather than strength. I hate losing weight but know that my knees feel incredibly better when I am lighter. I know it’s gonna be a challenge to Hold back from rigorous activity as I continue to feel better. I’m 240 now so would love to lose that extra 40 pounds, been saying that for about 10 years now...ha

@sarahd62
Definitely always have hope and do what you can to help out your recovery. Looks like you had surgery a month after me. I do not regret it but there were times where I was pretty frustrated with some pain I was having. I had to start gauging progress week by week rather than day by day. Stay positive!

All I have for today!
 
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bowhunter8

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I was an avid rollerblader prior to having knee surgery. I was wondering if anyone out there on bone smart has been able to go back to in-line skating after knee replacement surgery. I am feeling pretty good I’ve been doing yoga, back to work, etc. I am feeling up to the challenge, just wondering if it is wise?

Also, I was number two in my college when it came to racquetball. I haven’t played in years but my son is now going to get interested because he knows of my involvement. Is this something that I should pursue or should train him how to do but let someone else be a competitive partner? I know I am not at a place at three months to do that but in the future what does that look like?
 
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Celle

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Once you've recovered enough (and 3 months post-op isn't yet the right time) rollerblading and racquetball should be possible.

It's your choice really. With rollerblading, you'll need to weigh up the possibility of taking a fall and damaging your knee against the pleasure you will get out of skating.

I think that racquetball would put the same stress on your new knee as tennis does. The thing to beware of is the torsion (twisting) that can occur with sudden changes of direction. Your new knee won't like that.
We advise people who play tennis that playing doubles may be all right, but playing singles should be avoided. I suspect the same advice would apply to racquetball.

As for your son, I think it might be wise to let someone else be his partner, at least for now. You can offer tips and advice, but - especially with teenagers - having a dad-coach can sometimes be problematic.
 
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bowhunter8

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Yes. It is the risk vs. reward. I know I won’t be playing racquetball competitively anymore but will still teach him how to play. I can easily do that without even playing. Skating is one of those things I loved to do for exercise but at this point I feel it’s best to put that wish on hold for a while and revisit it later and see how I feel. I plan on continuing to hike as I used to, swim, golf, etc.. I have seen great results from doing yoga the past 2 weeks. It looks pretty ridiculous while I’m doing it but I feel more flexible and it’s building leg strength. I remember trying to do this prior to surgery to help strengthen the legs and I paid for it for 3 days. IT IS SO NICE!!!!

My worry of working on ladders again has been put to rest. I had to install a compressor on a freezer today which requires me to go up and down and work from a ladder. I am back to going up and down a ladder foot over foot again which I habent been able to do since last December. I did buy a ladder that has wide steps on it which has helped greatly. Still can’t get on the knees to work from yet but I use a pillow while doing yoga and it helps me get used to that feeling. Left knee, which had the torn meniscus, reminds me when its not happy or when nasty weather is coming. I’m hoping that with losing weight and strengthening legs that it will settle down.
 

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