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[REVISION TKR] Motherbone's Recovery Thread

kneeper

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I would agree with you that 4x/week is too much and that it's a good idea to "listen to the shoulders" like we say about the knees. :)
 
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Motherbone

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I had my two week followup with the ankle doctor this afternoon. Xrays look good. There is a big bone callus formed over the fibula fracture and a smaller but distinct one around the tibia fracture, which is younger than the fibula. The doc said the healing looks very good for this early stage. They had to remove the cast to do the Xrays and a new one was placed afterwards. I am to go back in three weeks for follow up. He seemed to think I would object to continuing in the cast but I told him I prefer it to the boot. It is not as heavy and it immobilizes much better. He agreed with cutting back on the OT maneuvers, saying that I have "a lot of things going on," and there was no need to stress the other leg right now. He also told me it would be OK to take Aleve once in a while for my arthritis, and that I could re-start a biologic for it if my rheumatology doctor says OK (I have an appointment with her next week).

I've had a morbid and somewhat neurotic fear that I'll never walk on that foot again and I asked him straight out if, based on what he has seen in my ankle, I would be able to walk on it again. He said yes. He also referenced eventually straightening out the knee, for the future. I left the appointment feeling positive.

I tried to call the home health OT person afterwards to put further appointment on hold, but she has not called me back. Guess we will end up having the discussion tomorrow in person. Wish me luck.
 

sistersinhim

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I agree that it sounds like a positive appointment. I was in your shoes for 6-8 weeks in '17. I was angry, and screamed and yelled at God. Then I cried like a baby for weeks asking, "Why me?" Once I got all that out of my system I settled down and did what I had to do to heal and get back on two feet. I did it and you can do it, too! You will look back on it as something you went through so you can help other people through it, too! You are a strong lady and will beat it! You will come out even stronger!
 
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Motherbone

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@sistersinhim Thank you for sharing your experience. It really resonates with mine. I was so angry when the first fracture was diagnosed because I had to cancel my left TKR. When the second fracture occurred the pain was so bad that at times I felt like a dog that had been hit by a car and left on the side of the road. I kept asking why me, and then there began to be horrible national events on the news and I started asking why all of this as well. It was a pretty significant soul crisis for me. I've been doing some reading and spiritual exercises and a friend has helped me by giving me some guidance and things to ponder on during this time. I'm gaining insights slowly. I have to remind myself that although I feel like I am wasting time and just "marking time," something beyond me is going on. Thanks again.

I settled up with OT without incident and I'll be doing PT twice a week. Chair exercises that focus on my core, a little on my back, and hips/glutes/quads. They actually tire me in a good way.
 

Ilovecruising

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Oh my goodness, Motherbone! I had not been on this site for about 4 months so I’m just reading your thread! Everything that you have gone through is heartbreaking! And to have gone through all that you have, and still have such a positive attitude is truly an inspiration. The more I read on your story, I noticed just how much that it resonates with mine! After i’d read one of your post, I couldn’t wait to scroll down to read your next post to see what happened next. I’ve also been diagnosed with a stress fracture recently and very concerned about how it’s going to come out. I might have missed it, but did they do a surgery on your ankle before they put the cast on? I think I have finally found another ortho doctor that will see me. Im having my records sent to him now. I’ve been in a boot for several weeks but now I’m wondering if he might put me in a cast.
I hope everything goes well with your fracture and that you will be able to get the other knee surgery soon! I’m thinking about you and will be following your thread for updates!
Keep up the positive thinking!
 
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Motherbone

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Not a lot of earth shaking news but I thought I would just post an update.

I continue without pain in my left ankle short leg cast (hot pink, no less!) and tool around the house in a power chair. It's not really designed for outside use but it's great for mobility inside because it has a very tight turning radius. My left foot and toes tend to swell if I don't elevate that leg every 3 to 4 hours, which does result in some discomfort until the swelling goes down. I continue to keep my right leg, the one with the patella repair, in my old brace because it has to support me when I get up from the chair or bed to go to the bathroom and I don't want to unwittingly strain it. I do wonder if I'll end up with a stronger right leg when this is over, LOL. Funny, I hated that brace when I first got it, but now it's my best friend. Coming up and down from the toilet using one leg continues to be a scary adventure and I'm having to protect my shoulders whenever I can. I have intermittent pain in the areas of my biceps tendons but lidocaine patches and Aleve have provided some relief.

Home health PT is coming twice a week and is actually helpful in showing me exercises I can do in the chair. I've had some attempts by home health OT to come back so I'm going to call their central office tomorrow and make it clear that I do not think I need that service and do not want it. Cynically, I believe that revenue issues drive a lot of that sort of thing. We had company over this past weekend for my husband's birthday and I believe a good time was had by all. I'm staying inside most of the time because here in Texas we are in the middle of major heat and I don't want to sweat under this cast!! Hoping no hurricanes or tropical storms make their way to us....Still sleep only up to 3 hours at a time, I guess that is my new normal, sigh.

Some boredom has bedevilled me. Yesterday I cleaned out half of my chest of drawers and generated a sack of clothes for Good Will. Then I started on some drawers in the sideboard of our den but my husband stopped me because it was near dinner (I was really on a roll). I'm planning on tackling the insides of the sofa end tables next. Our spare room still looks like a dump but I can't do anything there until we can put back some of the furniture we had to move out of the way so I could wheel around.

Every night I pray, "Here I am, I made it another day." So far I'm three weeks and five days in the cast. I go back to the ankle doctor on September 9th. I will have been in the cast a little more than six weeks by then. @Ilovecruising I have not had any surgery on the ankle and devoutly hope to avoid it. The surgery on my left knee will take place whenever it is deemed safe to do so; I'm not pegging any specific schedule any more. Just going to live this as it unfolds.

Here's hoping for good things for all of us. Hobble on! :tiredwheel:
 
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Motherbone

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Here's my weekly update.

Not much new to report except for a mini meltdown earlier today while trying to get cleaned up and dressed. I remember just sitting there and thinking, I'm hurting in so many places and I have so much trouble doing even little things, I just can't take much more of this, things have just got to heal. My right (broken) kneecap has been paining me a little and sometimes I have a twinge of pain in the shin below the knee. It does not persist and never lasts long. My shoulders have finally given up the ghost, I can barely raise my left arm to comb my hair. As long as I don't try to use my arms, the shoulders are fine; however, I definitely have mobility limitations with them. I'm trying to rest them and sometimes ice them because the last thing I want is to have to open up another recovery thread on the shoulder forum side. My ankle cast is sometimes uncomfortably tight and I keep checking my toes, but they are warm and pink. The area of the tibia fracture sometimes twinges with a quick pain spurt. I don't know if that's a bad sign or not, hoping it isn't.

Next appointment is still set for Sept. 9th.
 
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Motherbone

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I'm one day away from completing seven weeks of non-weight-bearing and six weeks of a cast on my left ankle. I don't think I could have done this if I hadn't surrendered to the notion that one must live only one day at a time, quit trying to peer weeks or months into the future, and let go of the past as much as possible. That being said, my appointment with the ankle doctor is now only four days away and my resolve to live in the present is being tested a little as I fret some about whether the Xrays will show healing sufficient to allow me to bear weight again. Oh well, no one of us is perfect.

PT came today as usual (twice a week) and, on the cusp of (hopefully) beginning to bear weight on the ankle again, gave me a new set of exercises for the core muscles. Most of them I have already done during past episodes of PT for my back so none are particularly surprising or concerning. What gets me is the assignment to do 20 reps, twice a day. Compliance with this directive would, by conservative estimate, have me exercising 1.5 to 2 hours every day on top of what other activities I try to do. Who makes up these protocols anyway? Not people who live in the real world. Maybe they just expect we'll comply with only half of their instructions so they deliberately give us more than necessary. I'm aware there are people who go to the gym everyday and exercise for hours but I truly believe they are the exception and not the rule.

Hobble on. :tiredwheel:
 

sistersinhim

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The difference between those going to the gym and we on Bonesmart is that we are healing from major surgery, and in your case, an injury. Our traumatized areas are not out of shape, they are trying to heal. Healthy bodies can exercise like crazy if they want to. We can't. We have to let our bodies heal and if you try and exercise them into healing, it does not work and ends up causing more trauma, swelling and pain. That's a setback. You are amazing and handling your situation much better than many would. I can empathize because when I broke my foot and ankle I was also none weight bearing for a couple of months and in that cast. It does get much better, but it's a slow process. Each baby step leads to an adult step!
 
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Motherbone

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Today I was able to transfer from chair to bed without having my knee brace on my right leg. I still have concerns about the stability of that knee following the patella and tendon fractures but at least this is evidence of some progress, or at least of not losing some function.
 
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Motherbone

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I saw the ankle specialist today. He thought Xrays showed sufficient healing that the fractures were stable and I could move from cast to boot, so that's what I have now. I am not a boot fan, I find them heavy and hot, but I guess this is what I have to deal with. I've been advanced to weight bearing as tolerated, which so far has meant just lightly touching the foot down when I get up and turn or transfer. No pain so far, fingers crossed. The ankle and foot are very very swollen, but he seemed unfazed by it. The ankle also feels very stiff which I guess is due to all the ligaments and tendons being frozen in one position for 6 weeks. I am going to be a very cautious person in PT this week!

Hoping I will eventually be "walking" with the assistance of my trusty walker. It would be nice to be able to sit in the back yard again. Today going to my appointment was the first time I had been out of the house in a month.

I am going to have to sleep in this darn thing. He said I didn't have to but that I would have to put it on if I needed to get up and go to the bathroom. Well, at my age you can't fool around when you feel the need so I guess I'll keep it on for now.

The only troubling thing about the visit was what he said about my left (unoperated) knee. He says it really does need to be fixed fairly soon because the valgus deviation puts a lot of stress on the ankle below it and he doesn't want me to suffer another fracture. I hoped to defer any other surgery till January because I am just really worn out by so many surgeries and activity restrictions. We shall see....
 

sistersinhim

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It's good that you have healed enough to get out of that cast. I celebrated when mine was cut off and the boot put on me. Also, I was thrilled to be partial weight baring on it. I, too slept in mine, but loosened it some while in bed. When I had to use the bathroom I tightened it back up. Is your leg and foot peeling like mine did? I looked like I was an alligator! It felt so good to scrub that leg and foot!
 
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Motherbone

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@sistersinhim Yes I looked like a snake shedding its skin. Since new cells grow from the bottom layers upward, they push the old ones off. Usually they just fall off in small amounts so that we don't see them, but given that there was no where for the old ones to fall off inside the cast, they just piled up. I soaped my leg with a soft sponge and when there was still skin hanging on, with a washcloth. I put moisturizing lotion on the dry leg. We'll see what it looks like tonight. I'm also going to have to pay a lot of attention to my toenails. That's a challenge. The swelling did go down overnight such that I actually had to tighten the boot this morning. I've been trying to move the calf muscles a little, hoping to reduce the swelling that accumulates by nightfall.

Alas, I fear I have to agree with the doctor, my left knee will need to be fixed. I have so much valgus distortion that I cannot make a straight step in the boot, I just have to hobble a little. I'm clearly going to have to re-learn how to walk. It's as if I can't make a first step. Part of it seems to be uneasiness at putting full weight on the left foot during the step part of the gait where the right foot is leaving the ground, but the other part is that I just can't swing forward straight-ly with the left leg since it's so bent. Right now I'm into just rising from a sitting position using arm assistance and weight bearing on both feet, though a little less on the left where the breaks were. At least I can stand on both feet to pull up my pants instead of balancing on one leg to do it! The right leg does seem to have lost some strength, unfortunately. But I'm trying to leave off the brace more during the day in order to get those muscles activated again.
 

sistersinhim

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My ankle/foot breaks were on the same leg as my tkr. It came from a fall and ankle roll. Being off of my foot for 6 long weeks angered my new knee. It wanted to walk! It also lost strength and the left old knee really got bad. Once I was partial weight bearing on the broken bones, both knees started to be less angry. Hopefully, you will heal quickly and can get that left knee replaced and then on to a fun-filled life!
 
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Motherbone

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Hmm, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to actually "walk" in this boot. My lower leg is too displaced outward for me to be able to point my left knee forward and take a straight step. I'm trying to build on what I can actually do, which is stand up and rock weight back and forth between one leg and the other so as to practice the weight shifting that has to occur when one walks. This is a maneuver that my PT person showed me yesterday. I'm also standing up without my knee brace on the right leg - boy, those quads have lost a lot!!! I pulled out my TENS/EMS machine and used the EMS option while doing some seated leg raises. I've also been researching use of the EMS function on my calves in order to try to wake up those muscles and combat some of the atrophy. What I've read thus far suggests that best results are achieved when EMS is combined with active muscle exercise. I'm looking for every scrap of improvement that I can find.

My left foot is very swollen by the end of the day when I take the boot off. I mean, like, "balloon" swollen. It looked that way when the cast was taken off in the ortho's office earlier this week so it's not like he hasn't seen it, but it does worry me a little. It's not hot and it doesn't hurt and it does come down a little bit overnight, but it definitely doesn't look like the unbroken right foot. I have a 6 month appointment with my PCP next week and I think I'll show it to her then. Is swelling after the cast is removed something to be expected?
 

sistersinhim

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My swelled for quite a while. Elevation and ice helped, just like with the knee.
 

marieltha

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It is good to hear your cast is off and can cautiously begin to stand and regain strength.

The boot of course has its own challenges as you describe so well.

Thanks for sharing. Your details help us all.

I hope you continue to improve and regain stamina.
 

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