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Bilateral TKR New member - Bilateral TKR February 2021

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MerlinWizard

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Hi All!

It's been a week since I last posted and that's because my daughter got married this past weekend! Which was one of the driving factors to get my knees done to begin with.

I spent the last week preparing to host 70 people for the rehearsal dinner on Friday at our home which included shopping, cooking, preparation, set up and tear down. I am more ambulatory than my wife so it was on me to do a lot of the running around and heavy lifting, setup as well as cooking the main course in advance. Not that she didn't do anything, she did a lot but her tasks were the less physical ones - I guess it's always been that way?!?!?!?!?

I started cooking day 1 (Tuesday afternoon). I also had to do some driving to pick up some relatives who can't drive themselves and live alone. I figure I put on 1,000 miles over the course of day 2 (Wednesday) and day 8 (Tuesday) picking them up and dropping them off.

Friday was about a 20 hour day as it started at 5 AM and I got to bed I am guessing around 1 AM.

The wedding was Saturday and that day started at 6 AM with hauling everything to the venue and setting it up. This included a 300# arbor that I had built week 6-7 out from surgery for the occasion. That was the time I realized I could stand for 5 hours straight, although I paid dearly for that.

The reception lasted until 12 AM and then we had to tear everything down and get it home. So another 18 hour day. I spent basically the entire day, on my legs. And yes, I did dance - but I don't really dance anyway, I used to waltz many years ago but not even that anymore. I danced with my daughter and wife of course. Understand that I spent most of the day on my feet in DRESS SHOES! Which we all know can be rather hard - BUT - they weren't "well worn" so my new gait wasn't affected by "worn shoes" and that's a good thing because years ago I spent a lot of money on very expensive dress shoes, the kind you can have repaired if the soles go out, etc. My feet however were killing me on Sunday!

Sunday was the gift opening which we also hosted. That was a fairly short day that consisted of moving the rehearsal dinner stuff into the garage because of rain.

I of course had help through all of this, I certainly couldn't have done all of it on my own even if I was 16 like my brain thinks I am.

Monday day 7, I didn't do anything. I sat around most of the day. Then again, my legs were pretty swollen and my ROM just wasn't there. Yesterday (day 8) was better and today I am back to work with a break at lunch time to empty out the trailers from the venue.

I would NEVER have been able to do this had I not had the surgery to begin with, not in a million years. I would have been down for a week after Friday and probably not even have gotten through Friday.

While I am going to pay for this for some time, it was worth it. I will spend this week taking it easy and go from there!
 
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MerlinWizard

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Here I thought I was going to be able to take it easy for a week.

We had family that stayed until this morning and I have been sore all week. I was able to get some rest in, more than usual but the activity level was fairly high in comparison to a normal week.

I am pretty achy, my muscles are achy and that exercise bike is calling my name.

I think I am going to give it a few more days here before jumping back in.

The family wanted to go in the pool yesterday and I was beat but I did it anyway. It was welcome relief but I didn't get a lot of exercising in.

I want to get this ROM thing back on track as I fear all this time doing whatever has set me back the last few weeks in that regard. Too much upright movement and not enough bending.
 

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Glad to hear that the wedding went well. I don’t understand how you managed all that work and so long on your feet, your new knees are really serving you superbly. Can’t see myself getting that far in three weeks time, but you never know...
 

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Time for rest and some ice and elevation to recover from your busy days! Congratulations on your daughter’s wedding.
 
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MerlinWizard

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Glad to hear that the wedding went well. I don’t understand how you managed all that work and so long on your feet, your new knees are really serving you superbly. Can’t see myself getting that far in three weeks time, but you never know...
I don't understand it either. Adrenaline maybe?

I am still pretty sore and stiff, had to cancel my 4th of July fireworks. I just don't think I can manage it safely.

As I told my family, after three weeks of hosting and cleaning, etc., it's time for someone else to do it so I can just show up and sit!
 
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MerlinWizard

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:banghead:

When God was handing out brains, I think I got in the wrong line.

We had a bunch of rain before and after the wedding so the garden weeds got away from us. I also had a couple of bails of hay that I was going to use to put in the garden once everything established.

I look at it last night and think I need to take care of it. Stupid me throws on my knee pads and crawled around the garden picking all the weeds and grass out. It wasn't like this was a difficult task but the roots were deep and they had to be hand pulled. The garden is only 12x12 and the ground is soft so I figured no worries.

It wasn't easy but I did it.

Then I go to put the hay down and I remember that hay bales need to remain dry otherwise they are a fire hazard. These were out in all of that rain. I only needed one bail for the garden but when I got towards the middle of the bale was pretty gosh darn hot. I have another bale that I must do something with! So I spread it around in an area on the edge of the property to avoid burning my yard and house down.

Today - HELLO! I feel like I did way back in week 4-6. Swollen, sore BUT I can still bend my legs so that's a plus I guess.

I am an idiot...
 

Ghostpipe

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But brave. Don’t know how you put up with the discomfort
 

Murphy2013

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Hello Merlin, reading your thread I thought maybe some “re-framing” was in order. Our whole lives we are taught, and then experience personally, that the more effort we put towards something, the better the outcome. So this very adaptive trait that gets us places (taking on things, getting things done by ploughing thru, don’t wait around for help), is all at once MALADAPTIVE when recovering from knee surgery. The hardest thing I have had to do while recovering from TKR is to under-do. The second hardest thing is to ask for help. Today I actually consider it a “skill” to not go on a second walk with the dog if my knee is less than good.
 
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MerlinWizard

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Believe it or not, I've gotten plenty of help. No way I could have pulled off the wedding without it.

Hard to believe but I am "under doing" it.

There are so many more things I need to do. I have an entire basement to finish yet, I just ordered the plumbing supplies today. I've been staring at the electrical since before my surgery. While I can climb a ladder with ease, it still scares me to some degree which is why I am still staring at things. That's a lot of trips up and down. I am hopeful by the end of July which will be about 5.5 months out, I let go of that fear.

When doing things before surgery, the ladder was the achilles heal for me. I'd go up and down a handful of times and that was it, I was done. My knees couldn't take it, several days of not doing anything and back I would go.

The way things were before surgery, no way I could have done the things I am doing now. And what I am doing now is way less than what I used to do.

I didn't turn into a fat blob over night =).

Now, I don't pretend for one moment I will get back to the days where I would finish projects quickly when I was in my 20's and 30's but I at least can hope for what it was like in my 40's!

And no, I am not good at taking it easy. I blame the surgeon. He told me I couldn't wreck anything doing normal stuff - only an accident would be bad, and I've had a few of those that thankfully weren't a detriment.

So it's down to how much pain I want to be in which is relative given how bad the pain was before surgery. I've been like a kid in a candy store this summer. Attacking things that I would normally avoid because, I can!

Merlin
 
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MerlinWizard

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I attended a concert last night and boy howdy did I have a good time! Standing, legs moving, feet tapping/stomping, hips moving for about 90 minutes or so.

I had somewhat of an issue getting up out of the seat because some rocket scientist thought it would be wise to put folding chairs on dirt that was recently drenched with rain (as in 2" the last 24 hours) , you know, where the back of the chair sinks and your legs are in a normal position but your butt (as well as your center of gravity) is the closest thing to the ground, where every chair you would use to get up is also sinking!!! BUT - (big butt he he), I feel awesome today~!

I haven't been able to do that as far back as I can remember. I even thought about taking up dance lessons, but - that would mean my wife will want me to actually go out to dances. While I like the idea of knowing how to, I am not sure I like the idea of having to =).

My ROM is pretty good today, it's a slow process getting back to where I was in that regard but everything else seems to be falling into place a bit faster.

I was officially 20 weeks (5 Months) out yesterday. My ROM is really good in the pool, my wife says to stop measuring and just go by feel which is what I do so I have no idea where the max is at, 130ish?

The real key for me is being able to kneel and do the things I used to do while kneeling but that will take a long time I am guessing. Obviously I push the kneeling too much as it is, but overall I am very happy with how things felt this morning. Stairs to my office were no problem.

I still have some pains, but nothing serious.

On a side note, I also had two elbow surgeries prior to having my BTKR. Once of the reasons was that I enjoy going to the gun range. My problem was that my elbow would ring for a week after doing so. I was able to go to the range this week for the first time in 9 months and the next day, wholly molly it didn't dawn on me until last night that I didn't have any pain at all!

I tell you, the surgeons I have can work miracles, either that or someone is looking out for me. I feel so young again and I hope that feeling continues to grow as my knees heal up good!
 

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Wow!!
As a newbie ( 2 weeks post op) who can’t see the woods for the trees at the moment, your posts , even your mishaps have filled me with optimism for the future! I thank you :)

I am same age as yourself-had my R knee replaced , so if you can feel this way despite everything , there is hope for us all! You are inspirational .

Jan
 
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MerlinWizard

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I don't know if I am inspirational or bullheaded or ignorant or crazy, probably somewhere in the middle :chinstroke:.

I just know I wanted my life back!

The surgeon said the surgery will make me feel younger and I said like 16? He laughed and said more like in your 40's. Then I laughed and said I missed my 40's due to my knees!

I remember thinking 6-8 weeks out that if it never got any better than that - it was 1000% better than where I was. I knew in week 4 I did the right thing but wrapping your brain around that 1-8 weeks out is very hard. You have good days and bad days, happy, sad and angry ones. But they do level out and good will outweigh the bad.

I still struggled mentally through weeks 12-14. But it goes away. Today I do get frustrated at some things but then I think about the other things I wasn't able to do before surgery that I can now. It's all about balance and perspective I think.

My path isn't for everyone - I am stubborn. I don't necessarily like pain, but I realize that this isn't a pain free surgery and that understanding the difference between "good" pain and "bad" pain is key to recovery. I know when my body is telling me something isn't right and when it's because I overdid something. I also know that there are trade offs. Early on, knowing X activity would cause Y pain helped make decisions. Today, knowing that from a physical standpoint I am healed, I know that I can push myself doing X and I will end up with Y pain but it is short lived. So the trade offs are worth it for me.

I wish you all of the healing in the world on your journey. Every journey is different and I too enjoy reading about other's journey's and sometimes I kick myself and am like "why didn't I think of that!".

Merlin
 
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MerlinWizard

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21 weeks out - notice all that nice hair! I shaved this at 4 weeks and asked my surgeon what the heck?!?!?!? I haven't had much hair on my legs for decades.

This has to do with bone healing and hair growth requiring the same things and all of the blood flow to that area - there is a more technical definition out there. My surgeon had a Latin name for it but I can't remember. It's a phenomenon in orthopedic surgery that happens to some people. Kind of like a cast over a broken bone - I remember that from when I was a kid.

I asked him if we could do that to my head, he chuckled. I said what, are you telling me there's no blood flow to my head? He got another laugh from that and said that it wasn't permanent and it would go away in time. He said that he's had some women break down when they see it and cry, I know my wife would.

Meanwhile I have fun with it and tell people I am reverse engineering myself =).

21 Weeks.jpg
 

NightQuilter

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Merlin - your progress and attitude (even with mishaps) are so inspiring. Your scars look exceptional as well. Well done!
 

Ghostpipe

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Merlin, you have just depressed me. So hoping that my gorilla knees are temporary, now know that I have at least another three weeks of it! You may be proud of your new look, but I ain’t!!!
 

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Merlin: I enjoy your posts! Thank you for letting your personality show through. :) I experienced telogen effluvium for 4-6 months after my RTKR in June 2019. Telogen effluvium is temporary hair loss that happens after stress, a shock, or a traumatic event (I think TKRs qualify!). I don't know if what you're experiencing is related to telogen effluvium. Nobody told me that hair loss could be a side effect of a TKR! I was really surprised by it. Thankfully, it was temporary. I'm now 12 weeks post-op from my LTKR and am starting to have telogen effluvium again. Thank goddess I know what it is this time.
 

Arrangrl

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21 weeks out - notice all that nice hair! I shaved this at 4 weeks and asked my surgeon what the heck?!?!?!? I haven't had much hair on my legs for decades.

This has to do with bone healing and hair growth requiring the same things and all of the blood flow to that area - there is a more technical definition out there. My surgeon had a Latin name for it but I can't remember. It's a phenomenon in orthopedic surgery that happens to some people. Kind of like a cast over a broken bone - I remember that from when I was a kid.

I asked him if we could do that to my head, he chuckled. I said what, are you telling me there's no blood flow to my head? He got another laugh from that and said that it wasn't permanent and it would go away in time. He said that he's had some women break down when they see it and cry, I know my wife would.

Meanwhile I have fun with it and tell people I am reverse engineering myself =).

21 Weeks.jpg
Haha ! Your pic of your hairy legs made me laugh and gave me the fear simultaneously :) Increased hair on my legs … oh no lol ..order into Amazon hair removing creams ! Done ✅

I am going to tell people who don’t know me, if my scar is commented on, that I was attacked by a shark …. You got to be able to have a laugh, don’t you ?!
 
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MerlinWizard

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My surgeon said the hair was temporary. I don't know what his definition of "temporary" is though. 22 weeks, it's still there!

I spent the weekend volunteering at a concession stand for a music festival. It's not something I have done in about 20 years. My new knees performed very well, the rest of my body even did pretty well. Not nearly the aches and pains I remember from 20 years ago.

Not that it went without consequences. My legs are swollen and my ROM is crappy but a few days taking it easy and that will all be fine.

My only real concern is my ROM at this point. I can't seem to budge past what I think is about 130. The back of my knees is where the pain is, hardly any in front so my "theory" is that the swelling is preventing full range at this point. It's pretty good in the pool but I don't do work on my knees in the pool!

It's really nice to be able to stand and walk as much as I want to. Yes, I know I am abusing myself in doing so but it brings so much happiness to my life.

I guess the only other thing that will take time is worrying that I will fall. Climbing in and out of the concession trailer, I did so very gingerly as I was afraid I would lose my balance and fall. I am not quite used to my new center of gravity and I am going to guess that also will take a lot of time to get used to.
 

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What a win with your knees working the concession stand! You are right that the swelling will clear up. Regarding your ROM, your "theory" may be correct. The swelling will eventually dissipate. In the meantime, you might want to find a good massage therapist or PT to massage your legs and focus on the backs to start to push the lymph and fluids through. Someone trained in lymphatic or shiatsu massage would be very effective. It made a world of difference to me.

Like you, my biggest fear was falling ... still is. But I did trip on a hike in the mountains one day about 2 years post-knees and oddly enough, I survived. Yes, we need to be cautious, but once we've healed up, the knees themselves are quite reliable.
 
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MerlinWizard

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What a win with your knees working the concession stand! You are right that the swelling will clear up. Regarding your ROM, your "theory" may be correct. The swelling will eventually dissipate. In the meantime, you might want to find a good massage therapist or PT to massage your legs and focus on the backs to start to push the lymph and fluids through. Someone trained in lymphatic or shiatsu massage would be very effective. It made a world of difference to me.

Like you, my biggest fear was falling ... still is. But I did trip on a hike in the mountains one day about 2 years post-knees and oddly enough, I survived. Yes, we need to be cautious, but once we've healed up, the knees themselves are quite reliable.
I have some shin pain too that's irritating BUT (another big butt =) ), I think that's because of the shoes I have been wearing the last few weeks.

When I had my surgery I bought 3 new pairs of shoes. The "Dude" shoes you see in my pics because I have been wearing those for years (before they were "cool") because I don't like socks and they slip on and are comfortable - but also because they said my feet would be swollen post surgery. I bought a new pair of Keen sandals and a new pair of tennis shoes.

I have been wearing out my Dude shoes, they are still good but I will need to replace them come next Spring when I break them out again after Winter. I have also been wearing my Keens. Both of those have a relatively flat sole, the Dude's have no arch support and the Keens have minor arch support.

So during my recovery I have been getting used to walking in shoes that don't have a lot of support. We had the fair the week before and the work at the concession stand so I wore my brand new tennis shoes I hadn't really broken in yet. They have a lot of arch support so my guess is my shins are angry for that adjustment. It's gotten better over the two weeks but it's still there.

My theory before surgery was that basically the shoes I had would be useless outside of my dress shoes which don't get worn often and don't wear like everyday sneakers or sandals. I have two other pairs I wear when I am ramming around fixing/yard work, etc. They aren't comfortable at all and I can feel the difference in my feet when I wear them. I haven't replaced those yet because I don't want to spend a fortune on shoes unless I "have to".

I will leave the shoe shopping to my wife who you can imagine had to replace a lot of shoes when she got her amputation. My wallet is pretty light now and you can't tell she got ride of shoes after her amputation, she restocked pretty quickly!~
 

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