TKR Nightowlblues recovery musings

A case of YMMV but many of us have been told by orthos or PT it's ok to sleep on non-surgical side with a big pillow between the legs. With this second TKA, starting post op day 2 I have found it fine to alternate side lying with back lying to try to get some decent overnight sleep.
oh wow that would be amazing. i’ll ask my doctor on monday. thanks!
@nightowlblues Sounds like you are adjusting. My knee swelled up to 1.5 times it's normal size and it is s.l.o.w.l.y trying to drain. I'm 6 weeks out and it still looks a bit large. I had the same dressing as you and showered without an issue. We side sleepers have it tough but eventually you'll be able to sleep on your back. And then you'll heal enough to sleep on your side again. Won't that be a milestone!
i saw my OS yesterday, it was supposed to be his PA but i was delighted when he walked into the room instead. like @benne68 and @mendogal had predicted, the bandage came off so easily and with no pain. the scar looks pretty good, it’s big but i know it’ll get very faint with time, plus it feels like a badge of honor for what i’m going through. he was very pleased with my progress and said he thinks october would be a good time for me to get my left knee done. even tho that’s my goal, to have 2 working knees that don’t rule my every moment and have some semblance of a life, we’ll have to see about that.

i’m worried about bending my knee in PT or at home and opening the scar, is that something that happens? it seems i always have something to worry/obsess over and then when that thing is over i just find something new. my knees have been front and center in my mind for well over 2 decades, and now even more so. i wonder what a world looks like where that’s not the case :chinstroke:

it’s funny how i can have somewhat of a good day, doing my exercises and moving around the house a bit and only needing to take 1 oxycodone every 4-5 hours, and then nighttime comes. everything is different at night. i can’t get comfortable, i’m beyond exhausted and yet restless, and need to take 2 pain pills just to even try to find some kind of relief. im grateful for my tv, being able to zone out in front of it and doze off and on.

this surgery is huge. i told my OS yesterday that i had some sort of idea of what to expect physically, because i’ve had 5 other knee surgeries long long ago. but the psychological part of this surgery was unexpected and there’s no relief from that. at least i know that it’s a marathon, that i’m looking at at least a year to fully recover; i can’t even imagine the patients who don’t know that, who weren’t told up front about that, what a shock that must be. i have bonesmart to thank for that knowledge, it has helped a lot :yes:
i’m worried about bending my knee in PT or at home and opening the scar, is that something that happens?
It does happen, but I think it’s rare. One way to be sure it doesn’t happen is to be very gentle with your bending. Don’t let anyone else bend your knee for you, they tend to push it way more than they should. There is no need to push your knee as far as you can. Gentle movements will benefit healing much more than forcing a bend.

Regaining our ROM does not require forceful bending or painful exercises. That is counterproductive.

Regaining our ROM is more about Time than repetitions of a list of exercises.

Time to recover.
Time for pain and swelling to settle.
Time to heal.

Our range of motion is right there all along just waiting for that to happen so it can show itself.

In the general run of things, it doesn't need to be fought for, worked hard for or worried about. It will happen. Normal activity is the key to success.
Hello nightowlblues,
Great news that your OS showed up for your appointment yesterday. It does feel more reassuring to see the surgeon than the PA.

It is understandable that you'd have concerns about the integrity of your incision, given your knees have been the focus over the past two decades which included five surgeries. I hope you're able to relax and feel confident that all will be well. I am sorry the nights have been rough, thankfully it's only temporary.
i’m beyond exhausted and yet restless,
This is energy drain and you're not alone in experiencing it.
Our body's energy supply isn't limitless. So when we're in healing mode after major surgery
our energy will be used for healing first, not leaving a great reserve for all the other activity of daily life. It is completely normal to feel tired for quite some time. How long....most likely relates to your body's rate of healing. Making our best effort to get adequate sleep and rest is beneficial. Our body does the best healing while we're sleeping. May you feel stronger and steadier on your feet with each passing week.

Lots of comfort to you! :)
hello all:wave:

it’s the end of my 28th day post-op. slthings have been going ok, there are some bright spots and of course some unpleasant ones.

my scar is gnarly looking. my PT has been massaging it to break up the glue and the tightness underneath, and it makes it feel so much better. but a lot of glue is still hanging on, big pieces sticking up, but of course i’m leaving them alone. the skin all around the scar is so dry and kind of peeling. i can see some parts where the glue is gone and the scar itself looks clean and thin, but it’ll be a while til the whole thing is healed for sure.

i love my physical therapist, she’s gentle and always asks if she can do something and if i say no, she respects that and stops. i’ve been riding the bike there and have been making full revolutions which feels so amazing. today she moved the seat closer and i was able to do it with that too. obviously, because i like her so much, she’ll be gone in the fall when i hopefully get my left knee done. that’s always how it goes.

i’ve been able to make little super simple dinners for me and my 83 year old mother, who i take care of. the other day it was eggs and sausage for dinner and then i washed the dishes and i felt so accomplished, as if i’d just cooked a huge thanksgiving meal.

i’m still using my walker but not really putting any weight on it, the therapist is concerned about my other knee and wants me to take it slowly. i’m ok with that. in our kitchen, which is pretty small, i’m able to just move without any assistance and that feels so good to be able to do. i’m terrified of falling, i have a lot of fear to undo at some point in the future when it’ll be time to trust my new knee (s.)

i was able to stop the oxycodone 2 weeks ago and just use my pain medicine i’ve been on for over a decade. it doesn’t work as well as the oxy but i’m way more clear-headed.

sleep…that little devil…so elusive. i’ve moved back into my bed because my recliner was starting to feel like a torture device. i have such a hard time sleeping on my back so i’ve been trying on my side, it’s not easy and i can’t last more than about 1/2 an hour or so, but hopefully i’ll be able to build it up a bit more each time.

mentally i’m doing way better than when i first got home and felt trapped and claustrophobic and said i would never have that surgery again. my left knee hurts more than my new knee now and i do want to go on to get it replaced as well, otherwise what was the point. i see my OS in 2 weeks and we’ll see what he says for a possible time frame.

my days are all some version of light exercises, helping get simple meals together, ice ice ice and elevation. i’ve made strides in becoming more patient because i can see it’s really best for me in the end.

well, it’s time to get into bed and start the ridiculous song and dance of attempting to sleep. i want to thank all of you for the wisdom you share here, it has been such a huge help :thankyou:
Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your sleeping struggle. As I've said, the important thing is to sleep when and where you can. It doesn't matter if it's morning, noon, or night. It's the sleep that is important not the when or where.
the other day it was eggs and sausage for dinner and then i washed the dishes and i felt so accomplished, as if i’d just cooked a huge thanksgiving meal.
For just a few weeks post-op, that IS an accomplishment! Sounds like you are doing well.
i’ve been able to make little super simple dinners for me and my 83 year old mother, who i take care of. the other day it was eggs and sausage for dinner and then i washed the dishes and i felt so accomplished, as if i’d just cooked a huge thanksgiving meal.
I love this because it does feel like a big accomplishment...and it is! We realize all we take for granted until it suddenly feels challenging. Good for you!
i have such a hard time sleeping on my back
I did also and what helped me was lots of bed pillows. I gathered many up and surrounded myself with them at each side. They were a comfort, soft and it was nice to rest an arm or leg on one if I felt like it.

If sleep remains elusive, you may want to consider Magnesium which works for some, but not all.
Magnesium supports the following:
Bone health
Healthy blood sugar
Cardiovascular health
Muscle relaxation and nerves
Promotes healthy sleep (falling asleep and staying asleep)

An article on Magnesium -

Happy One Month Anniversary! You're doing very well. Good luck with your appointment in two weeks!
hello everyone! i saw my OS for my 6 week check today and he’s very pleased with my healing so far. I had PT beforehand and i measured 110° and -5°, and he was fine with that and said i’ll gain more ROM through daily life. i dropped down to PT once a week, which felt good. i’m just going to live my life and do my exercises.

the best part of today, besides being cleared to drive!, was i scheduled my left knee replacement for october 2. it’s funny because 6 weeks ago i said i would never go back to do the other one, but that feeling has passed. i’m nervous of course but i didn’t come this far to have one good knee and one that hardly functions. and i can honestly say that even though my new knee aches and hurts and swells at times, the pain i have now is nothing like the pain i had before. and that is everything to me.

i’m going to be counting down the time and organizing the way i did for round 1, but this time i’m staying far away from falling boxes :heehee:
Another vote in favor of getting the second one done as soon as the first one is a few months out. My January 31 knee's only rehab since mid June is being my primary support while the June 14 knee catches up!
@nightowlblues I am 3 weeks post op LTKR, when I go for my 6 wk post op appointment, I will be scheduling my RTKR for October! I will be 2 or 3 weeks behind you as we have things to do the first week of October and possible the 2nd week. I want them both done and as much as I am not looking forward to doing this again, the end result is what I am looking at. My right knee was worse than the left but my left knee was hurting more for some reason, so did the left knee first.
Happy Two Month Anniversary!
You're inching closer to October 2nd. Hang in there and have a great week!

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