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On the road again!

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by MSgirl, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. MSgirl

    MSgirl
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    Hi Folks,
    My second TKR is Jan. 15. I can tell I'm getting in the mood since it's in my thoughts more each day.

    I was thinking that I would share the good and bad about my RTKR on Jan. 30 of this year in case it would be helpful to some of you. A big truth I have learned is that we can't compare ourselves and our recovery to anyone else. We are all starting from a different place and will have different issues in recovery.

    First of all, I was incredibly naive about the procedure. Although my dr. told me it would be a 10-12 month recovery, I didn't think he meant me! I could do anything! And I was just plain sick of looking like an old woman when I limped out of a Walmart trip. I did not know about the terrible pain I would have those first two weeks.

    The good:
    - Bought an elevated toilet seat with arms! Love it! Also shower chair that was great.
    - Had strong grab bars installed in walk-in shower.
    - Took shorts to the hospital so my dr. could look at my knee but no one in the hall had to see my bottom.
    - Had ice packs at the ready and was able to bring home the ice machine from my hospital room.
    - Cooked a lot of meals and froze them for my husband to re-heat. He did suggest that I might not want to make quite as much barbecue this time(!).
    - Used surgery as impetus to finally lose a few pounds that was sorely needed.
    - Put bicycle basket on my walker that let me carry phone, iPad, ice packs and drink as I moved between nests.


    The bad and/or really, really ugly:
    - Did not find Bonesmart until 6 months after surgery.
    - Because I was "invincible", I took a 7-hour car trip to Atlanta on day 17 after surgery. Rode with legs down, did not take ice, only stopped a couple of times, and helped clean up after the birthday party for my mother-in-law, although by then I was limping badly. Really, really STUPID!
    - Began a PT program right after the trip. Although my dr. told me not to "let them hurt you", I wasn't sure what was pain caused by them or my knee. They hurt me a lot. I would go, come home and ice, ice all the next day, then go back for another torture session. Actually went there for 12 sessions. I'm a little slow.

    More good:
    - Finally wised up and found another PT place. They were fantastic. I had to beg to get my ROM measured. They worked to strengthen my quad (I'm not a jock and really didn't know what a quad is). No pain there, made great progress and had lots of fun with other patients. My ROM was 125 when I finished.
    - I continued to ice and elevate constantly. I still put my leg up on my ottoman when I sit down now.
    - Started a walking program while still in PT, something I'd not been able to do for 10 years. We have casinos down here so I would valet park, walk inside to the air conditioning and set off on the carpet. There are lots of seats so I would walk a little and sit down. Started very slowly and built up. I'm convinced that the walking is what made my recovery go so well. Worked on my gait and posture. Built up to 3-5 miles daily. I was amazed. Things were going great until October when I lost control of myself and walked 7.5 miles!!! I could barely walk for two weeks and knew the left knee was gone. Time to call the dr. again.
    - Saw dr. to schedule surgery and ROM measured 145. We were both thrilled.

    Plans this time around include:
    - Asking for better pain control for those first two weeks.
    - TAKE NO CAR TRIPS!
    - Ice and elevate like I did the first time - it really does make a difference.
    - Start Miralax as soon as possible - some of you know why!
    - Make more gumbo and less barbecue.
    - Read Bonesmart and give and receive encouragement from others.

    I realize that a lot of folks on Bonesmart aren't too high on PT. For me, when I finally got to the right place, it worked and I'll do it again. Everyone is different. I will know that the first two weeks won't be fun but now I have Netflix and will try to learn how to use it. And knowing that there is an end to the pain will help a lot. Trying to maintain my sense of humor will help too. We January Jackpots have lots to look forward to and by next Christmas, thoughts about painful knees will be gone.

    This turned into an epistle but you know everything about me. Please feel free to shorten it. I'm long-winded!
     
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  2. MSgirl

    MSgirl
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    I realized that maybe you all will think I minimized my recovery. If I did, I'm sorry because it wasn't all fun and games. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. Pain, dark days and lonely (remember, no Bonesmart then). It is my nature to be upbeat but that's just how I deal with unpleasant things. I was lucky the first time around. We'll see what happens this time.

    Have a great day, everyone! And be sure to buy some Miralax...
     
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  3. Celle

    Celle FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Welcome back, @MSgirl - I'm sorry your other knee needs to be replaced, but this time you've already learned a lot. We'll be here for you this time round.

    I think that if you find the right PT therapist, it can help a lot, even though it's not always necessary to do exercises to achieve ROM (Range of Motion). I expect you'll be going back to the good therapist again.
    However, no PT at all is better than bad PT.
    I went to PT a few times for my first TKR, but didn't go at all for my last one.

    It sounds as if you're already well-prepared, but her is the pre-op reading for you anyway:
    If you are at the stage where you have joint pain but don't know for sure if you are ready to have surgery, these links may help:
    Score Chart: How bad is my arthritic knee?
    Choosing a surgeon and a prosthesis
    BMI Calculator - What to do if your surgeon says you're too heavy for joint replacement surgery
    Longevity of implants and revisions: How long will my new joint last?

    If you are at the stage where you are planning to have surgery but are looking for information so you can be better prepared for what is to come, take a look at these links:
    Recovery Aids: A comprehensive list for hospital and home
    Recliner Chairs: Things you need to know if buying one for your recovery
    Pre-Op Interviews: What's involved?

    Regardless of where you are in the process, the website and app My Knee Guide can help you stay organized and informed. The free service keeps all the information pertaining to your surgery and recovery in one place on your smartphone. It is intended to be a personal support tool for the entire process.

    And if you want to picture what your life might be like with a replaced knee, take a look at the posts and threads from other BoneSmarties provided in this link:
    Stories of amazing knee recoveries
     
  4. MSgirl

    MSgirl
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    Thanks, Celle. I am by no means an expert on TKRs and always want to learn more. It really was amazing, though, how much better my life was after the first one. The day I actually put on my 10-year old walking shoes (bought when I hoped to start a walking program) was just so incredible. I felt like a jock! For all the January Jackpots, it will all be worth it!
     
  5. sistersinhim

    sistersinhim FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    @MSgirl, what a wonderful post! It will be extremely helpful to many coming up behind you. And what a good recovery you had, even with that rough PT start you had. You are experienced now knows what works for you. Remember though, that no two knees are alike and that this January knee's recovery might be a little different. Good luck with it!
     
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  6. MSgirl

    MSgirl
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    @sistersinhim, thanks so much for your reply. Knowing they are different is probably why I'm starting to get a case of the nerves. When I saw my dr. to schedule, he said I might not have as good a result with the left one. Stupidly, I didn't ask why so will have to do it at my pre-op. I'm working on "positive thoughts", telling myself I know what to expect this time and can do it. Intellectually, I know what it will be like those first seconds, minutes, hours and days in the dreaded first two weeks, but when it's actually happening, those "positive thoughts" will probably fly out the window. Hence the nerves! I'm so glad I'll have this forum to support me.
     
  7. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, DIRECTOR Administrator

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    Me too! However, I was lucky in that my surgeon has adopted a new technique which was to inject a cocktail of lidocaine and morphine into the posterior capsule from within the joint (before he closed the wound). I really couldn't believe the lower pain score! Apparently recent research has identified that most of the post-op pain actually comes from the posterior capsule (at the back).
     
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  8. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    I think the right PT —gentle, non-aggressive— can be useful, especially for people who thrive with structure and enjoy the social aspect. I loved seeing the other people and conversing with my therapist, even though much of that was me telling him I would NOT do things he wanted me to do (like ankle eights and leg presses). But I’m not going to say PT did me no good at all; it really helped my confidence, balance and gait.

    You can’t tell in advance what kind of knee your left knee will be after surgery. My two knees were like two children, each with its own unique personality (so to speak). Both turned out fine in the end. Knowing what you are getting into this time will help you when dealing with recovery. Your post is really helpful and I’m so glad you shared with us!
     
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  9. MSgirl

    MSgirl
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    Josephine, that pain cocktail sounds fabulous! My dr. has done hundreds of knees and usually has a good result. He also pushes using a recumbent bike but is stingy with pain medicine. This opium crisis has made it hard for drs. and patients but I am going to ask for stronger meds for those first two weeks. Your cocktail might be just what I need and sure would make my life easier in the beginning. Thanks for the encouragement. Onward and upward!
     
  10. sistersinhim

    sistersinhim FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    I wish all doctors did this. That would help to reduce the need to take opioids for as long as we have to now and get the news off of the so-called epidemic!
     
  11. PolarBear60

    PolarBear60 FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    I think this approach (injecting the pain medication before closing the incision) was one of the keys to being able to not need the narcotic pain reliever at the 2 and 3 weeks points for my knees. Tremendous summary, MSgirl! I'm so glad you found a good PT place. They can really help when they have the right philosophy. Mine asked what MY goas were and worked torward helping me achieve them.
     
  12. jaschembra

    jaschembra

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    Sounds like a good report and that you’re ready and prepared for your 2nd knee to be done. At my 4 week visit I too told my OS that something needed to be done differently with the next knee and the pain relief when I left the hospital! My 1st 24 hours home were pretty darn rough... until he opened some flood gates for pain relieving pills. I wish I was getting my 2nd knee done next month (had hoped it would have been done back in June) but I’m on the slow track and am still experiencing some issues. Instead, I get to have my 1 year follow up visit on the 4th of January (I remember making that appointment 11 months ago - I said - I hope to be having surgery that week). Good luck on your surgery - it’s got to be so much better the 2nd time around because we know what to do. :)
     
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  13. MSgirl

    MSgirl
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    So - clearances by Internal Medicine dr. and dentist done. Pre-admission testing done. Lounge Doctor and leg lifter delivered. Still have all the stuff from the first one, including my beloved ice machine. Hopefully I'll get another one this time so I can have one at each "nest." By the time I'm done, I can open a store! At least I'll be able to loan it all to friends if they ever have the need.

    Today I carried boxes upstairs and noticed something interesting. Stairs have not been fun but doable. I realized that my new knee had no problem at all. It just went up them with no pain. It has been the sad other knee that has not been liking steps and I was blaming the new one! Shame on me.

    Three weeks from Monday!
     
  14. MSgirl

    MSgirl
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    @jaschembra, I hope you'll be able to get a surgery date when you see the dr. on the 4th. We can both be dancing by next Christmas! I just read something funny from my discharge notes from the first one. It said "no contact sports before seeing the dr. at post-op." Right...

    Keep me posted, please, about what he says.
    Ann
     
  15. MSgirl

    MSgirl
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    Sending best wishes for a very Merry Christmas to my Bonesmart friends! The new knees that we will be getting soon will be among the best gifts we have ever received!
     
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  16. MSgirl

    MSgirl
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    My surgery was moved to Tuesday to accommodate a diabetic patient who needed to go first. I saw my dr. yesterday for my pre-op and found out he will be using the posterior nerve block that @Josephine mentioned. I'll also have the pain pump in the side and something else - can't remember.

    He did tell me something distressing. Beginning either 2/1 or 3/1(once again I can't remember), Medicare will no longer pay for a stay in the hospital after TKR. Outpatient only. Unbelievable but he said he had done one yesterday morning and the patient went home in the afternoon with the pain pump in. The catheter for it will be removed at home. I guess it's one more example of modern medicine.

    Tomorrow is hospital pre-op, then a wait till Tuesday. I have bought and made so much food that I can't get anything else in the freezer. I'll have to get rid of something so I can freeze my water bottles and gel packs!
     
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  17. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    I hope it's all food you really like in there, in case you have to eat out a space for the icing materials. :heehee: Sounds like you're really very well-prepared for your surgery and recovery.

    Most people do really well as outpatients, however... I would hate to think a hospital stay is not an option. Especially so for persons who have no help at home.
     
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  18. Wilsomasan

    Wilsomasan

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    Thank you for sharing your experience! There is a wealth of information here. Still waiting for my surgery date but you gave me lots of good info here! Thanks so much!
     
  19. Wilsomasan

    Wilsomasan

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    Leg lifter?
     
  20. Celle

    Celle FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    @Wilsomasan - There's no need to quote a post in order to reply to it.
    Just go down to the bottom of the page and start typing in the box there.
     

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