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Bilateral TKR Oregon Mom's recovery journey

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Oregon mom

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I'm curious about the incredible moderators on this site. How did you guys come into your roles as moderators? Do you login on shifts? Because it seems like there is always someone knowledgeable and available to help. Are you volunteers?
This forum is so unique because of the value the moderators bring. Otherwise, it would mostly be a crowd of joint replacement patients crying.
 

Jockette

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We volunteer our time because we want to help people get through this recovery, and in my case, I especially want people to know they don’t have to go through what I did.

We are invited by the administrator to join the staff.

We don’t have specific shifts, we just log on when it’s convenient for us. We are from different countries, with different time zones, which is why you can often see at least one of us online.

Thanks for appreciating the work of love we do!
 

Jockette

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I know how much of a lifeline Bonesmart was for me!
 
OP
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Slowly slowly I'm noticing the tissues stretching so I can bend my knees a little more each day. I've found myself absent-mindedly going for more bend in the evening and nighttime while reading or playing on the phone.
My left leg, particularly the left calf is smaller than my right side due to months of compensating for an all but destroyed left side cartilage. So I'm trying to make putting weight on the left side or leading with the left side a habit again. Sometimes it feels just like it used to with pain shooting around in the joint. I'm hoping that is temporary. I'm not expecting perfection, but maybe I'm expecting too much improvement?
Tried going downstairs front ways and it was not very fun. Felt something kind of catching on the right side, like a tendon getting caught or something. Yeesh. I keep trying gingerly to move about naturally, but if I run into a weird roadblock like that I back off fast.
Sometimes it feels like the cement is coming away from my bone a little bit if I move wrong. Probably this is in my head. I'd imagine I'd be in constant excruciating pain if that were the case. How does the cement work in a wet environment?
The skin on my right knee (a little on my left) is all peely and flaky. My hypothesis is that this is due to the extended dramatic swelling after surgery. I feel little itches here and there.
The outside of both knees are completely numb. This creeps me out and is worrisome. The PA told me this would go away. I sure hope so.
I'm at a funny stage where it can be easy to forget my ROM limitations. The other day I tried to get into my bed from the other side. It is very cluttered over there with all kinds of invalid's trappings; a wastebasket, papers, coin collecting supplies, etc. It was a tight pivot and then required more flexion than my left knee was ready for. As I came down, it was too late to undo gravity and rewind the tape. It hurt so bad I yelled out and just sat there stunned, hugging my knee almost crying. The pain was gone in less than 2 minutes.
I can finally sleep on my side again as of two nights ago. This is magical for me. I have to arrange my legs very carefully, liberally stack pillows between my knees and try to remember that I can't move in the same way yet. But it's worked pretty well. Being a side sleeper, I've been in a kind of hell having to sleep on my back every night. So this is something to celebrate.
Definitely still need the raised toilet seats, though I'm getting up with more leg muscles and less arm muscles. I don't use the walker anymore. I haven't used the ice machines in three days. I keep thinking I'll need them and hubby keeps offering to fill them, but I just haven't needed more than elevation.
The raggedy steri strips and bits of exposed incision are so gross. I wish I could just spackle over them with something from the hardware store.
I can't bear weight for long, but I am noticing that I'm able to go longer before I have to elevate.
Yesterday, my husband walked with me to the end of our street and back. My hamstrings are actually sore today from that tiny walk! My neighbor texted me that night to tell me I'd been spotted by her husband and he said I looked good. I texted back, "Dang! I was trying to hide because my knees look so gross and I'm still walking like I pooped my pants."
I feel like the rest of me is falling out of shape while I'm trying to recover my knees. That's kind of frustrating because I was in such good shape before surgery. I was doing really big hills on the bike. I'm not sure I'll be able to push that hard again. Not sure if that will be ok for the prosthetics.
 
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Jaycey

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Sometimes it feels like the cement is coming away from my bone a little bit if I move wrong. Probably this is in my head. I'd imagine I'd be in constant excruciating pain if that were the case. How does the cement work in a wet environment?
Not possible. That cement is very hard. Here's a link to an article on Cemented and Uncemented hips. It refers to hips but also mentions knees.
That's kind of frustrating because I was in such good shape before surgery. I was doing really big hills on the bike. I'm not sure I'll be able to push that hard again. Not sure if that will be ok for the prosthetics.
Of course you will be able to push. It's still very early days for you.
 

leejaa

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If you have dry skin, you can use lotion as long as you keep it away from the incision. Trim any loose steri strip pieces and it will look better also.

I think the raised toilet seats are wonderful and I kept my around a long time especially since in the middle of the night or early morning were not my best times and my theory was always better safe than sorry.

Wonderful achievement to get to side sleep. Congratulations and you need a celebration. All progress needs celebrating like your walk outside. More things will come with time and healing. Time to really exercise that patience muscle while your knees continue their recovery journey.

I would still recommend icing regularly 45-60m at a time especially after walking as it helps with pain and also internal swelling that you might not be seeing right away. That tight feeling in the knee and discomfort with moving in certain ways. I iced any time I was reclining and elevating. It really helps.

You will be able to bike again the way you enjoyed but time will be needed first to heal and then slowly to build up strength. Once healed the strength comes back rather quickly.

Have a peaceful day. :flwrysmile:
 
OP
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@Jaycey Thank you for that article. I am really interested in the details of these processes. That was super informative.
I knew that the feelings I am having couldn't be the cement coming away, but my mind likes to imagine the worst.
Knowing how it actually works helped a lot.
 
OP
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@leejaa I hadn't thought about icing the swelling I can't see... Maybe I should get on at least once a day icing schedule to help that.
You guys are the best!
:yay::loveshwr::yay:
 
OP
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Went on my second outdoors walk today with my son. Beautiful day. Walked less distance than my first walk; we walked to the elementary school behind our house. I actually got on a swing and swung a little bit. After I got off the swing I noticed that I felt fairly nauseous! I took one of my leftover nausea pills at home. On the walk back my legs felt very strong and eager to walk more.
My knees were slightly sore and started to swell a little when we got back, but I elevated and they are OK now.
I expected maybe some residual pain, but it's no worse than the day before yesterday. What I am noticing are symptoms like a very light flu. Generalized achiness, sensitive to sound, sleepy.
 

KnitChica

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The outside of both knees are completely numb. This creeps me out and is worrisome. The PA told me this would go away. I sure hope so.
I think it’s normal to have that numb feeling. I currently have that lateral numbness on my right knee and I’m 5 1/2 weeks post op. On my left knee which is 14 months post op, I have the majority of that lateral skin feeling back.
I think you’re doing AWESOMELY!! To be a bilateral TKR & you’re waking, sleeping on your side! Keep up the good work...but, don’t overdo it! I made the mistake of overdoing it three days ago (because I was feeling so well!) and I’m just finally, this evening, feeling like I’ve recovered from that overdo!:no-fin: With this being my second TKR, I should have known better!
 
OP
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@KnitChica It's so hard not to overdo it as I'm feeling better! Honestly, it's hearing, and really taking to heart, the advice of people like you who've been there that's saving me. So THANK YOU! Like I mentioned, the large muscles in my legs were so excited to walk and ready to keep going. It took a lot of self control to make myself walk back home and put my feet up.
 

leejaa

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Great progress. Great walk and smart decision to not overdo. Have a great day. :flwrysmile:
 

np7

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My TKR was 8/18 and am just 6 weeks out. Compulsive fitness freaks like us need to learn to accept help--as you have done with your friends.

I accepted the use of oxycodone. I started at 25mg a day, 10mg time release at night and then 5mg 3x/day. After 2 weeks the time release Rx ran out and now I am averaging 10 mg (2 pills) a day, 1 each about an hour before PT and always elevate ice after. Working for me as I can see the usage curve sloping down. I do take tylenol as well.

You couldn't get out and ride with all that smoke anyway
 
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OP
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I accepted the use of oxycodone. I started at 25mg a day, 10mg time release at night and then 5mg 3x/day.
I wish I'd had such a good start! I was given 50 x 5mg oxycodone in a bottle that said "1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours" which left it up to me to figure out what would work.
Right before I left the hospital, an Anesthesiologist came into the room to talk about the pain pumps (wow what a mess those were), and to encourage me to take "one for the road" and "don't try to be a hero" with regards to the pain. But I wasn't told exactly how not to be a hero.
So I took just half a pill (2.5 mg) and ended up nearly calling an ambulance from the pain that came later.
It's tough because we're supposed to get the pain managed before we discharge, but the real inflammation and pain descend upon you a day or two later.
I was able to walk and do stairs, but I had no clue what kind of pain was lurking around the corner, or what 5mg oxycodone would even do for me (not enough).
I am so glad that's in the past now.
I won't go out of my way to give the hospital feedback, but I certainly will if anyone asks.
 
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np7

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Bilateral seems really hard core. My surgeon explained early on to me that his organization does not allow bilateral because of some increased risks; but so glad you made it through.

You are right about the vague advice from the hospital. I learned from my wife's TKRs to take the pain med in advance of doing PT, about an hour in my case. The Bottle allows 1-2 every 4 hours or as needed. I chose the as needed (one 5mg oxy). Down to about one a day now plus tylenol. I could walk pretty well from the start and gave up the cane 17 days-- but stairs were and are a problem, especially going down.
 
OP
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@np7 Oh for sure this has been hard core. Going the bilateral route was my surgeon's suggestion, and it really took me off guard at first. His reasoning was that I'm in good health and this would save me time and money. Even with that first week of :censored: and all the work ahead, I'm glad I took this route.
I've gone down stairs front ways about four times now and I'm as slow and deliberate as a turtle. I had to start going down stairs backwards almost 7 months ago because of the osteoarthritic pain. I could stride right up, but not down. That worked well at the waterslide park. It will be some time before I can go down stairs at a normal speed facing the right way.
 
OP
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I can't figure out if it's a tendon or a ligament, but something in my right lateral knee keeps feeling like it's sticking or twanging against /across when I step. Like a bass string being plucked. It happens sometimes when I'm in bed doing heel slides. It kind of hurts. It really hurts if I rotate my ankle while it's stuck.
I'm wondering first of all, what body part this is. And will it resolve itself or is something out of alignment?
I speak with my surgeon Monday.
Went in for xrays today in advance of our conversation. The xray tech kindly let me view my images. Wow, it was so cool to see the implants. She showed me where the cement was. There's a lot of cement in the bone, more than I had imagined. It's like a well and the prosthesis fits into that well of cement.
I guess there's no going back now, is there? :dubious:
 

np7

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i am really impressed you are even going downstairs. I guess what goes up must come down I would be avoiding stairs if I did not have one semi-good knee.

Really sorry to hear about your current problem and hope someone can advise you before Monday.
 

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