TKR Panammaniac’s Recovery Thread

Hi, my doctor wanted me to take 2- oxy every 4 hours for at least the first 2-weeks. Maybe you need to adjust your times especially at night. I found it wasn't working for me, it made me nauseous and out of it so he switch me to hydromorphone. That was like day and night for me. I only needed one every 4hours and 2 every 4hours at night. I'm 7-weeks out and now only need tylenol and ibuprofen a couple times a day. I just started sleeping in bed. I slept for 5 hours one night this week. Before that I slept in the recliner getting up and walking every 2-3 hours. Remember to stay hydrated and stay on a constipation regime while on the narcs. Magnesium at night helps with the cramps and the constipation. My doctor had me use a special ice pack. The gel ice pack lasted 3-hours and started warming up on hour 4 so I would change it every 4hours. You need some warmth for circulation. Good luck!!
 
Hi Panammaniac, I also had an issue with low blood pressure after my surgery. At one point during the night they wouldn't let me out of bed. They pushed more fluids into me a couple of times so I was able to go home the next day. I also was taking 2 ocy every 4 hours. I did this for maybe the first week or so. The pain is worst in the first two weeks then it should ease up. Keep up the good work.
 
Hi Panammaniac, I also had an issue with low blood pressure after my surgery. At one point during the night they wouldn't let me out of bed. They pushed more fluids into me a couple of times so I was able to go home the next day. I also was taking 2 ocy every 4 hours. I did this for maybe the first week or so. The pain is worst in the first two weeks then it should ease up. Keep up the good work.

I’m told I lost more blood than is typical for this procedure, and that’s why my BP is down. I was in recovery for 5 hours and was thinking I’d probably get admitted overnight, but it didn’t happen. They ended up sending me home. BP is still down a little but I just have to be careful not to move too fast. My pain is under control and I’m getting around nicely. Doctor told me I can do 2 oxy every 6 hours and that is working out well for me.
 
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I just discovered astronaut shampoo - one of the best things for recovering and not being able to shower. Washing your hair while on a sponge bathing regimen is pretty messy. I remembered meeting an astronaut a number of years ago at a corporate event and of course one of the big questions they always get is how do they bathe on the ISS. They use a special shampoo that they just squeeze into their hair, lather, and pay dry with a towel. No water or rinsing required. Turns out you can get it at camping places like REI and also on Amazon. Just search for astronaut no rinse shampoo. Works great in a pinch!
 
So now I know what everyone means by “don’t overdo it.” I’m feeling good as far as pain goes, but may have gone a little further than I should have with the quad stretches and now that area is tender. There’s such a fine line between “just right” and “too much” in these early days. I’m also surprised at how quickly I get tired from what normally would be very light exercise.

Today I ventured outside very briefly, with the help of my wife. We walked one house down the sidewalk and back. It felt good to get outdoors for the first time since surgery day, as short as it was. I’ve been chomping at the bit to make a short field trip out to a local coffee shop but I know I’m probably not quite ready for that yet.

Sleeping is my biggest issue right now. I’m doing a lot of napping during the day but just can’t sleep at night. Following the advice here of getting sleep when I can get it. Eventually I will have to work my way back into sleeping at night but I’m trying not to worry too much about that now. I’m sleeping by myself in the guest bedroom so that my patterns don’t affect my wife’s ability to sleep. She’s already having to put a lot of extra effort into looking after me as it is.

Overall I’d say my recovery is going well. It’s not as painful as I expected it to be and I’m surprised at how easily I can get myself around the house already.
 
Sounds like you're doing great! I'm sure you're glad the pain is under control. In planning for mine on the 18th, I was wondering if you have found anything particularly helpful (grabber etc) or really glad you that you had it? Just trying to cover all the bases. Thanks!!
 
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Sounds like you're doing great! I'm sure you're glad the pain is under control. In planning for mine on the 18th, I was wondering if you have found anything particularly helpful (grabber etc) or really glad you that you had it? Just trying to cover all the bases. Thanks!!

I’m actually able to reach down and pick things up that I dropped with no problem at all. The PTs have told me I’m not supposed to do that, but I feel perfectly stable. I would suggest buying a supply of non-slip ankle socks, especially if you have wood and/or tile floors. I haven’t worn shoes since I arrived at the hospital. They put the grippy socks on me but I only got the one pair. I don’t have any carpet in my house so they are an absolute necessity for me. We ordered a 6-pack from Amazon for about $20. You’ll have compression tights that cover your feet so it will be slippery without something else on over them. Laxatives - the pain meds most definitely do take their toll, so have the entire OTC pharmacy at your disposal because you’re probably going to need it. Maybe even some herbal teas, prune juice, and such. The no-rinse shampoo was very helpful this morning. Other than that, I haven’t really found that I need anything.
 
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Was I just very lucky that I had a waterproof dressing on my tkr and showered myself the morning after the surgery? There wasn’t any requirement to not shower.
 
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My compression dressing was removed before I was discharged the next day and I was able to shower. My neighbor had her knee surgery at a hospital and had to wait 2-weeks before being able to shower. I was lucky too.
I ordered Crocs from Amazon. They are nice and wide and easy to put on and off. I find I am still having issues with putting on my regular shoes. I bought men's athletic socks and cut half the tops off so they wouldn't be tight on my leg. They seem to be cut wider. My doctor said just to take Colace twice a day, but I knew that wouldn't work for constipation, so I added senna. One of the nurses suggested adding Miralax but said it would take a couple days to work. I took all 3 and eliminated the senna after a few days. The Miralax isn't bad added to your morning coffee.
 
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Was I just very lucky that I had a waterproof dressing on my tkr and showered myself the morning after the surgery? There wasn’t any requirement to not shower.
I think it depends on the surgeon and how he/she closed the incision. I had a tight ace wrap on when I left the hospital which was removed by the PT a couple days out. I still have a sterile dressing over the incision which the PT will remove probably tomorrow. I was told to wear compression stockings 22 hours a day for a month. The issue there is they’re really hard to get off and even harder to get back ok, so when the dressing gets removed tomorrow I’ll still have to wait for someone to be home to help with the stockings before I can shower. The stockings are the one nuisance thing that can’t go away soon enough, but even that varies depending on the doctor.
 
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So here we are in day 5 of recovery. All is still well. I stepped down the pain meds just a little overnight and am now taking one oxy every four hours instead of two every six. As a result, my pain went up just a bit, but it’s still tolerable. I think I’d rather trade slightly more pain for less oxy at this point.

Last night I slept a little bit. My PT told me it was ok to not elevate overnight, so for the first time I slept with my leg flat. I think I paid a little bit of a price for that in more stiffness and swelling, but sleep is important too. Today may be a little slower moving day but we will see once the ice machine sets in.

All still good so far!
 
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I also had the skin glue, so no staples or stitches to be removed. That’s definitely a good thing. Probably the same waterproof dressing as you. In reality I could probably Saran Wrap it and I’d be fine, but the surgeon talked about the risks of doing that and it kind of de-motivates me from wanting to try. Any infection could involve removing the joint and putting just a spacer in, which means a very long time healing in bed, followed by yet another surgery to reinstall the joint. I’m usually not completely risk averse, but in this case I’m sticking with what the doctor says.

My wife just pulled my compression stockings off so she can wash them and I can have a break for a few hours. It feels really good to have them off.
 
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I also had the skin glue, so no staples or stitches to be removed. That’s definitely a good thing. Probably the same waterproof dressing as you. In reality I could probably Saran Wrap it and I’d be fine, but the surgeon talked about the risks of doing that and it kind of de-motivates me from wanting to try. Any infection could involve removing the joint and putting just a spacer in, which means a very long time healing in bed, followed by yet another surgery to reinstall the joint. I’m usually not completely risk averse, but in this case I’m sticking with what the doctor says.

My wife just pulled my compression stockings off so she can wash them and I can have a break for a few hours. It feels really good to have them off.
No saran wrap required. Just let the water run over it. I didn't have to do the TED hose either.
 
The stockings are the one nuisance thing that can’t go away soon enough, but even that varies depending on the doctor.
I was blessed to not have to wear the stockings in any of my knee surgeries. Being single, I guess the doctor knew that I'd be up and moving around a lot just taking care of myself. It seems like any pressure on the surgical area would be very painful.
 
I had one of those great waterproof bandages with a little padding. It was comfortable and I was able to shower as soon as I got home. I removed it after 1 week and was able to continue to shower without issue because my skin was glued shut.

The stockings are the one nuisance thing that can’t go away soon enough, but even that varies depending on the doctor.
I was blessed to not have to wear the stockings in any of my knee surgeries. Being single, I guess the doctor knew that I'd be up and moving around a lot just taking care of myself. It seems like any pressure on the surgical area would be very painful.
Yeah, I don’t think you’d be able to get them on and off by yourself. They’re not painful at all. They just fit very snugly, so right off the bat you can’t get them off without help. After a while your skin is just tired of being squeezed and you want them off for a little while. So more of a slight discomfort than a pain. I’ve had mine off all day - wife took them off to wash them and they don’t dry that quickly, so that has given me a little break for the day.
 
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As long as you're moving around you should be fine without them unless you have a history of blood clots. Ankle pumps help to keep the blood moving.
 
I reduced my pillows in bed to 2 king size side by side. I'm not elevated that much but I find it helps with comfort to keep my operated leg straight and bend the other when I want to sleep on my side. If you are able to sleep on your back that's the best position. It's hard for me. I didn't have to wear the Teds either. I had to walk every hour while awake and do the ankle pumps. Good luck to you. My husband after cardiac surgery had to wear them but they needed to be off for 8-hours daily or overnight. They were easier to apply if done before getting out of bed. He only lasted 2-weeks with them!
 
I reduced my pillows in bed to 2 king size side by side. I'm not elevated that much but I find it helps with comfort to keep my operated leg straight and bend the other when I want to sleep on my side. If you are able to sleep on your back that's the best position. It's hard for me. I didn't have to wear the Teds either. I had to walk every hour while awake and do the ankle pumps. Good luck to you. My husband after cardiac surgery had to wear them but they needed to be off for 8-hours daily or overnight. They were easier to apply if done before getting out of bed. He only lasted 2-weeks with them!
I’m a side sleeper but have been forcing myself to sleep on my back for now. It’s hard. I’m getting more sleep by napping during the day than in in bed at night. I had been trying to prop the leg up on the wedge pillow but that just wasn’t working at all, and my PT finally said forget it, see if you can get some sleep. I have put two king size pillows lengthwise on the bed so I get at least some elevation. That’s a lot more comfortable but I’m still not getting any substantial sleep. My goal is to get back into my own bed. I’m sleeping in the guest room mostly because our cat thinks 5 am is breakfast time, and breakfast is downstairs, and I’m the one she usually wakes up. Also do t want to disturb my wife’s sleep too much with all of the extra pillows, alarms going off every couple hours for me to take more meds and such.
 
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