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Bilateral TKR Paramedic on the list for BTKR

DJL1967

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After suffering for what seems like an eternity, I, as well as 4 OS's that I have seen in the past couple years have all come to the conclusion that my knees are too far gone and my only option to regain quality of life and get back to full duties is a bilateral TKR. The past 2 years have been very unpleasant and extremely frustrating with the pain and lack of enjoyment that osteoarthritis has inflicted on my knees. I have chosen a very reputable surgeon and signed all the papers expecting to go in sometime this spring or early summer.
My knee issues began while I was a competitive provincial freestyle skier back in the late 80's which resulted in bilateral ACL tears with reconstruction. 6 years ago I hit a tree at high speeds while skiing and fractured my femur and 4 vertebrae in my lower back. I had internal fixation of the fractured femur and currently the fixation rod remains in place. The surgeon that is doing my BTKR will remove the rod at the same time as he feels down the road I will be a candidate for a THR so out it comes. For the past year I have been on LTD from my job as an advanced care paramedic and at this time I am uncertain if I will be able to go back to that role post surgery. Obviously, I am very stressed about this as I am 5 years from retirement and would like to go out on my own terms. I have been reading other stories on this forum and so glad to hear some positive comments as it really helps settle some of the anxiety and stress that I have.
If there are any other paramedics out there that have had knee replacements I would love to know if you went back to full duties and how its going now.
Thanks, Don
 
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Celle

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Hello @DJL1967 - and :welome:

Do you have a date yet for your bilateral knee replacements? I so, please tell us when it is, so we can make a signature for you? Knowing the exact date will help us to advise you appropriately in the future.
Thank you.:flwrysmile:

Here are some articles to help you prepare for your surgery:
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?

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
 

Celle

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This is the approach to recovery that we recommend:
Knee Recovery: The Guidelines
1. Don’t worry: Your body will heal all by itself. Relax, let it, don't try and hurry it, don’t worry about any symptoms now, they are almost certainly temporary
2. Control discomfort:
rest
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)​

3. Do what you want to do BUT
a. If it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physical therapist - to do it to you​
b. If your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again.​

4. PT or exercise can be useful BUT take note of these

5. Try to follow this

6. Access to these pages on the website

The Recovery articles:
The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?
Energy drain for TKRs
Elevation is the key
Ice to control pain and swelling
Heel slides and how to do them properly
Chart representation of TKR recovery
Healing: how long does it take?
Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

There are also some cautionary articles here
Myth busting: no pain, no gain
Myth busting: the "window of opportunity" in TKR
Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds

We try to keep the forum a positive and safe place for our members to talk about their questions or concerns and to report successes with their joint replacement surgery.

While members may create as many threads as they like in the majority of BoneSmart’s forums, we ask that each member have only One Recovery Thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review the member’s history before providing advice, so please post any updates or questions you have right here in this thread.
 

Celle

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As to whether you'll be able to work as a paramedic again, you should know that complete recovery from a TKR Does take a full year, although you will be able to do most things by about 3 months.

We do recommend taking about 12 weeks off work and then doing a Phased return to work , if possible. With a physical job, such as being a paramedic, you may need to take longer than that.

In any case, this isn't the sort of recovery you can rush, no matter how much you want to.
 

Tkdbob

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To answer your question there are firemen, cops, appliance repair, etc. that return to full duty after both hip and knee replacements so unless there is something out of the ordinary with your case then you should have a very good chance of returning to full duty without the crippling pain.
 

Roy Gardiner

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BTKR is IMO the way to go (see my recovery thread from my sig below). I can do just about anything I need to do with my knees except sit on my heels, ROM isn't quite enough for that. So I'd be pretty optimistic about going back to work.
 
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DJL1967

DJL1967

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Thank you for the positive responses and info so far. At this time I do not have a surgical date yet but was told in December that it will be approx 6 month wait time so I'd expect sometime in May or June. These knees have consumed my life for the past 2 years so I am more than ready to move on to getting my life back. I look forward to getting back to doing the things I love like skiing (no more flips or moguls though), hiking and biking. This forum is a wealth of information and I am so glad to have come across it. Thanks again!
 

Helizabug

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I hope the wait for surgery doesn’t make you too crazy. Thanks for the work you do to help others.
 

Celle

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We do have a member, @skigirl , who went back to skiing and her job as a ski instructor after having both knees replaced.
 
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DJL1967

DJL1967

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That sounds promising. My surgeon encourages getting back to an active lifestyle and that would include skiing but he did make mention that only groomed runs and no jumps.
One question I have is how long till it was comfortable to kneel and were you given any lifting restrictions post TKR?
 

Pumpkin

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DJL1967,
I was not given any lifting restrictions, in your situation I would ask the surgeon about lifting restrictions.
Some people avoid kneeling after TKR as it feels funny and can be painful for some.
I am able to kneel for a limited period of time with little to no discomfort.

Please post your surgery date, a moderator will add it to your signature for you. Having the exact date will help us properly advise you. Thanks!
 
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DJL1967

DJL1967

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Unfortunately no. All electives were cancelled late March so my hopes of having it done in June went out the window. I am now looking at sometime around March-June 2021 only if things do not change for the worse.
 

Cococay

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I’m sorry that your surgery was pushed out-how frustrating that must be.
Does your surgeon have a cancellation list- I was going to ask that of mine because when I finally made the decision he told me he is booked till February- but ironically when the coordinator called to pick a date she said there was a cancellation that happened and so I took that - mid December is better then February. Maybe there is a chance for you to get moved up?
 

Spacedust

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Does your surgeon have a cancellation list- I was going to ask that of mine because when I finally made the decision he told me he is booked till February- but ironically when the coordinator called to pick a date she said there was a cancellation that happened and so I took that - mid December is better then February. Maybe there is a chance for you to get moved up?
Definitely check into a waiting list - many offices have them!

I'm in a similar situation to Cococay - my surgeon was booked out to late January when I made the decision in early October, but when the coordinator called they had had two cancellations - one in November and one in December. I jumped on the November opportunity - the less time I have to fret and second guess about this, the better!
 
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DJL1967

DJL1967

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I had enquired about a cancelation list when I had signed consents back in December and was told they just continue down the list when someone cancels. It is somewhat difficult for me anyways to do the surgery on short notice as the surgeon is a 17 hour drive or 2 flights away and my wife will need time off to accompany me. I am going to request a virtual appointment this week as I am having significant pain specifically to the right medial knee and was wondering his thoughts on a cortisone injection. I've had 2 cortisone plus a synvisc 1 injection over 2 years in the left knee but nothing so far on the right.

Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate your input.
 

Celle

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Surgeons don't like you to have an injection less than 3 months before your planned surgery, so if there's any chance your surgery will happen before February, an injection may not be possible - but ask anyway.
 
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DJL1967

DJL1967

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@Celle yes that is true and something that weighs on my mind. The last couple of times I had cortisone in my left knee it worked great for a month then the pain came back full force. At this time being one month pain free is not worth putting off the surgery in the event I get a call.
 
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DJL1967

DJL1967

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Well after suffering for over 3 years and waiting 20 months on a surgical list for bilateral TKR's I finally got the call today with a date. I have my pre op on Sept 7 and surgery on Sept 22. I will admit it kind of feels surreal. I am shocked, excited, overwhelmed of what I have to do before surgery and most of all I'm very nervous. It's been a very long hard struggle, especially the past year with Covid and the whole hospital situation. Looking so forward to getting through this and start living life again.
 

CricketHip

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Well, that is wonderful news! I bet it does feel surreal to you and you will have other emotions surface as the date gets closer and closer.
But everyday closer is taking you closer to getting your life back without pain!
Congratulations on your surgery date! I will ask a moderator to put that date in your signature...I am assuming it's still for a bi lateral?
 

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