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Right TKR soon; great hopes!

Carole4815

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Today I saw a well qualified "knee guy" (board certified orthopedic surgeon who just does knees), for the first time and finally I have a date for my right TKR; August 13th.

I am so happy. I have been putting this off for years and I let things get pretty much out of hand. I won't bore you with the details but I have seen other knee surgeons before, but never had the surgery done. Anyway, not only have I been "bone on bone" in both knees for years and years, but in May I got a badly torn meniscus in my right knee which is getting worse every week. So, that knee will not bear any weight at all, or straighten, and it has a very sharp pain compared with the dull, agonizing, aching bone on bone pain which I also have in that knee as well as the left knee. It's truly a symphony of pain. LOL Finally it got to the point where I can hardly limp 20 feet with a walker, in agonizing pain whispering/squeaking "ouch! ouch! ouch!" as I walk, so embarrassing. Anyway it's definitely time.

The surgeon says that he will do a TKR on my right knee and that will take care of the meniscus problem at the same time. Once my right knee has recovered enough, he will do another TKR on my left knee. If both surgeries are successful, I am dreaming of some day walking with no pain and no walker, maybe even for a half mile.

I am 71 years old and live alone, but live next door to my sweetie (who also lives alone). We have been together for 20 years, and he is a wonderful man. He works part time for extra money in retirement, and we have lunch together every day (we used to go to restaurants for lunch, but now he brings take-out to me here at home). He also comes over for a couple of hours each night, we chat, and have fun. My plan is to read the material here about knee surgery for those who live alone, and try to arrange things to be at least somewhat self sufficient while he is at work or sleeping, although I will be relying on his help as well when he is awake and over here. I have already pointed out to my surgeon that I may need extended care after the surgery since I live alone. He says a lot depends on individual recovery time too.

I lost 53 pounds last year so my BMR is now 39, the lowest it has been in the past 15 years. The surgeon says that is OK because I truly need the surgery and he has done TKRs on heavier people.

Carole
 
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jeffjob

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Carole; Congrats on getting your date and great planning for how to get thru this. Also, great job on loosing the weight, I understand as I had to do the same.

You will find lots of info here, specific to those who live alone. My wife helped me with meals and getting coffee for a few days but I quickly got the hang of how to do both with my walking aids.

I thought cleaning up (before showers were allowed) was going to be a big issue but I found I could stand long enough in front of a sink to clean up myself. And on day 5 when I was allowed to shower (wrapping my incision) I also found no issue standing long enough in the shower.

Ask away any specific questions you may have and I am sure you will find her here.

Good luck to you and I think you are going to do very well.
 
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Carole4815

Carole4815

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Thank you, Jeffjob!! This is great information on exactly the things I was wondering about. How encouraging that you could stand in front of the sink, and in the shower like that! Believe me, from where I sit that sounds like such a tremendous luxury. I don't have any specific questions yet since I am a little overwhelmed (in a good way) by finally reaching my goal of getting a surgery date.
 

Celle

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Hi @Carole4815
Here's some reading that will 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?

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
 

Tykey

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Don't overworry about how you might cope afterwards. My first knee was done 10 years ago, and I drove my wife up the wall by not asking for help.
I can hear her now..
" forheaven's sake sit down and I'll do it"
"Where are you going now!!?"
"You've left your crutch upstairs again, haven't you, why won't you ask me to fetch it!"
"Why do you insist on making your own sandwich?"

Of course we have to take things steadily, and carefully, but with a positive attitude, you will manage quite well.

My consultant tells me that, for my second TKR next month (?), I'll be out of bed standing up the day of the op, and walking to my car to go home the day after. If I haven't lost my crutches by then
 
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Carole4815

Carole4815

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Tykey, that is very encouraging! Thanks. After my right knee has recovered sufficiently from surgery, my surgeon says he's willing to do my left knee as well since it needs replacement too.
 

Jockette

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Best wishes on your surgery. Definitely hang out here with us at Bonesmart, we’ll be with you every step of the way.

That’s so nice your sweetie lives right next door. It’s lovely to have someone special, but still have your own place.
 
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Carole4815

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Thanks, @Tykey! The hurricane seems to be gone from New Orleans (my area), and we really lucked out. Hoping for the best in those areas still being affected by it. All we got was a little light rain and breezes but it was sure scary listening to those awful forecasts beforehand.

@Jockette, thank you! And I smiled at what you wrote about the arrangement my sweetie and I worked out for us. We really like it this way and have been together, "going steady", for over 20 years by now.Then a few years ago, the house next door to his went on the market and (after asking about what he thought), I went ahead and bought it. It's great, and all set up for elderly/disabled folks with grab bars in the bathroom, no steps, and so on.

Today I worked as hard as my knee would let me, trying to rearrange things in my den to turn it into the perfect place to be during recovery from TKR surgery. Even though I can't walk two feet without my walker, since I can't put any weight on my right knee, I can still move furniture; how about that! What a surprise, but I can slide it slowly across the floor without using my knee. Caveat: I am super careful so don't try this unless you are sure it is safe for you.

I had the money to spend, so I bought some things that might make it easier (even if they really aren't needed). This included my first recliner (after carefully studying the article about recliners on this website!), toilet riser and handrails, portable commode, sock assist, leg lifter, Lounge Doctor pillow, and so on. I think that's about it so far. My small den already had too much furniture in it, so I will be donating my sofa and love seat which I barely use in order to make room for the recliner when it is delivered. There will be less to bump into with my new knee, and I wanted to do this anyway, surgery or not. My sweetie assembled my toilet handrails for me today, too. I tried! But he is better at doing things like that, than I am, and he did it perfectly and got it installed and in place. He is such a keeper. :yes!:

He may possibly need a THR once I get done with both my TKR's, but he is dragging his feet about it, and really not in much pain, so the plan is for him to wait until after I recover from my two TKR's and then decide what he wants to do.
 
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Carole4815

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This week I obtained the written medical clearance required by my surgeon for my TKR surgery and anesthesia, from my PCP (internal medicine/endocrinologist). He did a brief general exam, listened to my heart and lungs, and looked at my knee a little. I see him every 3-6 months regularly so he is pretty familiar with my physical condition.

Turns out that the hospital requires an EKG, a chest x-ray, and new blood work (even though my last blood work was in April and was utter perfection for once). My PCP tried to do the EKG in his office, but his machine wouldn't work. So, I will have to go to the hospital to get that and the x-ray done. I had my blood drawn this morning for the blood work, at my usual lab which is easy to get to. It is in the same building as my doctor's office.

Had a minor meltdown when I found out all these tests were required, because I can't WALK very far so asking me to go to the (giant) hospital to get them done might as well be asking me to climb Mt. Everest. It didn't help that a male patient who was chatting with me there at my doctor's office told me that people who don't let themselves get fat never have to have knee surgery (what a jerk!). Anyway, these additional hospital tests just seemed like a huge, un-surmountable obstacle to me. I was surprised that tears kept welling up and I kept feeling like bursting into tears and crying out for my (long dead) mommie. LOL

I am really not that type of person and usually have a happy, positive outlook on life, haven't cried for years and years. It didn't help that my knees were hurting more yesterday than they ever had before. A good night's sleep helped me to get over the meltdown and become more of an adult again. And then just now, the hospital called and told me about their auxiliary facility where I can get the tests done without much walking, so all my worries and concerns were unfounded.

As for my foray into the world of consumerism...

I have been enjoying my new electric lift recliner already, my first recliner ever. Just pushing the button to make my feet go up, then down, then up, then down again, and so on, feels really good even in my pre-surgical condition. Doing that must be encouraging better circulation, or at least that is my guess. Whether or not it helps after my surgery, at least right now the recliner is helping with my pre-surgical stress because I feel more prepared and it helps my knees feel a little less painful.

The Salvation Army is coming tomorrow to pick up my sofa and loveseat, which I would be donating to them even without surgery planned. But anyway that will clear out my den a bit, and give me more space to get around in there without bumping into things during my recovery period.

Also I don't know how I ever managed to use the toilet with bad knees, without a riser. Yes it helps a lot.

Today I ordered an ice machine and a very basic hospital style walker. I love my present rollator walker, but they will probably want me to have one that is more stable right after surgery and they are comparatively inexpensive. I looked at the Game Ready ice machine that everyone loves, but opted for this one because it is cheaper. I already have couple of giant 11"x21" gel packs for cooling but thought it sounded pretty neat that the ice machine lasts for hours if you put bottles of frozen water in it. The gel packs don't.

So, that's how things are going for me right now, with surgery scheduled for three weeks from Tuesday. My pre-operative appointment with the surgeon is two weeks from Monday.
 

Jockette

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I was quite overwhelmed when my packet arrived telling me of all the mandatory tests I had to do plus a joint class. I thought they could have used a nicer word than mandatory, it sounds so mean and authoritative.

I’m sorry you had that conversation with that know it all person. It just amazes me what some people say.

Teary meltdowns are understandable, and just so you know, be prepared for possibly many of them the first weeks after surgery. I am a cryer, so I was not really overly surprised when I cried a lot, but the intensity did surprise me. Many members report that they are not cryers and yet cry a lot after this surgery, even some of our men members. It seems to be a side effect of this major surgery. So try not to worry about it and just ride it out. :console2:Better days will be ahead.
 

luvcats

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@Carole4815 Welcome to the forums. I'm sorry your journey started with so many obstacles. I was also required to get a chest xray. Fortunately my hospital is great and they just asked me if I needed a wheel chair. I'm sorry yours isn't so forward thinking.

I love my toilet riser. I've had it for a while. It makes such a difference!

It didn't help that a male patient who was chatting with me there at my doctor's office told me that people who don't let themselves get fat never have to have knee surgery (what a jerk!).
Jerk indeed. What an unnecessary comment. While I am not one of them, I believe you'll find there are plenty of people here that show it is also completely untrue.
 
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Carole4815

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@Carole4815 Welcome to the forums. I'm sorry your journey started with so many obstacles. I was also required to get a chest xray. Fortunately my hospital is great and they just asked me if I needed a wheel chair. I'm sorry yours isn't so forward thinking.
Thank you! This is a pretty terrific and helpful website. :)

When I was melting down, I hadn't yet talked to the hospital - - just the people at my doctor's office, who told me about the required tests. When I did talk to the hospital the next morning, they were very helpful and when I suggested going to the very small auxiliary hospital location (with great parking and a ramp) they said that would be great. So I can't really blame the hospital. I blame the pain for keeping me from thinking straight. LOL

Speaking of pain, I could not sleep all night! I tried but there was no comfortable, pain free position in bed. Unfortunately just minor pain is enough to do that to me in the middle of the night. Even my left knee (which is bone on bone like my right knee, but without the badly torn meniscus that my right knee also has) was a problem. And once I'd find a position that was comfortable for one knee, it wasn't for the other. Resting today with my gel ice pack will surely help. I plan to get a nice long nap in this afternoon, though, in my recliner.

Right now I am sitting at my dining table which is right by my front door, waiting for the big Salvation Army truck to come take my sofa and loveseat. I don't move very fast so it is best for me to sit about five feet from the door like this so that I can answer the door before they give up and leave. Then, once they have taken my donation and are gone, it's recliner time for me and a long nap! :sleep:
 
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Carole4815

Carole4815

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Finally I have my recovery "nest" set up. The sofa and loveseat are finally taken away, and I moved my lift recliner onto the carpet where they were. This is so it doesn't slide wildly all over the place like it was doing on the hardwood floor. That would not have been safe during recovery, not one bit. Seems pretty stable on the carpet. I also moved the floor lamp, small TV and gamecube, and various other electronic devices and other stuff that needs to be positioned within reach of the recliner, for convenience. I know, doing all this was pretty dumb, especially since my crummy knee was hurting all night. Oh well.

On Monday I will get the rest of the pre-operative lab tests done.

I have a question, since my August 13th TKR is on a knee with long time bone on bone pain, and also with a torn meniscus that happened in May:

Is a torn meniscus completely removed during a TKR so that it will not cause me any further symptoms?
I would love to figure out if I understood the surgeon correctly. I think he said that when he does the TKR it will also fix my torn meniscus in the process sort of automatically, since the meniscus is part of the knee. I will ask him in two weeks at my pre-operative appointment so don't worry if the question is too complicated or individual.
 
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luvcats

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. I don't move very fast so it is best for me to sit about five feet from the door like this so that I can answer the door before they give up and leave.
Lol. My chair isn't 5 ft from the door, but it does make my limping body visible through the frosted glass! Soon these exciting challenges will be a thing of the past for both of us. Yay!

Your nest preparation sounds well under way. You might consider a small rolling table or one that shifts over your recliner. And work on compiling a list of shows and movies to watch. Although I am usually a reader, I've found my attention span isn't up to it's usual snuff and I've watched an awful lot of Netflix and Amazon Prime in the last 2 weeks.

And don't forget to prep some nutritious but simple to heat meals.
 
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Carole4815

Carole4815

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Lol. My chair isn't 5 ft from the door, but it does make my limping body visible through the frosted glass! Soon these exciting challenges will be a thing of the past for both of us. Yay!
Yay indeed! I am so glad to have gotten past today's challenges. Every day's an adventure, right? LOL

Your nest preparation sounds well under way. You might consider a small rolling table or one that shifts over your recliner.
Thank you! Three years ago I bought one of these after seeing them here, and it has been wonderful. I don't see how anyone can live without one. [emoji38] I love that I can ice my knees while typing on my laptop which sits right above my knees, but not resting on them. One of the things I did today was adjust it to fit the "footprint" of my new recliner, and get it in place. It's a bit strenuous to do this when the recliner is so heavy, but so worth doing.

I thought about an actual rolling table as well, but right now I carry stuff on the seat of my rollator walker. I recently ordered one of those plain jane very stable metal walkers, for use after surgery, and I ordered a basket for it so hopefully that will still work out during the (hopefully brief) time while I need to use it instead of my rollator.

And work on compiling a list of shows and movies to watch. Although I am usually a reader, I've found my attention span isn't up to it's usual snuff and I've watched an awful lot of Netflix and Amazon Prime in the last 2 weeks.
Good idea. I also like watching Youtube videos and have subscribed to a few dozen Youtube channels that I enjoy. I will also have a calming, low stress, non-violent video game called Animal Crossing to play that I have loved playing for years. You don't have to do anything in that game although you can fish or shop or do other fun things if you want. I do have some good books on my Kindle, too, but like you I doubt I'll be doing any intensive reading during recovery.

And don't forget to prep some nutritious but simple to heat meals.
Thanks for reminding me. That's something I can definitely do, and then freeze them afterwards.

I just confirmed that my new recliner is a wonderful place for a nice long nap. [emoji99]
 
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luvcats

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I have a laptop stand similar to that. I love it.
Oh, do you have a foot lift strap? I didn't need one long, but if you're going to try to have a lounge doctor pillow under your leg in the recliner, you may need some added lifting power. I just used one of my husbands old belts with a loop in the end.

I love YouTube. I'm a huge fan of TED talks as I get smarter again.

I love the Instant Pot! I borrowed a friends and we made a huge batch of spicy chicken. You're from LA, so you probably like spicy. It's just some boneless, skinless chicken breast and a jar of your favorite salsa. Cook for about a half hour, which is a long time for an instant pot. You want the chicken to shred easily. I usually dump it into a larger pot to shred with forks, while I sit in my kitchen chair by the stove, and then dump in more salsa at the end if it seems dry. That chicken is great over rice, over oven baked fries, in a tortilla, scrambled into eggs, on a salad...it's very popular here. Also I pre cooked and peeled several dozen eggs. They'll keep a while. I like them with hot wing sauce. An excellent protein snack in this weather.

What foods are you prepping? I'm looking for ideas for September.
 

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