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[TKR] Rockgirl4's Recovery---already full of surprises.

lisabl

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@Rockgirl4 thanks to the UK system of PT, although I am only 2.5 weeks into recovery I have already been out 3 times to the hospital (2 x hydrotherapy and 1 for removal of staples), and had 2 trips to our local grocery store 5 mins from home in the car, to gwt essental provisions that are not on hubbys day to day food radar (like toilet paper and wild bird seed)!

9 days i doors I just could not cope with... just don't have the patience. Well done to you for staying put and resting tho.
 
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Rockgirl4

Rockgirl4

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@lisabl I'm usually the same way and need to go somewhere by Day 5-6. Of my 11 knee surgeries, this is the 3rd that had crutches or a walker...and I think I was scared to go anyplace after my ACI in 2015 just because it was mid-December and damp, so I was terrified of things freezing over with ME out and about on crutches.:ice:

This time around wasn't just more painful, but it also put me on "Infection Watch", making me want to avoid the great outdoors :) ----I ended up with 11-12 fracture blisters post-operatively and didn't know how long before they would pop. However, as soon as one pops, it has to be covered ASAP. The Big one (just bigger than a nickel) popped overnight and already sealed itself pretty well. The others are slowly being absorbed back into the skin, so I think I worried needlessly....but with this being a real first for me, I didn't want to take any chances. There's enough infection risk without adding 12 blisters to the mix.
 
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Rockgirl4

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@lisabl and @Woodpusher Hubs and I just talked----pizza night at our favorite local place is on the calendar for tomorrow.

As soon as he finished work for the day, he came in and said "You know, you probably need to get out of the house!!":rofsign: I told him that all depended on when I get the shower he hadn't had time to help me with yet today, plus we need to FINALLY catch up on laundry tonight, otherwise I might embarrass him in public. :rotfl: We had quite the good laugh from it all.

He keeps asking what he can do for me, but there just isn't anything. I know he feels bad for getting so far behind on laundry and dishes the last 3 days. I told him it really doesn't matter, and if worst came to worst, there's paper plates in the cabinet.:heehee: We're neat/clutter freaks, so a dirty house & kitchen to us is many people's "normal." He sure tries though. :angel:
 

9 of 11

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Your hubby is a dream, I am so happy he is there for you Mine looked at me more than once and told me I was stressing him out more when I tried to clean or put things in order. We both agreed on letting me putter around every hour or so but he put the brakes on when I started to vacuum. FYI, we know own two Roomba vacuuming robots, one upstairs and one on the main floor. They do their bit, it destresses my anxiety about my messy house and I empty their bins a few times a day, giving me some extension exercises. Long story, give in to the dust, let your body heal and allow your husband to do this for you. For everything there is a season, this is your season to heal, rest and find joy in a partner who obviously loves and cherishes you, good for him and good on you. Have a hopefully restful and sleepy night
 

lisabl

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@Rockgirl4 I feel your frustration. I did not know much about fracture blisters until I just googled them...my they look scary things, and I am glad you are starting to heal. I have to admit my recovery this time is going so much better than last year, and sort of pushes me to do a little more than I know I should. Hope you got your pizza, or at least felt better having some chores done.

I am currently giving my husband a lesson in what is a weed and what isn't so the garden does not look like a jungle (I did manage to go out this morning and refil the bird feeding station with 5 types of seed/food) as I love sitting in my recliner and watching the wild birds - all the baby birds are hatched now and their parents are taking the to our feeder to show them what is good to eat!!!
 
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Rockgirl4

Rockgirl4

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10 days in now---After taking forever to fall asleep last night, I made it 5.5 hrs without pain meds, and we all ended up sleeping until 9 AM. Things are still going in the right direction, as I can easily get 5 hrs between medications, even with a little activity in between. Sleep isn't comfortable yet by any means, but I'll take what I can get.

I think the newest sleep issue is from strange/different sensations now occurring. Sometimes the bone above my knee just aches.... Sometimes I get a burning sensation on the left, lower side of my incision....sometimes my hamstrings seem to ache... Parts of the incision area are now starting to itch....and the zingers!!!! Definitely getting more zingers too. All in all, there's just too many sensations driving me crazy, making it hard to fall asleep.
 

tabbykit

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Hi, new here and just wanted to send good wishes for your recovery. I have a similar issue - failed TKR with lots of adhesions, about to have a revision on 17th June. I will be following your recovery story, and hope all will continue to improve.
 

Woodpusher

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10 days in now---After taking forever to fall asleep last night, I made it 5.5 hrs without pain meds, and we all ended up sleeping until 9 AM. Things are still going in the right direction, as I can easily get 5 hrs between medications, even with a little activity in between. Sleep isn't comfortable yet by any means, but I'll take what I can get.

I think the newest sleep issue is from strange/different sensations now occurring. Sometimes the bone above my knee just aches.... Sometimes I get a burning sensation on the left, lower side of my incision....sometimes my hamstrings seem to ache... Parts of the incision area are now starting to itch....and the zingers!!!! Definitely getting more zingers too. All in all, there's just too many sensations driving me crazy, making it hard to fall asleep.
@Rockgirl4, I'd take 5.5 hours of sleep. Some nights of twisting and turning it may only be a couple hours altogether. I came into this surgery with a history of insomnia issues.

You keep under counting our days in recovery, we're at 11 today :)
 
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Rockgirl4

Rockgirl4

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@Woodpusher Blame it on the drugs!!!:giggle:You're right!!!

Sorry you're sleeping in bits and pieces. I swear there's nothing worse than staring at the ceiling, trying to fall asleep, when you're leg is killing you. That's the time when it seems like the pain meds aren't doing their job. Luckily, I have NO insomnia issues. If I'd had, I think I'd be a crying mess every day. This girl needs her sleep!!

We made it to pizza tonight and had a good time. I think my 12-yr old son was impressed with how well I fit into the front seat of my vehicle. I was personally shocked too at how well I could get in and out, plus having my foot rest partially on the floorboard. By the time we'd finished the pizza, my foot was flat on the ground below the booth. It wasn't a perfect 90 degrees, but it was better than any day yet. Again---Progress with no forcing of anything. :wowspring: That was my version of PT for the day.
 

kofienut

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@Woodpusher Blame it on the drugs!!!:giggle:You're right!!!

We made it to pizza tonight and had a good time. I think my 12-yr old son was impressed with how well I fit into the front seat of my vehicle. I was personally shocked too at how well I could get in and out, plus having my foot rest partially on the floorboard. By the time we'd finished the pizza, my foot was flat on the ground below the booth. It wasn't a perfect 90 degrees, but it was better than any day yet. Again---Progress with no forcing of anything. :wowspring: That was my version of PT for the day.

Envious of your foot on the floor with flexion! We were out for dinner with kids and grandkids but I had to prop my foot on a bench. That’s not comfy for long, but it was nice to get out! Extra swollen now. No pain.
 
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Rockgirl4

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@lisabl PT=Pizza Time----I LOVE this and didn't even make the connection. Yes--I think from now on we always need to associate PT with pizza. That's such a more pleasant thought.

@kofienut I will think good thoughts and hope your foot gets to the floor soon. :prayer: Based on past history with this knee, regaining my bend has been my biggest fear, and I've been trying hard to let it go and just be patient. Believe me, by the end of dinner when my foot finally made it to the floor with NO FORCING, I kind of wanted to cry in relief. I'd much rather deal with pain lingering for months than to return to the dark days of 2016, laying awake every night worried about the bend and how much torture I'd have to endure to get it. If only I'd have Bonesmart back then.:umm:
 
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Rockgirl4

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Another beautiful start to a summer morning in St. Louis, MO. I sat outside last night for 15 minutes, soaking in my flowers that the husband and son are doing a wonderful job taking care of. I was getting progressively stir-crazy and bored at times, which tells me things are improving and Mrs. Knee isn't always #1 in my thoughts.

I made my own breakfast this morning, which is the most I've been on my feet since before surgery. I'm smoother with the walker and could probably cruise around nicely if our carpet wasn't so plush,slowing things down and making me lurch a bit. :driver:I tried to push my weight through the bad leg and use the walker for balance. It was easier though not natural. I'm afraid to overdo and inflame the knee at this stage.

I hope I'm still normal in having a super stiff knee that doesn't want to bend. I can't do a decent heel slide at all, but if I sit in a chair, gravity slowly pulls my leg/foot to the floor, and I can bend a bit more over 10-12 minutes. I'm not forcing anything. Yesterday was the same bend as the day before, but I wonder if our pizza outing and sitting in the front seat of the car for 15 minutes made me swell a bit more, thus making Sunday's bend the same (or less) as Saturday.

My biggest complaint is horrible calf tightness:headbang: Some times when I stand, I can't get my foot flat on the floor for a few seconds. The first 3-4 steps are awful with stiffness and pain. By late day, the muscles spasm a lot. By bedtime, my hamstrings/glutes/calf ache and make sleep almost impossible. Sometimes I think it's not really my knee that's hurting, but EVERYTHING around it. :tantrum: I've tried to stretch the calf a couple of ways, but no success. Could this be related to the severe bruising along the side/back of my lower leg? The bruising is JUST now starting to dissipate, but the back of my calf is 8 different colors:yikes: and SUPER SUPER sensitive. It hurts to scratch/bump/compress it.

I'm open to any thoughts/ideas/experiences....
 

Jockette

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I hope I'm still normal in having a super stiff knee that doesn't want to bend much
This is extremely normal for 2 weeks into a 52 week recovery. It is way too early to wonder about how far you can bend your knee.

And trying to bend my knee while laying down was much harder and yielded a much lower number than sitting in a chair, and is still thatvway for me.
My biggest complaint is the horrible calf tightness. :headbang:
I read this that one of our other advisors wrote:

“Many members think PT is needed to alleviate tightness. Tightness is a normal occurrence after this kind of major surgery. Your surgeon did major carpentry work and disturbed every millimeter of soft tissue in this area. You aren't tight because your muscle is underused and needs to be stretched and rehabbed. You're tight because your tissue is healing...and full healing takes a full year or more.”

So treat yourself gently and try really hard to be patient. This recovery is going to take a while.
 
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Rockgirl4

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@Jockette Thanks for the info on muscle tightness, and it makes complete sense. I figure I couldn't be the only one suffering and wondering about those calves. :)

Today was my last In-home PT visit----while here she pulled a very small wedge out of her bag of tricks, just to see if I could stand at the counter and use the wedge for a tiny calf stretch. She could tell how much the calf was bugging me and wanted me to tell her if this was an extremely large/unusual amount of tightness for ME, knowing how much I stretch in daily life. I definitely felt it stretch, but there was very little range, telling her this is the worst it's EVER been from any of my 11 surgeries. She thinks I'll get more stretch with weight-bearing stretching and as the bruising goes away down the back of my leg---as it's still very extensive. We both think until I can get some sort of daily stretching for my legs/glutes/back to feel good and loose, I'm going to continue to have more discomfort around the knee----just my usual history, but on steroids!!:shocked:I KNOW this affects my range of motion too.

As for ROM, she was nice in leaving her "Aggressive PT who wants 90 degrees flexion and 0 extension" at the door. That's usually where she wants people at the 2 wk mark, but she was understanding in knowing a) I'm never typical, b) This recovery didn't start well because of the increased swelling/soreness with little to no activity, and c) she knows I'm going to advocate for myself not being pushed. She admitted she would normally push a little, but she was 100% respectful of me not wanting/allowing it and not thinking it would be beneficial. Personally, I think she was afraid SHE would set me back, and I'd end up telling my surgeon "I told you so!" She also seemed more open to people not all being the same, especially after our 3rd visit together. I like that my oddball body might just change the way some PTs think. :tada:

As for numbers, I'm at 78 flexion, +6 extension----I hadn't done a thing though, so I know the extension would have been better after some stretching/exercise. She thinks the muscle tightness is a huge part of the problem. It was 10 degrees more flexion than 5 days ago, so she said to count it as a victory. I start out-patient PT Tuesday of next week. I'm eager for the soft tissue work and stretching, just never get away from the nerves of having to discuss "Don't force the knee and don't nag me about numbers."

I know many people have experienced it, but it sounds impossible to me that ANYONE can have this surgery and bend their leg easily days later. I just don't see how the human body can do it, though people keep having it happen. :wow: Some days I wish there was a "Happy Bending Pill"---just for people like me.:upright:

I'm off to nap and plan the rest of my week. Looks like a friend is coming by tomorrow and then a VERY short dinner with the in-laws Thursday. They've seen me in my Oxycodone daze plenty of times from years ago and 20 yrs worth of surgery, so it's always a good laugh. I hope everyone else is having a good day.
 

Celle

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I hope I'm still normal in having a super stiff knee that doesn't want to bend. I can't do a decent heel slide at all, but if I sit in a chair, gravity slowly pulls my leg/foot to the floor, and I can bend a bit more over 10-12 minutes. I'm not forcing anything. Yesterday was the same bend as the day before,
It's not even 2 weeks since you had this major surgery. You can't expect to make fast progress. Your knee and leg are still in shock from surgery trauma. Forget the heel slides for now. They're not essential. Letting gravity help with your flexion is a much better way at the moment. You won't see daily improvement. Your knee is going to be stiff and swollen for a long time yet.
I think you're expecting a bit too much, too soon.
My biggest complaint is horrible calf tightness:headbang: Some times when I stand, I can't get my foot flat on the floor for a few seconds. The first 3-4 steps are awful with stiffness and pain. By late day, the muscles spasm a lot. By bedtime, my hamstrings/glutes/calf ache and make sleep almost impossible. Sometimes I think it's not really my knee that's hurting, but EVERYTHING around it. :tantrum: I've tried to stretch the calf a couple of ways, but no success. Could this be related to the severe bruising along the side/back of my lower leg? The bruising is JUST now starting to dissipate, but the back of my calf is 8 different colors:yikes: and SUPER SUPER sensitive. It hurts to scratch/bump/compress it.
Yes, everything around your knee is going to hurt.
It's not just your knee that was traumatized. All your soft tissues around the knee were pulled aside and manipulated during the surgery. Your knee was bent and straightened several times and your ankle and calf were used to hold your leg. Everything is going to be sore.

Your calf is swollen and then the bruising from the top side of your leg has gone downhill into your calf as well - that's due to gravity.

Your leg is wounded and it's going to take time to heal. That's why we recommend taking things very easy for the first month or two.
Complete recovery will take as long as a full year. You can't speed that up, no matter how much you'd like to. It's a time to dig deep and gather up all the patience you can find.
 

klinkmcbear

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so I'm thinking my body is just begging for a good stretch that simply isn't achievable right now. I think my butt wants a break too, but that's not happening anytime soon.
I had my surgery on 5/14 - I was feeling the same way last week, and was really struggling with sleeping, so I emailed my chiropractor asking if he thought he could help. I described the tightness/soreness from my neck and shoulders, down through my back and into my glute. He said he frequently works with knee replacement patients for that exact reason. I've had 2 appointments with him so far and feel SO much better. The first visit, he did stim on my glute, lower back and neck/shoulder, and then some ART (Active Release Techniques) - that is the best. It's basically trigger points, and can hurt like crazy when he does it, but it brings a huge amount of relief. Today he again did stim with hot packs, then some very gentle manipulation. I feel tremendously better and am so I glad I went. He and my PT are communicating with each other on my case - I've been seeing both of them for several years, and I love both of them. Everyone's recovery is so different, and what works for one person might do nothing for another - but going to my chiropractor (and especially the ART) brought me so much relief and such a big improvement in sleeping - Yay to that!! :wowspring::happydance:
 

RAD

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My chiropractor does ART as well, it’s amazing. I’m going to make an appointment! My surgery was on 5/15. Thanks for posting about it!
 
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Rockgirl4

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@klinkmcbear I'm glad you mentioned the chiropractor. I have one and saw her regularly early in the year for a lower back problem we manage. I knew this TKR would upset the "delicate balance" we call L3-L4-L5 in my lower back. :) I think I'll give them a call and see if she thinks she could be of use to me. I wasn't sure if they'd look at me and say "no way" for 3-4 wks, but I can't be the only one asking, as TKR is so common. Great idea!!!!
 

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