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[TKR] Snowdrop’s Second Knee Adventure

snowdrop

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Hello everyone! I first joined this wonderful group in Jan of 2016 when I had my RTKR done. It was a rough journey, but with all of your help, I made it through!

Now, 29 months later, I am here again and post-op with my LTKR. My surgery was June 20th and appears to have been a success (so far)! Recovery is moving along well, pain is so, so much better than the first time around, and even energy levels are better this time! I look forward to sharing my journey with you, hoping I can help others along the way.
 

Benay

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So interesting, less pain this time. Why do you think that is?
 
OP
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snowdrop

snowdrop

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My first knee was in far worse shape to begin with, and extremely inflamed in the tissues and nerves. While this knee had severe arthritis, the tissue around it wasn’t as bad. I’m thinking that is the reason for less pain.
 

Jockette

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Welcome back!

Here’s a refresher course for you!

I will leave you our Recovery Guidelines. Each article is short but very informative. Following these guidelines will help you have a less painful recovery.

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
elevate
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)
don't overwork.
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. At week 4 and after you should 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.
 
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snowdrop

snowdrop

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Just took my very first shower...alleluja! Feeling great. Incision is looking good...my hubby cleaned it and now I am quietly lying here giving the wound some air before I cover it up again. No signs of redness or swelling so far. Day five post op is going so much better than the first time around, I’m waiting for the proverbial ball to drop!
 

Indygo

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Good for you! So glad to hear the second time around is better than the first!
 

Zommom

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Hooray! Round 2 over and on a good path of recovery. It gives us upcoming 2nd knee surgeries hope for a better journey
 
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snowdrop

snowdrop

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In all honesty, my first time around was hellish. So much pain, so much dizziness, so many tears. I admit I cried last night, but the pain meds had worn off before I could take more...this seems to be an end-of-day thing, so I will be sure to take tylenol a couple of hours before big drugs are due.

Things I am doing differently this time: 1. Reminding myself to relax, that things take time, that it WILL get better....2. Drinking lots of fluids to help with the dizziness, but also making sure my salt level is up...3. Being absolutely vigilant with pain meds, whether I think I need them or not...4. Making sure I am resting, icing, elevating...slow and gentle is the way to go.

Since my last surgery, I have moved four hours away from my surgeon, but since the surgery was booked 14 months ago, I kept the date. I am in Canada, where wait times for elective surgeries such as TKRs are very long...I wasn’t going to jeopardize my date just because I moved! So yes, two days post op, I had a FOUR hour ride home from the hospital! You have never seen so many pillows and blankets stuffed into an SUV, lol. But I was so comfortable...while hubby drove, I lay across the back seat with my leg propped up and iced, pillows on my back, and snoozed the time away. I forced myself to stop half way and get out of the car for a few minutes, mostly to scare away any blood clots. I had to laugh as I wiggled my way back into that cavern of pillows and blankets...imagine a walrus trying to get in backwards into the back seat! That was me!
 

sistersinhim

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What a good recovery you are having. You have been through this before, so you probably know the cause and effect of exercising, so will take it easy. I remember that first shower being like heaven on earth! How great that you could have one so soon after your surgery.
 

winemama

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Wishing you a gentle recovery, it sounds like you are on your way
 
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snowdrop

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End of day 6. Pain is being managed with 2mg hydromorphone every 4-5 hours, with extra strength tylenol (1000mg) being taken in between, twice or three times/day. I am currently settling in for the night in my lazy boy, icecuff on and leg elevated with a long pillow. I’m not sure when I will try sleeping in my bed...this chair reclines almost horizontally, allowing my leg to stay elevated and having no danger of hurting myself while turning in my sleep (I am a side sleeper by nature). I think I’ll stay put for a few days yet. I think with my first TKR (which was a horrible, horrible first two weeks), I slept in this chair for almost a month!

I am able to get up and go to the washroom frequently now. While up, I try to do a slow lap around the first floor of our bungalow, taking care to pay attention to my steps, head up, focus ahead. I admit that I reduce to the easier hunching and shluffing by the end of the walk though, lol. I know it will get easier.

Tomorrow is my first PT appt. I am not yet able to raise my leg...hubby is the designated leglifter, haha. Lucky him. Straightening my leg seems good, but bending it is still painful. I still have swelling, so I know that hinders it. I also have a tegaderm dressing over my wound that seems to not allow the bend...it feels like it’s going to bust open when I try heel slides. So for now, I am trying to slide a little while sitting on a chair. We’ll see what happens with the PT tomorrow.

And I am being a total Goldilocks when it comes to pillow placement! My poor hubby! That one’s too short, that one’s too fluffy, that one’s too high, that one’s too hot! Oh my goodness...is anyone else this picky? I am enduring a LOT of eyerolls from my hubby, but I deserve them. I could not find a pillow flat enough for under my head (I’m in the recliner, remember), so I finally devised just the “right” one by folding a soft shawl into thirds and covering it with a pillowcase! Perfect!

I hope you all have a good night! :sleep:
 

Jockette

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And I am being a total Goldilocks when it comes to pillow placement! My poor hubby! That one’s too short, that one’s too fluffy, that one’s too high, that one’s too hot! Oh my goodness...is anyone else this picky?
Oh yes, me!!:wave:
I totally understand.
 

winemama

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When I had my rotator cuff repaired, I slept in a recliner for 8 weeks and I could not find a pillow I liked Finally tried a soft neck pillow perfect. I know your pain of getting comfortable
 

luvcats

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I'm very interested in your comments about the differences between knees. I'll be finding out about that myself with both knees scheduled for this summer. I hope it continues to be a model child. lol

I am being a total Goldilocks when it comes to pillow placement! My poor hubby!
This made me actually LOL. When my hubby had his cardiac bypass he was a total Goldilocks. We wound up ordering about 6 different pillows for various things. And he wasn't allowed to lift anything so every time something needed shifting, he needed me to wake up. Talk about a grumpy bear! lol
 

sistersinhim

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And I am being a total Goldilocks when it comes to pillow placement! My poor hubby! That one’s too short, that one’s too fluffy, that one’s too high, that one’s too hot!
This is where being single had its benefits. If I needed something different I had to get up and get it! The only one I could yell and scream at was me, or my cats! They learned quickly to exit the room and I learned to accept what I had or get up and change it!
 
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snowdrop

snowdrop

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Soooo...I am back from my first PT appointment. Things went very well all things considered. My ROM is at 60, and extension is at 6...pretty much what I was expecting. The therapist was great...encouraging but firm about what she expected. She did not force the knee at all but rather relied on me to make the best effort I could. I have my list of exercises to do at home and will be going twice weekly until I feel like I don’t “need” their help anymore. They do NOT have an end date in mind but rather will go at my pace...very refreshing! Their absolute minimum goal for me is ROM of 90, but would like me to eventually be able to do 120 somewhere down the road.

I have to say that this PT appointment compared to the same timeline from my first TKR is absolutely and completely different! This time around I am in much less pain and am feeling like I can handle putting myself through the gentle paces they have set for me. Last time, there were a LOT of tears and drugs and ice, even though the exercises were the same, if not easier! I just cannot believe how very different it is!

Thanks to this site, I am not at all discouraged by my “numbers”...I know that slow and steady will be the best way to my recovery.

Tonight I will try sleeping in my bed.

Feeling strong. Feeling positive. :flwrysmile:
 
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snowdrop

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Well, I tried lying down in the bed last night and it was definitely a no-go! So much pain! So another night in the recliner for me, but it wasn’t a great night. I could not get comfortable...my knee hurt and my leg simply ached, no matter how I positioned it. Morning finally came and I do feel better now.

I have discovered that if I ice my knee and keep a warm blanket on the rest of my leg, the “achiness” subsides quite nicely. I almost reach a zen zone, but then I don’t want to move at all because I know the pain will begin again. BUT, I am a good girl and force myself to get up and out of this chair every hour or so (but those zen moments are soooo nice!).

It is hot and humid here right now. I’m pretty sure the knee is reacting to the humidity.

I will do my excersises later today...only once today though. The 3 times regimen that was prescribed by the OT will be much too much right now.
:groan:
 

kneeper

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I have discovered that if I ice my knee and keep a warm blanket on the rest of my leg, the “achiness” subsides quite nicely. I almost reach a zen zone, but then I don’t want to move at all because I know the pain will begin again. BUT, I am a good girl and force myself to get up and out of this chair every hour or so (but those zen moments are soooo nice!).
I did the same re: the heat and icing.
Don't worry about being on a schedule for getting up and walking but you're right not to stay put for hours on end. It can also feel good to get up and you'll sense when it's time, I think.
 

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