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TKR Strange New World

Denny39

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At age 79, I finally acquiesced to the necessity of TKR, which I had stated very firmly about 6 years ago, was “not gonna happen”. It would be my first venture into the world of physical trauma. I had been told by a contractor who did some work on my home that he had “gotten my life back” after TKR. “The first six weeks isn’t much fun, but after that, it’s worth it”. Another told me, “It isn’t really all that bad”. That was pretty much the extent of my knowledge of exactly what to expect for the recovery process. In other words, I didn’t even have a clue as to what I was REALLY getting into, and what it was going to be like. I didn’t bother to look up and read the fine print.


I remember the day I got my full upper denture. When I got home with that thing in my mouth, the first thing I did was pop a pitted Black Olive into my mouth. I could not bite it! I thought, “Great!!! I’m gonna talk funny and eat soup for the rest of my life”. Today is two weeks out. Although I am told my progress is very good, I am having trouble shaking a similar morbid vision of the future; “Great!!! I’m gonna walk funny and have a painful, stiff leg for the rest of my life”.


As an Engineer, I describe my TKR as having had a “Non-OEM, third party. after-market replacement component installed in my lower Left mobility quadrant”.


While patience is not one of my strongest virtues, I think I am dealing with this new reality fairly well. Somewhere in the middle of the 3rd or 4th night, there was some brief minor anxiety, but I was still on morphine. My worst problem now is sleep, or the lack thereof. I’m getting between 3 and 5 hours per night, and my thrashing around searching for that non-existent comfortable position only adds to the pain level.


My biggest concern actually is for my wife. When I became useless, her work load tripled. Fortunately, she is substantially healthier and stronger than average for her age (70); Still, it is difficult for her.


What I am going through is very difficult in many ways; definitely the most traumatic period of my life from a physical, situational perspective. Two things I have picked up over the years in my reading and studying have helped immensely. One is the reality that “This too, shall pass”. Closely related to that, and a logical derivation is “We live in the NOW’. No matter what is going on at any given time, it is NOW, and must be dealt with. I can remember many previous “NOWS”. Some were very enjoyable, and I cherish them as fond memories. Some were educational, some were emotional, some were high points and some were low points, but they have all passed and become part of who and what I am today. NOW, I am going through an experience that gives me an entirely new insight into what many people I know, or someone in their family, go through constantly. Truly, I thank the Lord for that. I will have far more compassion, and hopefully find it much easier and more natural to relate and be supportive.


I still say however, that experiencing TKR was VERY, VERY, low on my Bucket List! Somewhere down below Skiing the vertical face of the Matterhorn; Wrestling a Nile Crocodile; Sky-diving without a parachute; Dining on African Cave Spiders.


But . . . Here I am “comfortably” reclined with my leg elevated and iced.
 

Jockette

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You are going to do fine, you have a fine attitude.

I, too, had no idea what I was getting into with my surgery, but I had the added expectations in that mine is a partial, promoted to be a quicker and easier recovery than a total. :doh:My recovery has not gone that way, as I now know, many partials don’t.

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: 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. Here is a week-by-week guide for

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.
 

Bionic

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@Denny39
Major surgery isn't for the faint hearted is it?

I have had 2 hip replacements within the last 6 months and whilst my recoveries haven't been bad it hasn't been a walk in the park either. But, I look forward to better things to come and am glad I had the operations while I still have a future ahead.

I am due to have a TKR in March and hopefully that will be the last.

I understand where you are coming from with the lack of sleep. I was just about getting to grips with it when I had my second op. From what you are saying it seems I have the same to come when I have my knee op. I'm definitely not looking forward to that.

I am glad you are 'comfortably' reclined and hope that continues.
 

sistersinhim

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Welcome to Bonesmart! You are among peers here. We all have or are going through what you are. We're here to help!
 

CAdesgirl

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Thanks, @Denny39! I enjoyed reading your post especially the reminder about the NOW(s). I hope I am able to self-reflect as well after 2 weeks. I hope you keep us updated on your recovery!
 

MissViv18

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I will be 10 weeks post-op Christmas Day and WOW what a journey this has been. I had read up and prepared (I thought) for this surgery. Mine was bi-lateral (both knees) and I am 66. I still was not prepared for this life changing experience. It is not a quick recovery and I find myself wishing for the day I will have no pain.

Sleeping is better now, I am getting about 7 hours. But those first few weeks was hardly no sleep. Just try to rest and sleep when you can (day or night).

My poor husband has had to deal with keeping the house presentable, cooking, getting take out and taking care of two cats. He is a two time cancer survivor and it has been hard on him but we are finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel (I think).

Take care. Rest and elevate and try not to do too much too early.

Merry Christmas to you and yours and Happy New Year!
 
OP
OP
Denny39

Denny39

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Definitely not for the faint of heart! Not a real bright spot for us ordinary, every-day chickens either. On my first consultation my Surgeon gave me a time-line, concluding with something like, “A year out and you’ll be fine”. That was NOT what I wanted to hear. However, I had already come to the conclusion that without this process, a year out would find me either on crutches or in a wheel-chair. So it became a quality of life issue. I have been blessed with very good health overall and am by nature very active. My problem is that I have a mind that thinks I am 30, and a body that thinks I am 90. This creates a great deal of conflict.
 

Jockette

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My problem is that I have a mind that thinks I am 30, and a body that thinks I am 90. This creates a great deal of conflict.
There are a lot of us that feel like that!
 

kmak81230

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Great posts -- congrats for surviving the first two weeks of recovery . . . you're officially out of the "dark days' and into the "dog days" :loll:. I wish I could say you will now start to get amazing sleep, for most of us it takes several more weeks. I'm approaching the 6 week marker and finally starting to get 5-6 hours at a time at least a few nights a week. This recovery is not for the impatient among us!
 

kmak81230

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My pain level is much better. I would describe it more as discomfort - primarily if I have done too much or if I stand in one place for too long; I get achy at night - probably the accumulation of the day's activity -- but no longer have the pain I had in the first two weeks. I have been off the oxy for close to a month and primarily take extra strength Tylenol as needed. If I get the shooting nerve pains (haven't had much of that yet) I take Gabepentin.
 

Celle

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Hello @Denny39 - and :welome:

Please will you tell us the full date of your knee replacement and which knee it is, so we can make a signature for you? Thank you.:flwrysmile:
 

sistersinhim

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Thank you for your surgery date. We'll add to your signature for you.
 

Dolly Girl

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I could have written your post two years ago when I hady first TKR. It's gonna get better. The worst part is your mind awfulizing about the pickle you're in. Six months out you'll be a new man. I just had my second 12 days ago and now I know it's going to be alright.
 
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Denny39

Denny39

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Thanks. I am also supposed to have the other one done, but right now that his HIGHLY questionable. At least, next time I would know what I am getting into.
I was amazed how many people I spoke to after my TKR that also had no clear and specific idea ahead of time as to exactly what to expect. Even with all of the assurances I have received from great people like yourself, and my Therapist assuring me that I am making “remarkable” progress, the future still tends to look a bit foggy. Every day still has its own unique nuances, some good, some not so much. Last night was one of my worst nights for sleeplessness and pain. Sleep has always been one of my specialties.

All of these variables and unknowns are the reason I titled my thread “Strange New World”. Perhaps with some of the crazy dreams I have had (due to the Meds I am told), It should have been “Wierd New World).
 

Jaycey

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I was amazed how many people I spoke to after my TKR that also had no clear and specific idea ahead of time as to exactly what to expect.
Unfortunately most surgeons (and PT) tend to paint a rosy picture of joint replacement recovery. Truth is - many have never gone through the experience themselves.

A former colleague of mine (orthopaedic surgeon) said he had no idea how complex recovery from TKR was until he nursed his Father through it. The experience totally changed how he spoke to his patients.
 

Larryhg3

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Welcome to BoneSmart @Denny39. You have a great attitude. Your doctor at least let you know that this is a year journey. Slow and steady wins this race for sure. My doctor tells you this:
At 1 month you will be saying “What the hell was I thinking I should never have gotten this done”
At 2 months you will be saying “Why did I wait so long to do this”
At 3 months you will be saying “Did I do something?

I find the first two to be very true the third maybe not so much.
 

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