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TKR The long and winding road - round 2

luvcats

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Interesting story.
It's hard to believe, but deep down you know this will be better soon. Two weeks for the worst, and then steady improvement.

How are you keeping yourself distracted? What's on your Netflix list?

I was so booooooored at week 3 after my July surgery that as soon as I was smart enough, I had some friends help me learn to knit so I would have something to help distract me in September. It has been an excellent decision.
 

Hoppy Nanny

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Just read through your 1st knee thread & now your 2nd...phew! It seems exhausting... do hope that this pain eases off quickly for you.

However, although I realise the pain it gives me hope that I will get through the recovery & move on... I had THR in March & scheduled for TKR this Monday...

@Denny39 has described recovery so graphically.... not looking forward to any of those stages though...

Take care x
 
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@luvcats Patience has never been a personal virtue. I had hoped that my first TKR would hammer patience into my psyche. Didn't happen. I love reading, but the brain fog interferes too much. I watch Acorn TV more than any other service. It only costs $50 a year and focuses on video & movies from the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. My favs are 800 Words, Queens of Mystery, The Good Karma Hospital, Doc Martin and Midsomer Murders. On Netflix, I'm a fan of Ken Burns documentaries, the British Baking Show, and Longmire.

I've had multiple people including a mom and a MIL attempt to teach me to knit and to crochet. I'm hopeless. They have all agreed. It would be nice to have something else to do besides TV while I elevate and ice.

@Hoppy Nanny Yes, @Denny39 perfectly described the first few weeks "I characterized those first 8 weeks as 2 REALLY, REALLY rotten weeks, followed by 2 REALLY rotten weeks, followed by 2 rotten weeks, followed by 2 miserable weeks. Someone immediately responded, “Yup, I just made it to REALLY rotten, I can’t wait to be miserable”.

I'm not even through the first "REALLY REALLY rotten week" yet and I'm not sure if knowing (through prior experience) that improvements will happen is a good thing. For my first TKR, I had read enough accounts on BS that I was expecting a truly hideous experience. But while the first weeks were grim, there were more bright spots than I had thought possible. I've referenced Celle's squiggly-line recovery drawing before - for me, it shows the highs from a tiny victory (first time w/o the walker) and the lows (a new set of pains in a different spot) happening in an unpredictable pattern. This time I know that highs can occur and that knowledge makes me more impatient - not a good place to be.

Best of luck with your upcoming TKR. I'll be thinking of you.
 
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Darn- I really did it this morning. My dogs were whining to go out and woke me up. (I'm sleeping downstairs in a family room recliner with DH upstairs in the bed.) They sounded desperate so I began to quickly unwrap in my normal routine-remove the CPAP mask, off with 2 down throws, disconnect the ice machine, pull out the lounge doctor, attach leg lifter and carefully lower my newly bionic leg, grab walker and carefully push off from the chair to a standing position. The routine is familiar, but this morning I was sleep and in a hurry.

Rather than tossing the throws to the floor, I threw them onto the table I had on the side of the chair. Whoops - there was a very tall glass of water on the table. It was full. It spilled. Water was everywhere in seconds. I grabbed my electronics (computer, ipad and phone) and tossed them behind me before they were soaked. But by now the dogs were howling and I knew that I had to get them out or I would soon have an even bigger mess to clean up. So leaving the watery world that now enveloped my ice machine and CPAP, I managed the rest of the tasks to get me upright and mobile. Then it was just getting me and my walker up 7 stairs (we have tri-level house), avoiding my dogs on the stairs, and opening the back door to a bracing 34 degrees!

by this time, DH has finally roused and I happily gave him the task of mopping up my mess. Now I'm ready for a nap.
 

Jockette

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Oh, my!! :console2:What a way to wake up!!

And I love the way you wrote that!
 

luvcats

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I love reading, but the brain fog interferes too much.
I completely agree. I still don't feel like I could focus on a good book. I've been watching some good documentaries. Well, mostly I'm knitting with them in the background. I don't really need to see them, you know? I'll have to look up the Good Karma Hospital. Interesting title. I adore the British Baking Show. Everyone is so nice to each other. We are very carefully rationing the latest season.

It's unfortunate that knitting and crochet don't suit you. If you're really looking for something to do with your hands, how about cross stitch? Amazon carries a lot of stamped pattern kits. They are pretty self explanatory
I'm not sure if knowing (through prior experience) that improvements will happen is a good thing.
I know exactly what you mean. It was easier to be patient on the first one. The second round, you know what the milestones look like and it's very, very hard to just wait for your body to get there.

Your morning adventure is hilarious. My question is, were the dogs truly desperate? Or taking advantage because you were downstairs? Because my cats have been taking shameless advantage.
 

Didot

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Can absolutely relate to your drama. Every time I try to do big things, something lands on the floor and it escalates from there. It neve4 seemed that hard before.
 
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This afternoon I found pure joy.
Warm water streaming through my hair.
The compelling eucalyptus scent of body wash.
Movement in and out of the shower with less than expected pain.
An early hint of a life returning to normal.
 

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I'm just reading through your posts with both of your knees.... I'm also happy to see another non-retiree who is trying to manage a job and surgeries! Since you are still in your first week and it isn't anything like your first one (or your memory isn't letting you remember what was happening back in May...) I will be sending positive thoughts and prayers your way! Take care and be kind to yourself in this early stage!

I am a month ahead of you with my first knee and have a LTKR looming, but no date yet! I am thinking that I'll do it about a year from early December, so I can take leave and then retire in January 2021....I am heading back to work this Wednesday....exactly 6 weeks PT and plan to return FT in November. Luckily, I'm not crossing any campuses or taking long walks for work. I'm not sure how you did this!?
 
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@Macknit Going back to work was both a godsend and a challenge. I started working from home 4 weeks after surgery - I manage a library and an IT organization so much of what I do can be handled with email. I also did a couple of Zoom conferences and forgot to mask the camera for the first one - nothing like showing up for a business meeting looking like a crazed loonie covered in blankets. (When I ice my knee, I get very cold!) By this time I was also off the opioid pain meds, so my brain fog has dissipated.

Five weeks out I returned to campus scheduled for 20 hours per week, but the days often became more of 6 hours than 4 hours. By the time I got back home, I was dead exhausted and my knee was swollen and angry. I tried elevating at work but was unable to find a position that wasn't painful. I also used gel packs while I was there, but they were only moderately helpful. At 6 weeks I was back full-time on campus.

Many of my colleagues were very helpful - they rescheduled meetings to be in my office to reduce how much walking I had to do and sometimes we all met online via Zoom rather than getting together in the same physical place. Yes, I often had stairs to climb. But they were actually easier than they had been before the TKR, although I still struggled.

What made all of this worth it as banishing boredom to the hinterlands. It was so good to be interacting with people and solving problems again. Finally, I felt useful again.

I wish you the best as you return to your work. It wasn't easy, but it was doable. And the rewards were worth the struggle.
 

luvcats

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Love the poem. There is nothing quite like a great shower. I especially like the ones right after an illness or a camping trip.
 

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I never venture into reading or writing poetry :scaredycat:I must have had a bad English class at some point??? Limericks seem to be my limit!

I definitely appreciate your run down of your return to work....I have the cold while icing thing going on also, always under a blanket! It was even worse when I was taking the 10 mg of Oxycodone, my body really would get the shakes....even though I was taking it as scheduled!

My challenge will be finding a preferable elevation configuration, between an upside down recycle bin and a co-workers ottoman...I'm taking pillows in also, so we'll see how it goes!
 
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On Sunday night I decided to take a chance on a bed in the guest room. Until then, I had been living in a recliner in the family room. The hospital sent an ice machine home with us for both surgeries - go figure. They said that once they used it with a patient, they couldn't use it with anyone else. So that made part of the bed experiment easier. I sleep with the ice machine connected, so this meant we could put one in the bedroom and leave the other by the recliner. Unlike my first recovery, I also now had an extra CPAP as I got a replacement a couple of months ago. That meant I could avoid moving those two devices from the family room up 2 flights of stairs to the bedroom. Yea for redundancy!

The experiment was a success. I wasn't able to sleep on my side in any position - too uncomfortable and difficult moving while dragging the ice machine and CPAP hoses. So I slept on my back with my legs elevated - the same position as the recliner, but hugely more comfortable. I was so excited. Sleeping in the bed took much longer to achieve with my first surgery. If for nothing else, it is such a relief to have more than one "recovery" room.
 

sistersinhim

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This afternoon I found pure joy.
Warm water streaming through my hair.
The compelling eucalyptus scent of body wash.
Movement in and out of the shower with less than expected pain.
An early hint of a life returning to normal.
Ahh!!! Heavenly! I remember well how wonderfully that felt.
 
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Greetings fellow travelers. Today has been disappointing. Yesterday I went out twice for a slow walk with my trusty walker - down the driveway and to the edge of my neighbor's yard and back. With the exception of struggling with a walker encountering multiple sticks, it went well and I felt quite accomplished.

This morning my DH was getting some much-needed sleep after doing ice duty during the night. I awoke to feel somewhat rested and decided that I was ready for handling the shower on my own. And I did-yea! I got dressed, including pulling on compression socks and then load up the bag that hangs on my walker with various things I would need downstairs (iPad, phone, leg lifter, meds, glasses, notebook) as I settled into the recliner. Carefully I navigated down 7 stairs to the kitchen where I put coffee in a travel mug (so it could go in the bag), let the dogs out and then back in, grabbed some fruit and toast (also went into the bag). Then I very carefully navigated down the next set of 7 stairs with the walker and recreated my recliner nest, including refilling the ice machine.

While I was proud I got this done, I was dead exhausted. An hour or so later, I was still wiped out and finally fell asleep for 3 hours. When I awoke, I still was not willing to try another driveway walk or to do much of anything but sit with my legs elevated and iced. This evening, I am looking forward to moving back upstairs and going to bed.

I realize that I'm only 9 days out from the surgery, but this degree of exhaustion took me by surprise, especially following a really encouraging day. I know that I need to remember that progress is a world of multiple twisty passages without a reliable map. But today I'm more depressed than I have been so far in this recovery. I head to my first PT appointment tomorrow morning, so I have no idea if that will result in a good or not-so-good day. I guess that I need to keep telling myself that this recovery is what it is and not what I would like it to be.
 

Carole4815

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Exhaustion can make us feel depressed. That was a lot of activity for 9 days after your TKR, so congratulations on doing all that! But it sounds like it might have been slightly too much since it was very tiring, and now you need to rest and sleep until you re-gain your energy. :console2:

I hope you feel better in the morning.
 

luvcats

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I realize that I'm only 9 days out from the surgery, but this degree of exhaustion took me by surprise,
One important thing to remember (that I am having a lot of trouble with) is that you were only 5 months into the year healing process for your first knee, and now you have started the process all over again, so your body is at 9 days on the left, but only 6 months on the right. You (and I) haven't had time to finish healing or to rebuild any kind of reserves from the first surgery. So it makes complete sense that we are exhausted and more emotional than we were the first go 'round.

That doesn't make it any easier to deal with, but it does make sense. lol
 
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One important thing to remember (that I am having a lot of trouble with) is that you were only 5 months into the year healing process for your first knee, and now you have started the process all over again,
Thanks for this so important reminder. During the first weeks of recovery number 1, I was expecting to be exhausted and in lots of pain - reading this forum had well prepared me for both. This time around, I'm having a more difficult time accepting that just because I've been here before, that doesn't make it any easier - and as you say, in some ways it may make my stamina worse.
 
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Yesterday I went to my first PT appointment. This was a new therapist for me and he was about as aligned with a BoneSmart approach as anyone I had met. So I plan to stick with him for a couple of weeks at least. My ROM was at 99, but my extension was -8. He was ok with both but expects to see some improvement by the end of next week. We only did a few mild exercises, but they were enough to really increase my swelling. Last night my sleep was more difficult than it has been because my leg was not so happy.

Today I went for my follow-up and had my stitches removed. I was surprised how much it stung and was uncomfortable compared to the last time. But when I checked my calendar, I realized that this was happening a full week before it did with the first surgery, so that probably explains the difference. So now I have multiple steri-strips and I'm getting used to the feel of materials on the scar without the barrier of the bandage. My OS is an hour away, so 2 hours in the car today was quite enough to send me back to the recliner and in a few minutes, on to my bed. I am tired.
 

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