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TKR Total Left Knee Replacement

TheSloth

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@flacie1 I had to wear a leg brace for one month but only while sleeping and I can see the frustration of having to wear one 24/7. My OS also said any fall could be devastating. Hang in there, it will get better and you can celebrate every accruement you get to remove as time passes.

My initial post-surgery-hospital experience was wrought with failures. No anti-inflammatories, no compression stocking, surgical blisters from my skin weeping from inflammation/swelling, pain management failure, of course our favorite constipation (EAT PRUNES, apple cider vinegar with water, suppositories), cardiac arrhythmia due to the pain and much more. After I advocated for my own care with the OS, I ended up wearing a compression sock, brace to sleep, and a Holter monitor. The OS gave me grief for asking for another week of pain meds at 2 weeks. But, the inflammation/swelling inhibited movement which inhibited PT. Catch 22.

Again, I'm so grateful for this site!
 

Sara61

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@flacie1 Just after my surgery my DH and I decided to have separate rooms as I'm restless at night and he is a light sleeper so this way he is getting a full night undisturbed sleep :) worked wonders as he is much happier and I can read/wriggle etc without bothering him or feeling guilty haha :) :-) (:
Sleep is so important at 6 weeks post op I'm now thankfully most nights sleeping a good 6 hours :sleep: - sending sleepy dust your way xx
 
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flacie1

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@Sara61 yes, DH doesn’t want to sleep with me right now. He’s afraid of hurting me. He’s a light sleeper too. I feel bad when I wake up at 3:00 am and come down to the couch and make him move. Lol.

3 weeks post op for me today. Still have quad weakness, PT says it’s firing which makes me feel hopeful that it won’t be long. I’ve been able to get a little side sleeping in which is helping me get a few more hours. I had therapy this am and I came home and crashed from about 12:00-2:30. I feel better for getting some more sleep. I want to try driving this weekend. I feel bad that DH is missing so much work due to my therapy and dr appts.
Nothing much else notable about my recovery to date. Every day is easier than the day before. I feel so much better having the dressing off.
 

Jamie

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I want to try driving this weekend. I feel bad that DH is missing so much work due to my therapy and dr appts.
@flacie1 Please resist the urge to attempt driving just yet. You're not ready and you put yourself and others at risk by being on the road if you cannot respond fully in case of an emergency. You need to be cleared to drive by your surgeon. You must not allow yourself to feel guilty about the need for some help right now from your spouse. After all, you'd do the same for him! It's okay. It's just possible that he's enjoying being able to help you when you need it. Allow him to be the nurturer just a little longer.
 
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flacie1

flacie1

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@Jamie I had my follow up with my OS on Tuesday, he does not officially release his patients to drive as that puts any liability on him. I have been off all pain meds (except Tylenol) since 1 week post op. I’m feeling that I am up to driving as long as I can sit comfortably in the drivers seat and I can get in and out by myself. I am just now to the point that I can sit in the passenger seat without constantly having to change position. I will most likely wait until after I see him again 12/3. Yes DH is liking his schedule right now, he usually works 50+ hours a week and since my surgery he’s lucky to log 32, so he’s in no hurry for me to start driving. Lol
 

Sara61

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I have officially been given at 6 weeks post op the permission to drive and even thou I am allowed I haven't as yet, the reason being as @Jamie suggests is that I want to be fully road safe and if needed to do an emergency stop I'm fully capable and certain no damage to my knee would be caused.
Being stuck and dependant on others sucks but soon with patience you will be fully mobile at 3 weeks post op it's still really early days and I'm sure your DH doesn't mind looking after you xx
 
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flacie1

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Day 26 post op. Cabin fever has set in. At least we have had some semi decent weather and I have been able to go out in the backyard with Blue and play some frisbee with him. I just sit in the bench and throw the frisbee and he brings it back. It’s nice getting some vitamin d. We are due for high winds and rain, so the nice weather is over for now.

Knee is just a nuisance, very achy. Not so much pain, just ache. At PT on Monday I was on the verge of regressing. My therapist is very gentle with me and doesn’t push but she was stern about my progress. Im struggling with getting my leg straight and of course I still can’t do leg lifts. I feel stronger than I have since surgery, but there are still some things I can’t do, which is very frustrating. Sleep is still elusive. I am able to sleep on my left side with my good leg either in front of or behind surgery leg. I’m up several times during the night but can usually fall back to sleep.

Knee is very itchy. Omg I can’t stand it. Still can’t put anything on my incision yet. It’s hot on the outside and feels really hard in spots. I have another follow up with OS on Monday, that will be right after therapy.

Looking forward to thanksgiving on Thursday. Planning on making dinner and all the fixings. DH is gonna be a huge helper. It’s just us so I don’t have to go all out.
 
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flacie1

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Well here I sit. Been up since around 1:30 am. PT yesterday went pretty well. My quad is working but my progress is slow. The one thing that worries me is PT did bring up MUA, she said OS will want to see more progress and if he doesn’t see what he wants he will most likely suggest MUA. That being said, they were even telling me that is I didn’t reach 90 deg ROM at follow up OS would not be happy. I can tell you that at my follow up he didn’t seem concerned about that. It might have been because my quad wasn’t working. I was able to get to 85 deg bend yesterday which made me feel better about my progress after my Monday appt where I was worried I was regressing. PT says the bend is there but I’m not letting myself go there. Seems I am my own worst enemy right now.

Also, I mentioned this in my last post, the itching is insane. It’s not the incision that itches it’s the skin all around my knee, thigh and shin. It’s so irritated and bumpy. I don’t know what to try putting on it. I’ve done all kinds of lotions, vitamin E, skin so soft. Nothing is giving me relief. Maybe I should try a hydrocortisone cream? I’m not putting anything on the incision.

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving
 

sistersinhim

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they were even telling me that is I didn’t reach 90 deg ROM at follow up OS would not be happy.
Please don't let PT scare you. You are the only one who has to be happy with your recovery. It's function that matters, not numbers! You have the final say so about a MUA, not your surgeon. If he suggests it just tell him you'd rather wait a month or so and see how you do.
PT says the bend is there but I’m not letting myself go there.
You aren't even a month out yet. It's true that your bend is there, but swelling and inflammation is holding it back. If you try and force it, you'll just increase that swelling and inflammation, so it's counter-productive. The best way to increase that bend is to do nothing but gentle movements and normal activities. Ice and elevation will help to get that swelling down. Even if you don't see a lot outside on your knee, you still have it inside. There's not a lot of space in there and a little bit of fluid will restrict movement. Remember, you don't have a sport injury. You have a major, traumatizing surgery to recover from. Slow and easy wins this recovery!
 
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flacie1

flacie1

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@sistersinhim thank you for your post. I totally agree with everything you said. How can my surgeon even think of MUA when I am still so swollen. I can still feel the swelling in my thigh all the way down to my shin. I’ve been icing a lot today. I did my exercises this am, and I didn’t push myself I’m planning on doing them again later but not to the point of extreme pain. And you know PT had me worried about my initial follow up and that was no big deal either. I think PT has certain expectations, and they aren’t necessarily the same as the surgeons.
 

sistersinhim

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Many surgeons are prescribing gentle PT, having found that aggressive PT sets their patients back. It sounds like you have it under control. The next PT appointment you have, don't let them bully or scare you. It is your knee and you have all the control over what happens to it!
 

tlfiore

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@flacie1 Please do not let discouragement take hold of you! We are neck-to-neck 'cause I am feeling EXACTLY as you are. I've not had the PT you've had and needless to say, my PT Intake yesterday was a bit discouraging.

I do not do well with all these numbers that are thrown around. So, the initial PT person who did my Intake said, "Well, you are at 0 extension but you MUST get to -3, or you will walk with a limp (???)." And of course, no one was happy with my flexion. I didn't ask numbers, I don't want to know numbers. The numbers mean nada to me. I just hope to walk relatively well with limited pain.

I can tell I've hit a plateau just by the way I am moving, or not. Now, both the Intake person and my ongoing PT person (he's actually our realtor...Dave...sold us our house here 3 years back) said, "You still have SIGNIFICANT swelling, so nothing can be expected 'til the swelling goes down."

Good...so we are all on the same page. Dave wants to see me M, W, F x 3-4 weeks. It's hard for me to speak up, especially when I care about someone and I DO care about Dave...but I told him, "I will not do anything that hurts me or creates increased swelling in my joint."

Hang in there...I think this is one of the plateau phases people speak of. IMHO and I am NOT expert, it is a bit early for anyone to discuss MUS with you.

Hang in there, my friend.
 
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flacie1

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5 weeks today. Wow. 5 weeks have gone by since I’ve gotten my new knee. I see so many people having a much better recovery than mine and I beat myself up about that. But then I have to remind myself that this is my recovery, my journey.

I saw my OS on Tuesday, he wants to see me again in 4 weeks. He seemed pleased with my progress. I didn’t get lectured by him so I must be doing well. From what I hear if he thinks a patient isn’t progressing he will have no problem letting that patient know it. He’s very good, one of the top in my area, his bedside manner leaves a little to be desired but I knew that going in. I wasn’t not looking for a doctor to be my friend, I was looking for one who doesn’t hold back tells you like it is and that’s what I got.

PT, he wants me to continue 2x a week for 4 more weeks, but I only have 4 more visits left for the year so I’m just going to have to make sure I do my therapy here at home. Today my bend was 94 with help. I feel like my quad is finally getting stronger and more willing to work. I hobble around the house without my cane for the most part, except for the stairs. I’m going back to work on Monday, I’m looking forward to getting back to my normal routine, but my schedule will be dictated by my knee. If I’ve had enough and I’ve only been there for 3 hours, I’ll go home. I have a lot of leeway at my job and a very understanding boss, doesn’t hurt that I also have 28 years of employment there.

Sleep is still an issue. Finding the perfect position is hard. Last night DH accidentally kicked me in the knee. We are swapping sides tonite in order to protect myself. I have finally been given the go ahead to take ibuprofen. So I will manage my pain with Tylenol or ibuprofen as needed. I usually only take Tylenol in the morning and don’t remember to take anything else for the rest of the day.
 

tlfiore

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@flacie1 I've been thinking about you so much and I am happy to see a post! I was concerned about you and I hoped everything was okay!

Flacie, I am right there with you, not much further ahead, or behind. I also keep trying to tell myself this is not some sort of competition, or race...it is my body, my recovery. But similar to you, I feel inadequate, or disappointed with certain aspects of my recovery.

I keep saying to myself, "Woman...you are just 5 weeks out from major big surgery...calm down." I CAN see very very wee, little baby steps of improvement. But I'm looking for the big leap, which in my case does not seem to be coming-lololol.

If your Orthopedic Surgeon is okay with your recovery that is a good thing. I've grown a bit weary of hearing other people/person's comments and anecdotes...especially PT. Uggggghhhhhh PT...how I detest it! And while I DO like my PT (he happens to be the realtor who sold us our current home 3 years ago), I did counter back a bit on Wednesday regarding stretching and talk of MUA. I said, "Well, I'm no expert but I in no way feel/think/believe my knee is, or will be in need of a MUA...sorry not buying it." And I REFUSE to hear ANYTHING about numbers. Haven't heard one number uttered yet. Last I knew, home PT discharged me with a flexion @ 90, or 95 degrees and an extension at 0.

And ISN'T SLEEPING THE WORST? Truthfully, I DREAD bedtime 'cause I cannot get comfortable, pain is the worst at night and of course, I cannot sleep. If I manage 3-3.5 hours of sleep at once, I consider it a huge success. Nothing seems to really help anymore. And of course, I avoid going to bed 'cause I dread the pain, discomfort and insomnia more than anything else!

I wish you the best with your return to work. I am happy you have an understanding boss, which gives you the option (if needed) to ease back into a 40 hour work-week.

Please keep posting! Now I've gotta go and update my Recovery Thread, which I've not done in a few days.
 

Jockette

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so I’m just going to have to make sure I do my therapy here at home.
Regaining our ROM is more about Time than repetitions of a list of exercises.

Time to recover.
Time for pain and swelling to settle.
Time to heal.

Our range of motion is right there all
along just waiting for that to happen so it can show itself.

In the general run of things, it doesn't need to be fought for, worked hard for or worried about. It will happen. Normal activity is the key to success.
Today my bend was 94 with help.
There is absolutely no need for them to help you bend. That means they are making you bend more than your knee is ready for. It will come, in time, all on its own.

I’m going back to work on Monday,
5 weeks is very early to go back to work. Be prepared for additional pain and swelling at this very early stage of recovery.

You really don’t need to keep doing specific PT type things. All the movements in the course of getting ready to go to work, being at work, and coming home from work, will give your baby knee all the movements it needs.
 
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flacie1

flacie1

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@Jockette I fully intend to listen to my knee next week. If it’s had enough I will head back home. If I can’t get there directly after dropping my son at school I’ll go home until I’m ready to head in, if at all. I have been taking my son to school all week and the other day I even drove over to my parents house in the am, and spent a while visiting them there. I always joke that I’m ready to go back to work to relax. Work is not like work, so I’m not overly concerned about work putting any undue stress on me.

@tlfiore I can’t wait until we are a year out from our surgeries and we can look back and say look how far we’ve come, when it didn’t seem possible at the time. My PT brought up MUA and completely freaked me out. But I think that’s part of their job, make the patient fear the surgeon and possible
MUA so we let them push us. I have progressed every session at PT, and my OS has never indicated that I was not progressing in a manner satisfactory to him.

Right now my biggest worry is the bumps around my incision. Is it just a reaction to the surgery and the adhesive that was on the bandage. The incision looks good but all around my knee it looks like a little rash and it’s right where the bandage was. I’ll attach a pic. It’s a close up, but don’t look at the incision, look at the skin. Any thoughts on what I should do, if anything?
 

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Jamie

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@flacie1 ....I am seeing a lot of flaking skin which is very typical after surgery. It's just temporary. Could you possibly take another photo where you are back a bit from your knee. The image you posted is so much of a closeup that it's difficult to tell what the bumpy area looks like in relation to the rest of your leg.

It would appear you might have some fairly significant swelling. Is that the case? A new photo will show that better for us as well. Please tag me when you post a new photo so I'll see it right away. To tag, you type the "at" sign (@) followed by my username with no space....like this.... @Jamie
 
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flacie1

flacie1

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@Jamie its all red along my incision where the tape was under my bandage. My mom keeps telling me it’s normal. She’s a nurse (retired) and worked on the ortho floor and had her knee done last year. But I just can’t help but be bothered by how my knee looks. I do have thick thighs to begin with and that one is still bigger than my right, which after losing 50 lbs is really bothering me. Lol. I can’t wait for my left leg to go back to normal. I’ll take another pic of both legs together
 

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