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What's best option for drive home from hospital

klinkmcbear

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I'm having total knee replacement next week. We're trying to figure out the best option for the ride home from the hospital. We have a few options:

- Toyota Highlander SUV - front bucket seat, or back bench seat. This vehicle seems to be not too high, but maybe a little low?? What's the best height to make getting in and out the easiest?

- Toyota Tundra pick up truck - front bucket seat or back seat. I would have to step up into this. There is a good running board that I could use my better leg on. Maybe this would be better because I wouldn't have to worry about being too low?

I've also heard to bring pillows to pad/adjust your leg for the ride. Any other hints to make things a little smoother?

One other car related question. There is an engagement party for my son and his fiance 2 1/2 weeks post op. It will be a five hour drive - will that be realistic for me?

thanks a lot,
kathleen
 

Jockette

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Personally I wouldn’t opt for the truck. I can’t imagine a Highlander being too low.

A 5 hour car ride 2.5 weeks post op is not going to work well, I wouldn’t plan on going. I’m sure you don’t want to miss this event, but you won’t be up to it.
 

tylermit

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I would use what ever vehicle has the longest leg room for the ride. You will want to keep your leg extended as straight as you can. Yes to the pillows to shim your leg up so it bends as little as possible off the seat. I had a 1 hour 20 minute ride from the hospital. Not fun. I doubt you would want to take a 5 hour ride at 2.5 weeks. You will still be in the very painful period.
 

Celle

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Whichever vehicle you use, sit on the back seat, with your leg elevated on pillows.

Have a little practice before your surgery, and see which vehicle is easier to get into and out of with one stiff leg.

No, a 5-hour drive and a party will not be a good idea at 2.5 weeks post-op. You'd be miserable!
This article indicates the level of activity you should expect post-op:
Activity progression for TKRs
 

Bionic

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@klinkmcbear
I would do a test run beforehand to see how you get on manoeuvring in and out if the car.

Last Monday I was just over 9 weeks post op when we went on a 4.5 hour journey to my brother in laws 70th birthday party. We stopped twice in each direction to give my knee a break. It worked fine but I couldn't have imagined doing it at 2.5 weeks.
 

rosieNZ

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Hi Kathleen
Practice! I did. I pretended my knee didnt function. Boy did that show up the car issues.
We have a high Toyota van (Alphard). I am short so climbing in was awkward. My husband made me a step and I sat in the back seat (seat pushed back) for the first week. I didnt use a pillow but stretched my leg out as straight as possible. I also took pain meds before the trip home.

When I had my previous TKR I took a 4 hr car trip to visit my son in the Christmas holiday period. It was 2 weeks post op. It was miserable both on the journey and once there. I was on crutches and trying to pretend it was ok for everyone else's sake. I also didn't want to ruin my family's holiday. So I wouldnt want to make the trip you are considering without knowing how to manage the journey.

Everyone and every time is different. Dont worry about attending the birthday until after your surgery. You will quickly know what is best for you. Just alert everyone to the probability that you won't be able to attend. Practice getting into each vehicle on crutches and pretending your leg is painful and not working ir bending. That will clarify which vehicle is best for you.
 

Irish471

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@klinkmcbear , I rode in the front seat of an SUV on the way home. Leg room is key! I also put my overnight bag under my ankle to prop it up some which made it much more comfortable. The backseat would be a good solution, too.

As for the long car trip, I wouldn’t attempt it personally. I had a 20-30 minute ride to physical therapy that started two weeks post-op and I could barely stand it. When is the wedding scheduled?
 

Celle

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At 4 weeks post-op, I did a car trip that usually takes about 5 hours.
We needed to stop more frequently than usual , to walk around and stretch my leg. The journey took us 7.5 hours and I was very sore at the end of it.

I made sure I elevated my leg, took my pain medications on time, and iced my knee. Even so, the knee got very stiff and sore.

We stayed in a motel, instead of with family, so that I would have a "retreat" where I could go back and rest twice a day, away from the bustle of family.

Even at 4 weeks post-op, I wouldn't have done this trip, if it hadn't been my only opportunity to see my new granddaughter, who would be flying back to the UK in a couple of days.

Can you explain to your son and future daughter-in-law that you would love to have come to their celebration, but the major surgery you'll be having precludes travel so early in recovery?

Maybe someone would be willing to Skype you from the celebrators, so you can see what's going on and wish them well?
 

Cynof4

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@klinkmcbear,
I also have truck or SUV options. We have practiced and determined the truck is too high for me to pull myself up and get safely out of. My best option is the SUV with the front seat pushed all the way back and about 2/3 reclined with my overnight bag under my legs for support.

I have a road trip planned at 4.5 weeks due to a child’s wedding. OS has cleared the way pending any complications from surgery. As a teacher many life events get packed into the summer during my off time.

Good luck Tuesday!
 

BCSAnna

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My options were a truck and a sports car. The truck won't work for me because it is too high...even now I need to use a step stool to get in and out of it. The sports car won't work because it is too low and I haven't been able to bend my knee enough to be able to get in that car in months. And so, we have made a reservation for a sedan rental car for the time that I will be hospitalized. That way, I will be able to sit in the back seat with my surgical leg elevated on pillows for the long ride home. The major medical center where I am having my surgery is located three hours away from my home. Needless to say, I am not looking forward to the journey home after surgery.
 

Jockette

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we have made a reservation for a sedan rental car for the time that I will be hospitalized. That way, I will be able to sit in the back seat with my surgical leg elevated on pillows for the long ride home.
This was a great decision!
 
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klinkmcbear

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Thanks everyone, I took the suggestion to just do a practice run, and the Highlander wins. The step up in the truck would definitely be more difficult.

I think I'm going to bring a couple of garbage bags too. I saw that suggestion somewhere - it makes sliding across the bench seat a little easier.

Sounds like I probably won't be going to the engagement party. The kids are fine with it, and so am I. Of course I'd love to make it if I can, but it doesn't sound too likely. The wedding is the end of September, so hopefully by then I'll be spending the night on the dance floor :)
 

Celle

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I think you've made a wise decision in not going to the party.
Yes, you should be recovered enough to enjoy the wedding in September.
 

Jajakio

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You might be in a hospital that provides some help with learning to maneuver. My hospital had what they called the gym. I was told beforehand to measure the height of both my bed and my car's seat and they had models of both they set to the correct height and the PT helped us practice getting in and out with helpful suggestions. The most useful suggestion for me was put the back of the car's seat flat and then try to slide in. Gives you a bit more room to maneuver. Then return back of seat to upright position once settled. It made more difference than i expected it would. We weren't supposed to leave the hospital after surgery until we did our gym bit but I wouldnt have wanted to. It was enormously helpful. Not exercise, just learning to do stairs, car, bed, etc. And a good time to ask for suggestions about any special circumstances you might have to face.
 

Jockette

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Not exercise, just learning to do stairs, car, bed, etc
Now that is very helpful! I had nothing like that.

I was discharged on a cold, windy night, it had rained earlier, and the nurse just stood there holding my elevating wedge and watched me struggle to get in the car, which was a Toyota Matrix. I don’t remember her offering any suggestions.
 

Jajakio

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I'm sorry, Jockette. You got a rough deal all the way around. Some hospitals have something like this, some don't. Most of us have little to no experience with this kind of thing before surgery and having someone with experience walk you through the bed, car and stairs when they can see what you are doing wrong helps a lot. I had a short one step stool i used for the van for the first week or so but I didn't need it long. RosieNZ I hope things go well for you and that eventually you'll be glad you had it done.
 

gia2cats

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I spent one night in the hospital after my TKR. I had a mature night nurse who gave me a great tip for my 60 minute ride home. Both of my feet had padded booties on to protect my heels while in bed. She told me they discard those booties and to take one with me to wear on the ride home. It acted like a shock absorber and I didn’t feel the road bumps as much.
I was able to ride in the front passenger seat of a Subaru SUV.
 

Jockette

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She told me they discard those booties and to take one with me to wear on the ride home. It acted like a shock absorber and I didn’t feel the road bumps as much.
I had an acquaintance suggest putting a small pillow under my foot in the car, like she did. It acted like a shock absorber, too. This acquaintance had her knee done 4 months ahead of me. She was one of the few people I came face to face with who encouraged me.
 

winemama

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I’m 3.5 weeks post, and I’m lucky if I can sit in a car for 10 minutes I bow down to you all who can go 4.5 hours
 

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