Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!
1. How long was it before you could go back to work (she's a secretary)?
I'm retired so this doesn' apply to me... but it's been 6 weeks and I probably could go back to work if I had to.
2. If you went straight home after the hospital and not to a rehab hospital, how many nights did you need someone to stay with you? How many days did you need someone to stay with you all day long? (my mom lives alone and I don't have a bed for her at my house)
I went straight home on a Thursday. My husband stayed home that Friday and helped me do EVERYTHING til he returned to work on Monday. I had a potty chair sitting near the recliner during the day (not pretty but a blessing), we'd move it beside the bed for night use (again, another blessing). I had an extention for the potty in the bathroom... I still use it especially in the mornings when I first get up. Had a walker with wheels, (a life saver) It really depends on your mother and how well she starts becoming mobile. I didn't clean house or anything like that but was able to get up and go to restroom and walk around the house for exercise. She'll need help for the other things for a while.
3. Did you have to wear one of those knee exercise machine things on your knee a few times a day for an hour or so? If so, could you get it off and on yourself or did you need someone to do it for you? Yes, It's called a CPM machine. I had a therapist that made home visits for the first 3 weeks. It was part of my therapy. It helps a lot get some of the flexiblity back. At first, I needed help but then I learned how to do it myself. I took a large bath towl and folded it in half lengthwise, hooked it over my foot, pulled back and swung my leg into place on the CPM machine... I used a thin towel (we all have some, the worn out kind.)
4. How long after leaving the hospital did you need to use a walker or crutches? My surgeon only allowed walkers, no crutches. I weaned myself off in about 3 weeks to one of those canes that has four feet... that helped a lot.
5. How long after leaving the hospital was it before you could drive? My followup checkup was 3 weeks after surgery. The doctor gave me permission to drive "when I felt comfortable. I had my right knee done, the one we all use when driving so I wanted to make sure. I drove around the block a few times with my husband present to see how I would do... I now drive all the time..
6. How long did you do outpatient rehab? I think my mom was told it would be for 4 weeks, 3 times a week. Is that normal? I just finished my 2nd week and I missed a week (got sick)... again, that depends on the individual. The only thing I haven't mastered is going up and down stairs.
7. How long was it before you felt and walked normal again? I had to get myself emtionally ready for this. I just told myself to "stand up straight, don't look down and pick up that leg, don't drag it"... that took about 3 weeks. The knee "pops" when I'm walking normal. Several others that I have talked to said that is normal.
Hope this has helped you. I know I asked a lot of questions before having the surgery done. I put up with the pain for over a year and now I'm mad at myself for putting it off...I haven't met or talked to anyone that regrets doing it.