I'm scheduled to have a TKR on my left knee in less than 3 weeks and I'm still a few weeks from turning 50 years old. I have been dealing with pain for many years - decades and have a number of surgeries on my knees before.
I was looking forward to having the surgery, but I must admit fear is setting in and yes I'm somewhat "chickin". I have so many fears but none more than what if my new knee is still worse than my current bad knee. My quality of life has been severly impacted to a point where I can't run or barely walk for any period of time. I've gained a ton of weight and wonder if I'm too heavy to have the surgery but the surgeon has just said to try and lose weight if I can. The other issue I'm facing is how long will I be away from work, I'm a desk guy so no manual labour.
I need to get myself into a better frame of mind but I keep hearing about the pain of surgery. I have friends who have had the surgery and they keep reassurring me that I'll be glad I went through with it, so I'm not sure why I'm hesitant. I know... it's time to Man Up!
Not sure what my problem is, I've read many posts and have eduacted myself on what to expect. Guess I'll find out, just need to stay positive!
Thanks and Happy New Year!
I'm just four weeks post op for a right knee replacement. The most important thing I can tell you to do right now is preoperative exercises to get prepared for your postoperative regimen. I found out about this less than two weeks prior to my surgery and if I had known what I know now I would have started months before. What you can get in now though is better than not doing anything. My pain level has reduced in the last week, but my knee gets extremely stiff and swells after exercises. I'm not achieving the ROM I would like to be at right now, but praying that this will come (have posted a thread requesting advice from others on what worked for them). Two weeks ago I was saying I would never have this done again and even though I'm up at 2:45 am massaging my knee, I know it's this best thing I could have done for the bone on bone trauma I was going through. Best of luck and hopefully in a year we both will have great stories to pass on.
Thanks TBar, although I haven't prepared for the surgery by doing any pre-surgery excercises I will do whatever I can beforehand. I suspect every litle bit helps (it can't hurt). Any comments on how you handled post op pain. I'm not sure what to expect as far as pain. Had my knees scoped numerous times with little pain afterwards but I know this can't be compared with aTKR. Thanks again.
I am sure everyone here can reassure you that you will NOT be worse off if you do have this surgery. The post operative pain is awful, but it reduces in time and the pain if you don't have the surgery will only continue to increase.
Everyone is different, but there does come a day when you will realise that the pain you are now in is less than presurgery (and it is a different kind) and from then on it just gets better and better. You will have a far better quality of life, the weight will come off and you will rediscover things you have not been able to for a long time. This surgery is, in my opinion, a miracle for those of us who need it and I am so thankful that I live in this day and age where it is possible to have this life changing operation.
Matter--I had my knee scoped six months prior to the knee replacement and like you I had very little pain, so I was not expecting the post operative pain of the knee replacement. I must admit the pain was terrible so I was very timely in taken the pain medication that was prescribed by my physician (hydrocodone). I don't like to be dependent on medications, but it is the only way I was able to handle that awful pain right after the surgery. Again--it is a different pain though, a surgical recovery pain and over the last two weeks (four weeks out) it has reduced. I continue to take the pain medication but now I can go longer between doses. Just do not allow the pain to get ahead of your medication. The hospital staff, my surgeon, and my therapist all said this and I'm definitely following that advise as a couple of times I did allow that to happen. As "fantail" said--you wil not be worse off if you do have this surgery. At two weeks I was saying I would have never had this done if I had known the pain, but today (after a great therapy session) I realize that now I can walk (though stiff) without worrying about my knee giving out from under me, I'm no longer walking with a limp, no more bone on bone grinding, and most importantly I see in the future being able to play again with my grandchildren without fear. Best of luck with your TKR and if you have any questions I'll be checking back. This healthboard has been a blessing and an educational tool to me to find out I was not the only one that had questions and concerns about my recovery.
Great advice, I will certainly ensure that I follow the prescribed plan for post op pain. I can't imagine the pain that is in store for me but I guess I will find out in less than 3weeks.
Question - currently my ability to walk downstairs because of my arthritic knees is very bad and yes embarrassing , as my good buddies say... I look like a 90 year old man. Do you know if a person is better at doing the stairs after a year with their new knees? Thanks so much for the ability to discuss this with others such as yourselves.
Matter-stairs will get easier and you will not look like a lil old man. It will take a little time but I think it was worth it. I have a desk job and just started back this week. I took 2 months off. I went back full time and yes my knee still hurts and swells. But I think going back will help my recovery. Knee replacement take a long time to recover from, I tell myself every day will be better. I recommend purchasing a recumbent bike to assist in your recovery.
I also am happy I found this board. Very helpful -- especially during the trying early post-op weeks. (I'm now 3 months+1 week)
PT was painful -- well the ROM especially was -- but I still do the bending exercises and now can do a full revlution on my recumbant bike. I see progress all the time.
Would I do it over again? In a minute! Those first few days and early weeks were difficult and I wondered what made me do it. But as time passed and I saw progress, I wondered why I had put it off for so long. I'll be 79 in a few days and for the first time in years, I can walk down a slope normally. I gave up my rolling cane about a month ago, after months and months of relying on it. I made the right decision to have the surgery!!
Matter, one of the joys of my life is no longer struggling with stairs and avoiding them. No longer do I have to search out elevators and I can comfortably get to and from my bedroom to the front door - a total of 28 stairs! I used to struggle up and down every day and hope one day to be able to miss every second one as I did before I injured my knee.
Thanks for the feedback, it's reassuring to see there are many benefits to having this done. I'm having my pre-op testing done this week (not sure what's all involved) but hopefully I'm healthy enough to have the surgery. I'm very overweight and have high blood pressure and poor circulation in my legs but the suregeon was aware of this before scheduling me. I guess I'll find out later if there are issues.
Thanks again to everyone, your comments and encouragement has been so helpful and much appreciated.
I have a close friend who had a double knee replacement at the same time. He has a serious weight problem also but it has made his life much better than before. try to make a life changing promise to yourself to loose the weight starting now, it will help much more than your knee. I had a TNR in 2005, it has made an amazing difference in my mobility. Good luck with your surgery and rehab.
Thanks, yes I know about the weight, it is the cause for numerous health problems I'm dealing with. It's been a lifelong problem and has had such a negative impact on my health as I get older and exercise less. I'm glad to hear your mobility improved, I'm hoping to be able to go for walks with my wife without having constant pain every step. I think I'll deal with rehab okay(not sure why I think this), it's just my fear with dealing with post -op pain that has me down.
I have my three month check up on Friday.. I can't believe how fast it has gone. and how wonderful I feel. Oh we have days where we aren't as comfortable as another..but on a whole I would do it over again in a heart beat. I told my dentist the other day I would rather have knee replacement surgery than come see him... didn't make him feel very good...lol.
Stairs will be a welcome in a very short time. I think of how I dreaded them and prior to surgery I could only go up and down stairs a step at a time.. at three months post op I'm using one railing and going up and down them foot over foot which I haven't done in years because of the pain.
Once you are up and moving after surgery... if you have stairs available.. just walk up and down them a couple times a day.. the bending of the knee will help both your ROM and your extension. Won't feel wonderful...but sure is going to help with the mobility of your knee.
I have full extension and my ROM is the same as my other knee now.. still looks bigger than my other knee due to swelling.. but not that bad.
One other thing I noticed. I use to have to lift my leg into the car when getting in... those days are gone to.. I simply get in now... no more lifting a dead weighted leg...
Surgery will be fine and to be honest the pain I don't think was as bad as they lead me to believe. Take your pain meds before PT.. and keep moving.. and you will feel great... Oh one more thing.. since having the surgery somehow... I have lost almost 30 lbs... how the heck I did that I have no idea... but glad.
Good luck... will check back in after Friday's check up...
Oh one more thing, if you are lucky enough to be given a CPM machine to use.. live in it during the day when you come home... it's great.. really really works the extension and ROM of the knee... it was a blessing.
Well one week away from surgery day nerves starting to set in. Had my pre op testing session on Wed all went well as far as I know. Need to stay confident and think of the best and not focus on the post op pain.
Thanks to all for the kind and supportive posts.
Hi Matter - I have TKR on my right knee on 1/19/10, so I am a couple of days ahead of you. I am also overweight and due to pain have been kind of a slug, I have been doing some exercising, but not nearly what I should have ( also had twisted my knee and a bout with swine flu and then a sinus infection - excuses, excuses) .... I too am scared, of all the following - getting through surgery, pain afterward, and keeping up with PT.
What type of anesthesia are you having? Unless something changes, I am having a femoral block and a spinal, and according to my Doc, lots of happy juice. From what I have read, the pain post surgery will hopefully be less than with a general. If anyone can comment on this, it would be appreciated.
I have also been told that using the CPM is very important, and the continuous ice machine is a godsend. The CPM comes home for 2 weeks, but they send home the ice machine and it's mine. Check and make sure you get these. I was even more scared before my check up with my Doc on Thursday, but she answered a lot of my questions and made me feel a little more confident that I will get through this. I know I am going to have to work a lot harder than I ever have in the past, but I am hoping there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, and that instead of the pain getting worse, it will gradually improve so I can get on with enjoying life. Right now I feel like I have been watching it go by from the sidelines.
Hopefully, we can compare notes in a couple of weeks. I'm sure that I will be doing a lot of bitchin'. Good luck to you too!
Hi Grumpyathome, thanks for the post. Yes it will be interesting in following each other's progress through this journey. I'm not sure I'm ready for this but it's coming... so no looking back. It will be one of many changes that I must make in my lifestyle. Problem is I'm suppose to have my other knee replaced in four months. I'll see how the first one goes before I take on the second challenge.
I have no idea about which type of anesthesia I will be given, but I have no interest in being awake or aware of what is occurring. I want to be totally OUT and hopefully I awake alive in recovery. I'm all for the "happy juice" as well... keep it flowing! I am also interested in seeing others opinions and comments on this subject.
I will mention the CPM at my next appt on Tues, haven't heard much about the ice machine though. I need to make sure that I do the exercises because that I believe is the key to a safe and healthy rehab.
I have great faith in the Doctor that will be performing this surgery. I need to live up to my end of the bargain as well, which as you say, will mean working a lot harder than in the past.
I keep thinking that I wish I knew what I was up against regarding post-op pain but then again maybe I don't. Oh well, we shall soon find out!
Too both of you facing your surgeries... have no fear.. it's not as bad as it sounds.. Rely on your pain meds in the hospital, let the CPM machine do it's thing and don't be afraid to get up when the PT person comes in and says.. here's your walker.. let's give it a try. I was scared to death.. then I stood up and thought WOW.. couldn't believe it didn't hurt that bad.
Key to the whole thing is doing your exercises.. yes they can be a PIA.. and you won't want to do them.. the squats are easy, sliding your leg up towards you hip is tough but a easy one to do.. and does great for your ROM.. and just sitting and getting up is a great one.. I couldn't do the leg lifts.. my quads were so weak.. but now I can do them great.
I just saw my dr. on Friday for my 3 mos. check up.. he said I regained all my ROM and just a smidge off on the extension.. which with strength and exercise it will come back. I don't have to go back till the anniversary of my surgery.. which is Oct. 15th... unless I feel I need to. Don't have to do anymore PT being I don't like the lady.. she puts me in a room with the same exercises they gave me when I came home from the hospital to do alone.. and I ride a bike for 10 mins.. she massages my leg for 5 mins.. then I stim and ice for 15... all of that I can do at home.. so why pay for it.. and the dr. agreed. He said anytime I thought I needed therapy he would write me a new prescription. I might check out a gym instead.
Anyway... I'm so happy I had this done... you will both be fine.. Couple of things I did notice that drove me nuts.
When you come home make sure you have the seat for over the toilet.. it rises it and has handles on the side.. that was the best thing I had.. It will feel funny when you stand up from sitting down you leg will kind of shake from being weak so it doesn't work right away just standing up to pull up your shorts...lol. I used that for about six weeks.. Even now if I sit on our sofa... it's too low.. I have a hard time getting up.. but once I'm up.. I'm good to go.
Pain meds... don't be afraid to take them...it's better to beat the pain before it sets in. But even once I got home I took more ibprofen than I did Darvocet.. usually at night is when I needed the pain meds.. you will be uncomfortable at night.. takes time to get use to sleeping with your new knee.
Use your CPM machine or demand they give you one to take home.. it's the best thing... I lived in mine and I think that's why I got my total ROM back. 2 weeks after surgery I was gingerly walking up and down the steps for exercise.. that's great also for your extension and ROM... did that then crawled back in my CPM and ICE.. ICE.. ICE.. ICE...
Can't wait to hear how you both do.. I'm sure you will be fine.. The pain is weird.. it's not really pain as we think of it.. at least for me.. it's more like a annoying ache.. and at first you knee will just feel totally swollen.. which it is.. the bruising is WOW... but.. hey... the end result is great.
Going to check back later.. and good luck to you both.. will keep you in my prayers.
New knees are the best thing.. your going to love it.
They used to ice machine on my knee in the hospital while I was in the CPM machine.. but didn't have one at home.. I had a huge ice gel pac that I would put on my knee when I was in the machine. I did have a ice machine when I had my ACL done.. don't really see the difference between that and a good ice bag.. Should of bought two when I got this one.. it's like the ones PT's use. It's great... and stays cold forever.
Thanks for the input. I am trying to get the house ready for me and to make things a little easier for my husband to find things. Since my mother-in-law was here for Christmas and is wheelchair bound, we went ahead and bought the toilet seat and a shower chair since we knew I would need them later.
I am 54 and my husband is retired, so he will be my caregiver when I get home and my 27 year old daughter lives less than 5 minutes away and will help also. It would be nice if my husband could cook, but this may inspire him to learn. We tease that he is going to be like Kathy Bates in the movie "Misery"....so I am a little worried. I'm also not sure how much help I am going to need. I've been told that I won't be able to get out of the CPM by myself the first week or two. I hope that's not true. My sister-in-law gave me a bell for Christmas, and I have told my dh to keep his phone on and in his pocket, so I don't have to shout. He is moving to the guest room, so I plan on putting the CPM on one side of the bed and being able to lay on the other side. Any advice on whether the CPM should be on the side of the bed on the operated leg side (right knee) , or if my unoperated leg should be to the outside and first out. I am used to the right side of the bed and I never sleep on my back, so that will be a real change. When can I go back to sleeping on my side and stomach?
My doc said that they would work to get the pain meds right before I go home, so I hope that they will do their job. So I think I am ready for this, but don't expect to get much sleep tomorrow night. (my doc said she would be sleeping like a baby, and that I had the next day to catch up on sleep. I told her that I was glad that she would be well rested) I have a lot of faith in her and her practice. They are the docs for the Orlando Magic basketball team.
About 36 hours and counting.....when I get home I really will be grumpyathome....
Matter - does your doc think 4 months between surgeries is enough healing time? When my Mother (20 some years ago) had her TKR's, they waited about 8 months between.
I would definitely ask about anesthesia differences - my doc assures me that with the spinal they will put me out enough that I don't know what is going on. Unfortunately, I won't be home and on the computer before you go in, so I won't be able to let you know. Maybe someone else can give you advice.
I'll probably try and chat again before I go in at 5:00 am on Tues morning.
Last edited by Administrator; 06-09-2010 at 06:23 PM.