Re: put it off as long as possible.
Sooo...you're finally taking the dive into getting your TKR done! Congratulations! Seriously, though, it sounds like you did exhaust all the more conservative treatments available and are now ready for a new life without PAIN in your knee!!! One suggestion: If you don't want to wait another year before you do the left knee TKR, I would ask your surgeon if he's willing to do both in the same hospital admission 4 days apart. DO NOT HAVE BOTH DONE IN ONE SURGERY! Most Orthopedic surgeons, if the patient does need both TKRs, will usually wait about 3 or 4 days between surgeries, to give the first TKR a chance to stabilize. The recovery time IS longer if you do both during the same hospital admission, but it might be worth it to you to get them over with now and be done with it.
Even just a year ago, they didn't usually recommend having both done at the same time. But that philosophy changed in one short year!
I had my right TKR last April (4/5/11) and my surgeon had to do an arthroscopic repair of my left knee at the end of that surgery because I'd developed a torn meniscus AND torn ACL in the left knee about a month before that surgery. I was told NOT to have both TKRs at the same time, so I agreed to the scope to buy me a year or two for the left knee TKR. Turned out to be two weeks shy of one year that I needed the left TKR done (3/23/12). I'm doing really well and the left one healed faster because I was only dealing with surgery on ONE knee this time around. After PT of two months this year, BOTH KNEES now feel like part of my normal anatomy, even though I know they are prosthetics!! Most of the time now, I forget I even had them done!! I do still get occasional soreness in the left one because it's only been three months since surgery, but I shed my cane a month and a half ago, for the most part!!!
Let me tell you, once you get both of yours done? It will be such a pleasure to FINALLY be able to walk on your legs WITHOUT THAT HORRIBLE BONE ON BONE PAIN in your knees! You will realize it's the BEST DECISION YOU EVER MADE ABOUT YOUR HEALTH!!!
One caution though: You will NOT be able to do high impact physical sports or activities with the TKRs in your knees. NO MORE RUNNING, JOGGING, TENNIS OR SKIING! (if you ever did these before your upcoming surgery.) The reason is that every time your foot on the leg with the TKR (if you do only one now) hits the hard pavement, it can gradually jar loose pieces of the prosthetic knee which you DON'T WANT TO HAPPEN! Most of the newer knee prosthetics last about 20 to 25 years, but can wear down faster with high impact sports or running/jogging, and they can only replace it ONE MORE TIME IN YOUR LIFE!!!
Activities you will be able to do are lots of walking, both on hard pavement, high school tracks and treadmill (no running on the treadmill or track either!), stationary and outdoor bike riding (when your knee is all healed and you finish Physical Therapy), bowling and some of the weight machines you will use during physical therapy. There's a few others but I can't think of them at the moment. Oh yeah, SWIMMING AND WATER EXERCISES are the BEST post op therapy for joint replacement surgery!!!
Depending on how small the Orthopedic Unit at the hospital is where you're having your TKR, I agree with SweetPea about bringing earphones and/or a sleep mask for your eyes, so you can get some sleep. (Although they wake you pretty early each morning to take your vital signs, and get you going for the day.) Expect to be up on the walker the day after surgery! No more coddling like in the old days! They WANT you to get up and start moving that prosthetic knee ASAP!! (For my left TKR this past March 23rd, I was very determined and told my surgeon that since mine was the first case of his day, I was planning on walking on the walker THE SAME DAY OF SURGERY later in the day. AND I DID - 200 FEET THE SAME DAY OF SURGERY!!! He was thrilled and impressed by my motivation!! - He nicknamed me "rascal" because I was always up on that walker through my entire hospital stay!!)
Also, do not take any valuables to the hospital with you. Take just enough cash and/or a check to pay for phone and TV rental. I would just rent the TV and bring your cell phone (with its charger.) It's cheaper to use your cell minutes than to rent their hospital phone in your room. Take a good book with you also.
If you have ANY OTHER QUESTIONS on what to expect post surgery, please feel free to post again and ask me. I've had both knees replaced now, so I'm an old hand at this! And yes, if the Ortho Unit offers a pre-op class, definitely go to it before your surgery. You will find it VERY HELPFUL!! I did both times and was then able to chill out and just be the patient for both surgeries a year apart!
Last edited by ldy12; 06-18-2012 at 10:01 PM.
Reason: more info, punctuation correction