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SREIM 01-10-2012 07:49 PM

Re: Total Knee Replacement
[QUOTE=wifeofpatient;4753194]My husband had Total Knee Replacement surgery 13 days ago. I came across this website and it was so helpful to me that I decided to tell our story.

My husband is 58 years old and has suffered with severe knee pain (in both knees) for the last several months. Due to the pain level, he had been VERY INACTIVE for a very long time. He had gotten to the point that he would drive to the end of the driveway to check the mail and wait in the truck while I went shopping. His quality of life had gone down so much that we felt that it was time to do something.

We made an appointment with the doctor. On the first visit, they took x-rays and saw that he knees were "bone on bone" in both legs. Although he was considered young for this surgery, it was basically his only alternative. After discussing our options, we chose to go with a partial knee replacement in hopes that it would buy a few years before eventually having to have a total knee replacement. The doctor was concerned that a partial would not support his weight (because he is over 300 hundred pounds), but felt that he was a bit young to do a total knee replacement. So we scheduled a partial knee replacement surgery. I informed the office that I was scheduled to attend a conference out of town 5 days after surgery and they assured me that I could still go ahead with the plans - he would be able to take care of himself by that time. NOT!

He had the surgery on a Friday. Before starting, they scoped the knee and determined that a partial would not be effective since his entire knee was in bad shape. They had to end up doing a Total Knee Replacement.

The surgery lasted for 2 hours. He was awake during the entire procedure. When he returned from recovery, he was talking and laughing and doing fine.

The following morning, we were so excited with the outcome. The physical therapists came in and got him up. He walked around the hospital floor with no problems. We realized later that the nerve block was still in effect!

That afternoon, after sitting in a chair for most of the day, he was ready to get back in the bed. He made it to the bed and began feeling lightheaded. He completely passed out while sitting on the edge of the bed. I had my arms around his waist and was afraid that if I let go that he would slide off of the bed, so I had to call for help. Help arrived and when he woke up, he began throwing up. They didn't seem to be overly concerned. They felt that it was medication related and likely from the trauma to the leg/body.

The following morning, he did his exercises again, but was beginning to feel pain and asking for pain meds.

On the 3rd day after surgery, they told us that they were sending us home. Of course it took most of the day to get the paperwork done, so we didn't get home until that evening. While waiting to go home, they made sure that we had access to a walker and had a potty chair delivered....that is when I began to get a little concerned....I am not cut out to be a nurse.....

When we got home, we put him in his recliner - big mistake. Although he was very comfy, when it was time to get up, he was unable to. We had to call his sister and our daughter to help. Needless to say, he has not used his recliner again. He has been sitting in a chair from our back patio (because it has two hard armrests that he needs in order to stand up).

The following day, I realized that I would need to cancel my trip because there was absolutely NO WAY that he would be able to take care of himself while I was out of town. At this point, he was unable to get in or out of the bed without help. He was also unable to do his physical therapy exercises without help. He had been told to do "straight leg lifts" and at this point, he was not able to lift his leg at all. He was having to use a portable toilet (because it sits up higher than a regular toilet). Also, we had a rented a device that had to be filled with ice water every 3-4 hours that was connected to a wrap that went around the knee and provided cold and pressure to the knee to reduce swelling. I am not exactly sure who the doctor's office thought would be doing all of this when they told me to go ahead with my plans to attend the conference....

Each day has gotten a little easier. He found a way to use his belt to lift his leg to help him get into the bed. After doing the exercises 3 times each day, little by little he was able to do a little more on his own.

Today is the 13th day after surgery. He had his staples removed today. He took his last shot in the stomach today (to prevent blood clots). He was finally able to remove the stockings (to prevent bloodclots). At this point, he is able to do his physical therapy exercises without help. He can lift his leg, but has difficulty holding it in the air for 5 seconds.) Yesterday was the first day that he stayed at home all day without someone there to help him.

So, to the spouses of those scheduled to have this surgery, I would suggest that you make arrangements to be there to help for at least a week, possibly longer. I think that the length of recovery depends on the physical shape of the patient, but in our case, it has taken a little longer due to his weight and his inactivity prior to the surgery.

I will do my best to give updates as time allows. Please let me know if our story was helpful to you.[/QUOTE]

SREIM 01-10-2012 08:04 PM

Re: Total Knee Replacement
Your story was helpful because you stated not to sit down in ones recliner chair as it would be hard to get up and out of. I prepared ahead of time with a straight chair with arms, thanks to you.

It is my 6th day since surgery and I have been home 2 days. In my case I could have been left alone if things were prepared ahead of time. Such as, food in the refrigerator, or as in my case, I have meals on wheels. I also had a high riser on the toilet and a comode close to my bed. I have been up and tootle-ing around the home, doing my exercises as prescribed by my surgeon plus reading and getting ready to go back to my job that I have been with for 23 yrs. I am 77.

The hospital and other doctors wanted to send me straight to an extended care facility but my surgeon said no. I have a disabled husband whom I care for. For us it has worked out best for me to be sent home. Along with my care we have a wonderful parish nurse program at our church and we also have wonderful neighbors who care and we have a phone. This has all seemed to work for us.

wiz156 01-11-2012 05:01 AM

Re: Total Knee Replacement
I am now 4 months passed my TKR. I had a rocky way to get to hear. After 4 months I am just starting to feel that I'm going to recover from this procedure. I had to have a manipulation of the knee done at week 8, because I was only able to have a 70degree range of motion (ROM). On my last weeks doctors followup I was at 115 Degrees. Not really at what I expectd to be at this time but the pain is getting better. I dd over 30 treatmets of Physical Theropy and had to stop due to insurance not paying and accumulation of 12K in bills. I have now joined a Gym (Planet Fitness) that has all the machines needed to continue a very decent theropy on your own. They are running specials for $99 for a year. You really can't beat the price. Since I've been going there I have seen a steady improvement. I truely believe that this is TKR is very different for each individual and your progress will be different from what I've gone through. It is still good to hear that IF you're not doing great after 4 months, that others are doing the same. My surgeon still feels that my progress is on track. Big warning about the pain meds... They are addicting. After the third month, I found myself gittery, short temptered, unable to sleep, depression and very anxious. I only take a pain med when I truely need them now... just before bed. I hope that I have reached out to someone and let them know that we aren t all supermen and that some take longer than others. I know that I expected to be running by month 2. I am 60 yesars old and thought that if a 75 year old person can get through this then I can do it in half the time. Well I ve seen people much older doing better than what I did, So again we're all different. Best to you all and don't give up... we'll get there.

knockneez 01-11-2012 06:22 AM

Re: Total Knee Replacement
I too am now about 4 months out from my TKR. I thought, because I'm young and reasonably fit, that I would be up and running at 2-3 months. Well, that idea has been tossed out the window. I am still going to PT, and my ROM seems stuck at 115-118. I had to deal with extreme swelling (had to wear compression hose) which I think impacted my progress significantly. I still have swelling, but now it's relegated to some minor stuff right around the knee and not the whole leg and foot. I am getting around well and don't really seem to need pain meds anymore, not even Tylenol (can't take NSAIDs - allergic). But I want more ROM so I can get back into my kayak and other activities. I started back to yoga and find it helpful. I have had to deal with back issues (never really had a problem with my back before) and a very angry hip (same leg as the knee). The hip issue is not internal, but external - muscles. Where the one quad muscle attaches is very tight and sore, as is the groin. I had to modify some of my PT exercises because of it, and am working with my yoga to lengthen and gently stretch the muscles. When I expressed my frustration with my progress to my surgeon he said that younger patients tend to have more difficulties and recover more slowly than older patients. He feels I'm doing well and as long as I keep working I will get where I want to be. I just want to break free from the 115 range and progress to as much ROM as I can possibly get. I had a roommate in the hospital - same doctor, same operation (opposite knee) and same age. We became good friends and stay in touch. She has better ROM than I and is done with PT. In the hospital and for the first month or so I was outpacing her in ROM quite a bit. Then I hit a plateau and she passed me by (she's about 130). But she didn't really have any swelling either. So I agree - this is a very individual, personal experience. Everyone's timeline will be different.

Silver Swan 01-11-2012 08:02 AM

Re: Total Knee Replacement
What a great idea your husband had for using his belt as a leg lifter for the operated leg. There are commercial leg lifters available for a reasonable price. I bought one of those and it was wonderful for lifting my leg after a hip replacement. I only needed it for a short time but it was a real blessing.

Glad you have mentioned that a chair with arms is necessary to get up after a joint replacement. This is so important.

I had high kitchen counter stools plus a really sturdy chair for using with the computer and also a toilet riser with arms. All very necessary for getting up and down with ease.

Shirley H.

SpineAZ 01-11-2012 08:28 AM

Re: Total Knee Replacement
I'm at 3.5 months post and have 125 degrees of flexion (I'll have 125 one day and then two days later be 120-123). I strategically planned the TKR for end of September knowing I had 26 PT visits per year, hadn't used any, and had already had both hands operated on for Carpal Tunnel in the Spring. Thus I had reached my insurance out of pocket maximum for 2011 before the TKR. I pushed to get all 26 sessions of PT in for 2011 and have agreed to use 8 of my 2012 allotment. I worry if I use all 26 I'll need PT for something else later in the year and have none left. Since I already met my 2011 annual out of pocket maximum by September I haven't had to pay anything for the TKR, 5 days in the hospital, home health care for 2 wk and 26 PT sessions . Now I'll be paying for PT. I'm only 45 and thankfully the other knee doesn't need to be done yet.

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