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penny1027 11-09-2012 11:38 PM

Having TKR -- and scared
I'm a 47 year old female, with arthritis in both knees. My right knee has been bone-on-bone for 18 months, and injections and PT didn't help. I had a meniscus tear in the same knee, and had surgery to repair that, and still didn't feel any better. I've been mostly inactive and having more and more pain, and now I can tell my muscles are about gone because it's very hard to get up from sitting. Doc says it's time to do the TKR.

Surgery is scheduled for Dec. 19th, as I wanted to have my oldest child (and the only one who can drive) home from college to help me. Doc says I'll be back on my feet and I'll enjoy Christmas with my kids. He also said to tell my boss I'll be out 12 weeks, but that he thinks since I have a desk job, I could be back earlier. Told my boss, and he about died when I said 12 weeks, so I told him I'd probably only need two or three....

Then I found these boards, and I am suddenly VERY scared of this surgery. Doc acts like I will be so happy afterwards, but I am starting to feel very very nervous. More like terrified. I've delivered three children without any drugs or docs (midwife), but the pain I'm reading about from this surgery has me really rattled. "Good news" stories would be really welcomed here. :)

glennxyz 11-10-2012 04:25 AM

Re: Having TKR -- and scared
I am 2 years post TKR (right knee), I was 55. I also have a desk job but stayed out 8 weeks so that you can do the exercises properly, you cannot skimp here. I doubt you will be up and around by Christmas. I had regrets about the surgery the 1st 6 weeks but after that it was all uphill. I played more golf this year than I have in 20 years and walk most of the time. Its good that you will have some help initially that is important. I slept in my recliner for the 1st 6 weeks.

Best of luck,

Silver Swan 11-10-2012 07:55 AM

Re: Having TKR -- and scared
Dear Penny1027:

I had just one child 55 years ago and have had 2 hip replavements in my 70s (no problems yet). No drugs with the childbirth and it was in a small midwestern hospital.

With joint replacements come pain relief with drugs and I found them effective. The pain with joint replacements comes in smaller doses than childbirth and it is spread out over time depending on how much you need to be able to do your PT etc and sleep at night.

Maybe other women who have had knee replacements and babies, can comment here with more authority than I have with my hip joint replacements. I think knee replacements are more complicated than hip replacements. The knee joint is more complicated than the hip joint.

But it seems to me you are overly scared! Hugs to you.

RustyFLA 11-10-2012 08:31 AM

Re: Having TKR -- and scared
I'm 44 and have a desk job. I had to stay out of work for 4 weeks. I do my exercises during lunch and after work. I file for medical leave under the family and medical leave act so that my job would be safe.

I also go to PT 3 times a week. I still have difficulty sitting at my desk longer than 45 minutes so I end up walking around and doing some exercises. Also use my cryo cuff to keep my knee iced while at my desk.

I'm gonna be honest. It's miserable sitting at a desk with my knee down. But sometimes you have to do what you have to.

cejayb 11-10-2012 06:04 PM

Re: Having TKR -- and scared
I also was scared. Then reminded myself that this is a site for hip and knee problems so read and took the advice and pluses from the experiences of others. I was very pain, unassisted walking at two weeks and driving at four. I know of others in my position so there are many good news stories. No good luck.

Tampa Mom 11-10-2012 06:34 PM

Re: Having TKR -- and scared
My TKR was Oct. 3. Finding the pain med that works for you, and doesn't create bad side effects, is important. I tried four before I found thr best one for me. So far I have to day, more pain than pre surgery, but everyone says long term, my quality of life will be better. I would encourage you to make an effort to get into shape before your surgery, lose weight if that is an issue, strengthen your quads and your core, I am told that speeds the rehab. It is scary, I had several interim surgeries to postpone my TKR, and I am hopeful that by Jan., I'll be back at the gym and,able to resume my contract work. Rehab is,a fulltime job, no pain, no gain.

RustyFLA 11-10-2012 06:56 PM

Re: Having TKR -- and scared
Tampamom, actually we had surgery on the exact same day. I'm not sure why but this week has been a major improvement for me. For some reason most of my pain is gone. I only have pain during PT. I can walk a mile and do my elliptical with no knee pain.
A week ago I would have not thought this possible.

I do still have some swelling but not too bad. I only have 88 degrees for bend but seem to increase a few degrees each week. For me it's been more difficult to straighten my knee but its slowly working.

I did have fairly strong legs per-surgery from the gym and elliptical so that might be a major help.

Anyway. I have read about others who just one day wake up and find their knee doing much better and I feel lucky I have hit this point. My knee feels stronger than per surgery.
A week ago I was thinking I would never be without pain.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Tampa Mom 11-10-2012 07:08 PM

Re: Having TKR -- and scared
I did an hour on the elliptical 5x week up until the day before my surgery, and I am going to the Y Tues. Morning to try a light workout including 15 minutes on the elliptical, to see how it goes. I cannot be as mean to myself at home, as my pt is to me. Really he is great and I concentrate on not screaming stop, when he pushes my limit. I just feel I have hit a wall and when I look at my knee, yuk.

nana b 11-10-2012 07:36 PM

Re: Having TKR -- and scared
I am 53 yrs old and had tkr May 29th. I stayed out of work June and july. You almost need that time to heal, but I can definitely say since Sept. I am very glad I had the surgery. home health therapy and outpatient therapy after the surgery are very, very important. With the pain meds you are given you will still have good days and bad days. Alot of the posts on here are the worst case senerios, please remember that. Right today I can't tell I had tkr the only thing I am not suppose to do is run or jump, like I am going to do that at my age. I think you will do great. I was nervous too, but all is great.

penny1027 11-11-2012 10:23 PM

Re: Having TKR -- and scared
Thanks, everyone. Cejayb -- Sounds exactly how I hope mine goes. :)

rick59 11-14-2012 03:00 PM

Re: Having TKR -- and scared
There are some very scary stories out there, but everybody is different. I had THR for right hip in Oct. 2011, and was back at work in 8 weeks (I have a desk job). Took 2-3 of the hydrocodone-acetaminophen (Vicodin) I was sent home with the entire time I was out. Used walker to get in house when got home from hospital, used cane for 4 weeks after that, then fine without. I had TKR for right knee in June 2012, and was back to work in about 5 weeks. Used a few more (maybe 6-7) of the pain meds that time. Again used walker to get in house, then cane until went back to work. Both times, continued physical therapy for awhile after went back to work. Just had TKR for left knee last week and so far similar.

Point is that there is a large range of possible results. Perhaps ask about your surgeons past patients. But don't let the scary stories unduly frighten you.

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