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3 weeks post bil TKR...help? Need encouragement
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kcsandip posted:
Hi all, my name is Sandi. I am 50 y/o and had both knees replaced 3weeks ago today. (1/14/13) I spent 4 days in then hospital, then 8 in rehab. I have a PT that come to me, and I guess I am doing ok. I have full extension (0 degrees). On flexion, or bending, my left knee. Has reached 95, my right knee has reached 100. I had some complications with my left knee (the drain did not work and my knee swelled up huge, then I developed cellulitis). But that is all clear now. Of course I have some swelling in both knees but nothing beyond normal so I am told. Here is my questions or problems. 1 . I cannot go more than 5 hrs without taking a Percocet (Used to be 4hrs). If I try to go longer, the pain is just horrible and sometimes I can't make it 5 hrs even. I do know to take meds prior to PT and to ice after, it does help! But I feel like at this point shouldn't I be able to go longer without meds? 2. I still can not sleep in my bed. I have tried and tried, but always end up back in a recliner . I am a side sleeper, and even with a soft pillow between knees, it is unbearable. 3. I have periods almost daily where I break down and just cry. I question my decision to do this surgery at all esp both at once. (I know I will be glad later) I just feel I am not doing as well as I should be. When does all this get better? Thanks for any advice you have. Sandi
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tkrayrn responded:
Sandi,
I am 48 and had my left knee replaced on January 10th of this year. I am jealous, it sounds like you have more flexion than I have attained in fact today the physical therapist told me I was in danger of needing surgical manipulation to "loosen up the knee". I think this is ridiculous, I am working hard and putting a lot into my exercises. I see my surgeon on Friday and I will see what he thinks. I do better with pain medications and take Percocet which will hold me for 6 plus hours usually but I don't think for a double knee your overusing your pain meds, especially because it sounds like you have been doing a lot of therapy to get that much flexion and extension. I know the problems with side sleeping because I am one too. Only in the last few days have I been able to spend more than a couple of hours in my own bed or sleep for more than four hours at a time. I have had some luck sleeping on my side for short periods of time with a bath towel folded up under my surgical knee to give it a little support. As I said I've gotten this to work for short periods of time. As for the crying spells I have them to. They have just started in the last week or so and usually hit me in the afternoon. I too question my decision to do surgery but then again I really did have an alternative if I was going to keep working and participating in life. Hang in there and reach out to me if you need someone to bounce things off. I know that things will get better, I know lots of people who have had very successful TKR, it just takes time.
 
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arbob5 replied to tkrayrn's response:
Everyone can react quite differently with their joint replacement surgeries. I am one of the fortunate ones because with both hips and one knee done, I feel like all three surgeries were right on as far as what my surgeon told me time wise with therapy, flexion, etc. But I do know there are so many who do have problems. It just takes more time with some patients than others.

Please think positive. This is so important, because thinking negative can really get your spirits down. Now I know that might be easier said than done, especially when you are coping with pain and feel you're not progressing as you should be. But positive thinking got me going on the right track, and this was recommended to me by my surgeon and his physician assistant. It worked for me. Please give it a try, OK?

Keep us informed on how you're doing. We are interested on this site and want to encourage you as much as possible.

God bless.
 
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ocknees responded:
Hi, Sandi!!

Please, please don't feel bad about needing your narcotic pain meds. For goodness sake, you had not one but TWO knees replaced!! Don't feel guilty and think you must taper your meds so soon! I was prescribed Oxycodone for the first two months and switched to Vicodin in the third month and took it twice a day. Like you, I tried to not use the Oxycodone much, but I'd end up crying with horrible pain and regretting the whole surgery. So, I stopped feeling guilty and took the meds.

And crying? Oh my gosh, I only had one knee done and I cried so hard and so often once I got home and started outpatient physical therapy. I cried during PT for the first month.

I was supposed to have bilateral TKR, like you, but I had complications during surgery, so only one knee was done and I spent 20 days in a rehab hospital.

I think your numbers of 95 and 100 are incredible just three weeks out of surgery! Frankly, I'm jealous!! Believe me, you're doing very well for three weeks.

Though you may not believe it now, be glad you were able to get both done at once. It's all over.

I don't have any good answers about how to sleep. Perhaps someone else will reply.

For me, the intense crying-type pain ended after two months. I had many more complications though, so yours may end much sooner. It DOES get better. It sure isn't easy but there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.

Take your pain meds. Don't give up on PT no matter what.

I hope you'll post again and tell us how you're doing. Good luck!
 
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enuff81020 responded:
Hi there,

You are only 3 weeks post-op and using pain meds is acceptable. Are they doing their job when you take them? Is there some reason that a medical person has told you that you shouldn't take them?

A TKR is a big deal surgery and two of them is a double big deal. If you are concerned about the amount of meds you need or if your doc is, please talk to them. I used pain meds for almost 6 weeks until I no longer needed them for my first single TKR. I didn't end up having any problem from their use and my doc wouldn't have given them to me if it wasn't reasonable.

Hang in there, you will recover from pain and have these new knees that give you back all of the parts of your life quite soon. A very wise doc, here at Web MD some 9 years ago said that it takes a full year to recover in every way from a knee replacement and he described different stages of recovery. You will be better sooner than you can believe right now. If you are feeling some depression, talk to your medical doc and deal with that. If this is post-op stuff, communicate it to your surgeon. Get answers and support so you can get your life back. That will happen and I can promise that you will look back on all of this and just be glad that you took this big step.
Keep your chin up!
Sylvia


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