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Coping with total knee replacement
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Csmile posted:
Greetings all. I am 5 weeks post a total knee replacement. I know it's premature but when will I start to feel semi-normal again? The pain has diminished somewhat but every time I start to walk my leg swells up and I have to put it up. Very frustrating. I have been very dedicated to therapy and have done my home exercises religously but I still have some pain and don't feel right. I walk with a cane now. Everyone, Dr. & therapists, tell me I'm doing well I should be happy but I'm experiencing some anxiety and fear the long recovery. The Dr. sayid "Three months til Thank you" I hope he's right. I'm not normally one to feel sorry for myself but this is very difficult for me. I have no energy and can't get comfortable to sleep at night. Some tell me to just relax as it takes time. Others say I should continue the pain meds to help ease the discomfort. I just want to be myself again to enjoy my 10 year old. I'm only 44! Any suggestions?

"Sleepless in New Jersey"
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_swank_ responded:
You're nowhere near healed yet. Give yourself time to heal and don't push yourself. I didn't feel normal until about 3 months post-up and I had a partial knee replacement. You're tired because surgery kicks your butt in a lot of other ways. It's major trauma to your body. Anesthesia can take a while to get out of your body. My butt drags for a couple months after surgery, even if it's relatively minor. My last surgery was a hip scope and I was under anesthesia for 3 hours. It took a long time to recover.

So in this case, listen to your doctor and therapist. You're doing fine and it will be worth it in the end. I'm just over 3 years post-op and most of the time I have no pain whatsoever in my knee.
 
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Csmile responded:
Thank you. I guess it helps to just hear it from those who have been through it. I'll keep truckin' along. Today I feel a bit more energy but you're right, the surgery was pretty traumatic so I need to relax. Thanks again!
 
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kbionic responded:
Hi there - I had 2 knees done at once. Don't give up hope - I hate to brag - but I was considered a miracle as I as up walking the next day - Also helps I used to be a dancer - The pain will go away - Remember you are just 5 weeks post-op - I was the exception -
 
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mommie12356 responded:
Everyone walks on the second day.So your not much better off then most.
 
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Csmile responded:
Thanks! I cannot even imagine having both knees done at the same time. Glad to hear you did so well. I was up the next day too but still experienced pain. It's now 6 weeks and I'm doing better. I just can't seem to get comfortable to sleep. Lots of tossing & turning. I also feel a little anxiety at times, not sure what that's sbout. Well, thanks for the encouragement!
 
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Csmile responded:
Hello again! Does anyone else have trouble sleeping? I toss and turn all night! It's so frustrating. I did try a percocet before bed but that didn't help. I hope this passes. I go to the Dr. next week, (7 weeks), to see about returning to work. Right now I can't even make it halfway through a grocery store without swelling and my leg feeling like a tree trunk I have to get home and put it up. I walk a lot at work so I can't imagine going back yet. I thought I'd be a lot better off by now. I am trying to be patient but this really stinks. I need to feel normal again! I must admit though that it does help to read others stories. I guess it could be worse. Thanks
 
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Csmile responded:
One more thing... Prior to the surgery I had a sharp pain on the inside side of my left knee It felt like a fire poker going directly into the joint. The doctor said it was from the ligament rubbing against the bone with no cartilage. Now, 6 weeks post TKR, I still have the same pain. The doctor now says it's scar tissue. The therapists have been massaging, tapping, icing and giving me massages to do. Nothing seems to help. This pocket of fluid causes so much pain it prevents me from bending to my full capacity despite taking the pain pills. Does anyone else suffer from this? I never imagined going through this whole surgery and ending up with the same debilitating pain as I had prior to the surgery.
 
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nanashopper responded:
I had my TKR on my left knee Nov. 07 had a few problems........another surgery to repair my quad muscle June 08 then 1 more surgery to knock off scar tissue in Nov 08. I still wake up during the night.............my knee popping! My right knee needs to be replaced but I am putting it off as long as possible, as I don't want to go through this again........although after reading some of these posts, I think I'm doing better than lots of people. I also think that you should give yourself at least 6 months to recover and say "thank you" to your doctor! Also I think you need to continue to exercise your knee forever so you don't lose ROM. Good luck and God bless.
 
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TLR2010 responded:
Boy can I relate to you. If one more person tells me to relax and let myself be where I am I'm going to scream! I had both knees replaced on the 14th of December. I also feel that I'm not where I should be. I get so frustrated with the pain and being so slow at everything. I'm down to walking with a cane but find it hard to stand in one place or sit more than 15 minutes. How about you? I'm trying to cut back on the Oxycodone but like you I'm waking up in the middle of the night with pain. My poor husband has taken the brunt of it, not to mention my 7 y.o. son. I'm not the best patient. As for the energy I started taking a prenatal vitamin and I think it is actually helping. I think the best thing for both of us is to listen to our bodies and rest. Good luck with your PT. Take care- TLR
 
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Csmile responded:
Thanks for the support. I think I am the world's worst patient. I also have trouble standing or sitting in one place for any length of time, especially in the car. The seat hits the back of my leg and it is sooo... uncomfortable. I haven't taken the pain pills but may begin again as now I have new pain across the top of my knee cap and into the quad muscle. Maybe it's from the more intense exercises. My 10 year old daughter has been very supportive but, unfortunately, being a single mom, she's seen me cry from frustration. I'm tired of being in pain and not being able to function. Well, tomorrow will be 7 weeks and I see the Dr. Thursday so I'll have to keep truckin'. TLR - You're right, we can't go back and undo this so we'll have listen to our bodies and learn patience. I know it's hard because everyone tells me the same thing, "It takes Time", "Relax", but they're not the ones going through this. Even the Dr. & Therapists haven't experienced anything like this first hand. Well, God Bless and keep me posted on your success!
 
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Csmile responded:
I am due to return to work after 8 weeks. So far, 7 weeks tomorrow, I am afraid because I walk a lot at work but even sitting is a challenge for me. Everyone says when I start to hurt and swell I should stop, put my leg up and ice it. How am I going to do this at work? It's not like I can put an E-Z Boy in my office. Should I request another few weeks? My therapist says I should and does not recommend going back yet. The down side is I'm getting cabin fever staying home. Lots of time to dwell on it . I am doing some work from home on the computer. Part of me thinks I should just suck it up and go back and deal with the pain but I've gone this far and don't want to have a set back. I also don't want to drive one hour each way to work while still taking the pain pills. Any advice?
 
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Geradine4733 responded:
If you are in pain and need the pain meds, take them - at least for the exercises. If you do not need the pain meds, do not take them.

It takes a long time to heal - at least it did for me but I had an excellent outcome. I was depressed too. It is not an easy recovery. You have to find things to do to get your mind off of your knee. Get out of the house and see a few close friends that you feel comfortable to be with.

You say the pain has diminished somewhat - count your blessings because your knee is starting to heal. Keep doing the exercises and visualize yourself walking normally again. It will happen.

My knee took longer than three months but I could see the progress. The knee was swollen and hot to the touch but the doctor kept telling me that it was a good sign - that blood goes were it is needed. I needed the blood to heal my TKR, and he was right. It did happen. Good luck.
 
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sanibel54 responded:
OK, 11pm, and of course, I'm up reading boards, instead of sleeping. What does that tell you?! My TKR was 12/6, so am 6 weeks out today. PT for the most part is great, but I had a sub for my regular gal today, and it was brutal, so I'm quite sore this evening.

Every few days, I notice things getting easier that I couldn't do a week ago, so hang in there, and take joy in the "little wins". I remember when I had the in-home therapist and the one exercise I just couldn't do was the simple straight leg lift?! I could do everything else, but just not this, and suddenly, I could start doing this as well (only two weeks ago). Practicing on the bike today, I finally had my first backward full-revolution.

Everyone heals at a different rate. Another gal at PT had surgery a week after me, and is already riding the bike like a fiend. Sure, it makes me envious, but you get over it and do the best YOU can. Exercise is absolutely key though. I thought I'd take Christmas Day off, ha, BIG MISTAKE. The day after when I started back up again, it was like taking four steps backward.

I too have been finding that the worst soreness is in the evening and you just can't get comfortable. I alternate between falling asleep with a cold compress or a heating pad. Sometimes my pain is in the groin muscle because my quad strength is not where it needs to be yet (or so the PT says). The heat seems to help with this.

My suggestion on the lack of sleep is to have the doctor prescribe ambien, but as a single parent this won't work, unless you have someone else staying with you. I took one last week after a really restless few days, had a knock-out night of sleep and slept much better after that without having to take it again.

My doctor is pretty conservative with pain meds. Even in the hospital where a lot of people have the morphine pump, you had to ask for a shot when the pain became unbearable. At home, I'm down from the percocet 7.5 to 5mg, and don't take it during the day anymore at all. But, I will take one to one about an hour before PT, and then another 4-5 hours afterward.

But, then evening rolls around and the pain kicks in again. So if I need to take another pill to help with that, you do what you have to do. And yes, don't forget that stool softener. But what also helps is eating a daily dose of an apple in addition to other fruit.

If you an stay out a little longer, I think you should see if that works. Maybe working part-time from home would be an option, that way you could ice up and elevate you knee when you need to. I wish you well, and really hope you have someone there to help you out. Be well!
 
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Csmile responded:
Well, I saw the Dr. today and I'm out for another 3 weeks to recover. Good decision as I need to go back healed and off the cane! Thanks for the good advice!


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