first week of knee replacement

Posted , 9 users are following.

well just checking in as the surgery went ahead and I am now 6 days post TKR on my left knee. am 50 and live alone, but am staying with family for a few days before going back to my flat.

my biggest impression so far is that even though I did lots of research, and was also aware that there would be a lot of pain, this has still been one of the most difficult things in my life so far.

 am getting around the house on crutches and only need to tackle stairs twice a day, but am still finding I need an afternoon nap. am also finding it very difficullt to do some of the exercises as well, but maybe that will improve as the swelling continues to go down. am also aware that it is very early days yet and only came home 2 days ago.  

 so just wanted to say to anyone in the same position or about to undergo this surgery- listen to your body and be kind to yourself.  take your painkillers regularly, don't wait for the pain to become bad, and insist on extra doses while in the hospital if you need them, don't let them tell you that you should be at a different stage or that people normally don't need that drug by now, it will be impossible to participate properly in your physio unless there is some pain control.

rest when you need to, use your ice and sleep when you can, I am luckier than some people on here in that I can fall asleep, although much earlier than my usual bedtime, but am woken at least once overnight by pain, so the painkillers live right next to me overnight. It does take at least an hour to sleep again when this occurs.

eat whatever you fancy, you might find light meals easier, and drink as much as you can to prevent dehydration (non alcoholic due to being on the codeine but I have no fancy for that at the moment anyway). 

well that's all I have to say from my very limited experience so far. am still just taking it day to day and trying to think ahead to a time when I will feel the full benefit of this.

wishing good luck to all those going through it with me

2 likes, 20 replies

Report / Delete

20 Replies

Next
  • Posted

    Hello Ruth, congratulations on having such a balanced view so early on! you are so right, I haven't done anything as hard as this either, and nothing really prepares you.  Thank goodness for this forum day and night for information and support.  I am 9 weeks out now, and couldn't imagine having been on my own - however I must confess I have found other people's lack of understanding tiresome to say the least - so maybe it's an advantage!  I managed to sleep slightly better than some too, but still get ridiculously tired after doing anything remotely 'normal', but then I just listen to my body and have a nap.

    The worst thing was the tramadol..... I totally agree about keeping on top of the pain meds, and now am only on paracetamol.  Tramadol was great for pain, hence for good physio, but very difficult to get off, and apparently I was horrible whilst on it!

    Anyway, wishing you well, keep progressing and keep telling us your progress

    Very best

    Susie

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    have to admit that this is the first day have been able to think calmly about it. the hospital stay was hard, pain control was very difficult the first couple of days, and even when the painkillers were prescribed regularly the nurses were often so busy that sometimes they were late with them - particulary with the 6am doses which sometimes arrived an hour late even if i rang to ask for them. expect I made myself unpopular but that's a long time when you've woken in pain. at least now I have control over that. can't imagine trying to get off the strong stuff yet.

    guess it will be hard when I am on my own again but has to happen soon so hopefully I will be able to take my own advice about looking after myself then

     

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi R uth 7 days in for me now and yes the exercises are very difficult i think i think its just natural we try to get back to our best asap but its a slow process as far as the people i have spoken toi hit a bit of a turning point today the swelling had gone down a little more and my exercises seemed a little easier so just take your time you will get there .
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Yes, no-one can prepare you for the pain. It is truly awful. My husband had never seen me crying from pain but I did from being in hospital until about three weeks out. Then you just start to think that things are a bit better than last week, then each week after that you'll see a big difference. I'm just short of 5 months now and often forget which leg I've had done!! I'm very pleased with my knee, but I wish I had been prepared for the pain!

    Best of luck, you'll be fine.

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Pain?  Difficult?  Yup...  Nothing prepared me for this kind of pain.  Good news: I goes away...really does.  I'm 6 months post-op and have zero pain.

    Sleep:  I was sleeping 12-14 hours a day.  Asked my doc.  She said that all the energy in my body was going into healing the knee.  Sleep as much as you want.

    Hydrate?  Absolutely!!!

    Here's more tips...

    http://patient.info/forums/discuss/the-tkr-experience-or-wish-i-had-another-kidney-stone--524499

    It all gets better...but it takes time...

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Ruth welcome to the tkr club lol. I was in the same boat u are the end of March when I had my left one done and my right was the beginning of june

    but with nobody to help me but the best advise I can give u is try to relax and don't stress out about it. 6 days in is so early in the recovery stage and there is so much more ahead of u. I'm still having to take naps all the time and still in pain having to take painkillers and muscle relaxers. Keeping hydrated is really good and so is eating small meals but u also gave to force yourself to exercise and move trust me it will with your pt and recovery. Good luck it does get better but remember it is a long recovery process and every patient is different. Yes listen to body, ice, elevate and do take something for pain if u need to

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Ruth.... take one day at a time... something changes every day... and the relief you feel when u can do a little more is so refreshing. I'm 5 weeks post op.. and happy to put my sandals on.. and go shopping.. driving again too gives me my freedom back.... Hang in there. It is such a major op that affects every part of your body... I'm sure I would not do this again to my body and soul..... but have to be positive and forget ahead..... Love and light.... Shaz

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Sharon was just reading your reply to Ruth its great to hear some positive feedback i replied to Ruth yesterday saying i had a good day yesterday 7 days after my op exercises went well yet ive just awoke 3.30 am here and my knee cap is quite sore just wondering if you experienced the same sort of thing cheers.
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Johnny...... 7 days.... good on you.... My knee is still tight after 5 weeks.. and now my scar is healing it is tight as well. I use lavender oil to help the tight skin and massage all of the time. I do find the more I move the tightness lessons.. and then I ice a lot.... I gave up all painkillers after 2 weeks.. as I wanted to feel semi normal again.... Rest when u need to.... and go at ur pace... I told the physio I'm not a footballer... so don't push me so hard.... I don't have a curfew on my recovery... I'm doing my best... Take care. Shaz

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hey Johnny - I'm 8 1/2 weeks post op and dont have much pain but I get pain in my kneecap at random times - after I exercise or tonite when I walked about a mile and came in and sat down then it hurt - but it doesn't last long. It was really bothering me though after one of my pt sessions and they forced the bend. The thing is about this brutal surgery the first 4 weeks are pure hell in my book - I experienced horrible pain and every day it was something different - until the 5th week when I turned a corner. So it's very early in recovery for you so everything you feel is normal ! Just stick to your exercises , ice and elevate - there is a light at the end of this tunnel! Barb

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Way to keep it positive Ruth. Sounds like you are progessing better than normal. Yes, nothing prepares you for the pain. I thought I had a high tolerance for pain, this proved me wrong! I had a roommate, but she was busy with her own life and work. Fortunately, my sister flew out to help my first two weeks home. But she's a nurse and she pushed me (I had both knees done, so I needed to just get up and walk fully on them, though I did have a walker, I had to bear the full weight with each step) to start doing things myself. I was mad as all get-up at first, but I realized she was helping me see what I was capable of as she was concerned how I would do when she was gone (or at least that's her story). All that to say - you are doing great!

    -Mo

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Thanks but it turns out I was being way too optimistic that first week. Stayed a week at my brother's then went back to my own flat. Is now 18 days post op. Can get around flat with 1 crutch but using 2 outside. Had 1st physio session today, haven't been able to fully straighten or bend my leg enough yet but have new exercises to work on that. Bigger problem at the moment is that seem to be going backwards emotionally. Having more problems sleeping this week even though very tired, and finding myself in tears for no obvious reason, including during physio today which was a bit embarrassing though guess they have seen it all before. Am guessing this is just a reaction to everything that is going on but really don't like it. Is this something other people experienced?

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Ruth - I have to tell u I cried more in the 3rd and 4th week after my tkr than I did all year! I don't exactly know why - maybe getting off the meds or the anesthesia getting out of my system - but I was a mess emotionally. Also it was the reality that I was alone in this journey and stuck in the house for a month and in pain. I did start feeling better when the pain mellowed my 5th week. This surgery is HELL but I'm now 10 weeks out and was just today released from physical therapy! Hang in there hon and you will get through this! Hugs and prayers

      Barb

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Ruth i am at 21 days now i havent been so upset like you have but i have read that this is normal in a lot of people we seem to be going at about the same rate are you still taking your medication especially at night im off it during the day but i always take two at night i do wake up quite a lot through the night with some pain this i believe is also normal if your at the stage you are give yourself a pat on the back at 18 days your foing very well take care.
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I posted the link above but here it is again...

      http://patient.info/forums/discuss/the-tkr-experience-or-wish-i-had-another-kidney-stone--524499

      At 3 weeks, you should be starting your PT sessions.  Very important.  Yes, it's hard to sleep at the beginning, especially when you need it the most.  Try adding some OTC Melatonin.  Even if the PTs don't recommende it, I slept with a pillow under my knee and the ice machine running all night.  Worked for me.

      Glad you're not upset...doesn't help at all.  People need to stay focused and determined.  And it really does get better.  I'm six months post-op with virtually zero pain and 0 / +131 ROM.  Yes, it took 9 weeks of PT 2x/week but I got through it...we all do.  No sense getting down or upset about it.  Be strong...stay strong.  Anyone give you crap, hit them with your cane or run them over with your walker.  They have no idea how bad this can be at the beginning.

      Most people are off the opioids in 30-60 days and past virtually all the pain and hard stuff in 3-6 months.  Stiffness and clicking can linger for a long time after that but you'll be past the worst of it before you know it.

      "Never give up!  Never surrender!" - Tim Allen, Galaxy Quest

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Stay strong.  I kicked a hip replacement's butt in 6 weeks...this took 6 months.  Toughest rehab ever but sooner or later it's behind you.  Do the work, put in the effort...just remember to take it slower than normal and don't push it beyond what it can take.  Swells?  Did too much.  Some thing like a FitBit really helps keep track of daily progress and when you've crossed the line.  Get to know your limits and up them gradually.  This is a marathon, not a sprint.  Deep breath...focus.  You will get there before you know it...

      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up