Returning to work

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I'm nearly 19 weeks po new knee cap and trochlea and by the time I see my consultant on 20 August I will have been off work 5 months. I honestly don't feel anywhere near ready to return, I work in a office and am up and down from my desk all day. At the moment I'm still having to do my exercices to try and build my muscles up due to severe muscle wastage, and I'm still so tired all the time. I've also had fibromyalgia since the late 90's and my knee surgery has definitely exacerbated this. As I'm 56 I now have the chance to take my pension and I must admit I'm beginning to favour this option. I'd like to ask if anyone else decided to give up work since having a new knee/s. I've been feeling very depressed about my lack of progress and very scared about re-entering my "working world". For the last few days I've been very weepy and the "panic" I feel when thinking about my situation scares me to death. I know I'm probably not alone in feeling like this and in a few weeks time I'll probably feel different again, but at the moment my mind seems to be in turmoil.

I've gone from being a confident get up and go person to someone who only feels safe in her own home.......and I don't like it. The only good thing is I haven't half saved some money 'cos although I'm at home all day, and do have my own car, I'm too scared to go out and about on my own into town. Stupid or what.......I had this knee done to improve my life and at the moment I feel like it's ruined it.

Any advice would be much appreciated.......and I apologise for the negative tone of this post! 

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  • Posted

    Hi Pam, I had my tkr 10 March and I am returning to work next Tuesday. I am not looking forward to it but I knew I had to return at some point. I too am 56 and I am hoping to retire in 2019. I am returning to work on a phased return, 2 weeks at half my normal hours and 2 weeks 3/4 hours before returning to full time. I am still receiving physio as I have problems with my flexion but if I don't go back to work now I don't think I ever will, it is a case of biting the bullet I am afraid. Perhaps you could speak to your employer about a phased return.
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    • Posted

      Hi carol guess what I phasef back on Thursday OMG I was dreading it I was depressed at the thought but I enjoyed it. My knee was ex painful thurs night but I think thats because I was sat more?? I too am phasing in im half days for 2 weeks then 2 full days and 3 half days then back to normal. I too am still rec physio. The only prob is I have to get up really early so miss lying on the bed doung my leg raisers then when I get home im soooo tired I cant be bothered but im hoping this will change if I get more organised. Good luck with ypur start let us no how you go on x x
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  • Posted

    Pam, have you had any blood work done since surgery. I had the usual before surgery and while in the hospital but just once after going to the rehab center. In my post op appt with my primary care doc @ 5 week Mark the usual blood tests were ran and I came up on the low side of iron. I've been on iron tabs for less than 2 weeks but still not feeling real strong. After a month they will do another blood panel and how I'm doing. I would talk to your doc and see what he thinks. Don't start on iron pills w/o Dr approval.
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  • Posted

    Hi pam, I'm 5 wks post TKR and also have fibromyalgia which I was medically retired with a few years ago. I too had a bad flare up after surgery and have also felt very vulnerable, scared and helpless. This Surgery is brutal and I don't think I realised the enormity of it or the time needed to heal afterwards. Before making any rash decisions Why not try writing a list of the pros and cons and how you feel about work, then put it away and look at it again in a couple of weeks to see if you still feel the same. Keep your chin up because this vulnerable time will pass 🌻
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  • Posted

    Hi, I had both tkr on 3 rd March, and went back to work on phased hours, I was like you dreading it but I found it really helped with my confidence, I still go physio once a week because I have trouble straightening and have an appointment with my surgeon on the 20th to see about manipulation, I work in a post office so am up and down all the time, just take your meds and sleep when you can that's what I do and find it helpful. Good luck x
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  • Posted

    Hi Pam. I went back to work reluctantly at 4 mths.  I'm now at 5 mths and looking back I now realize it was the best decision.  I'm 62 and work in a hospital where I am up and down.  I am tired at the end of the day and sleep much better without medication and I find my new knee is no longer the focus of my day.  Don't get me wrong I certainly know it's there but I am able to manage and I worried that I would not.  As others have said consider your options.  I'm sure you'll make the best choice for you.  Take care.
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  • Posted

    Sorry I went back to work at 3 mets and am now at 4 moths post op.
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  • Posted

    I am 3 months plus, PO and haven't felt like going out or doing anything since my surgery in April. I'm retired, so I don't face going back to work like you do. I went out for the first time by my self, to meet friends for dinner on the 24 of July. I really didn't feel like going out but having missed several other functions with them, I decided to 'bite the bullet' and go. Glad I finally made the effort...its made going out for other things much better. You said you were a 'get up and go person' and I"m sure you will be again. This Knee surgery is very tramatic in more ways than one. Tiredness, pain, sleeplessness, down and out fatigue, it's all part of the process the surgeons don't tell us about. If they did, we probably would think twice about having the surgery. BUT having gone through the PAIN of it, we do need to get up and go. Easier said than done but it takes one day at a time, and we manage to get there. PS: I'm doing exercises on my own, since PT was over. The knee still gets stiff. Especially after I've gone for a short walk around the block (doctors orders). Have to build the muscle strength back up. So hang in there, this too shall pass!
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  • Posted

    Hi Pam, don't feel your alone as I am slow in my progress, depressed and could not sleep. I've been stuck at 88 ROM and had a doc's last Thursday. I thought he was going to tell me I needed MUA. That scared the crap out of me. My medical short term disability is up so I needed to go back to work, it's been 3 months. Doc tells me I'm doing great he released me to go back to work with a lite duty order. Pam I go to the gym on the days I don't do Physico. I be been driving for a while now. I'm 56 also don't let this hold you back its up to you to get better. You don't want to be a log when you older get out and do it. Come on you can do this!!!!
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  • Posted

    Hey Pam, talk to your GP about your depression issues, I did and my GP helped me out with depression and sleep issues I was experiencing. I never had any issues until I got a TKR. I feel going back to work is going help with my recovery process. Keep excerising and stretching it's the only way we are going to get better
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    • Posted

      Kirk, you might want to give this a try. The body is meant to work but also has to be rest e d to heal, or so I have found from having to rehab, this being the 5th time for the knee being completely opened. Wh a t I suggest is change the routine. Instead of everyday, give out a rest on weekends from excercise, just walk but make sure the walk is a very slow heel, toe, bend. Yeah, you are going to look funny but thEy goes wit the territory. If you are using a stationary bike, instead of peddling the entire time try this. When you start and for the 1st 10-15 min slowly push to the top, apply pressure and hold to count of 10. Now peddle backward to top apply pressure and hold for the count. You will feel the knee and entire leg stretch. However; if you are notvpeoperly hydrated nothing will be 100% effective. Drink water all day every day and rest. A tired, dried out system cannot/ Will not heal as fast as one properly cared for. The last thing to watch for, speed and gait. Its only human nature to want to speed things up when you get to feeling better. Often times, we get to going faster than the body is ready for. Slow every step down and make sure you are doing it properly. This is a slow process at best. Take your time and .she it your ally. Try this for a week and see if you haven't picked up another 5-8 degrees
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    • Posted

      Oh I drink lots of as I live in a desert. I don't know if you know I live in the states in Nevada it's pretty hot here 105 degrees I live outside of Las Vegas. I did get more ROM on Friday I got 92 the trainer worked with me and it feels great today but a little sore. Old Fat Guy thank you for the advise anything to help out is a great help. Thank you
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    • Posted

      Kirk, I'm also in the states about as far east of t he Rockies as you are west.....i live in a KS side suburb of KC.

      Living where you do is really a challenge as far as hydration. If the heat doesn't suck the water out of you the AC will. The ROM thing is always such a challenge. This is my 11th surgery on this leg and 5th complete opening of the knee. Each time I've found anywhere from small to huge differences in thecheali g process but the one thing in common, its not a 100 meter dash but a true marathons. Impatience is both a pro and con. You can motivate yourself to stay in motion and hit your target or you can become frustrated because your pace isn't what you expected and hurt yourself with too much push. 1st time I went through this in 2004 my therapist laid it on the line......15% of the process was his responsibility, 85% mine. Good luck. Hope you get a bit of relief now and then from that oppressive heat. I generally go through Vegas when I visit my son in Stockton. I prefer changing planes there instead of Denver or L A.. No more decent direct flights to Sacremento

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  • Posted

    Pam I completely understand how you feel. I'm approx 23 weeks post op (I've stopped counting since being told I need my TKR and all my ligaments replacing) but up to about 15 weeks post I was too scared to leave the house, unless it was for an appointment. I suffered my first ever panic attack at a train station and couldn't force myself on to a busy train. It has taken me some time to feel slightly comfortable outside. For me it was a huge help that I still had to use crutches when walking a distance. They stopped me being knocked into and literally became a mental crutch too. It's only in the last few weeks that I've started to change and my mind has decided it's sick of not being 'normal'. I'm trying to get out for little trips each day such as lunch or the supermarket. I leave the crutches in the car if only walking a little bit. I do go to the office twice a week with my boss (as I can't drive that far). It helps me that I love my job so I'm desperate to get back to it.

    In my case though, I know my TKR journey is far from over so I'm wanting the normality that I can't have yet.

    You're scared of what will happen when you leave the house or return to work. I think that's perfectly natural but I don't think retiring is the answer. You need to at least go back and then if you can't cope then fair enough. Don't let it win. Speak to your Doctor and explain how you feel. Medication will help. You could speak to work and agree to a phased return. It may be that you permanently need to change your working hours. Retiring is brilliant if that's what you want but it's not dealing with the underlying issues if you do it to avoid leaving the house. I agree with OFG ask the Doctor to check your blood levels. I had anaemia immediately following surgery, got all clear but now it has come back. I also have a vitamin B12 deficiency. I'm on medication for them both but they both can effect how I'm feeling. It's worth getting it all checked.

    I'll stop rambling but will say to stop putting pressure on yourself...for today at least. Why not go out for a little walk or for lunch? Baby steps xxx

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