The TKR Recovery "Bell Curve"

Posted , 20 users are following.

For the brave of heart and mind, I offer this "conjecture" from a former, old world statistician...

If we look at recovery times as a normal bell curve distribution (not saying it is but humor me), then 95% of us fall within two standard deviations from the mean.  For argument's sake, let's say that those two standard deviations run from a 6-month recovery to a 12-month recovery with the mean at 9 months.  (Again...conjecture...these numbers could be more or less but probably not by much.)  That leaves the other 5% at 3 or more standard deviations from the mean (2.5% lower than 6 months / 2.5% higher than 12 months).  These are the "outliers".  Every distribution has some.

On the left side, are the 13-week mountain climbers while the 18-month recoveries are at the far right side.  All understandable...all part of a normal statistical bell curve distribution.  Think...smoking will eventually kill you.  Proven fact...but not for everyone.  I had a 103-year old great-uncle who smoked his little black cigars every day and never got lung cancer.  Outlier.  

The thing to remember is that this 5% are the exceptions and NOT THE RULE!  The rest of us mortals are stuck in the 95% umbrella and have to deal with real life.  I have pity for those at the far right end of the curve...they need to be brave souls...

At the beginning, I mentioned "conjecture".  In reality, I don't know of any study done on TKR recovery times and what the mean or standard deviation might be.  I'm just throwing this out there because so many people compare themselves to those rare individuals who beat this in a matter of weeks.  DON'T DO THAT!!!  They are the outliers, the weird individuals who have the built-in DNA to overcome this brutal recovery in seemingly no time at all.

You have seen sooo many of us counsel people not to compare your recovery to that of anyone else.  Take that to heart...and know one huge truth...

You will not know where you fell within the bell curve UNTIL YOUR RECOVERY IS OVER!!!  You can't see it while you're going through it...only from the outside (post-recovery) looking back in.

Be Zen: "It will be over when it's over."   Just like asking your dad on a car ride when you were a kid: "When will we get there?"  Remember his answer?  "WHEN WE GET THERE!"

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  • Posted

    Chico I take such comfort in your posts, thank you so much, 😊

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  • Posted

    terrific and  spot on ! Thanks for being out there for all of us !
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  • Posted

    Excellent input!

    I am ZEN. Nothing else to be but ZEN.

    Every day passed 10 months, I KNOW I am improving. Nearly there. TEN Months! Had my bilaterals Mar 21 2016. Ten months!

     I could never have envisaged having to wait TEN months to feel nearly normal. The operation was the worst thing I ever experienced. It took so much from me. Now I am getting all the good stuff back, I reckon it was worth it. The effort we put in is worth it. Thank you Chico. x

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  • Posted

    Aaaah ! Chico, I fell about laughing - for one main reason -  what you wrote is so true, in all respects (the serious bit) .... and  the main reason, (the amusing bit) it took me back about 40 years or so when I was doing a 4 year long Management Course and we had to do Business Statistics - Bell curves, Standard Deviations, Histograms et al .... and in those days one had to do, and show, all calculations in the left margin and use Logarithms ...... no calculators were permitted in exams and what were available on the market were prohibitively priced !

    ​John

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    • Posted

      Yup...1972...the TI-10 calculator.  Add, subtract, multiply, divide and do square roots...for a mere $150!!!  It's not that they weren't allowed...nobody could AFFORD THEM!!!

      Just started grad school in 1971.  All statistics were done by hand.  Three weeks in, the professor gave us instructions on how to use punch cards and an actual computer.  BINGO!  Life changed on a dime.  The next semester they installed the first ever IBM 360/67 mainframe in a new computer center.  I was in heaven!!!  Been in IT now for over 45 years...still working at 69.  Sr. Business Process Architect.  Love it.  I get to draw pictures of processes all day for very nice money.  And it all started for me with a punch card...

      PS: My son is a professional engineer.  In high school AP Calculus class, he had a TI-83 that did EVERTHING for $90...in college, aced Calc 5.  Waaaay smarter than me...period.

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    • Posted

      When my husband returned from Vietnam in 1969 he went to San Jose State in Ca and took business classs along with computer. Huge computers with cards. Our son works for Intel and the computers are small now. Amazing technology. We just watched Hidden Figures about African American women working for NASA and the computing they did manually. Brilliant minds.

      Ok, back to knees.

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    • Posted

      I started on computers in 1971 when I went to Rutgers for my master's degree.  Punch cards, paper tape, HUGE IBM 360/67.  That was 46 years ago.  Still working full-time.  Sr. Business Process Architect, AT&T, Dallas.  I'll never retire...love it too much.

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  • Posted

    Thank you Chico. You are the oracle! I had a good day and thought it was over, but it came back yesterday and knocked me for six.  It will be over when it's over so right. X

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  • Posted

    Chico, You are correct. My pkr has been 10 months post op. It has been a rough ,bumpy ride. I thought I was good to go until the unexpected occured and fell. This set me back a good while. I just recently found out why I was having issues. My medial articulate cartliage delamination is just flapping around in there. So next week I have a appt with ortho to setup my surgery. I will eventually regain my strength and get back to doing things that I love. You have to be mentally ready for the vjallenge. It can be a very slow process. Not everyone is the same.
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  • Posted

    Wise words Chico! Thank you for putting it all into perspective ! It took me ages to except this slow journey! And to except we all recover differently. Iv read many of your posts and they have always helped me for that i thank you from my heart. Its my left tkr 1st birthday tomorrow! Iv struggled iv cried iv felt like giving up but iv kept going! I took ages to walk propally and felt very alone at times! Im not completely there yet my muscles keep tightening and stiffening! But gosh iv come such a long way! Thanks to the site for its support network! Iv found it a god send! To all those newly operated knees keep fighting the fight and doing as your told it wil be worth it! To my knee happy bday! Lol x
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  • Posted

    Love this post Chico well said. We can't all be the same can we .

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