Knowing how painful the first few weeks would be. My surgeon said my pain would be "controlled". Liar, liar, pants on fire!
I wish I'd been better prepared. Leaner, fitter and stronger. Its taken me 16 months of perserverance, tenacity and attitude adjustments to get where I am now. New and improved! Yippee!7 Report this reply to lyn32416
Good question Cheryl. I spent six weeks reading every bit of information I could lay my hands on as well as an extended visit to my orpathaedic surgeon where I questioned everything-from anaesthesia to pain relief to life without a tkr and then some. I tried to leave no stone unturned. I have always lived by the motto-its your body, your operation-step up. But having said that, the one thing I wasnt prepared for was the lack of sleep during those early weeks post tkr. I'd poured over forums such as this but for some reason " sleep issues" didnt register as a possible issue-WRONG!!!!!!!! I can honestly say for me that was the worst part.20 Report this reply to sue33011
CHICO MARX cheryl86544
What happens if you don't get a TKR? I really don't want to go through it - have been losing weight (wasn't heavy) and now I'm going to get a referral to a knee specialist to see about shots.
My mother's friend had the TKR and was in agony for months. That was a total 'scare-off' for me. We had no arthritis in the family and when my mother was my age (63) she was playing tennis, walking, etc. Life, of course, isn't fair.3 Report this reply to louiselost
I had LOTS of swelling with my first TKR...I mean LOTS and LOTS of swelling! 😲That plus the feeling that my entire leg FELT as though it was A TREE TRUNK FILLED WITH CEMENT really unnerved me those first three months! 🌴
I didn't have nearly as much pain as I thought I might have with this surgery.😄 This made me realize the TORTURE I had been enduring with my pain PRIOR TO SURGERY! 😖😨😵
On the second morning following my first TKR I was sitting in a chair. Sitting in that chair was EXHAUSTING compared to laying in bed. That surprised me. Then when the hospital physical therapist came and wanted me to "march my feet up and down" as I was sitting in the chair, I realized that the most I could lift my THOUSAND POUND LEG was to lift MY TOES!😖 For a second there I panicked, wondering if he was KIDDING or if he really DID mean that I was actually EXPECTED to do this! My silliness kicked in, though, and I began to giggle!😁 I "marched" my TOES. (Never saw THIS GUY again. I think he though I was a lunatic!)
I was surprised how ineffective Oxycodone and Hydrocodone were for pain management. I was also surprised at HOW LOOPY they made me feel. I had Oxycodone with my first TKR and Hydrocodone with my second TKR three and a half months later. In two weeks I quit each after my blood thinner shots were completed. I went back to my tried and true Ibuprofen which did a MUCH, MUCH better job of pain management for me.
My biggest overall surprise was that my second TKR, which was on my worst knee of the two, was EASY compared to my first TKR! I was moving my leg all around IN THE RECOVERY ROOM and discharged a day earlier than with my first TKR. From the get-go it seemed like I was almost even in recovery with my first knee which had been done three and a half months earlier. A HUGE and WONDERFUL surprise!😊👍👍
In reading all the responses in this forum over the last two years I have come to realize that there's NO PREDICTING exactly how a TKR is going to go. Maybe that's why doctors don't TELL US much! There are SO MANY variables, so many different body systems involved. Even my surgeon who has done thousands of knee replacement surgeries in his thirty-year career has said that a surgeon can look at X-rays, CT scans, MRIs etc., but he WILL NOT KNOW exactly what needs to be done UNTIL HE GETS IN THERE and looks for himself. Then there is the recovery. Each recovery is different. I have NO IDEA why my worst knee with the longer surgery of three and a half hours had such a short recovery time compared to my first knee. I guess we just deal with each situation as it comes and accept it for what it is!
I WILL say, though that ALL OF IT was worth it for me! Keeping a positive outlook and PRAYER, constant PRAYER were my ARMOR!🙏😄 I looked for small improvements, tried to distract myself by walking around the inside of the house, venturing outside to enjoy my garden, working hard to become stronger with better balance and kept a journal so I could keep a permanent record of my progress. All of these things helped to get my life back again.
There's no silver bullet to make everything perfect, but there's TIME and PATIENCE and HOPE.
Here's wishing these things for ALL OF US!♥️3 Report this reply to cheryl90571
Cheryl these are excellent questions. I was in a pre op joint class, which prepared us pretty well for what to expect physically from the surgery. Nothing, and I mean nothing, dealt with the mental and emotional aspects you will have post op. I wish they had discussed the extreme fatigue, withdrawal from pain meds, anxiety and sleeplessness. I have had all of these and I am now 6 weeks post op. Everything I read on line tells me these symptoms are "normal" but it is tough going thru them. I also wish they had support groups for post op patients where we could meet with others who have had this surgery and get some mental and emotional support. I am trying very hard to pull out of the anxiety and sleeplessness on my own. I have decided to see my family doctor to discuss the these problems. When I asked the ortho surgeon for help, his reply was that was not his area of expertise and he could not help. I think a discussion of the mental and emotional aspects of post op TKR should be mandatory and also offering support groups for pre and post op patients. Thanks for this forum3 Report this reply to wanda73303
Very interesting question Cheryl. Honestly, I'm glad I didn't know how rough this road was. When you need it, you need it & even though, at 11 weeks I'm still struggling I know that eventually I will be happy I did it. I'm glad I'm retired bc when I asked my doctor how long before I can work (i work part time as a substitute teacher but only when I want to) he said about a month. NO WAY!!! If I was still teaching I would be very stressed when that month came & I had to tell my principal that I couldn't come back to work.
The other thing I wish I knew is that it would have been helpful if I worked to strengthen my quad muscles before the TKR.2 Report this reply to terri90278
mary ann60812 cheryl86544
What I wish I had known before....along with what everyone else has said......how this surgery totally consumes your life for X amount of time.....weeks, months, whatever. I had visions of resting comfortably, working on x word puzzles, catching up on reading, etc, but the pain was so intense I couldn't concentrate on anything. Seconds and minutes seemed like hours when pain isn't controlled. My pain meds didn't last but so long, and with home nurse, and physical therapist encouraging me to wean myself after 3 weeks, I was in fear that if I took them as needed, I'd run out and my prescription wouldn't be refilled. As a result, I spent a good amount of time crying and just praying for the 3 month mark - Dr. said at 3 months, you're about 70% back to normal. Funny, how being 30% abnormal is HUGE. We all want 100% normal!! I believe I'm there, as best as can be, at almost 2 years!5 Report this reply to mary ann60812
Reading through all of your responses, I think that Doctors think that if they tell us just how awful it could be and that the pain could be dreadful for ages, I think it's feasible to think that they think that if they tell us more about the pain that we'll hone in on that during our recoveries and take longer to recover...
What do you think?5 Report this reply to cheryl86544
The dire effects of the pain killers. .that is to say ,constipation so painful and. Protected for the first week post op. .and conversely ; incontinence ..not being able to reach the loo in time and wearing lady tena panties.! Still wearing after 3 months.because my recovery was quite regressed after the initial speedy recovery.5 Report this reply to yasmin66402
Hi Cheryl-- my doctor never told me much about the surgery. He only told me that I would be all right in a couple of months. To me the surgery was the worse pain I ever had in my life. I had no problems sleeping the pain medicine allowed me to fall asleep at night. However, I would stay up during the day. Only on rare occasions that I would take a nap during the day. Plus I had PT everyday at the hospital. J213703 Report this reply to j21370
Top 3 things I wish I could have prepared for:
1. NO SLEEP! Still none at 10 weeks!!
2. ANXIETY! Worry about meds, ROM, progress, depression...
3. LENGTH OF RECOVERY TIME! s. l. o. w.
But having said that, I'm finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. This might actually be a good thing. God is good. This forum is good. My Norco is good. Haha.5 Report this reply to Need1knee
I was under the illusion that since I was in very good physical shape and my knee not that damaged, that my recovery should be relatively easy. I expected to be back to "normal" in 4-6 weeks. What a mistake. I wasn't prepared to be essentially paralyzed and have to spend the next month rebuilding some semblance of muscle tone. Also, recovery is glaciallly slow with it being difficult to note progress week to week much less day to day. It is extremely depressing knowing that this can drag on for months or more. The inability to sleep due to discomfort and the constant feeling of exhaustion only contribute to the depression. Make sure you have a long term support system going into this surgery for it is a marathon recovery that will take all the strength that you have.4 Report this reply to jim9999
I wish I had know the lifelong consequence of pain if something went wrong. We all are hoping for pain relief and sometimes you come out worse than you went in. Glad that it works well the majority of the time....I will have to do the other knee. Yes, I am changing surgeons.2 Report this reply to Jeannenp
I thought I was fully prepared for this surgery. I took four months to really dial in my nutrition and strength conditioning. I have had multiple rotator cuff surgeries so thought I was ready because I knew about pain associated with surgery and the rehab that follows. Wrong. First they released me from the hospital when I told them my pain wasn't controlled. After I was home the pain meds they gave me didn't seem to work well so no sleep post operative depression and an overall not feeling well. It's been a month and off all pain meds. I am just so suprised I still feel like this but according to what I've read on this site all these things are common and 3-6 months all is much better. You're wise to get as much information as you can5 Report this reply to Kittenkitten2