After suffering severe knee pain for over a year and having two minor surgeries, I finally gave in this summer and signed up for total knee replacement in the early weeks of June. Five weeks out from tkr and I have some good news to report! Finally.
First the not so good news, I have spent much of the past five weeks in bed in pajamas with no makeup and not particularly caring about much of anything. (That gets old very fast.) Next, I followed doctor's orders both pre-and post-op. I gave it my best shot. Exercises, medication, ice, elevation, on and on.
Last Friday I came to a crossroads in recovery. I made a decision that I hope will help others. I decided that some things just weren't working and I needed to take my own health in my own two hands and make some changes. I have googled tkr to death on my KindleFire. I have read every chat there is on the internet...both good and bad. When I would read those rare posts about how great things were after their surgery...no pain, walking, really feeling better...I would silently cringe and turn over and go back to bed. (Not sleep, mind you, I haven't slept well for over a year.)It has been a discouraging, ragged road and frankly, I am very disappointed in, well, in me. I truly thought I'd pop into surgery and be up and around and feeling like I was 40 (maybe 50) again in no time. Even though there are some patients who are quickly begging for their second surgery... or worse, had both knees replaced at one time, I have been "down for the count". My long suffering husband, has literally been on call 24/7 since this "adventure" began June 11.
So Friday, I made a decision. It hasn't been easy, but I will say that today is the best I have felt in 5 weeks. It may be that I finally turned a corner or it may be that STOPPING PAIN MEDICATION has helped me grapple with the nuances of recovery with a more clear mind and steady leg. I actually think that the extended use of the pain meds was making me worse. Saturday, Sunday and first thing this morning (Monday) have not been pleasant. But as I was sniffling into my Kleenex on the way to physical therapy this morning I noticed that I actually felt better emotionally.
Now, I would never say that you shouldn't take anything to control pain after major surgery like this. I don't know that I could have survived, but I think you have to come to a fork in the road with pain meds...you have to say...I think I've had enough and I am going to have to "gut" it out on my own. (I am greatly hopeful that I can continue this way.) But making the transition to Tylenol or Aleve has been a good decision so far.
1. I endured a pretty rigorous physical therapy session.
2. Fixed my own lunch and went to the garage freezer to get another loaf of bread.
3. Walked to the mail box and retrieved the daily mail.
4. Fixed the pork chops for supper.
5. Have remained dressed all day.
6. Only took two short naps.
Now in comparison to Saturday and Sunday where I:
1. Stayed in pajamas all day long.
2. Wore no makeup.
3. Watched Hallmark Movie Channel movies 24/7.
4. Ate jellybeans because nothing else sounded good.
I think I have fared pretty well.
This is not a surgery for the faint of heart. For most people (according to chatrooms and ortho internet sites), it's a long, hard road to recovery. But for my friends that are contemplating tkr...get in touch with me...I will tell you the unvarnished truth. Your thoughts, posts and prayers have been greatly appreciated.