I’ve been busy working on my latest novel, so my advance apologies for lack of entries.
It’s been four months today since I underwent right total knee replacement surgery and things continue to go well. I’m able to walk two miles without stopping, something that was painful to do before January 12, 2015. My left knee gives me trouble on occasion, but that will also become a thing of the past sometime this fall or early winter.
Today I’d like to discuss something those of us who had TKR often have in common: our sleep patterns disrupted in the early weeks following surgery. Many with brand new knees, hips, or whatever other joint-related surgery) often voice post-op concerns about little or no sleep.
I can say for sure it’s not happening during hospital stays and forget about having much sleep time at a rehab facility as well (because rehab facilities are for learning to use our new joints after all). Lighthearted references aside, lack of sleep after joint replacement surgery is no joke. Our bodies need time to recover from the trauma it’s been through: loss of a natural joint, adjusting to the implant, blood loss, anesthetic, pain…you get the idea.
Bonesmart.org offers additional contributions to sleep deprivation stemming from pre-op to returning home following surgery. This is a great read I highly recommend.
Bonesmart also offers the following tips on coping with disturbed sleep patterns:
The main trick is to not let it get to you. There’s a joke saying “It’s mind over matter – if you don’t mind, it won’t matter”!
Be prepared for this and determine that you are NOT going to let it get to you
Give yourself permission to nap anytime and anywhere you feel you can
Some TKR patients have used melatonin to help produce sleep. This supplement is a safer alternative to prescription or over the counter sleep medications. Pain medicine may work for some, but it’s not a good idea to always use it simply to sleep – unless of course you’re in actual pain that can’t be controlled by Tylenol or Aleve. Small doses of Benadryl may help, but it’s not for everyone (especially those with allergies to its specific ingredients)
If you’re still feeling “wiped out” after surgery, this graphic I found on a Facebook group sums up everything well:
Most important, post-op sleep disturbance is often temporary. This too shall pass, I promise!
However, should problems continue, have a discussion with your doctor for other options. Sleep is an important factor for our bodies to recover from such traumatic surgery.