Recovery from right total knee replacement: January 2015 (top photo) and January 12, 2016 (bottom photo)
First blog entry of 2016! I hope all of you are having a wonderful New Year thus far.
One year ago today, I was undergoing total right knee replacement surgery (RTKR). That morning was freezing rain. Today it’s snow.
I remember waking in the recovery room and remaining there for most of the day since it took a great deal of time for a room to open on the orthopedic surgical floor. I was transferred to the Transitional Care Unit 48 hours later, where I spent a week undergoing inpatient physical and occupational therapy. You can read more here about my first post-op week following RTKR.
Both my knees once again bend normally (the left knee was done September 2015 complete with a few complications), and I’ve gradually returned to life before surgery.
The only differences between now and a year ago are not hearing my knees crack when I get out of bed each morning, being able to walk farther distances with far less pain (if any at all), no more cortisone injections, and best of all – able to once again exercise without having to take breaks because my knees hurt. As you can see on the bottom photo, the scar on my right knee is barely visible, thanks to the miracles of Bio Oil and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Oil (I recommend this formula enriched with Vitamin E. Straight Vitamin E oils also work well on some surgical scars).
Running, jumping, and almost any other kind of high-impact work are all but out of the question, but an important aspect is focusing on things I can do. Cleaning house in one day instead of breaking up specific chores like I’d done BBK (before bionic knees), dancing – long as I don’t go nuts – attending a few hockey games on occasion, waiting in lines without wincing in pain or having stiff knees afterward, and dressing in a standing position instead of having to sit are only a few examples of how new knees gave me back the life I once knew.
I’m even considering the idea of trying a 5K walk sometime this coming summer. The possibilities are endless!
Attitude is everything; it plays a more important role in our recovery than we tend to think. Imagine not summoning up the drive to follow through on physical therapy exercises or basically moving little as possible if not at all because it “hurts too much.” While being in agony from moving our new joints may be pushing things a bit, we have to engage in some form of activity for successful results. Isn’t that why each of us had joint replacement surgery in the first place – to have quality of life? Not following through on post-op care – especially physical therapy and keep moving in general – will defeat the surgery’s purpose.
Life with these new joints aren’t perfect; my left knee feels stiff each morning, both knees have the sensation of me dragging around fifty pounds apiece on damp or extremely cold days, setting off a metal detector on isn’t my idea of fun, and forget kneeling unless I’m on a soft surface. In any case, the aforementioned are only small prices to pay for undergoing a major change in my life.
My only regret? Not having it done sooner!