I’m paper journaling my experience more regularly so I can remember should I have to do the other knee someday. But let’s have an update!
Surgery Day – Thursday 1/19 – could have gone home for one day surgery but PT was done before I was ready to be evaluated. Just as well as I had some bleeding under the ACE bandage that was not “usual” when I asked.
PA evaluated the bleeding under the aqua-gel dressing the next day prior to DC (and after PT evaluation and I got the go ahead for DC) – PA changed the dressing. It did not appear to be actively bleeding then, but a small spot appeared under the gel dressing before I left. By the time Dan was helping me to the bathroom later that evening, and blood was dripping out from under the dressing, we needed 4X4s and Kling and an ACE and a call to the on-call person. Bleeding slowed so thought things were settling down.
PT came the next day and ran through a few exercises. My extension and flexion were “very good”. He set up a PRN home health nurse for the next morning. PT was to come three times the following two weeks, then two times for the third week.
Nurse took down dressing on Sunday morning – which had again absorbed a lot of blood. End of story – go to ED and get evaluated after she sees active bleeding and a small area of dehiscence. More steri-strips, call in antibiotics, and use gauze and wrap and now I couldn’t take a shower until this slowed down. It took about a week to have it unimpressive enough to shower.
Meanwhile – PT must go on. The knee feels tight and swollen and I’d been well prepared for the “first couple of weeks are awful” so I wasn’t expecting it to be wonderful. I used the walker for about a week and a half and then more cane and then no cane by the end of the first three weeks. Stairs were one at a time and now can be alternating but knee still feels tight – more so going downstairs than up.
I used the opiods for about 1.5 weeks – mostly for PT or sleep. I took Tylenol PM at night and no NSAIDS for the first couple of weeks since I was bleeding. (Still took baby aspirin for a month and wore compression thigh high hose for the first two weeks.) Once the bleeding stopped, I alternately took Tylenol and Ibuprofen and until just a few days ago, took it like clockwork. To be honest, I had to guess at times but erred on waiting longer than taking it sooner since I couldn’t exactly recall last dose.
I’ve had two weeks of PT in the facility, started driving a week ago – maybe could have done it sooner but had my sister to drive me, but now I can go solo to PT.
I saw the PA at two weeks (f/u ED visit) and one month and will see Dr K at 2 months post op.
Lots of ice packs and am rotating them through the freezer. I bought an ice machine but since it wasn’t compressive, it was a lot of work to set up for no further benefit than an ice pack laid on top of a towel on my knee. That feels like a waste of $$.
I elevate a lot even now when watching TV or reading or internet-ing. Until it just feels yucky, then I lower the recliner to flex knee again.
I thought I was well prepared for what to expect, had interviewed, read online, etc. I did not expect the achy feeling in the knee joint to be so constant and lasting so long and to need OTC meds so constantly to deal with a “headache in my knee”. I think I expected the swelling, but the tightness from the incision and swelling feels more impactful than expected. But I probably did the surgery sooner than many and pre-op was not hurting with sleep or at rest. (I was more achy at the beginning of this journey late 2021 and early 2022.) If I wasn’t working full-time, I may have been able to delay but ultimately, what for? I couldn’t walk for pleasure and that’s a big goal of mine. On xray, it was “bone on bone” and that was not going to get improved when it’s arthritis.
I have nearly 12 weeks off from work, and it feels today that I will need every bit of that time to return to four days a week on my feet (at least off and on walking throughout my day).
Ultimately, there is of course improvement; it is so very gradual though. PT says “you’re doing great” so is this just what they say or do I believe them? When I walk, I think t looks better than it feels.
My retired younger sister was here for help with Dad, me and general company for us – which has been nice and distracting and we’ve watched lots of shows. She headed home yesterday.
I hear about the various spots of the timeline for when _____ improves (fill in the blank). So I need more patience and just hope I’m not going to experience any more complications than the little dehiscence!