Tuesday, December 1, 2009

6 week checkup

I have been to my surgeon for the 6 week check up and he is very pleased with my knees. They bend well and are very stable. I got to see the xrays and they look very bionic. At physio today they measured 120 bend, both sides, which she thought was great (hooray). I have been doing all the exercises they gave me at home as well as walking the dog at least 30 minutes a day. The PT recommended that I keep up the stretching exercises, because the bend can reverse and I don't want that!! I still find it difficult to sleep at night so I have to take a couple of tylenol extra and a sleeping pill before bed. I only use a couple of tylenol through the day, but I still use plenty of ice. I am driving myself around, no need for canes or walkers anymore, except on dog walks and unlevel ground. I'm looking forward to Thursday's hydro-therapy, which is challenging but I enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

5 weeks post surgery

Hi, everyone,
I am now on my own as my mom had to return home on Sunday. Just my dog, Jasper and I and the place seems to be missing something (Mom's morning coffee for one!). Today, I had my first hydro-therapy session at Physio. One hour of continuous water exercises, and the therapist seems pleased with my progress. Lots of walking, squats, straight leg swimming, and it seemed to be less painful than doing these things on land. I went home, had lunch and even though the PT recommended I don't have a nap, I couldn't stay awake. So I snoozed for an hour and then took Jasper for a nice long walk along the lakefront. The knees are still swollen and get stiff after walking, I still have difficulty standing or sitting for any length of time, but I am improving a little every day. The Physio therapist says that I am quite advanced even for a single knee patient, so I really can't complain. I still have a ways to go to get to 'normal'. I see the surgeon on the 30th so I'll update again afterwards.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quick update

Hi, I'm 3 and 1/2 weeks out and had my first physio since my rehab hospital stay. The PT is very pleased with my ROM 116 in both knees, she says that's unusual to be the same in both knees. She says my swelling is the cause of the stiffness and suggested tensor braces while walking and during elevating and ice. We did some quad strengthening and then ice and some exercises to strengthen the outside of my thigh. So far I am pleased, but still I wish I were back to normal. Luckily for me, I have my mom helping, and keeping me company.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

knee photos (viewer beware)

My old knocked-knees

My new frankenknees - 3 weeks after surgery

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Entry 10, Three weeks tomorrow

Greetings, Just a quick update -- I am now walking around the house without canes and can go up and down the stairs one step after another!! (Using a cane and the handrail of course!) Mom and I went shopping again yesterday - and I felt pretty good afterwards. I am using tylenol extra strength for the pain and seems to be working fine. Also using Celebrex and lots of ice! I don't seem to feel much pain, just some stiffness which I can work out with some walking and stretching. My incisions are starting to look better, the right one is just a line but the left one has some lumpy bits. I have started using Bio Oil on them and massaging them. Feels a bit weird because they are really numb!! We are planning the big journey to the farm this weekend, 3 hours in a car -- I'm a bit worried about sitting for that long. We will probably have to stop a few times for stretching. That's it for now, laters....

Monday, November 2, 2009

Entry #9, I'm shopping again!!

Thanks everyone for your kindness and support. I am now day three without narcotics to ease the pain. I am using tylenol extra strength. 2 pills every 6 hours or so. It seems to do the trick. I still have pain and stiffness but it's bareable. Since being off the percocets I have my appetite back and can enjoy the taste of food. I do notice that I feel very cold during the high pain times, but once the tylenol takes hold I warm up. Today we went shopping at Walmart and I used one of those electric carts. Fun to drive but not very comfy. After that we went groceries shopping and I decided to use the canes and walk around the store, but I had to let Mom finish the job while I found a chair to rest in. When I got home I was pretty sore and exhausted. I had to take a couple of tylenol and laid down for about an hour before I started to feel better. Seems like such a simple day but it's big for me. I am hoping that Tylenol will continue to hold my pain at bay. I've been doing all my rehab exercises everyday. The toughest of them is almost like some sort of torture - You loop a long belt (I use my dog's leash) around your ankle, feed the end under your chair and over your shoulder, then pull like crazy to bend that knee under the chair. Yep, it hurts but my knee is bending well so that's the big payoff. My knee still isn't completely straight on the extension but I'm still working on it. My doctor and the rehab hospital suggested that I may not require further physio until later on if I keep up their exercises on a daily basis. I am hoping to do this so I can save up the physio time (our insurance covers only so much per year) to really build strength and stamina, the big thing is to not develop scar tissue and keep these babies moving. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Entry 8: 2 weeks post surgery

Hi Everyone,
Well, surgery went well on October 16, 2009, I was in surgery for 4 hours and have two brand new knees. The left one required more work and some screws than the right one, but today I have no pain in the actual knees. Just the swelling and pain due to bruising. I spend 3 days in the recovery area of the hospital and then 5 days in Rehab. I left the hospital last Friday the 23rd. My knees had the same flexion - 110 degrees and 3 degrees straight. I had my staples removed on Thursday, Oct. 29th, 13 days after the surgery. That's when I decided to get off the percocet. And today, 2 days later, I am totally off them. I live in a 3 story townhouse so I decided to rent a hospital bed to sleep on the main floor. This is something I would recommend. I have been well cared for by my mom who got here last Sunday and she has had lots of experience with this as she also has two new knees (3 years old and done 5 months apart) She's been very encouraging and makes certain I do my rehab exercises every day. I have been able to go for short walks (very short) with Mom and our dog outside with two canes. I stopped using the walker after my staples were removed. I would probably use the walker for uneven ground like when we go to the farm. I have to go up one flight of stairs for a shower so make that journey every 2 days. I have a seat for the bath tub and sit under the shower on it. That works pretty well. I didn't require the extended wash sponge I bought. I can get dressed easily on my own. Sock and shoes - no problem. I do seem to get pretty tired at times so I just sleep quite a bit still. Still, I am pretty pleased with how things are going. Two weeks after surgery and progressing a little every day. Oh --and my legs are completely straight!!! It's awesome, no more knocked knees. I'll keep in touch.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Entry 7: Op-Day minus 1(October 15, 2009)

I am soooo excited to be getting two new knees tomorrow. I have been on http://www.bonesmart.org/ lately, I wish I would have found this forum earlier but it has been a real boost for the past few days. I had all kinds of fears, questions, and worries about which knees I'm getting but now I'm just happy to be getting new ones. I am prepared to do the hard work, I have a little idea of how it will be having had ACL repair and arthroscopy a few years back. I realize this is a much bigger hit, but I am actually looking forward to the rehab. I informed my husband that today will be the last day for the housekeeping department, so he had a good laugh about that. I have a list of stuff to pack - there was a time when hospitals supplied crutches and canes, etc. Not anymore. Will I be awake enough to play my Nintendo DS games, sudoku or read a book? Oh, and don't forget that everything has to be labelled. So today is the big packing day, getting in supplies for my hubby so he doesn't starve. (He'll probably eat out anyway) Am I forgetting anything? Well, I'll find out soon enough. See you on the other side......

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Entry 6: Pre-Operative Program

This is the last time I see the professionals prior to my surgery date which is October 16, not the 13th as I was originally told (or perhaps I wrote it down in error). I arrived at the hospital at 10:30 am, and was directed all day to the different departments for interviews. First, I saw the anesthesiologist, and was informed that I am a good candidate for an epidural anesthesia, so I would not have to have a general which tends to be more difficult upon recovery. They will give me a powerful sedative so I will not be awake during the surgery but I will not require a throat tube for breathing (yeah). Next stop was the lab where they took 6 vials of blood and did and
ECG of my heart. Everything looks good so far. At the Xray department they placed a measuring device beside my knee, and took what they called 3-foot xrays. These xrays with the measuring device are to help the doctor pick the correct size knee for me. The knee of choice is a Sigma, of which they assured me they have a huge inventory of all sizes and I will be fitted appropriately. I then saw a medical doctor who asked all those questions regarding my health and background. Again everything is still a go. Finally, I saw a nurse who explained all the procedures for recovery and she told me I would be on surgery floor for 4-5 days with the epidural being removed on the 3rd day. Then I will go to the F.I.T. floor for up to 7 days for rehabilitation. The 30 stairs to my bedroom concerned her and suggested I stay on the main floor of my townhouse for a while before attempting the big climb. We'll see... She gave me some medicated soap with which I have to shower for the 5 days prior to the surgery. Very specific instructions were included with the soap. Oh, and no shaving of the legs from now on (no problem there!!). A blood thinner will be prescribed and this helps reduce the chance of blood clots. And that was about it. So, as far as I know, I'm off to surgery at 6:15 a.m. on the 16th.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Entry 5: The wait is now getting to me.

Well, I still have three weeks until surgery day, October 13, 2009. I have had my blood work done and haven't heard anything so I am assuming that I'm still good to go. I have been making the best of everyday to get things done before the big day. I managed to ride my horse, Cody, three times last week while I was at the farm. I wonder if I will be a better rider when I have no pain, and if my new knees will let me put my foot in the stirrup to get up in the saddle. (I'd hate to have to use a mounting block). I went golfing once for nine holes and again thought about being able to walk the course instead of using a power cart ( I hope it will improve my game). This got me wondering if I'll be able to resume all the activities I have had to stop, will I be able to do yoga, pilates, ride my bicycle, go curling, walking in the woods with my dog? I started to think about whether I can start doing things I'd like to try, like spinning class, dance classes, and even more simply will I be able to get up from the dinner table and walk away without limping and nearly toppling over? We have to go away for a conference and when we return I'll have very little time left for preparing. I keep exercising my quads and I think they are getting stronger. I'm still about 7 pounds over weight, but I've always struggled with that. I know it would be best if I can lose it before surgery. My pre-op appointments have been scheduled for October 3, 2009 and I'll be at the hospital all day for that. Until then I'm trying to get my books up to date and housework completed (hahaha - like that'll ever happen!).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Entry 4, Only five weeks to go until surgery

I have been preparing for my surgery, started taking the iron supplements and I have started pre-surgery physio to strengthen my quadracepts. My therapist felt the quads were my weakest muscle and since I can't do regular strength training, she is doing something called 'Russian stimulation'. Electrodes are placed on my quads which contract my muscles for a period of time and then releases them. This is supposed to build up the muscle 70% faster than with weights alone. This was a big day, I had to fast since last nite so I could have 5 vials of blood drawn for tests, pee in a bottle and have an ECG, as well as go to physio. My therapist has informed me that post surgery I will not be able to climb stairs for 6-8 weeks and suggested that I get a hospital bed to set up on the main floor. I was soooo hoping that I could walk up the 30 stairs to my bedroom after I get home from the hospital but I guess that's just not realistic. So I visited the Shoppers Home Health centre and of course they rent beds, walkers and they knew exactly what I'd need for after surgery gadgets etc.

I found a great website to see a virtual knee surgery. Check out : http://www.edheads.org/activities/knee/knee1/index.htm

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Entry 3, Pre-Surgery Preparation

I left the assessment centre with an information package and instructions to attend a Pre-Operative Education Program. On June 18, 2009 I attended a three hour class for knee replacement at a local home health care centre. The class was held by a physiotherapist and nurse practitioner from the Holland centre so they were familiar with all of the facilities and staff. They covered topics like:

- improving strength and fitness before surgery

- what to expect prior to going into and after the operation

- exercises and activities for immediately after surgery

- planning for discharge

- preparation of your home

- equipment requirements

Of all the attendees, I was the only one having both knees done at the same time so my post-surgery would be quite different. People with single knee replacement are up that day, and stay in the hospital for 3 days or until they can climb 3 stairs. I won't be out of the bed until the following day, and my catheter and pain drip will remain in for 3 -4 days. I'll stay in the hospital for 5-6 days and then be transferred to the rehab section of the hospital for the next 7 days.

Or at least that's how they expect things to go. Everyone is different and I guess I think I'll be the exception and be up and about in no time! That's my plan, anyway.

I still have a lot to do including getting a total blood workup, EEG, dental checkup, and a 5 hour patient orientation program approximately 2 weeks prior to the surgery. So until then I am trying to enjoy our summer and check out lots of internet information on my new knees.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Entry 2, Assessment and Referral

These are the original xrays taken by my G.P. You can see they are quite knock-kneed. I don't have the ones that Dr. Cameron viewed.

Finally, I couldn't take it any longer, I knew my knees where done, but I was sure I'd have to fight to get something done to at least one of them. On April 30, 2009 my G.P. referred me to Dr. Hugh Cameron at the Holland OrthopaedicArthritic Centre located on Wellesley Street in Toronto. It's part of the Sunnybrooke Hospital. I didn't have to wait long for an appointment, my first visit was to the assessment center on May 5, 2009. The assessment team took about 3 hours to put me through the paces. A physiotherapist checked my function and I had to perform several walking tests. New xrays were taken and they recommended that I see Dr. Cameron, which was set for May 13, 2o09. During that visit, I waited in the room with several other people to see this little Scotsman. I was strategizing on how I could convince him to do something with at least one of my knees. When he opened my file on the computer he called me over to the screen. All he said was "do you see that -- your knees are done; you'll have to have bilateral total knee replacement" I'm sure I looked shocked - and all I could summon up to say was - "why and what does that mean?" He replied that I 'didn't have a good knee to stand on and I'm fit enought to have them done at the same time, one surgery.' That's it, that's all, he was done with me and off to the next - just go to his office and make a date with his secretary for the surgery. In his office the date suggested was July 23, 2009, a little too soon for my liking, I didn't want to be laid up for the summer so I chose October 13, 2009. Now all I have to do is get ready.

Entry 1, Some Background Information

Hi, I have decided to share this experience with whomever might find it interesting or helpful. I have been searching the Internet for information about my upcoming surgery with limited success, and thought this may be a good way to chronicle the process of getting bilateral total knee replacements. Firstly, I have been an active person all of my life. I am a 56 year old female and my life has been full of physical activities. Born and raised on a cattle farm in Alberta, Canada, I have ridden horses since I was 3 years old. I helped raise cattle and horses on my parents farm but moved to the city to earn a living when I graduated from school. I was a cross-country and downhill skier, did a lot of backpacking in the Rockies and loved to dance. Later on I became a fitness instructor and did a great deal of cycling, scuba diving and sailing. Ten years ago my husband and I entered the cattle business again but recently had to sell the herd. We still have our horses and we enjoy golfing, and riding our new motorbikes. During my skiing days, I had a crash at Fortress Mountain in Alberta, and severed my left knee ACL which the doctors brilliantly repaired. But 20 years later the damage to the cartilage is apparent. The right knee took up the slack for the left knee and that proved to be bad for it as well. I had to have my right cartilage removed in 2004. Then in 2006, I was thrown from a young horse when he was spooked when a wild turkey flew up between his legs while riding in one of our fields. My left leg was caught in the stirrup and I got sling-shotted to the ground. I had physiotherapy afterwards to help the pain. So with all this I noticed my legs were starting to look knocked-kneed and the pain was intense. The knees would lock unpredicably and I could feel grinding whenever I tried to do certain yoga and other poses. I knew that I need some help but I had been told, after my surgery in 2004 that although I was a candidate for a new knee, I was too young and the surgeon would not consider it until I was in my 60's. So I was prepared to have pain and discomfort for then next 10 years.