I haven't blogged in awhile because I was recovering from having bilateral knee replacement. I did post about the surgery on my Facebook page. I've decided to also blog about it as well. This is a very long post, so grab yourself a cup of coffee, tea or whatever is your favorite beverage.
After I started posting about my surgery on my Facebook page, a lot of people reached out to me to thank me for sharing my experience. Some of them need the surgery as well but is afraid to have it, they told me I encouraged them to move closer to having their surgery. A lot of people said I was an inspiration, others said I was brave and/or a tropper.
FROM THE BEGINNING....I knew I needed knee replacement about 2 years ago, but I didn't want to have the surgery for several reasons, I heard it was painful, I didn't want that scar up the front of my leg because I wear most of my skirts and dresses above my knees and finally, I didn't want to be down for a long period time to recover from the surgery.
Well, the pain got the best of me. I couldn't sleep at night, the pain started to affect me being able to walk and drive. I started having a burning feeling inside my knees from the bones rubbing against one another. I started walking with a limp and I could no longer wear high heels. What woman wants to stop wearing heels? LOL!!! I had to start wearing flats or tennis shoes. The pain started affecting my overall quality of life. When I would go out, I really couldn't enjoy myself because of the pain I was experiencing. I could no longer exercise because I would be in a lot of pain afterwards. I was very active before my knee problems, I exercised several times a week and I hand-danced once or twice a week as well. I hand-danced just about every Friday night for about 13 years before I started having knee problems.
PLANNING FOR SURGERYI made an appointment to see my orthopedic doctor to discuss knee replacement surgery. My doctor told me 2 years ago I needed surgery, his exact words were "your knees are going to tell you when it's time to have the surgery and I will be here waiting for you. LOL!!!" I love his honestly.
I've already had 5 laparoscopic meniscus repair surgeries on my knees, I had 3 surgeries on my right knee and 2 on my left knee. At this point I had no cartilage in my knees which led me to need bilateral knee replacement. I asked my doctor did he perform bilateral knee replacement, he said "yes". He did tell me that most doctors don't like to perform bilateral knee replacement because the patient needs a good knee to stand on, but in my case, I did not have a good knee to stand on. My doctor told me on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst, one knee was a 9, the other knee was a 10.
My orthopedic doctor took X-rays of my knees, the X-rays showed both knees were in bad shape. Therefore, I was the perfect candidate for bilateral knee replacement. We proceeded to schedule my surgery for Feb. 6, 2017.
PRE-OP CLASS - January 24, 2017I attended a Mandatory Pre-Op Class at the hospital. I was in a class with 3 other people who were having knee or hip surgeries that was being performed by the same doctor. There were two of us who were having bilateral knee replacement, one person was having a hip replacement and one person was having a knee replacement repair surgery. All of our surgeries were scheduled for Feb. 6th.
We were informed to request our pain medication every 4 hours to stay ahead of our pain, for example, request our pain medication before the pain starts, once the pain starts we would be "chasing" the pain to get relief. Some of us were going to a rehab facility after surgery. They gave us a special body wash we had to use 3 days prior to our surgeries.
The highlights of the class was what to expect after surgery: length of surgery; what to expect and do the day before and the day of surgery; we were given a list of personal items we would need at the hospital and at the rehab facility; what kind of clothes we would need after surgery; hospital care; rehab care; home care; make a DIY (Do It Yourself) care basket.
This is the basket I made to take to the hospital and rehab facility. The instructor that taught the Pre-Op Class was so impressed with my basket, she asked me if she could take a picture of my basket and use the picture in her future classes? I told her yes. That made me feel good that she wanted to use my DIY basket as an example in her future classes.
I had to get clearance from my General Practitioner to have the surgery (blood work and check my heart). My General Practitioner really did not like the idea of me having bilateral knee replacement. He asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this, I told him "yes".
KNEE SURGERY PERFORMED - February 6, 2017
MOVE TO REHAB FACILITY - February 8, 2017Two days after having bilateral knee replacement, I was moved to a rehab facility by ambulance. This move was very painful. I would spend 3 1/2 weeks at the Rehab Facility.
After arriving at the Rehab Facility, there were several vitals and assessments that had to be taken, such as weight, blood pressure, check swelling of my legs and they made sure my ankles and feet were NOT swollen.
FIRST DAY OF PHYSICAL THERAPY - February 11, 2017
VALENTINE'S DAY SPENT IN REHAB
Members from Riverside Baptist Church stopped by the Rehab Facility to give all of the patients a Valentine's Day gift.
WALKING THE HALLS
ENJOYING A BEAUTIFUL DAY
CLIMBING STAIRS - February 20, 2017
STAPLES REMOVED FROM KNEE - February 21, 2017
Once all of the staples were removed, the nurse put surgical tape on top of the incisions to keep the skin together while the incision continue to heal. I could take a shower with the surgical strips in place, I was not to remove the strips because as the incision healed, the strips would fall off on their own. I would wake up to find the strips in my bed or on the floor.
PREPARING TO GO HOME - March 1, 2017
HEALING OF INCISION - March 3, 2017
I made great process walking with the walker. I started walking straighter and my walk was more normal and smoother.
HOME SWEET HOME - March 6, 2017
FEELING GRATEFUL - March 9, 2017
STARTING IN-HOME THERAPY - March 11, 2017
UPDATE - MARCH 15, 2017I've been home for two weeks now, I'm improving each day. I have In-Home physical therapy 2-3 times a week along with a nurse visit once a week. The therapist said I'm doing good and healing well. The therapist is going to have me practice getting in and out of my car this week so I can practice driving again this weekend.
I still have stiffness and swelling in my knees. The incisions are healing nicely and I'm constantly putting 100% cocoa butter on them to help with the healing. All of the stripes have fallen off my knees.
IN-HOME THERAPY STOPPED - March 24, 2017
OUT-PATIENT EVALUATION - March 27, 2017
OUT-PATIENT THERAPY STARTED - April 4, 2017
2 1/2 MONTHS AND RETURN TO WORK - April 10, 2017
I had a follow-up doctor's appointment on April 18th, I'm still walking with a cane, the doctor examined my knee and said everything was progressing fine. He told me to continue with physical therapy and he will see me in 6 weeks.
PHYSICAL THERAPY CONTINUESOn April 27th I was evaluated for mobility, strengthen and range of motion. My therapist suggested that I do one more month because I still needed to work on my range of motion.
I visited my doctor, he approved the one more month of physical therapy. On May 5th, I started an additional month of physical therapy. My therapist worked on me walking without a cane. I was NOT ALLOWED to come into the facility using my cane, I could bring it in with me but I had to carry it, LOL!!! He also worked on taking the limp out of my walk which became very challenging because I still had pain in my left leg.
I had some days were I did not have to use the cane, then there were other days where I had to use the cane. We could not figure out why this was happening. Sometimes the weather, such as rain, would affect the feeling in my knees.