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So, I'm having a knee replacement...

(76 Posts)
NfkDumpling Thu 16-Feb-17 09:53:34

Yesterday, I took the plunge. My doctor had suggested a one off private appointment with a knee consultant to get his opinion on my knee as, although the waiting time for an NHS op isn't bad around here, actually getting on the list is somewhat of a challenge. Inevitably I've ended up using money from my Dementia Care Fund and am booked in at Spire hospital on 20 March. We are booked to go away on holiday on 25 April. In our caravan. For two weeks.

So I need advice from all you nice people who've had knee replacements. Will I be able to go? I know the 'van is comfortable enough (it's only a couple of years old and has all mod cons) and I should be able to manage the steps, but will the knee be healed up enough to not need dressing changed and stuff like that? Are there post op appointments which need to be kept? I assume I'll still be swinging along on crutches a lot of the time but I should have got the hang of them by then!

annsixty Thu 16-Feb-17 10:23:00

I am so pleased with my knee and hope you will be too.
Once my stitches were out on day 15 I had no dressing on so that shouldn't be a problem. I was on one crutch after 4/5 weeks and told by physio to try and manage part of the time without even that.
My main problem was sleeping, it is difficult to get really comfortable at night. I sleep in my own room and certainly couldn't have shared a bed, will that be a problem? It was 4/5 months before I could rest properly. I wish you the very best.

kathcraigs Thu 16-Feb-17 10:30:02

Hi NFKDumpling
l had my hip replaced at a Spire hospital in August last year, so not exactly the same thing, but similar.
lf your holiday is 6 weeks after your surgery, you should be ok for your holiday by then, certainly regarding the dressings.
Not altogether sure about the crutches, as knee surgery is different to hip (knees are more complicated joints) but when l was at home, l was off my crutches after a week. Sore and stiff, but l managed, so l imagine after 6 weeks you should be well on the mend.
l'd have a word with the staff at the hospital. l found them to be very accommodating and reassuring, and they'll give you good advice.
l wish you well with your surgery and recovery - once you're healed, you'll be so glad you had it done! lt makes a huge difference to your quality of life. Best of luck!

Alima Thu 16-Feb-17 10:47:59

Only know of friends who have had knee replacements and I have been amazed by how quickly they are up and about sans crutches. Keep up with your exercises which I know is easy for me to say. Good luck with the op and enjoy your holiday!

NfkDumpling Thu 16-Feb-17 11:35:59

Thank you for the speedy responses. And most of all the positivity. DH was all for cancelling but I think I've persuaded him to hang fire until after the op. The caravan has two single beds so that's not a problem. We do have a spare bed at home. It does get used as a dumping ground but I'm about to uncover it for DDs visit this afternoon. Will try to make an effort to keep tidy!
It was the dressings which concerned me most. I can't believe it should be all healed so quickly.

annsixty Thu 16-Feb-17 12:42:24

Nfk this is my knee on day 15 when I had just had my stitches out. The swelling does take time to go down but the scar itself is not a problem.

NfkDumpling Thu 16-Feb-17 14:24:09

Wow, that's impressive! Actually my consultant just rang as I'm on HRT and the operation will increase the chance of thrombosis - by 1%. So I'm cutting back until after the op. He says I should be fine to go away so DH is happy.

I'm feeling very mixed up at the moment. Should I really be feeling excited and looking forward to an operation which I know will result in pain and discomfort? Probably more pain than I get now as my problem is caused as much from the deformation of my knee as the arthritis. As long as I don't use it, I'm really not too bad. But my mum took that attitude and she became housebound in her early 70s. (I'm 70 this year) I've been wanting a nice straight new knee for so long now, I'm all confused!

Deedaa Thu 16-Feb-17 21:44:32

Once the stitches are out you can begin to forget about it. As far as I can remember I was only on crutches for a few days and then perhaps a couple of weeks with a stick. You may need something to hang on to to help you on and off the loo. After the first couple of days I found the pain went really quickly. Couldn't believe I was only on paracetamol when I went home. Don't be like your mother, my mother in law left it far too long and ended up unable to stand.

caz55 Thu 16-Feb-17 21:53:34

i flew to egypt 4 weeks after knee replacement and the bahamas a few weeks after that .

ginny Thu 16-Feb-17 21:57:02

I went away in our touring caravan 4 weeks after my knee replacement. As long as there are no complications there should be no problem. One advantage at the time was that I was offered the use of the disabled shower facilities.

Chewbacca Thu 16-Feb-17 22:02:48

My friend had her left knee replaced exactly 6 weeks ago today. All dressings have been removed and she's just been given the all clear to start driving again, although not for long distances for another few weeks yet. She's already on the waiting list for her right knee to be done too and is delighted at how quickly she's recovered.

NfkDumpling Sat 18-Feb-17 16:31:14

Driving after six weeks sounds fantastic! I had a steroid injection in my right hip last week to get rid of the bursitis in it (it's the left knee that's being replaced) and have just got back from a walk with the DGC, and actually enjoyed it - although it wasn't very far. When I started out I thought 'I don't need this operation, it's so much better' but by the time we got back I realised how unfit my walking muscles have become. I wasn't walking like a penguin as I was before the injection but my knee had swelled quite a bit by the time I tried to bend it to get into the car!

Elrel Sat 18-Feb-17 23:53:17

I had my knee joint replaced in early November. I am still using one stick. Today I went out shopping without it (I am fine around the house) and seeing me standing holding on to street furniture on two occasions people asked whether I was all right. A great relief to arrive at the supermarket and hang on to the trolley! I have lower back pain at the moment which didn't help!
Do any pre-op exercises you have been given, the more you work at them the better your extension and flexion will be post op. I expect you've been told that swimming (not breaststroke) or walking in water is helpful too. Plenty of water to drink and green leafy vegetables are recommended to promote healing.
I was in The Royal Orthopaedic, Birmingham. The physios want to see your knee back to 90 degrees flexion as soon as possible. Obviously the post-op exercises are crucial too. One physio said to me 'Remember, the best exercise is MOVE'!!
The surgeon added a wedge to straighten my leg and I no longer look like a cartoon jockey! I'm a few years older than you and overweight, I'm not yet skipping about but certainly am better than before and very glad I had the procedure.
I didn't sleep well for weeks, on my back was not natural to me. A Spanish physio advised me to rub my scar hard with oil twice a day. She recommended Rosehip Oil but people use others successfully too. Sure you'll get plenty of good advice on this thread - there is also one begun when others were having knees done 3-4 months ago. All the best!

Elrel Sat 18-Feb-17 23:57:12

As for travelling - I was using buses and trains on my own with 2 sticks by Christmas, asking for any help I needed, usually for someone to hold a stick or a bag while I clambered on! People are so kind!

Elrel Sun 19-Feb-17 00:07:14

The other thread is 'Knee replacement. Help!' OP was Jane10 on 30th September.
You finally get used to the elastic stockings worn 24/7 for 6 weeks, in fact I quite missed them when they finally came off! At first they were, for me, difficult to get on and off.

Claudiaclaws Sun 19-Feb-17 00:17:26

I came out using 2 sticks but after 10 days at home I managed with one.But, don't be in too much of a rush to discard the one.
You must do the exercises religiously, lie on the bed and keeping your foot on the bed, draw your foot up towards your bottom as far as you can this means you are bending your knee,this is good to do before your operation.
They will give you other exercise to do after the operation.
Do take any pain relief medicines they offer you.
It is a good idea for whoever is collecting you from hospital to push the front seat back as far as possible before you get in. This makes it easier for you to get in.
As soon as you stand for the first time your leg will feel strong and able to weight bear.
Good Luck.

Jane10 Sun 19-Feb-17 06:44:55

My knee replacement was at the end of Oct. I was given 2 sticks. On to one only after a week. I think I was given a false positive view of how easy it would be. I'm sorry to seem a downer but I found it all quite shocking. I didn't like the strong opiates given post op so did only take paracetamol. The main and major problems are with sleep and post op constipation.
Actually I couldn't imagine a caravan holiday only one month post op.
A very very important tip is to NOT do too much in the way of exercise for a few weeks after the op. The major surgery is extremely traumatising to the bone, tendons, ligaments and soft tissues. This needs to heal. You wouldn't exercise a broken leg after all! Recent research highlights this and major centres don't allow physio for 4 weeks post op (Mayo clinic). I didn't know that, did exercise, overheated damaged muscle fibres and developed adhesions thus requiring a 'manipulation under anaesthetic' at 12 weeks. Its OK now but I still have a long way to go. Wasn't allowed to drive for 14weeks. Everyone is different though. You may be one of the lucky ones!

NfkDumpling Sun 19-Feb-17 21:53:46

Thanks. Yes it makes perfect sense to exercise without weight bearing. I'll remember that. I've received forms to fill in giving height of loo and stuff like that. It's all seeming terribly imminent!

Charleygirl Sun 19-Feb-17 22:23:50

I was lucky, I could flex to well over 100 degrees Ist day post op but my problem was pain which could not be controlled- I have a reaction to morphine. Sleeping was also difficult but I found the most comfortable position was sleeping on my r)side, the side of surgery.

Because I had 2 crutches when I was discharged, I had to have a chair in the kitchen to even make a cup of coffee safely. Because I live on my own I had frozen microwave meals- I could not cook safely.

I have a shower so I bought a stool to place in the shower. I had recently had my bathroom and downstairs loo refurbished so I had taller loos fitted- what a difference that made.

I would never in a hundred years have been able to go on the holiday that you have planned but everybody is different.

I think that I was driving locally after 8 weeks but my GP was reluctant to allow me. Within 5 minutes of getting in the car I had to do an emergency stop- sod's law was at work! A few twinges but I was fine.

I need my left knee replacing so when I go into a supermarket I use the trolley as a Zimmer frame!

Good luck- no two people are the same and we each have a different type of replacement- mine is a Genesis 2.

Elrel Sun 19-Feb-17 22:56:07

Charleygirl - enviable flexion! The pain sounds bad however, I didn't really have more than discomfort. I slept on my back for weeks which I found difficult and uncomfortable. I began to feel I'd never regain a normal sleep pattern but I have now. As you say, no two people are the same. Genesis 2 sounds cool, I shall ask what mine is!!

I had loads of stuff on loan, still have the perch stool in the kitchen and the very useful tray trolley. The frame over the loo was a great help too.

Jane10 Mon 20-Feb-17 06:55:12

Ooh yes my loo frame is wonderful.

I had to use a bath board at first which made bathing a horrible scary experience. However, when DH saw the state I was in he relented and we had the bath replaced with a walk in shower.
I didn't like opiates so just took paracetamol but my pain wasn't too bad. Sleep when you can across the 24 hours. Its so hard to sleep only on your back.

But a day comes when you can sleep better, you can dispense with your stick and driving is possible again. This time next year you'll feel a different person!

Elrel Mon 20-Feb-17 22:38:37

Went to a knee class today which I actually enjoyed! First time I've managed to pedal an exercise bike, not without some discomfort but at least I managed it today! Seeing consultant tomorrow, do hope he doesn't want to MUA. Then seeing a physio on Wednesday.

Jane10 Tue 21-Feb-17 07:05:26

Elrel don't fear a MUA. It was a turning point for me and has been a very positive thing. However, it doesn't sound as though you'll need one. I bought a little pedaler device from Amazon which I pedal away on. Because I do it from whichever seat I'm on its like a recumbent bike. Its very good. I can vary its distance from me hence increasing or decreasing the angle of bend.
I'm also just plain walking more. Its so wet here that we try to find places to wander that are under cover -great trip to an antiques centre at the weekend for example.
Today its the big one - I'm getting the bus into town!

shysal Tue 21-Feb-17 09:14:23

Read this on my BT home page today. Not much use to you posters, but interesting.

NfkDumpling Tue 21-Feb-17 18:07:33

Hope you had a successful trip Jane!