On July 15, I had my left knee totally replaced. I am 70 years old and it is the first time in 40 years that I have been out of work for more than a couple of days. After this surgery, I was totally out of it for two weeks. Elsewhere in this issue you’ll learn plenty about Cape Fear Valley Health’s knee- and hip-replacement program. Because the date of my surgery got bumped up, I missed the informative pre-surgery classes that are part of the program.
But I can share my own lessons from this experience:
- Don’t have the surgery unless all of your options have been exhausted. If you decide to have it, be sure your spouse is on board. I could not have done this without the support and help of my wife, Sandee. I talked to a man at PT who was discussing having the surgery and he does not have any family. I told him he’d better have a contract with a home-care service or he will be totally miserable. I am so grateful to my wife for all of her help.
- Don’t believe anyone who says it is a “cake walk.” The four PT people I’ve worked with have all said the pain will last six to eight weeks. As I write this, it is four weeks since surgery and I am still having to take pain meds at night to sleep.
- Do the exercises and ice, ice, ice the knee. The exercises make my knee feel better for a couple of hours afterwards.
- Stay on top of your medications by keeping a record of what you take when. This includes over-the-counter medications, like Tylenol and Aleve.
I have been blessed by many friends who have come to visit and who have called showing concern. It has been touching. I will say that I have never experienced the pain like this in my 70 years. I had back surgery in 1989 but it was nothing like this. I have also learned that total knee replacement is not for sissies.