My Joint Replacement Story: Part Two

Welcome back to my series! I’d like to congratulate everyone on making it through the novel of the my last post. I warned it might be long on unfortunately I was right. I’ll try to keep this one to a minimum but no promises.

So I have my first knee replacement done in July 2011. I had been having a lot of knee pain and had very little range of motion before I went to the surgeon again. Looking back, I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long but there’s no point in regret. Turns out once again, after x-rays and MRIs, my knee had no cartilage and was fusing which explained the lack of range of motion. I was lucky to be able to use the same surgeon that did my hip replacements, Dr. Michael Crovetti.

I scheduled the surgery was confident I knew what to expect. I had the same surgeon, same surgery team, same physical therapist set up for after and I’d had both hips replaced just a few years earlier. They couldn’t be that different right? WRONG! Everything went well and a few hours later, I was resting comfortably in my surgery suite. They got me up and walking the hall the later that night and while again I was freaked out about walking around so soon, but I was feeling good. I had a lot of difficult falling asleep, probably due to the nurse coming in every four hours to give me more pain medication. I did finally manage to get a few hours of sleep.

This is where things got a little crazy. For all of my hip and knee replacements, I had a spinal block, similar to an epidural, that lasted about 18-24 hours. This is the reason why taking the pain medication throughout the night was so important. Unfortunately, there was some confusion and I was only getting half the pain medication. I woke up the next morning in so much pain, I was shaking. I’ve never in my life felt such excruciating pain. It was horrible. The nurses called the doctor and he wrote orders for a shot of pain med that helped almost immediately.

Once they got my pain management under control and I stopped freaking out, I worked with physical therapy. I only stayed in the surgery center one more day before being discharged home. I again had home health and in-home physical therapy. I had about 15 staples and no restrictions to follow. YAY! After a few weeks of in-home physical therapy, I had out-patient therapy for another three months. I had the same team of providers for both hip and both knee replacements. I was really lucky to have the same people and feel comfortable enough to ask questions, regardless of how stupid they sounded.

The recovery for knee replacements if very different that hips. I had to have my knee immobile in a huge brace for a few months when sleeping. Seriously uncomfortable and very heavy! I also used a CPM to help with range of motion. A lot of people don’t like it, but I loved it! It moves your knee for you to gain range of motion without exerting a lot of energy.

Once again, 6 months later, I had my other knee replaced. This time, the surgery and recovery went perfectly. Since then, I’ve been doing well with the exception of the last six months. My right knee has been giving me some pain but that could be because I’m not working out as often as I was before. I have a doctor in town that I met with last year and will be seeing him again to check on things if working out doesn’t alleviate the pain.

Leave your questions below! Shoulder replacements are next so watch for that post early next week.

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8 thoughts on “My Joint Replacement Story: Part Two

  1. I was waiting… My girl, you could write a book I’m sure. So for your knee replacements do they go in from the top or the side? Where is your scar? They said my right knee has the most damage. This will be my first replacement I’m sure.

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    • I have about four inch scars running down the middle of my kneecap. They get lighter every year. My physical therapist had given me the name of some cream to help it heal faster but the scars don’t bother me…they’re kind of a badge of honor. Lol. Knee replacements are definitely hard to rehab and painful but completely worth it for me.

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      • I had very little range of motion; probably 15-30 degrees is all. I waited way too long, causing myself a lot of unnecessary pain, before having my first surgery. However, if you’re having range of motion problems, I’d talk to the doctor about trying Physical Therapy first. That might help prolong the need for the replacement.

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      • It locks a lot and swells a lot but once I “pop it back in” (I guess that’s what you’d call it) I’m good. It happens probably once every two days. It is always a bit swollen though

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  2. Pingback: My Joint Replacement Story: Part Three |

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