No man's land

Options
Fionabee
Fionabee Member Posts: 146
edited 23. Feb 2014, 05:55 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi there.
I have adopted Barbara's expression, it is just how I am feeling.
I am afraid I'm starting to sound whiney, but I'm worried about my progress (lack of) and not due to see anyone till my 6wk follow up later this month, have not had any physio.
Almost 4 weeks post op and I am in a rut. During the day my knee is not painful, but it's feeling stiffer & tight and my exercises are more difficult. After noticing the swelling going down about a week ago, it seems to get worse from the moment I get up. By the end of the day I'm really struggling to do lying or standing exercise. Bending the knee makes it feel like it's going to burst. How much should I force or push, listening to my body is not helping! Am using my giant frozen pea pack 2 or 3 times daily.
Using 2 sticks as advised (with one I develop a hop along sort of gait), little walks without, maybe in kitchen, or getting out of chair to reach something, standing to hang clothes on an airer etc.
Repeating lying exercises 3-5 times daily 12 repeats holding for 8 seconds.
Standing exercise - not as good at, 2-3 times daily, 12 repeats, hold for 8 seconds.
Should I be doing more? I 've no idea what to build up to.....
Went to supermarket @ 3wks with husband, I couldn't manage to push the trolley once it was laden, it made me realise how feeble I was. Again, should I be confronting this and putting more effort in? Or is this the norm?
I thought I was going to be back at work in 6 or so weeks, at the moment that feels unimaginable.
Night time feels MORE painful than a week ago, Tramadol back up to 100mgs which does help, but side lying is really uncomfortable even with cushions etc. & I'm waking regularly to change position, at least the a Tram does help with getting back to sleep.
Because the weather has been so xxxx, I've not done much walking outside, realise how hard pavement is!
Do you reach a point when the knee stops swelling or will it always swell if subject to certain pressures?
I have a fear that my scar is going to split apart because doing exercises feels like it's putting it under such pressure. Am moisturising it, thought I'd get some Bio oil & research Helen's homeopathic suggestion.
Sorry to go on so.
The wind outside sounds awful, hope you are all safe and warm.
Love fiona

Edited for swearing - Mod B

Comments

  • elnafinn
    elnafinn Member Posts: 7,412
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hi Fiona

    Have you been following the RICE regime enough? Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevate? I found walking outside not good at all so did not do it and was eventually ticked off by my physio with whom I got on really well. She said I must walk outside by the time she saw me the following week. I did, took one of the crutches, walked round the block, never thought I would make it and did. :) It was painful and hard work but I was so pleased with myself.

    I have had both knees done two years apart and neither was a breeze. I had so much pain although mobility was good. I am not good at resting and probably did not do enough of it. ;) I got there in the end as I was told I would but was also told it is a major operation and can take 12 - 18 months to heal properly and so on.

    It will get better.

    Elna
    The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

    If you can lay down at night knowing in your heart that you made someone's day just a little bit better, you know you had a good day.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,731
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    So, you've been given physio exercises to do and told to come back in 6 weeks? That sounds about right to me though, for my knee revision, I was given the ward phone number so that I could speak with a physio if I had any problems. I was always told to do my exercises 6-8 times daily. This leaves room for very little else which I think is quite intentional. Yes, the scar does feel as if it will split. I can't comment on yours, fionabee, but none of mine ever did.

    If you must walk round a supermarket then please get someone else to push the trolley. Your whole aim at this point needs to be to stand tall and walk as naturally as possible. Shoving a heavy trolley puts too much pressure on the wrong bits of your knees.

    My knees were swollen after the op but gradually returned to normal. I don't recall them swelling up more during the day though they might have done. Do elevate as much as possible as that does help. I also can't recall the scale at which I gradually delayed the dullers during the day but I still take mild cocos going to bed. Not for the knees though. And I can't remember a time when I didn't wake up to change position. That will pass for you. As long as you can nod off again I don't see that it matters. Maybe now is the time to start making notes of any questions you have for you follow up appt in 2 weeks' time.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • elnafinn
    elnafinn Member Posts: 7,412
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hi again Fiona

    I wrote a daily diary when I had my first TKR in January 2008 and also a running commentary on this forum. It really helped me. I still write a diary every day but it stemmed from my first TKR. When you read it back a week or so later you see that you have improved - may be not by much perhaps - but you see that you are going in the right direction. It is not easy to notice little improvements if it is not written down as we forget. ;)

    I also noticed from reading back that I had a few good days and then went back a little but soon got back to where I was before.

    Why not try it. :-D

    Elna
    The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

    If you can lay down at night knowing in your heart that you made someone's day just a little bit better, you know you had a good day.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Yup, you sound whiny: you're not the first and for sure you won't be the last for 'tis the very nature of post-op recovery. :)

    I know from first-hand experience of many ops that it is almost impossible to accurately judge the rate of progress when you are the affected one. I suspect you are also having to cope with the handicap of being basically healthy despite a touch of OA - currently you can't do what you want, when you want and how you want and indeed it sucks. :( Newbie patients may also have very unrealistic expectations of how things should be but us old hands know that this hiatus is not going to last. This may well be your first post-op time and yes, it is tough. I won't stress the positives because I realise you won't be able to see them as that but I assure you they are there. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Fionabee
    Fionabee Member Posts: 146
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    I am sorry, I attributed the no man's land expression to Barbara, but it was Dreamdaisy's. I think I read your posts one after another, and remembered who had said what incorrectly. Please accept my apogies.
    I suppose I am basically healthy, but to describe what I have experienced over the years as just a touch of OA, well I found that just a tad patronising.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    My apologies, things generally were getting the better of me and I forgot my manners. :oops: I'm seventeen years in (I'm 54) have two kinds of arthritis and of the two I prefer the OA because of its honesty in how it presents. It's in both ankles, both knees and now both hips thanks to the three-year wait for the new knees. I probably won't bother with those now because the damage elsewhere will mean I won't gain the best benefit. My wrists, shoulders and neck are also affected and the broken arm on top is far from helpful - especially as that was my own fault. :lol: I'm having to sleep sitting up so I'm not sleeping either. Ain't life grand? :lol: DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Fionabee
    Fionabee Member Posts: 146
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    DD oh I'm sorry that sounds wretched. RA seems a worse beast, I must find more out about it, I think more folk here seem to me affected by it than t'other. Wouldn't life be dandy to just have one issue and be confident that one would benefit from new knee, hip, whatever. The niggle ar the back of my mind is that the state of my back will stop me enjoying the knew knee :0/
    I work with a lady who is 78, tall, slim, very upright, but has experienced many knocks in life. Occasionally she says her arthuritis is bothering her a bit, she must have good genes, she is so positive and has a very optimistic attitude to everything, I have a lot to learn fromom her.
    fiona
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,731
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    My guess is that the numbers on here are probably fairly even distributed between OAers and auto-immuners. Mind you, we auto-immuners (Mine's RA) often manage to do the double :roll:

    Try not to worry about the back not allowing you to get the most out of your new knee. Our Barbara put off getting a new hip for ages because she thought on similar lines but I don't think she regrets it now. This is one of the few areas on which I disagree with DD. When I got my first TKRs my ankles were already so bad I could only walk in surgical shoes and my hands and shoulders so bad I couldn't use walking aids. I still went for the knees and they've made a huge difference. OK I still have rubbish ankles but, with stronger joints above them, even they weren't so bad.

    Anyway, how are you today? Did you manage to sleep any better?
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • elnafinn
    elnafinn Member Posts: 7,412
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    I have problems with my back off and on since being in my teens. The new knees have helped me tremendously. :)

    Elna
    The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

    If you can lay down at night knowing in your heart that you made someone's day just a little bit better, you know you had a good day.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    I hope you have had a better day today, recovery is a little like a rollercoaster, one moment you feel that progress is being made, the next you don't.

    I have psoriatic arthritis (PsA) - it's similar to RA but with the bonus of rubbish skin. The varieties of auto -immune arthritis are numerous, circa the 200 mark. There are around 10 million arthritics in the UK, the majority (circa 8 million) have OA, around 300,000 have RA and people like me make up the numbers. (These figures are not absolutes, they are the ones I recall reading not long ago.) My OA was caused by the joint damage from the PsA.

    There are two common fallacies about arthritis:

    1. It only affects the elderly. We know it doesn't.

    2. There are two kinds, OA & RA. Wrong.

    It is becoming increasingly recognised that OA does affect the young, those in their teens and twenties. This is leading researchers to ponder a genetic link (as there is with the auto forms although both sorts will occur just because they can). DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • marrianne
    marrianne Member Posts: 1,161
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    PoorI Fiona ,I am really sorry your not doing so good at the moment ,thinking back ... summer op for me ..I say its brilliant now ..but omg there were some dark days ,I truely think the cold damp miserable stuff we are in at the moment is also knocking you back ,BUT it will get better once you can sleep right through or at least get 8 hours ... now and again YOU WILL start to get better days slotted in the bad ones i have to be honest I didnt do everything I was told to you kind of know your own body , keep posting you are entitled to get a bit down we are always here for you as you give good support to ((((())))) hugs Marrianne
  • Helenbothknees
    Helenbothknees Member Posts: 487
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Fiona, hi, sorry not to have joined this thread sooner, I'm just back after a couple of days away with no internet access; we went to Chester just to get away, walked miles round the city walls, shopped till we dropped as they say, ate out, tried to forget it was raining. My feet ached afterwards, as did my back, and so did my partner's...well we had walked a long way. But....MY KNEES DIDN'T ACHE!!! I say this to convince you that eventually it will be MOST DEFINITELY worth all that you're going through now. I had my knees done 19 months ago, but you need to develop patience (pot calling kettle black, that. :) ) and stop expecting progress in days or even weeks. It takes ages.

    A few things from your first post....

    Stop trying to cut back on the painkillers!!! Were you told to do that? I was always told that you should take enough to dull the pain as much as possible, so that you can do your exercises and sleep and you're not always in pain. Have you been told differently? If you have, listen to the experts, but if not, then take what you need, and save cutting back for weeks and months down the line. Being in pain and not sleeping saps your energy like you wouldn't believe.

    I seem to remember I only exercised three times a day, but I can't actually remember now. If my knees swelled too much, I eased off. Did my knees swell? You bet they did. Did they eventually stop? Of course. In fact, I now feel OK exposing my legs in shorts etc in the summer; I never did before as I was extremely bow-legged, and the surgeon straightened my legs out as much as he could.

    You said at one point you had a phone number to call if you had questions. Why aren't you calling it? You have questions. That's what they gave it to you for. We pay enough over the years for the NHS, and should be able to use it to the full when necessary. If you haven't paid a fortune in taxes over the years, I certainly have, and I'd like them used for you to get advice now you need it. It was the advice that helped me during the first few weeks - the physio class was a bit of a waste of time as it was always too easy and designed for the 80+ year olds who were in the class with me, but being able to ask about things was invaluable.

    So, to summarise...
    Take painkillers to dull the pain as much as possible. Exercise as much as you've been told, don't try to do more unless you're sure you can. If your knees swell, ice them. If you're tired, rest. If you have questions, ask them.....

    And if you feel like a good moan, come on here....and don't worry about DD; she rubs me up the wrong way at times too, but she means well ("touch of OA" grrr, gnashes teeth and plans murder....sorry DD :) )

    And....it WILL get lots, lots better, and is definitely worth it. It's given me my life back.
  • Helenbothknees
    Helenbothknees Member Posts: 487
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    I also meant to say..." No man's land" describes your situation well. When I asked about writing a book on my TKR, sticky said she had lots of professional info and support and wouldn't have needed it. I didn't, and I felt like I was dumped in limbo. They may not have done that in the early days, but they do now. Actually that's why I looked on-line and found these forums, a few days after coming home from hospital. I also found a few others, some rather American and over-the-top - one woman who'd had both knees done together gave her new knees names!!!!! I couldn't handle it and came on here. I was very lucky in that about half a dozen of us all had TKRs within the same few months and could compare notes. That sort of contact helped. There seem to be rather fewer new knees around here now, but us "old new knees" will try to help if we can.....
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hello, how's things? DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Helenbothknees
    Helenbothknees Member Posts: 487
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Can I second DD's question, Fiona. How are you? I hope none of us here have upset you. I'm sure no-one meant to. Another thing I remember - which doesn't seem to be mentioned much by others - is how raw and sensitive one can feel after major surgery. I got upset over tiny little things, and at one point left these forums because I felt 'got at', although I see now that I wasn't and I was over-reacting. If you feel that way I understand. And if I personally have upset you at all, I apologise.
  • Fionabee
    Fionabee Member Posts: 146
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hello everyone.
    Well fiddle sticks (there's a first for everything!) this morning i typed a full reply on an iPhone and after submitting, it vanished. I thought I'll wait a while and check later and it will appear,perhaps its sitting on an iCloud somewhere. No it has vanished??
    Much better couple of days after a better more comfortable nights sleep a few night ago.More positive frame of mind and a lot less anxious. Last night not so good, but put light on read for an hour, its not the end of the world!
    Thank you so much for all your support, husband has given me a 5 minute warning, our pizza is almost ready. More tomorrow.
    Love fionax
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,731
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    I think we've all lost posts at one time or another. The rule seems to be that they're long ones :lol: If yours had been quarantined for any reason you'd have had a message telling you so straight away. I confess I do wonder if I occasionally click on 'cancel' rather than 'submit'. They are close to each other and, if the mouse wanders a bit....

    You do sound more positive and less anxious. Stress itself makes us more aware of pain so anything that reduces it has to be good news. I hope today is better too.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hello again, how are things today? I hope all is as well as possible. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Helenbothknees
    Helenbothknees Member Posts: 487
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    DD's question and comment go for me too, Fiona. I hope things are progressing....
  • Fionabee
    Fionabee Member Posts: 146
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hello there. Thanks for your kind messages and thoughts. I think I am making progress at last, I have been an unrealistic pain in the bum expecting to be returning to normal in a few weeks.
    A few things in the last couple of days really point to improvement, less swelling, I was able to reach my feet more easily to wash them in the shower, I didn't need to sit on the loo to get dry, I did it standing up and got my foot (on operated side) onto the side of the bath to dry it!
    Yesterday & today I've lost one or both of my sticks on a couple of occasions, usually left them in the loo or they are at one end of the kitchen and I'm at the other. Because the swelling is down, I'm guessing this is ok. I've not done much walking outside yet, it's so wet, but we aren't flooded so shouldn't grumble. Have been to airport to see son off back to Germany, supermarket & cinema, so think I'm prob doing ok. Pavements are so hard and solid, they feel so different to our solid tiled kitchen floor!
    Re Painkillers. When I was discharged from hospital, I was given 2 wks supply, I thought this was all I should require, I did get more from my GP, but then felt as if I should be managing without them as much as possible. Am a bit more relaxed about it now, after Helen's comments, some nights are better than others, but I'm carrying on with 100mgs Tramadol at bedtime, the irony is, if I get up, I'm better on my feet than lying down.
    Enuff said. My family have been terrific, and I have been lucky that they have all been around, coming & going since I came home, but the forum has made all the difference and I really appreciate your reading my ramblings and supporting me with advice, encouragement & common sense!
    Love Fiona :D
  • Helenbothknees
    Helenbothknees Member Posts: 487
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Fiona, that all sounds good. Progress after a TKR is really slow, and people like you and me have to learn patience. Best thing is probably just to forget about progress, take painkillers when you need them, do your exercises, and otherwise rest and be nice to yourself. If nothing horrible is happening to your knee, then it'll be getting better....but in its own time, not yours (ie not as fast as you'd wish).

    The strange thing is, when you look back a few months later, recovery seems to have been quite quick. I suppose that's because you had arthritis for years, and recovery only takes months (but not weeks!).

    Take care of yourself and stay in touch.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    How are things going now, Fiona? DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Fionabee
    Fionabee Member Posts: 146
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hello everyone.
    Just a quick update, have had a couple of attempts on iPhone and lost the post, very frustrating.
    I'm 6 weeks post op from my TKR and took my green support socks off last night for good! Although I normally live in trousers, I haven't wanted to wear them as I don't want anything touching the scar, it is quite tender (more so later in the day) and a wee bit lumpy. I am a tiny bit squeamish about the scar, keeping it moisturised and wearing pop sox today!
    Have just been out for short walk with the dog (and husband) went a bit further than yesterday, feel it's going ok. This week I have felt things were def improving, still have some swelling, bit worse at end of day, but nothing like that tree trunk leg of a few weeks ago. During the evening, sitting relaxing, it does seem to tighten & stiffen up a bit, it generally wears off once I get moving, wonder how long this goes on for??
    Tomorrow shall have a little drive & practice the emergency stop, have to improve the supermarket run, last time I couldn't have managed without husband, hope I do better tomorrow. Knowing I will be back at work fairly soon has ratcheted up the pressure a bit :0(
    Had a very uncomfortable experience going to see GP yesterday about another sick note, I just don't feel ready for work yet, am still on 1 stick & I'll be back on my feet most of the day. What a miserable monosyllabic man, I have seen him occasionally over the yrs, he has injected my knees several times, well he didn't enquire about or show the slightest interest in me or my recovery. He has given me another 2wks, I think I will be ok for a phased return after that ....do feel a bit apprehensive about it tho. I shall try & avoid that GP next time, he is the senior partner which is a bit concerning, I was the first appt of the day, feel sorry for anyone seeing him later in the day!
    Have an appt with Occ Health on Monday, have to go to them, I thought they would come and see me at work, maybe they will & this is just for background/history.
    I discovered the other day that Judi Dench had a knee replacement 6 wks before the Philomena premier & she managed the red carpet without a stick, she looked fab!

    http://uk.eonline.com/news/474735/judi-dench-walks-the-red-carpet-without-a-cane-six-weeks-after-undergoing-knee-surgery

    Hope the link works.
    Thanks for your advice and patience, I was a bit precious at 2wks post op thinking I should be getting back to normal! Shall continue dropping in.
    Love Fiona
  • Fionabee
    Fionabee Member Posts: 146
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    The link doesn't work, the photo is not there, not clever enough to sort it.
    She wore black trousers & camisole with a black & gold kaftan/kurta top. Love her style.

    One last thing. Get a tightness in my calf, sometimes spreads all round the front of the leg as well, mainly if standing up and still eg @ sink or cooking, sometimes just randomly tho??
    Thanks
    Fb
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,731
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    It sounds as if things are moving on steadily which is good. As for trousers - I, too, live in them. I've not had a problem post TKR but I do ensure I only wear cøtton ones. Man-made fibres / linen can be a bit cruel.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright