Double knee replacement surgery – part 3: On the Far Side of the Bed

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I woke up nervous this morning on the far side of the bed.

Even though Mark put up a small protest as this being an unnecessary move, I switched sides of the bed and am now on the far side from the bathroom.

Mark doesn’t think it will be a problem for him to walk around the bed and then into the bathroom after his double knee replacement surgery. Giving him the side closest to the bathroom saves him nearly half the steps for that trip, and many steps any time he leaves or returns to the room. I think at first, each step is going to count.

Mark and I don’t always see eye-to-eye about preparations and what needs to be done whether it is planning for a party or undertaking a home renovation. Mark opts for minimum and I like to be prepared.

Often I submit to what he thinks, but in this case I’m standing my ground. When he comes home from the hospital in pain, unable to fully bend his knees, needing an intensive amount of therapy and general assistance, the responsibility will lie with me.

On Thursday Mark received a FedEx package containing medicine in 10 syringes. Yes. Either he or I will have to give him, a shot of a blood thinner for 10 days after he gets home. In a way, I’m relieved that he will get this medicine because blood clots are one of the bad possible side effects of this surgery.  I hope someone will train me somewhere along the way if Mark wants me to do it for him. The possible side effects of this medicine are pretty scary. So many things to watch out for. I don’t know how I’m going to do anything but hover over him for the first two days he’s home.

CPM (continuous passive motion) device- from

On Friday his CPM (continuous passive motion) device was delivered. Mark will have to use it for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, three times a day for each leg. This adds up to a whopping 9 – 12 hours a day. The technician who brought the device and set it up with Mark’s leg measurements said it is best to use it in bed. Mark can prop his head and shoulders up on a couple of pillows, but he shouldn’t sit up while using it. Seeing Mark try out this device set off a whole new level of anxiety above and beyond what I felt when we acquired the raised toilet seat, shower chair, and walker.

The CPM device weighs about 25 pounds. The technician suggested we set it up on the bed in a guest room so that I don’t have to lift it up and down from the bed every day. That’s not likely to happen. The TV and dvd player are in our room. I don’t think Mark is going to want to lie in bed 12 hours a day with nothing to do except read or look out a window in the guest room.

I’ll just consider the lifting of the device to the bed and back resistance training.

They will deliver a cooling machine to the hospital that Mark can use as often as he wants. I will have to keep it filled with ice and water.

I anticipate he will get visits from a nurse at first.

There will be pain medicines to keep track of, meals to eat, exercises for him to do, therapy to go to. (There won’t be showers to take for the first two weeks. . .) We’re going to have a pretty regimented month or so to fit it all in.

Look for a lot of photographs and some quick from-the-archives posts from me.

I woke up nervous this morning.

I probably will again tomorrow.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I actually and unexpectedly woke up calm this morning. Mark has been nervous all day.

By the time you read this I will probably be waiting during Mark’s surgery as it is scheduled for early tomorrow morning.

I want to thank all of you who are wishing Mark well through the surgery and recovery.

You can find links to the entire series on Bilateral knee replacement surgery here.


25 thoughts on “Double knee replacement surgery – part 3: On the Far Side of the Bed”

  1. Good luck tomorrow.
    looking at the photo brought back memories. We had one of those CPM machines here after Ryan’s ACL replacement surgery..

  2. {{{hugs}}} good morning Christine. Hope all is going well today. So sorry I missed you posting about the surgery but I have a tip for you about learning to give shots. Get a syringe from either a Pharmacy or Feed store like Tractor Supply. Fill the syringe with water and practice on either a banana or an orange. That is how I train my new goat owners if the are buying a goat and it has already had all the shots it needs.
    Take care

  3. I’m like you, Christine. I like to be prepared, almost always more thoroughly so than Sara does.

    I pray that all goes well today. Sorry, I’m reading this post a little late. The surgery is likely over by now.


  4. Hi Christine … reading ahead – at least he’s come through .. checking other posts now .. cheers and with thoughts – sounds rather labour intensive! Hilary

  5. I love your suggestions and web site. I’m having bilateral knee replacements January 4th 2012. I am so fortunate to have learmed about you & Mark. How is he doing almost a year later? I’m 63 years of age and also my name is Christine. Please keep me posted how Mark’s turn out is going for him. Happy Holidays to both of you.

    1. Hi Chris. I’m glad you found us. We don’t talk or even think about Mark’s surgery anymore. He is 100%. It was the best decision we ever made. Hopefully it will be for you as well. Follow the therapists recommendations and I think you will do well. Best of wishes. Let us know how it goes.

      1. Thank you for getting back to me. Just finished my pre-op class this afternoon. It was almost 3 hours but very informative. My husband also said he learned a lot. Think of me January 4th, 2012 my surgery date. I’m feeling pretty assured after reading your blog, thank you so very much.

  6. I’m sorry it is January 2013 surgery date. I will be in the hospiatl 3 days and then a rehab skilled facilty for at least two weeks according to my surgeon.

      1. Thank you for your well wishes. I have had frequent nights of anxiety of my up-coming surgery keeping me awake. Most likely this is normal. Approx. two weeks to go … but do plan on enjoying my holidays with family & our grandkids. Enjoy this holiday season and the up-coming New Year 2013. So pleased Mark did well in his recovery. I am anticipating the same. Do you mind me asking how old Mark was when he had his bilateral done?

  7. Your blog is such a blessing to me!!! I am scheduled for bilateral knee replacement on Jan 21…just a few days away…gulp! Your blog about your experience with your husband REALLY has ENCOURAGED me!!! Thank you sooo much! You just never ever know what lives you are going to touch!
    I am very sorry to read about your mama. It sounds like she was surrounding with the people that she cared most about, and that is a good thing. xxx

      1. My bilateral knee replacement was nearly a year ago and a huge success! I was on a trip seven weeks post op, packed my mothers house for a move at eight weeks and back to work full time at 12 weeks! Again, thank you so much for your blog!

      2. Carolyn,

        I would love to speak/email with you regarding your bilateral knee replacement surgery. I am impressed with your recovery and would like to hear how you prepared/your therapy, etc. I am a paramedic and need to be back to work within 14 weeks in order not to lose my job.



  8. I know your posts of bilateral knee surgery was awhile ago. I am 50 years old and need bilateral surgery. Both knees are almost the worst the doctor has since. I can’t find anyone willing to consider both knees in one surgery. I have had a past history with major infections that the risk of two surgery seems to much to gamble on. Also, I can’t support myself on either leg as they are to week, so rehab on one leg at a time without the support of the other leg does not make sense to me. I need help finding a surgeon that does bilateral knee surgery and I’m limited with Buckeye Insurance. I’m missed the last 10 years of my life because of knee pain and the doctor’s kept pushing it off as I was too young, but the wear and damaged has increased so much. Time was not my friend in this. I know my children want their mother back.
    Thanks for any advice you can give.


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