Double knee replacement surgery update — Making progress

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2:00 p.m.

Mark is sleeping in his bed with the CPM machine working his right leg. I am sitting on the loveseat/bed with my feet up. The loveseat is in a little alcove by a very large window that affords me a panoramic view from the 8th floor where we are.  Last night the city lights below were beautiful. Mark has not been able to enjoy the view yet, but I hope he will soon.

Things are progressing very well for him, according to the physical therapist. Mark’s right leg has caused him more pain from the beginning and is not as flexible or strong as his left right now. The therapist says his right leg is typical, while his left leg is something to write home about. I am so very proud of how hard he is trying and how well he is following recommendations.

The big thing with knee replacement surgery is the angle of rotation he can achieve. The doctor measures the possibility right after surgery, and then it is up to the patient to try to achieve this maximum level. Mark’s doctor said Mark should be able to achieve 140 degrees of rotation. He will need to continue to use the CPM machine until he reaches 120 degrees. The therapist said they would like him to get to 90 degrees before he goes home.

The day of surgery, yesterday, the therapist measured 60 degrees for his right and 70 degrees for his left. Today when she left after two physical therapy sessions and 2 hours per leg on the CPM machine, he measured at 85 degrees on his right and 95 degrees on his left.  This is super.

This afternoon Mark walked out of the room and partway down the hall with a walker and the help of a therapist. You can’t imagine how good it is to see him on his feet, even though I know it is a struggle for him. He said it felt good to be up.

3:00 p.m.

Medically, the discharge or bleeding from Mark’s knees has slowed way down, which is a relief as this has been a source of concern. They removed the drains from his legs just now. His IV was removed today.  I love to see them remove the tubes and things.  I asked the nurse if he was out of the woods for needing a transfusion and she said not until after tomorrow. If there is a problem with blood counts it will be the second day after. So let’s just keep our fingers crossed on this one.

The latest thinking is that he will go home on Thursday. As scary as it is that I will be on my own taking care of him, it will be nice to be in the comfort of our own home again.

Last night I went home, primarily because I didn’t realize I could stay and I wasn’t prepared to. I felt bad leaving Mark last night and plan to spend tonight here. I hate to leave him alone when he is so dependent on others right now for every little thing. And he hasn’t been great at keeping track of his medicine schedule, so I can help make sure he stays on top of the pain.

4:00 p.m.

I started this post two hours ago and am now able to finish it with all the interruptions we’ve had. We have recycled back to 2:00 with Mark asleep in his bed; the CPM machine is on his left leg, and I am on love seat.

Anna just called to tell me she is on her way back home to Columbus with Arthur. She went to the grocery for me to get some bottles of water to freeze for use in the cooling machine for Mark’s knees. You can fill the little cooler up with ice and water, but the technician said a good tip is to freeze bottles of water and reuse them as needed. So our second freezer at home is now full of bottles of water. I have obtained the prescription for pain medicine that I will fill tomorrow. We made an appointment for physical therapy on Monday.

Last night I was afraid we might have bitten off more than we can chew by doing both knees at once. Today I feel very optimistic.

View from our 8th floor room - taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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

18 thoughts on “Double knee replacement surgery update — Making progress”

  1. Wow, great view from the room!

    It’s good to hear Mark is doing so well. I know I would feel a lot of anxiety if it were my Sara going through something similar. Hang in there, my friend. Blessings to you both!


    1. The room was one of the really nice things about the hospital stay. The view at night was lovely. I tried to get a photo, but the reflection got in the way, and I didn’t have time to really work with it.

  2. I’m glad you’re feeling optimistic, and it sounds like you have much cause for it. Yay! I love the view out your window. That reminds me of an area of the town where I grew up, the trees, the rolling hills, everything. Hope you both have a good night!

  3. sounds like things are going well. I feel like I am right there as you describe all this, thinking back to april when I hubby had his right knee replaced. Well, we didn’t have that lovely view outside the hospital window though.

    1. I know. I watched others in the hospital who had one knee done and they got around so easily. It would have been a much easier thing, but Mark wouldn’t have realized it. And then he would have had to do it again. My jury is still out as to whether this was a bone-head move or not. I think once he recovers, we’ll be glad it’s over for both knees.

    1. That’s some view isn’t it? I don’t remember that Mark had increased swelling, but he had some swelling. He had leg drains in at the hospital until we left and a lot of blood drained out of there, so I think that helped with the swelling.

      Are you using those gosh-awful white hose? They’re supposed to help with the swelling.
      I was adamant about keeping Mark’s knees on the ice machine for a while. I made sure the ice was changed frequently. Do you have one of those little coolers?

      I know it’s stressful, because it feels like such a big deal, and it is really. But most people do quite well with the surgery. You’ll gain more confidence as time passes and he is able to do more and more.

      My advice would be to follow the instructions you were given closely. It’s worth it in the long run.

      I think it there were a problem, the therapist would pick up on it. But if you’re worried, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask the doctor.

      1. Hello again! Thank you for your sharing. He just had his second physical therapy session and the therapist this time actually spent a lot of time looking at the swelling, massaging it, and reassuring him. He can’t wear the gosh-awful white hose (**yep, know what those are!) because when he wore them after the knee scopes they caused vein damage. He is on the ice machine a LOT and the therapist advised him to keep his leg elevated to help with the swelling. (One of our problems is that the doctor is 2 hours away, darn it.) Barry didn’t have leg drains in the hospital, interesting. He was on a machine that kept his knee moving from the moment he woke up from surgery. He gets the staples out on Monday. I am glad that your blog is here for referral!! Thank you again, Christine.


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