Bilateral Knee Surgery – Two weeks post-op and walking with a cane

Two weeks ago today I was sitting in a hospital waiting room while Mark was having his three-hour total knee replacement surgery. Last Thursday Mark put away his walker and started using a cane. His physical therapist continues to tell him he is way ahead of schedule on his recovery. We don’t really have an explanation for that except that his surgeon did a great job with the most updated techniques and appliances, and Mark is determined and has been aggressive with following his recommended exercise routine. I’m thankful for how fast he is recovering and proud of him for how hard he is working at it with little complaint.

Last Friday at therapy he was told he could cut back even further on the CPM machine, but the therapist did not want to  make the decision to stop it, and wanted to wait until the doctor released him from it. So Mark is using the CPM 2hrs on the left leg, which is a little stiffer, and one hour on the right every day.

Mark is finished with the blood thinner shots. He still takes the Lyrica and Celebrex pain meds every day, but has cut way back on the narcotic Percocet and primarily uses it at night if he has trouble sleeping.

He will see the surgeon on Wednesday for his two-week post op appointment. After that we hope to be done with the CPM machine. Mark also hopes to be done with the tight hose he has to wear to promote blood circulation in his legs. He will undoubtedly ask the doctor when he can drive. He also wants the doctor’s advice about when he should back off the other pain medicines. On Wednesday we expect that Mark will have his staples removed and we will see his incisions for the first time. He has been wearing some kind of silver-embedded bandage on each knee since surgery that is supposed to prevent infection. And finally, Mark should be able to shower following his doctor’s appointment.

Mark has three physical therapy appointments this week and again next week. Then we will find out what comes next. The time has gone fast for me so far, but the day of surgery seems a great distance away in my mind. It’s a funny thing about time.

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

34 thoughts on “Bilateral Knee Surgery – Two weeks post-op and walking with a cane”

  1. Mark’s incision looked like a night crawler. Two and a half years later it is totally flat. So don’t be concerned with however it looks. (Unless the surgeon gasps, then maybe…)

    1. Thanks for the warning. I remember my neck surgery looked pretty much the same. The kids were grossed out by it. But I saw my incision from the beginning. After two weeks I would hope Mark’s is flattened out somewhat. We’ll see I suppose.

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I will.
      He’s making other people feel bad. A woman beside him in therapy last week was four weeks out from a single knee replacement and was still using a walker. I really think his recovery rate is not the norm. But am grateful for it.

  2. So happy for you both that Mark is doing so well!!! It definitely takes an excellent surgeon, an excellent patient 😉 and prayer for such success! … if I didn’t absolutely love my current surgeon so much, I’d head back to Cincy AGAIN to visit Mark’s! …By the way Mark is walking, I bet he hangs up the cane shortly! He’ll be heading for the Boston Marathon on your next post! Heh heh! …seriously, it is a real blessing that it has been going better than expected. AMEN!

    1. We are both very happy. Although I think the tough part is coming up when his progress rate slows down and he gets restless. At least I can leave him alone now so I can always go on a little adventure and leave him here with Arthur if he becomes unbearable. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the link, Nancy. It is primarily about children’s books, I think, although the message could apply elsewhere. She is emphatic about doing a slide show if nothing else. Others have asked if we have any home video of Annie. I have enough photos in the book to do a slide show. The sound track always concerns me because of rights. I don’t know where to get free music.

      But I’ll definitely put this idea on my list. Thanks for thinking of me. Keep the ideas coming.

  3. Hi My name is Denise, 2 weeks ago today I had both my knees replaced and I just graduated from my walker to one crutch a round the house and both when I go out. Tomorrow I will be getting my staples out. I had custom knees made by Zimmer where I had to have special MRI’s a month before surgery and then they sent it out to have my artificial knee components made just to fit me. I was in the hospital four nights and released on the 5th day. My insurance would only cover using the CPM machine while in the hospital. I had PT twice a day and an OT once a day. I was bending my knees at 90degrees by the end of my hospital stay. I’m having a harder time with my right knee getting it to bend the same as the left one and the pain is also worse. My insurance would not cover in-patient re-hab so I’ve been getting home visits 2x week with a PT and once a week a nurse visit. This week will be my last home visits and then will start out-patient PT. Unfortunately my health care will be terminating the end of this month so I’m hoping to get all the PT done before that happens. Everyone has told me how amazing I am doing and that I should be the poster person for bi-lateral knees, so after reading how well your husband is doing, I feel that we are very lucky. I started riding my stationary bike 3 days ago and feel it helps to keep the knees moving. I still have pain and hope that will subside soon. Did your husband feel any clicking or movement in his new joints. I’ve been feeling it during the exercises with some pain. I will mention this to the Dr. when I see him tomorrow. I just found your journal yesterday and found it very informative. Wish I found this about a month ago. Thank you. Denise Frommer

    1. I’m glad to hear you’re doing well Denise. I think the recovery for everyone is different. Mark was lucky in that he got his flexibility back really quickly. Most people don’t. Even so, his right leg was slower than his left with this. I don’t know about the clicking and movement. I don’t remember it, but I will ask him. I think it’s wise to have it checked by your doctor. I know that he experienced some numbness on the side of his knees. I think this is tyical.

      I hope you are able to kee up with th ePT as long as you feel like you need it. I know there are a lot of things you can do on your own at home. The stationary bike is very good exercise for knees.

      Let me know what the doctor says about the clicking.

      I hope your recovery continues on a good track. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience.

    2. Hello Denise,
      My name is Trish and I have a concern. Since you just had you surgery last month I have a question for you since I’m getting bilateral knee’s this Monday, 12/23/2013. If you are comfortable with a chat please reply ASAP. Thank you, Trish

  4. I just found this blog, which is helpful to me since I need both knees done, and want bi-lateral. Knees were put on hold, however, because I had reverse shoulder replacement this past Friday (arthritis, plus rotator cuff completely destroyed). But your blog information is helpful to me as my shoulder heals and I begin to prepare for the knee saga.

    1. Hi Susan,
      I hope the blog was helpful. It sounds like you are going to be spending some time in rehab. I hope your shoulder surgery went well. I think you did it in the right order. Let us know how the knee surgery goes when you are ready to do it. Best of luck.

  5. I am going for this surgery this Monday, April 13, 2015 and I wanted to thank you for sharing your experience. I have been so worried and had so many questions wwith no one to ask. My friend found your post and sent it to me to read. I am feeling much better now and not so stressed thinking about what can or will happen. I hope I can do half as well as you have and I plan to work hard to get there.

    Thank you to you and your wife for taking the time and energy to record this whole procedure and helping others as they begin this journey!

    1. Greetings Katherine,
      I had bilateral knee replacement 1/27/15 (a Tuesday) and was able to go home on Saturday. The therapists in the hospital had me walking with a walker, practicing stairs with a railing, which I have to do to get into my home, learned to get in and out of bathtub, and in and out of car. My surgeon doesn’t use the cpm machine, but I began pt the following Monday and had 2 sessions each week. My husband helped me do the exercises at home. I achieved 130+ degrees of bend in each knee within 2 weeks post-op. Now I’m working on strengthening, because the range of motion is ok. My pt sessions are every other week, and I probably just have 1 more. I think I used the walker for 3 – 4 weeks, then a cane, but now 10 weeks out I’m ok without anything. At the grocery store I push a cart and am grateful to lean on it. Our cars both are stick shift, but I was ok to drive at 6 weeks because I had discontinued the narcotic pain meds. I still tire easily, and have considerable lower leg swelling. It helps to take it easy, and elevate my legs occasionally during the day. Feel free to be in touch if I can help you further in any way.

  6. As I read about your husband’s surgery and recovery, you could have written this blog about me. I had bilateral knee replacement 7 1/2 weeks ago,(April 14, 2017, Good Friday), however, I didn’t have a CPM machine. I was in the hospital for 5 days. Before I was released, my doctor, nurses, PT and OT said that I was doing better with both then most people so with one. My outpatient therapist, the first time I met her, told me I was a showoff. Lol, she is right.
    I am scheduled to go back to work on the 26th of June. I walk approx. 4 miles a day at work, so I am doing lots of walking. We, also, used frozen water bottles in my ice machine. Thanks so much for writing about his surgery and recovery.

    1. I’m happy for you. I am getting ready to have a single knee replacement the end of June. It was a lot easier writing about than thinking about doing it. Kudos to you.

  7. I had bilateral total knee replacements done July 10. I find the iceman cooling machine annoying at night, keeps me from a comfortable position. I end up taking them off at 3am. I’m doing pretty well, the only pain I have is following PT sessions. I was wondering if I could just discontinue using them

    1. I imagine you’ve moved beyond the ice machine now. Sorry I wasn’t helpful. I had one knee replacement done at the end of June and am working on my recovery. I did not have an ice machine, but I continue to use ice packs frequently. They make me feel better.

  8. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. I had both my knees replaced January third, and yesterday, Jan fourteenth, the physio said I could abandon the walker and use a cane. It is so much better to be able to walk in a more natural gait! I’m looking forward to being able to go for a little walk down the street, but unfortunately it’s very icy, and I’m not risking a fall! So I’ll just have to try pedalling my indoor bike with its uncomfortable seat.
    My pain hasn’t been bad at all, but sometimes it will be a little more than I can ignore, and unrelenting, until I resort to acetaminophen or ibuprofen. How long before Mark’s pain dropped to the ignorable stage? We seem to be on similarly excellent recovery rates!

    1. Sounds like you are doing really well. Sorry it took me so long to reply. I don’t remember how long before Mark didn’t need any pain killers, but I imagine you are there by now. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed a few good days recently and are able to get out like you hoped. We have a really nice day here today. Let me know how you’re doing.

      1. Lovely sunny day today – I walked five miles! I just take a couple of ibuprofen at night now. I skip it every four or five days, but still find I’m noticeably stiffer the next day. How’s Mark doing?

      2. Greetings,

        I had the bilateral knee replacement surgery January 2015, so over 4 years ago. The knees are totally healed, as would be expected.


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