I've been thinking of what I will post on the so you are having bilateral knee replacements site I found those months before surgery. What I read was about 95% helpful in my rehab and recovery these past six weeks. If I was to give any advice or share thoughts on bilateral knee replacements, this is what I would recommend.
- If you have time before surgery, I had three months, exercise and try to get into the best shape possible. You will need upper body strength cause there will be quite a few days into weeks you are pulling yourself up from chairs, potties, bed....etc. I worked on my quads but didn't do much work on hamstrings. I know now hamstring work is just as important.
- If you don't have a recliner, buy or borrow one. I read an article before surgery and everyone interviewed in the article proclaimed the goodness and helpfulness of a recliner. I was in the hospital for five days and then in a rehab hospital for two weeks. When I came home I tried sleeping in bed the first night and it wasn't an hour later I headed for the recliner. The first week home I slept in the recliner every night and now I occasionally nap in it. It is great for keeping your feet and knees elevated. The recliner paid for itself the first night home.
- Wear comfortable clothes. I found that I liked wearing cotton more so than spandex or nylon. I wish I had brought more cotton capris than workout clothes. For long pants find workout pants that have zippers at the ankles. You will have lots of people looking at your incisions over the course of six to eight weeks.
- Take the opportunity if offered to go to a rehab hospital to begin the hard work. I had at least three hours a day of PT and OT with lots of extra walking around thrown in. I was approved for two weeks by insurance. It helped Roy with me being in there and it helped me tremendously. Everything about you is monitored and evaluated which is good but can also be a pain.
- Even if you have friends and family come and visit be prepared to spend a lot of time by yourself. The nights are long and sometimes uncomfortable so have a plan on what you will contemplate and think about. Some of the staff worried that I didn't have a lot of visitors, less than most in the facility. I assured them Roy came everyday and friends came during the day, not in the evenings like the others. Make sure those late night thoughts are positive and don't let yourself get used to the status quo. There will come a day and you will rejoice exceedingly with great joy when it no longer hurts to stand up.
- Bring a few things to keep you amused but you will rarely need them. With pain meds and lack of stamina, most of your down time will be sleeping and resting. Even now when I try to read, I get sleepy because I am not back to full speed, although I am working on it and each week can feel and tell a difference.
- Do your exercises! It is the key to recovery. Don't over do but keep those feet and ankles moving. There is a lot of swelling in your feet and calves the first few weeks. I used a detox gel and a honey rosemary mint balm to help with the skin tightness and the relief in my ankles.
- Talk to as many people as possible about their knee replacement. Take good info and make it part of your recovery. Learn from their mistakes and what they would do differently.
- Laugh! You have to laugh at things so you don't get overwhelmed. There are parts of recovery I don't think I will ever talk about unless specifically asked.
- Let others help you and when you don't get help, don't get bitter. I came off pain meds early so I could drive myself to PT. I am happy to have been able to do that. Have family and friends that are supportive to talk with and laugh with.
The room at the rehab hospital had a small window where others had several large floor to ceiling windows. At first I was disappointed with the small window but when I saw the scenery or lack thereof outside, I was happy to have the small window. It kept me focused on what needed to happen in that room, not daydreaming of what to be.
So, that's part of my thoughts on this last day of 2016. I am hoping for no surgery in 2017.