I’ve always been active, gardening, hiking, horseback riding, you name it I did it. So shortly after my second child was born in 2011, I began to work out to get back to my active self. Unfortunately my tendons and ligaments had other ideas, whether from pregnancy or old age/use (I was almost 40 when I had my second) I injured my left knee. I took NSAIDS, rested and iced and slowly worked back up to where I had been, but then I re-injured that same knee. This happened off and on for four years, first one knee, then the other knee (probably because I used it too much since the other hurt).
Eventually moving into the fifth year I had to admit that my knees weren’t getting any better. They hurt so bad that I could only stand for 15 minutes and I was spending more and more time sitting down and less time doing the things I loved. A friend had recently had her shoulder operated on to fix an old injury, so I asked if they had any orthopaedic surgeons who specialized in knees. They did, so I went in for an appointment in late May, and after Xrays and an MRI, it was pretty obvious that the cartilage on the inside of my knees was gone. The doctor then suggested a full replacement on both knees, but stated that a partial replacement on both knees was suitable also. Given the pain I was in, I didn’t need much prompting to schedule the first operation, so on July 7, 2015 I had my right knee done.
My treatment and recovery
The surgery on the first knee went smoothly. Recovery was a bit rough. I was an out patient, so they weren’t allowing me to spend the night. I reacted badly to the anesthesia and was violently ill once I woke up. I required some extra nausea meds and a lot of extra sleep after I was discharged because the meds made me sleepy. Of course, the surgical pain was much easier to live with than the chronic pain, so after a week the home health nurse cleared me to start hitting physical therapy hard and I quickly recuperated without much issue.
Wanting to move on with my life, I decided to get both done in the same year, so on September 12, 2015, I had my left knee done. I learned from the last miserable anesthesia experience, so they gave me the nausea patch as a preventative. I went for my nerve block, and the anesthesiologist bungled the block which caused it not to work correctly and to hurt excessively when he was doing it. The surgery went fine, and I felt fine afterwards due to the patch, but the recuperation didn’t go quite as smoothly.
There was an issue with my kneecap shifting that required me to wear a brace for 3 months. However, two years post surgery I can happily say I am back to at least 95% of what I was at my best. I’m able to hike again, exercise again and most of all, be myself again.
TipI have a couple tips. Assume you will react to the anesthesia and just get the nausea patch. Secondly, do the stretching exercises post surgery, and go slow! Don't overdo it, follow the physical therapists orders, and know it will take about 2 yrs to get back to full normal use
My Second FirstBecause of my orthopaedic care, I can hike, exercise, garden and walk around amusement parks with my kids again!
-Lisa Klein, bilateral partial knee replacement surgery.