Ms. Manitoba and Her Knee Replacement Story
My tale is quite different from PolCat's. Come to think of it, my tail is too.
I had my operation at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Antioch, CA. I was extremely well-prepared and prepped beforehand ... I mean weeks of pre-op visits of various kinds -- not necessarily at Antioch. My doctor practices out of Walnut Creek so I went there for some of these pre-op meetings.
The Antioch hospital is beautiful and clean. The staff was wonderful. My needs were taken care of so well. It was a very good experience.
Maybe "top-notch" is not what we need? Is it a case of the tortoise and the hare? Maybe the flashy hospitals who are supposed to be top-notch don't get the basics down right.
Pain management was perfect for me. The only time my pain went above a point six (ten is the highest level of pain) is when I was home and dosing myself and fell asleep and waited too long to take my meds.
In fact, PolCat was writhing in pain the evening after her operation, while I had the best sleep in years ... being a middle-aged woman and all.
True, the staff paid less attention to me the two days I was there after my operation ... but by then I really didn't need all that attention.
I highly recommend Kaiser Permanante in Antioch. They have a lot of joint replacement surgeries there. They are set up to take care of all of us boomers who are having our joints replaced.
Maybe some of the problems were PolCat's spidery veins ... I don't have that. But these folks are professional ... they should be trained to take care of and monitor folks with spidery veins. I think PolCat is being too kind to the general staff there. There is *no reason* to have that kind of pain after an operation. Pain management is a very integral part of someone's care.
Post-op: I had great follow-up and physical thereapy afterwards. My doctor has been very helpful in counseling me through the battle of my dependence on pain medication. I am totally off the pain meds now and have been for a while. But addiction to pain medication is not an easy recovery. I don't think people talk about that enough. Or maybe I am more susceptible to addiction? I went through a week of hard times getting away from the drugs. I spent three very sleepless nights with what PolCat called the "junkie bugs." Do not minimize this! It's tough. My doctor's advice really worked.
Here's what he said. Take 1/2 Norco, then 6 hrs. later take 500 mg (or 600mg) of extra strength Tylenol, followed after 6 hrs. with 1/2 dose of Norco. Do this for a couple of days. Then start taking the Tylenol in place of one of the 1/2 Norcos for a couple of days. Then take only Tylenol. I started this protocol in my fifth week post op.
Yes, one day I actually paid attention after I took the full Norco ... I was tired so I was lying down ... after about 30 minutes, I could feel this delicious warmth and sense of well being just spread in my body ... see, that's why I was having the trouble!
The other part of post-op: DO YOUR EXERCISES. These exercises are for the rest of your life because you have to keep those muscles surrounding your knee strong and in shape! I stopped doing them regularly and I started having a cracking sound and pain when I got up from a sitting position. Plus, I was getting up wrong. When you get up from a sitting position, do not put pressure on that knee. Even if your knee feels great and you feel like you're on that road to recovery. (I'm four months post op.) It takes a full year to heal.
For those of you contemplating knee-replacement surgery -- prepare yourself well, make sure they take good care of your pain and other needs, have a friend or relative who will be your advocate throughout your stay at the hospital, get good physical therapy afterwards, and do your exercises. Stumble It!