Sunday, December 27, 2009

Total Knee Replacement

When I took a hiatus from blogging I had no idea it would have lasted this long. My absence was a planned one...I got a new right knee. After years of watching my activity level decline because of severe osteoarthritis in my knees, I decided to join the millions of other baby boomers and get a total knee replacement. Extreme? Yes! But I believe it will be "life transforming" and there aren't too many times you can have those expectations with a medical decision so I went for it.

So here I am on Day 11 after the surgery. Experiencing life as a patient is a wonderful grounding experience and every day I learn new lessons. Here are a few:
  • Everyone has a different pain threshold. Doctors should not question or try to imagine some one's pain level. It is what it is!
  • Even when the nurse gives good, clear discharge instructions...the patient will probably not remember any of it. (I have no idea when I am supposed to see the doctor again!)
  • Pain is much worse at night. Take the medication and don't get behind.
  • Every day is completely different than the day before. Knowing that can be so reassuring.
  • Having a loving caregiver is essential. Buy one if you don't have one.
  • You can't have too many pillows
  • Take your own soft blanket to the hospital with you. Leave all jewelry at home.
  • Take the stool softener.
  • Don't let your cat or dog jump on the area you had surgery.
  • Pay all bills, correspondence, work before your surgery. Recovery is a 24 hour a day job and you will not be able to think or blog during the post-op period.
I'd rather be the doctor than the patient. There is do doubt about that. But being a patient will undoubtedly make me a better doctor. Merry Christmas, EverythingHealth readers.


KM said...

I hope the worst is over and each different day brings you more comfort with rejuvenated mobility.

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

All the best, MK

Beastarzmom said...

Point #2 - this is one of the very biggest reasons I want that eHR NOW!!! The after-visit summary is invaluable to patients. Docs who don't use it are doing a disservice to their patients. My in-laws RAVED about their doc. Turns out their favorite thing about the doc is the summary. They go home feeling like they really learned something and wouldn't forget it.
Good luck with the knee rehab!

Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...

Best wishes for a speedy recovery and a good rehab.

tracy said...

Hope you feel better really soon, Dr. Brayer! All the best for 2010! :)

Bolina Stretta said...

Best Wishes for a speedy and uneventful recovery.

Bolina Stretta said...

Best Wishes for a speedy and uneventful recovery.

Mary said...

Welcome back Toni! Glad that you are back blogging.
I had no idea that you were going through with this procedure and am thankful that all is well with you.

Hope to see you back on the tennis courts soon.

rose said...

You have given good information about Knee Replacement.I can understand about your pain.I hope your health is good now.Every body learn lesson from their different experiences.Thanks.


Betsy Hoffman said...

Hi Dr.Brayer,

First, congrats on your new knee. I hope your recovery continues to get better each day.

I had TKR on my left knee in May 2009 - 8 months ago. The ten days after surgery were the worst. The doctor didn't get my pain under control and once it gets to the intensity that you want to kill yourself, nothing works to bring the pain down.

However, I will say that the surgery has been a phenomenal success. No more pain... in my left knee.

Now it looks as though I have to have my right knee done. My doctor says that people breeze through the 2nd knee replacement on the other knee because they know what to expect.

He assurred me that now that he knows me and my pain level, he will be able to keep my pain down to a manageable level. I hope he's right! Do you have any thoughts on the 2nd knee surgery being easier than the first?

Also, I went through a very serious depression after the surgery. My family doctor said it was Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I realized that all the other times in my life that I THOUGHT I was depressed, I really was just blue; this PTSD is the real thing and anyone who has this type of surgery should talk to their doctor about what to do if depression sets in.

I was lucky to have a wonderfully patient and loving husband to care for me and I got through it, but that depression was almost as bad as the surgery.

I don't want to scare anyone off of the surgery, like I said, my knee is a terrific success story, but I wished that I had known how bad the pain was going to be and also I wished I had been told to watch for depression.

In any case, I'm so glad that you are recovering so nicely. I would never have been able to blog just 11 days after surgery! You go girl!

toni Brayer, MD said...

Betsy Hoffman: Thanks so much for your story. I have not heard about post-op depression and I wonder if it was from the pain and maybe even the pain medication. I am lucky that no-one has limited my pain pills and I am a big believer that pain inhibits healing and it certainly inhibits activity.

Patients I know that have had a 2nd surgery have done very well. It must be like having a baby..the further away you get the more you forget. I can't imagine having the other knee done but I am still in the throws of recovery.

I expect the surgery to be life transforming and that is what keeps me going at this point. Best of luck to you. Let me know how it goes.

Rahul said...

Dr. A.K. Venkatachalam, MS (Orth), DNB (Orth), FRCS (UK), MCh. (Orth) (Liverpool), consultant Orthopedic surgeon trained in the UK & Belgium. He has performed over 3,000 knee arthroscopies including ACL reconstruction & over 1,500 knee replacement surgeries. He has pioneered deep bending knee, minimally invasive & less invasive procedures for total knee replacement, gender knee replacement, bilateral replacements, unicondylar oxford knee replacement and proxima hip replacement surgeries in South India.

placidway said...

Mr. Brian Troughton, UK

My troubles began when my left leg started to go stiff and to hurt. The doctor told me it was arthritis. The waiting list on the national health was nine to 12 months, so it had to be private. Private in England means big money. So I had to shop around. The first lead we found on the computer was a private company that was sending people to India. For the said operation this company was contacted. But at the end of the pay the price on the computer and the price they wanted to charge me was about 1100 pounds more than they were advertising. So one needs to look into things before signing up. Once again we went back to the computer and came across Dr. A.K.Venkatachalam. So we made contact with the doctor and agreed on a price for the full package- accommodation, food, surgery and physio. We were met at the airport and taken to the hospital.

The physio staff called twice a day to ensure you were making good progress. After I was discharged from hospital, I stayed at a holiday resort which was recommended by Dr.Venkatachalam. It was first class the manager and staff wereA1. The doctor also arranged for another doctor to visit me three times at the resort to keep an eye and the progress of my knees. I also saw our physio twice. My friend Stephen came with me to be of any help he could. It made my life and recovery so much easier, a help above any call of friendship. He will always have my thanks. My colleague was also very impressed with the way everything went. The overall cost was about a quarter of the cost of getting it done in England, and that includes the airfare. I would recommend anyone the hospital and DR.Venkatachalam to help improve their quality of life. Keep up the good work, come up and it was a pleasure and privilege to have met you all.

Thanks for everything, I'm so glad that I spoke to you and found such a wonderful knee replacements treatment. If you need to visit this hospital then feel free here: 1.303.578.0719,

paddy'o said...

I did an 8 month "pre-hab" at Southwest Orthopaedic Physical Therapy in Albuquerque, nm. It helped tremendously. I even created a short blog of my experience at I am 3 weeks post surgery and doing very well. The pre-surgery physical therapy has really helped move especially from the bed to the bathroom and back.

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Signature Knee Replacement said...

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