Knee replacement surgery

Well, I’ve taken the first step in checking out my knees. They are permanently constricted..that is, they are in a bent position always; I can’t straighten my legs. I’m not sure how long they’ve been that way, several years at least. It kind of snuck up on me without notice. I walked with increasing difficulty with a cane, graduated to a walker and now to a wheelchair when I have to walk more than the length of my garage. My dad had knee replacement surgery, and since I knew I had osteoarthritis, I figured surgery would be required.

I assumed since I was overweight, I needed to lose some weight before bothering to see a doctor. I’ve lost about 85-90 lbs. (without knowing how much the holiday dinners have affected that). This past year has been hard on the knees and my emotions. A fall on the knees in my bathroom back in April or May crippled me for about a month; an extreme bout of cellulitis in my right leg caused a hospital stay and about 3 months of outpatient Lymphedema  therapy which caused further deterioration in my mobility; a “mild” case of shingles that lasted about 6 weeks and then the holidays were upon us. It’s been an interesting year!

I went today to a bone and joint clinic to get x-rays and my 1st consultation. We have accumulated about 2 years of medical bills to pay off, so hubby wants me to wait before doing anything extreme, but we needed to get the x-rays and find out my options.

The knee-joint itself with the cartilage is completely gone…bone sits on bone. And since there is no cartilage, the knee has settled a little off-center. The knee cap has damage, the top of the bone under the knee has damage, the back of the knee has damage. That means, I need two complete knee replacements! They would put in a ?metal knee cap, the ?plastic ball joint, and a metal plate on the bottom bone to hook everything together. On top of that, I have really large bone spurs in the knees also, which kind of act like door stops, preventing movement. The new knees I figured I would need. The bone spurs…my daughter was predicting them, but I had never heard of that before.

The surgeries would be done  separately. One first, take off 3-6 weeks, depending on how I do. Since I sit at work, possibly would be able to return to work after 2-3 weeks. Then, since both knees are so severe, I would have to do the 2nd surgery within 6-8 weeks of the first, or I would negate the 1st…and it would be a little difficult with one straight knee and one bent knee. So, another 6 weeks off. I work in a mom and pop shop with no paid time off, except a week vacation every year. So…we need to save up money to cover my missed time at work; and will have to wait until we’ve paid off a good portion of our newly acquired medical bills. I asked if we waited a year or so, would they deteriorate more? Probably not, so it’s fairly safe to wait. Pain management is the problem with waiting.  I decided to try a cortisone shot in the left knee. I’ll know within 10 days if it helped or not. If it does, and I really like the results, I can go back and get a shot in the other knee. The shots should last me 3-6 months and then we could do it again. I got the impression, that 2 shots in each knee might be the limit.

So, there is relief in knowing exactly what is going on in the knees and that surgery can fix it and that waiting won’t be a detriment. All good things. I was a little nervous going today…an unknown place, unknown doctor, unknown situations…but had prayed that God help me not be afraid and help me in the situation. It was a piece of cake! (Sorry for the pun!) And the shot was not painful for longer than about one second! Thank you Lord for your faithfulness and answer to prayers!

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

About estherlou

My husband and I married in 1970. I am the mother of 2 and grandmother to 5. I share my health stories and my experiences with Thrive. I am reading and writing blogs, watching tv, making jewelry and rosaries, selling in my Etsy store and playing solitaire. I am home bound and add in my physical therapy exercises to my daily routine. I will blog about my progress or anything that catches my attention at that moment. See you around and thanks for stopping by!
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2 Responses to Knee replacement surgery

  1. AugustGirl says:

    I know this happened a few years ago but I see you’ve had an amazing journey. I hope your recovery was a speedy and as painless as it could be and you had a great holiday yourself.

    Just one question though, I don’t know if you can answer and it’s alright if you can’t, but when one of my close grandparents had knee replacement surgery, the surgery went well and the recovery better then we could have hoped but the cost, it was staggering. Personally we don’t have the best insurance so when the bills come, most is paid out of pocket by us in the family… this had to be one of the highest bills I’ve ever seen. If anything at all, would you say the same? We were scared we were being taken advantaged of… I did find this great cost estimator that let us customize it to his age, location, pre-exisiting conditions and insurance and it printed out an almost perfect match but it still seemed unbelievable.

    Here, I’ll share it with you and you can see if it comes close to your own. I trust it but it’s always better to talk to someone who’s gone through the same thing.

    Thank you very much and please continue to keep us updated about everything you’re going through!!


    • estherlou says:

      Yes, I wrote this some time ago, but have not had knee surgery yet. First of all, I’ve seen two knee surgeons who are afraid to do 2 replacements at the same time, and I need to lose about 100 lbs. first. I have a lot of concerns. First, when I weighed about 185-200, the lowest I’ve ever weighed as an adult, I still had large thighs and knees, so what’s the difference? Second, I have a bladder problem aggravated by lymphedema. My lymph system works sluggishly until I lay down at night. Then, gravity helps it to work and I end up going to the bathroom every 1-2 hours all night long. How will this affect surgery? My house in NOT wheelchair accessable, especially my bathroom. I need to walk a little, leaning on furniture and sink tops etc. to go to the bathroom. How will surgery affect this? And so, I haven’t done anything about having surgery yet. Also, I can’t afford to lose at least 6 weeks of my salary to take off for recovery.


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