Here is what you need to know during and after your knee replacement surgery because you have a lot of questions about the operation. It covers all the small details of the operation and the recovery period, written by a survivor.
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Now that your surgery is approaching get a manicure, pedicure and haircut. They will be the last for at least eight weeks. Heck, if you can afford it, throw in a massage. If you like baths, take a long hot soak with lots of bubbles. This will be the last time you will be using your tub for that activity for some time.
Draw up a Living Will Directive and Declaration. Sign a Durable Power of Attorney/Proxy, and designate a Health Care Surrogate. These are for your protection and are very important.
Do not take anything valuable. Leave your purse, your wallet, money and jewelry at home. If you’re female bring in a little make up. It will make you feel better and will take your mind off your knee for a while. Bring in a book, you may not read it but at least you’ll have something to take your mind off of why you’re there.
DURING AND AFTER YOUR BIG DAY
This is how your day of surgery will progress:
* Get to the hospital promptly at the time specified by the admissions office. Paper work needs to be done before you are admitted.
* After being admitted, you will proceed to the pre-op room, where the nurses will review your test results and history. They will get you ready for surgery. Whoever brought you to the hospital will be able to stay with you to this point.
* The nurses will insert an IV before surgery and infuse your prescribed antibiotic.
* You will be wheeled on a gurney to the operating room “holding area”.
* This is where you will see the anesthesiologist prior to surgery. He will ask you how much you weigh. Don’t even think about lying. The amount of anesthesia is based on your weight.
* After the surgery you will awaken from the anesthesia feeling groggy. Your mouth will be dry and there will be pain at the surgical site. You will be given pain medication and ice chips.
* A bulky bandage and a drain will be present at the site.
* You may have compression stockings on both legs to prevent the risk of blood clots.
* Once your blood pressure, pulse and breathing are stable, you will go to a room in the Orthopedic/Surgical Unit.
The balance of the day is to recover from the surgery. You will be very tired so sleep as much as you can. It will be annoying but the nurses will come in very often to check your vital signs and, yes, they will wake you up. Use this day to sleep, relax and keep yourself calm. Tomorrow the physical therapy starts.
* You may be able to drink water after surgery when fully awake. Your diet will be soft and will advance as you can tolerate it.
* Your doctor may have ordered a PCA (Patient Controlled Analgesia) to control your pain medication, or injections and/or pain pills. If the PCA is ordered, the nursing staff will provide additional information about how to use its button.
* Nurses will periodically ask you to rate your pain intensity on a 0-10 scale. (0=No Pain, 10-worst pain ever). Be honest!
* You will be asked to take deep breaths and cough. You should do this every 1-2 hours while you are awake to prevent congestion in your lungs. The doctor may even order an incentive spirometer to breathe into. Exhale deeply and hold for 3 seconds and then inhale. Do this 10 times every hour while awake.
* Flex your ankles 10 times every hour while awake to decrease risk of blood clots in your legs.
* Turn from your back to your sides every couple of hours to prevent skin irritations and to help circulation.
If you want further information on the specific graphic detail of the operation go to https://petinstead.com/JointReplacement. You can get every last detail there.
Okay, it’s the day after surgery and the physical therapy department knows you’re here, they know your room number and they know the bed number. They will come, ha ha. The therapists know how to handle you, let them guide you. It’s going to be painful. Try to find out from the nurses what time your therapy is scheduled, so you can time a pain killer thirty to forty minutes before they arrive.
Things that should be ordered by your Doctor from a medical supply store, delivered to your house and covered by insurance:
* Over the toilet commode with arms
* A commode for next to the bed to use at night
* Wound protector for the shower
One thing that is very helpful is a “Reacher Arm”. It’s invaluable for picking up things that you drop or can’t reach.
You must do all the exercises the doctor orders. The more you do them, the faster you will get back in shape. I will not kid you, the exercises will hurt but they really are essential. If you have access to a pool, use it to do aquatic exercises, which will build up your muscles and ligaments, so it won’t hurt as much.
One last thing, sleep as much as you can. While you sleep your body heals!
Please see my other article on what you should do before the surgery.
Good luck with your replacement and I promise you, it will be worth it!
Copyright, Mary Hanna, All Rights Reserved.
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