Knee replacement

I had my new knee on Thursday at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The actual op was quite interesting. The anesthetist told me that he was giving me a spinal anesthetic but I would be very lightly sedated so I might be conscious of what was going on. He was asking me if that was OK and that i should let him know before/ during if it wasnt. I was fine with that and as he said I did wake up and could hear hammering and stuff. I was so euphoric so I didnt mind at all. Was more interested in the amazing feeling of well being from the sedatives!

Then I was moved into recovery where they monitor you for a while - about an hour - and then I was trundled up to the ward where someone got me tea and toast - very welcome. I slept well, and the next morning they got me up and I sat down and later went to have the knee x-rayed to confirm that it was properly sited.

The following day (Saturday) I had a visit from the surgeon which was nice, he said that that they hadnt seen such a bad knee for ages the other one is the same, but that's another story! Then physio and instruction about exercises. I was given a walking frame to use but tended to ask for help for reassurance.

Sunday was about the same - physio, who saw that my knee bend was about 90 degrees which was very good apparently. And moved on to sticks from the frame.

The pain control while I was in seemed very effective, the worst problem really was sleeping - narrow bed with metal frame, noise, light and so on. Today I had to show the physio that I could climb the number of steps I need to get into our flat (3 thank goodness) and go through various functional things.

So now I have the struggle with exercise to build myself up to try to resume normal life for the first time for about two years. I know its going to be slow, but I'm already finding that the physio work I've been able to do has paid. Getting in and out of the car was easier than before, as is walking with sticks. My knees were really bad, so perhaps I can cope better with the pain? They say that we need to keep on top of that and I'm planning to gradually build up my exercise.

I hope this is a bit reassuring to those of you who're waiting for your op. Four-five days in hospital isnt fun, but it soon feels like a distant memory.

Its early days yet, but I feel like I've been well looked after and briefed.


40 Replies

  • Well done! That sounds like excellent progress.

    It is rather reassuring when a consultant acknowledges how much pain one must be having! I was told that both of mine need doing and the right one has very bad OA, but as I'm still on 10mg Prednisilone, I can't really tell. I'm waiting until the RA is well under control before reviewing the idea of replacements.

    Keep up the good work and give yourself a pat on the back. Jo x

  • Thanks, Jo. Its early to see how I'll cope and I'm expecting to feel tired. I think that getting RA controlled will make a difference to your ability to cope with the exercises, but if you can do some exercises that would help I'm sure. The physios were very positive about the floor peddle and said I should see how it feels - to be guided by that.

    Its nice to get home to a comfy bed and hopefully a dark, quiet night.

    I hope you're OK at the moment

  • I manage to use the floor exerciser every day (300), but my main problem since the Rituximab is feeling very weak, shaky and exhausted. Just getting up, showered and dressed wipes me out. And I've had a permanent headache and a feeling of tight pressure over my head and face. My first infusion was on 8 Oct, the second on 2 Nov (an infection in between). I'm doing all the right things, including meditation and compresses, but i just hope that this will pass. I can barely function, cognitively or physically. Living on one's own doesn't make it any easier. I see the specialist nurse on the 18th. On the 16th I have my flu jab; i'm a bit worried about what that will do to me.

    Off to Oxford at the weekend, to judge a painting competition. Thankfully, I am being well supported. Even so, I have had to programme in regular rests and the day before and after will be bed days.

    J x

  • Enjoy Oxford, I used to live there.

    Keep yourself checked for shingles I had headache/ tight head and that's what it was. I've never done 300 floor pedals so well done.

    Keep in touch, jo

  • I know you lived inOxford. That's why I mentioned it! No sign of any shingles. I'll ask the nursev

  • ... When I see her for the flu jab!

  • Hi Cathie I hope you continue to improve and that life gets easier for you. Lovely to hear some good news if you can call having to have knee replaced good news !!! X

  • Well done Cathie,I am so glad you are okay after your op.

    Get some rest. Each day is another day.

    I need to have a new knee at some point. Having just started Humira ,I want to get that into my system ,then maybe next year I might tackle the knee problem.

    Take care.

    Jane x💐🌸💐

  • Brilliant that's is done and you're back home.Hope you have a great night's sleep tonight and a nice lie in tomorrow. Best wishes for the recovery and the physio - tough but by all accounts to effort pays off.

  • Hello Cathie I am so pleased your op went well. Wishing you a speedy recovery and hope your new knee makes things much much easier for you. Loads love Tillyxxx

  • So pleased it went well. Just remember that rest is as important as exercise, it's so easy to overdo it. M x

  • Well done Cathie - hope the new gives knee you a much needed break from pain and immobility at last. Tx

  • Sounds like you're doing really well so far Cathie! I had a spinal plus light sedation for my hip replacement too; and like you, the 'happy drugs' made me euphoric, even when they hammered me back together again!

    Happy healing, and good luck with your exercises - they are crucial to your recovery, but difficult after years of limited mobility. I did a lot of swimming and exercising in water, after the first few weeks... :)

  • Thanks to everyone who has responded. I'll answer anything specific after a much needed nights sleep, I hope!

  • Hope you slept well and speedy recovery continues!!

  • Hope you had a good nights rest, and thank you for reasuring me about the spinal as i have mine done on the 25th.

    Keep up the good work but remember to rest, so happy for you x

  • Hi Cathie

    I have had two knees and just recently a new hip.all with spinal, no problems at all it's wonderful to be pain free .Joan

  • Great news Cathie. Keep up the good work - don't let anyone wait on you too much! It is brilliant when you get through the other side of the exercises. All the best. Jude

  • Thanks, my knees are not good so I have worried about an op. Lot less worried now, thanks x

  • I'm so pleased. I think that if your knees really painful already it's easier to cope! Being in hospital isn't a picnic but neither is having disabling knee pain.

  • it is really good to have such a positive post on here.

    So often we tend to post about our problems, our difficulties and it must be very depressing for those new to RD- they don't hear about the successes and the people who are just getting on with it. I know I only tend to post when I'm having problems, not when I'm improved or managing better.

  • I'm very aware of this issue, always posting about the problems, and how off putting this is. I don't want to give the impression that it's a picnic, but it's best to know what the score is. Different surgeons and anaesthetists vary, my anaesthetist clearly believed in minimal intervention.

    Several people mentioned the spinal anaesthetic, they got me to sit on the edge of the operating table before I went in to theatre and bend over and did it like that. Checked where, marked it, injected, then sprayed it with this antibiotic I think, very cold, we joked about that.

    Did I mention the air blanket? A bit like being in a tent, all warm and cosy.

    When I woke up I had those compression stockings and these boot pumps to help circulation. Feeling gradually came back to my legs.

    So today I have to start an exercise plan now I've showered!

    Hard work starts

  • Hi Cathie,

    Great news that your op has gone so well and that the hospital is looking after you well. Hope your recovery continues to go smoothly.

    Best wishes from all at NRAS,


  • Thanks EmmaS. I couldn't fault the care I had, all the staff had lots of time for me. Now it's largely up to me to exercise and rest.

  • Cathie darling i am so pleased for you that you have had it done. Sorry i haven't answered before,but you know all about what has been happening with me. Now keep doing those exercises as they will pay of in the long run darling and the quicker you recover the sooner you will get the other knee done darling.xxxxx

  • Thanks Sylvi. I spoke to the doctors about knee 2 and we'll look at this at the post op review, but it'll probably be in May to take RA treatment into account.

  • Hi Cathie, Thanks for sharing your experience, it is very helpful to know what it's like. It is something that I will have to have done at some point and I think I have made up my mind now that when the time comes to have done by spinal injection.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery. Hugs.

    Smiler xx

  • My light spinal anaesthetic helped initial recovery I think. Others were affected by nausea which I seem to have avoided

  • You tend to recover quicker after having an epidural darling and probally the others elected to have the other one whereby you are put straight out.xxxx

  • We all had spirals but I think they had a heavier dose!

  • Congratulations Cathie! You did so well and I think you were brave to go with the regional anaesthetic but it sounds like it really worked for you.

    Keep up the good work & thx for sharing your experience. All the best, Doreen

  • Wishing you a speedy recovery i had a spinal getting my hips done surgeon said it might sound like a workshop all the best Betty x

  • Thanks for sharing this. I'm waiting for knee replacements but I'm 49 so I've been advised to really think about it, build muscle tone and wait a while but it's a struggle. Since being diagnosed with RA 2years ago presenting in both knees it's been really hard to adjust to the diagnosis, pain and severely reduced mobility.

  • O dear, I waited a long time too, but am much older now! The only thing I can say is that the pain I've had has prepared me for the op, so it feels better now, but that's no consolation at 49!

  • I also want to wish you a speedy recovery. So glad you are already seeing improvement.

  • So glad that all went well!! Congrats on your new knee! Hugs!

  • Thanks for the kind wishes.

  • Great news that things have gone well, must be nice to have got over this particular hurdle and gosh, it's going to be life changing I should think, in such a good way!

    A friend of mine had a knee replacement about 2 years ago and his went extremely well. He does a very physical job, likes walking and heavy-duty gardening, has got back to all of that and is really made up with the new knee.

    If I was awaiting a knee replacement and read this post I think I'd print it out and keep looking at it. You don't make it sound like a picnic but it's incredibly encouraging nonetheless. I hope you go from strength to strength Cathie. Oh and, those air blankets .... they're quite an experience aren't they?

  • Hi Cathie, glad your op went alright, i just wondered if you had to stop taking any of your meds prior to going in to hospital, i have to go in on wednesday for my new knee, but i have been in absolute agony having to stop my enbrel 2 weeks ago. Any tips would be most grateful,

    Wendy xx

  • I had to stop my diabetes meds the night before, but I think that's all. They give you codeine and paracetamol after the op, how about before it?

    I'm on ritixumab so the last dose was 1st September so that doesnt really fit with your medication.

    My sister had an op more than a year ago and recommended that I take a long skirt. This was good because it was easier to put on than trousers. I dont have much swelling but others do, and the skirt just made things more comfortable.

    I found that immediately after the op I was ecstatic and very comfortable. They encourage you to have lots of painkillers and to keep on top of the pain. The least nice thing was needing to use the bedpan which is one of those disposable things and is hard to function on. No gravity! But that didnt last long because they got me out of bed the next day, slowly and gently, and using the commode. And I didnt sleep very well, but concentrated on getting out. I had to show I could walk to the loo (with sticks) and do a few steps which I need at home. Exercises are easier at home arent they.

    How long before you can re-start the embrel?

    Just to answer you, I'd ask doctors if you can have some painkillers before the op.

    Oh yes and expect to have to hang around a bit before. Where you are may be different but in Edinburgh they get you in (without breakfast) at 7.15 and I didnt go down to theatre until about 11. It wasnt great but now its in the past and I've got my new knee and cant get up from seated so much more easily.

    I hope all goes well for you on Wednesday. It'll be over before you can blink!

    Hugs, Cathie

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