KNEEtalk

DIARIES => Post-op diaries (<50 posts) => Topic started by: ~*Heather*~ on September 05, 2003, 07:57:14 PM

Title: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 05, 2003, 07:57:14 PM
Hello everyone.  

I am back home now. I stayed one night for pain control which was very much needed.  :-/   I am getting along just fine at home with ice and pain meds now. My husband is here and actually extended his leave time so he will be with me for a few more days.

It turns out I didn't really have a TTT.  I had a tibial tuberacle osteotomy. SO I had a TTO if you will...lol. Another resident surgeon cleared that up for me. My kneecap was tracking poorly as expected because of the baja.  There was minimal debris under the patella and in the groove.  My OS did a scope to check things out first and took pics of the debris for me. He removed them as well.

He said I could bathe tomorrow (Saturday) as long as I didn't soak the knee. I have never gotten the knee wet that soon after surgery so I will probably not do that. I will wait the 7-10 days as I think I should.  He reused my incision from the quad tendon repair and just made it a little longer over the tibia to fix the baja.  I already peeked...I couldn't help it.  It's covered well by steri-strips. Curiosity gets to me  ::)

Here are a few issues I am having though, maybe someone could shed some light?  My ankle and foot is swollen badly. This happened with the quad repair but this time I can barely move my toes an there is a lot of pressure!  It went down after a night's rest but this morning it is starting again. It did happen in the hospital but they said it was "trauma" swelling.  It gets bad at times and ice doesn't really help.  Has anyone had this happen?  It's gotten worse after I left the hospital, but I also had a 3 hour car ride home and 3 flights of stairs to get up.

Also, at the incision site over the tibia, I have blisters forming on the sides of the steri-strips.  They itch like mad, but I have never had them before.  It is something I should call my OS for?  I see him the week of the 15th for my first post-op visit.  I have them covered well as I do not want them to burst and cause infection (is that possible?)

Also for anesethesia, I am horrible after general. I throw up for days and just feel horrible for quite some time so I didn't have it this time. This hospital offered me a sedative accompanied by an epideral.  Basically described it as breathing on my own and no tube down the throat.  I do NOT remember ANYTHING of the surgery. The sedative they gave me worked just like a general!  I didn't feel the epideral at all. I would advise anyone who does not do well with general to try this method. I was so much more coherent afterwards.

I am partial weight bearing and in an immoblilizer for 6 weeks. I believe I go to a hinged brace next.  He wants my bone and quad tendon to heal before I start PT.  I forgot to mention he also removed the previous OS's suture ties and redid them as well as tightening up the repair.

We  will know in about 9 months if this route was a good one.  Pain control is great right now.  Thank you all for wishing me well and taking the time to post your support.  Any comments or suggestions are always welcome!

Heather
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ARC on September 05, 2003, 08:49:40 PM
Heather:
Just wanted to wish you a quick and painfree recovery.  I really do hope this is the answer to your prayers.  Take it easy and don't push yourself to much.
Sending you positive and healthy vibes.
-Kolleen
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Heather M. on September 05, 2003, 10:12:04 PM
Heather!

I've been checking every day for your first post-op report.  I'm so glad that things seem to be going relatively well--better than expected, certainly.

As for the swelling--gosh, you had so much work done.  It would be weird if there weren't any swelling.  I'm SURE the immobilizer makes it worse, because it's forcing all the pressure into your lower leg and foot--ask the doctor if you can  loosen the immobilizer when you are sitting still on the couch (NOT SLEEPING) and see if that combined with elevation helps. It will be swollen for some time, I'm sure.

The blisters are an unfortunate side-effect of the arthroscopy and all the work you had done.  The skin was probably retracted during the surgery and in general just abused.  I would definitely call the nurse and ask how to care for them, but rest assured they are pretty normal, too.  I was even told my arthroscopy could cause water blisters on the skin--the resident just cleaned them (OW) and kept them covered with a clean, dry dressing.

What does your doctor say about continuous motion or preventing further scar tissue?  Are you on CPM--I can't imagine doing that with what is essentially a broken leg!  I'd love to hear more of your home exercises, PT, etc--or is it that you are just to take it easy for the first few weeks?  Not even leg lifts or ROM stuff?

The news about the epidural is a relief.  I'm VERY lucky in that I don't respond badly to general anesthesia at all--they give me the anti-barf meds (I'm sure that's their real medical name) and I do just fine.  I'm terrified of the idea of an epidural, and my brother had an absolutely dreadful experience with one so I'd been very afraid.  You've reassured me.

I'm so torn about what to do, I just don't know!  I think I've decided NOT to do another scope in the fall.  The doctor said it wouldn't address the baja, and I really think it's part of the problem.  Besides, if I had an open repair they would also start with a scope and clean out any debris and scar tissue.  Sigh.  I'm just so messed up about this, so I'm eagerly awaiting your updates.  I really hope everything goes well for you.

I would guess your procedure wasn't really a TTT because it didn't move the tibial tubercle medially or laterally, right?  It was just moved proximally or up toward the kneecap?  Did you have a bone graft from your hip?  How does your quad feel?

I'm getting very worried about my quad and quad tendon--the pressure and traction there is so tight.  I honestly feel sometimes like it might just rip or something.  I don't know if that's normal, but it's become a big concern in the last two weeks since I started PT again.  My pain levels have gone up as well--today I'm going to have to cut out the eliptical (7 minutes on slow, no resistance) and leg presses (60 pound) because my pain levels have been off the charts, and those are the new exercises we've added.  2 steps forward and 3 back is what I feel like sometimes.  That is giving me incentive to get this dealt with.

Keep in touch, feel better soon!  And watch out on those stairs, I was very scared to hear you describe that!

Heather
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 06, 2003, 02:07:25 AM
Heather,

The swelling in the foot and ankle is where my concern was.  The knee is swollen as it should be. Sad that I can tell that, huh? I just never had swelling in the foot where moving my toes took effort.  I looked again at the blisters and they look like water blisters and have gotten bigger.  Doesn't this always happen on a Friday at close of business when you don't want to be a pain in your OS's butt? They aren't painful just itchy so I'm not too worried. I also realized that my brace was rubbing in the approximate area where they showed up so maybe that is the culprit?

I do loosen the immobilizer while lying down because he had it tight and has a bandages along with an Ace Bandage wrapped and if I don't loosen it, the ice would never get to it. I did notice though when it's loosened that the swelling in the foot lessens.  I'm glad you pointed that out.

I really didn't have an issue with scar tissue or at least he didn't mention it to me or my hubby afterwards. He just mentioned the debris behind the patella. I was glad that I wasn't one of the ones who has that problem!  I'm not on a CPM machine as of yet.  He wants to wait at least until the first post-op (7-10 days) before I begin passive exercises at home. The more aggressive PT will have to wait until I have seen some progression within the quad tendon.  He wants to go slowly and let this thing heal up as much as possible before aggrevating it further.  He did tighten the quad so I'm hoping that this will be the last intervention to it. I'm all for waiting for PT too as we all know how bad PT can get!  :o

I get the anti-barf meds too, but they never helped much.  I just felt totally YUCK after all my surgeries and it was days before I could keep something down.  We had stocked the house with ginger ale and saltines and since I went the other route, I haven't needed them. My husband had asked about complications with the epideral and they reassured us that there are risks as with everything, but they won't do anything until they are sure it's 100% effective.  If it wasn't then they just do the general anyway.  One more reason I opted for it was because of the postop relief you get from it. You are still numb afterwards so it's easier to get on your pain meds and get in under control before feeling comes back. I was freaking out before the surgery because they gave my options for it.  I had never been given options before. Always did what I was told....hmmm?  Maybe another reason for my issues?

I am totally surprised at how well this feels.  Two days after the quad tendon repair I thought I was dying.  Maybe I've adapted to pain or something but I think this one was easier for me.  The recovery will be longer and harder though.  3rd surgery on top of atrophied muscle...Yikes!

My OS did move the tibia up about an inch and medially. He didn't mention about filling the bone, just securing it with screws. It was tracking poorly this entire time and I doubt it was totally due to the baja.  I think I had a bad repair done to the quad.  I am also worried about the quad and rebuilding it.  Mine would get tight like you described after any kind of activity, even stationery biking with no resistance.    

Even without knowing if this worked...it'll be 9 months he says. I would reccommend it.  At least I gave it a shot.  This was ultimately the last resort and also addressed the baja.  I know you had a scope scheduled, but I think you should consider this procedure.  You could always do the scope then wait the 9 months and I can finish being the guinea pig...lol. We don't have many choices here and this is a big deal procedure but when you look at it in the long run, it could be your last.  I mean you fix it and the scopes may never be needed again.  

You are up there in weight on quad sets though. I couldn't even lift my own shoe....seriously.  The lag in it was ridiculous and the pain was excruiating.  I was so unstable on the elliptical too. My workouts were dying slowly but surely. Another reason why I went ahead and risked having this surgery.  I can't live like that anymore.  

Feel free to ask as many questions as you would like about this surgery and my progression. I am always happy to share! Back to the couch and pain meds for now. I'll check back here later.  Feel free to email me if you would like, my email is listed.

Talk to you soon,

Heather

P.S.  Thanks for all your help with this. You are the one that found me on the other board and directed me here.  I really don't think I would have gotten to this point or gotten this surgery if you hadn't been here answering every question I had and explaining everything to me. I owe you big time!!!!!!!!

 
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Erin on September 06, 2003, 02:47:41 AM
Hey Heather, I hope everything is still gonig good. Hopefully this will help your knee issues. Good luck with the recovery!
Erin
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 06, 2003, 04:00:23 AM
Just wanted to add after rereading my post, sorry for the bad spelling, leaving words out and using the wrong words.  I'm sure it's these pain meds!! LOL! Let me know if anyone needs a translation :)

Heather
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: enuff81020 on September 06, 2003, 07:41:07 AM
Hi Heather,

I might be able to shed some light on the swelling for you.  I had a lot of swelling and some bruising in my foot  and ankle and my ortho called it the natureal result of the surgrery and my foot being "down and dependent."  I have not yet gotten a good definition of that phrase, but every medical person I have said it to has agreed with it.  I guess it is a typical side effect of a major surgery on the knee.

You sound pretty positve--so I amhoping that is an indication that you are coming along pretty well from the get-go.  Keep it up, we are all rooting for you.

Take care, get better soon!  Sylvia
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Janet on September 07, 2003, 03:31:11 AM
Heather:

So glad to hear your surgery went well and you aren't in too much pain! That's great, great news. We were all anxiously waiting to hear what you had to say. As for the swelling, I also had swelling in my ankle following my last scope. I had strict instructions to keep my knee above my heart and my ankle above my knee. Are you doing this?

I finally feel like I'm making some progress in PT. I guess making the change to five days a week was really needed. I've now been going 5 days a week for a month. I am finally able to do more weight on the leg press. We are working hard on gait training because I am not using my quad when I walk. My PT is hard and my knee really hurts all the time, but I hope it's worth it in the end. My doctor said 6-8 months before we'd know how successful this was, and it's almost 3 months, so I'm glad to finally see some progress!

Hope things keep going so well. Keep us posted. Good luck!

Janet
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 07, 2003, 04:02:41 AM
Janet,

That's wonderful about your scope and PT. I hope this does work for you.  I know how increasing PT can take the life from you though, so be careful!  

The pain from this surgery is getting worse or so it seems.  I spoke way to soon. I still have high hopes though! I think I will stay optimistic with this one.  I have to! I'm worried about when my husband goes back to work on Wednesday and the boredom and realization of knowing I'm stuck on the 3rd floor until he gets home sets in.  :-/

I can't seem to ever just feel good. I actually threw up lunch today and my appetite has gone out the window. I know I need to eat to heal so I am trying. Sometimes water doesn't even sit well.

I am elevating as you said but the swelling comes and goes... mostly comes right now. I'm sure it'll change it's only been 3 days since surgery. It just seems my whole body hurts now.  Some days it's hard to believe that I CHOSE this surgery....lol.  

Please keep me posted on your progress too.  I am very interested in learning about PT and everything else from everyone here.  The "PS" note I wrote in my post to Heather M was also for you as all the PM's and replies to me was so very helpful and much appreciated. I thank you  from the bottom of my heart!  


I go back for post op the week of the 15th. I have to call to get the appt still. I will definitely post back and let you all in on what I learn. Any thing I should be focusing on asking rather than the PT and healing process? Any questions about the procedure or stuff like that?

Heather    
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Laura_S on September 07, 2003, 09:31:14 AM
HEATHER!!

I'm so glad to hear from you.  I know I havent posted on here in a long time, but I definitely thought about you on the 3rd.  Sounds like everything went smoothly.  I'm glad for you.  Just keep up the good work and listen to what he says.  I'll let you know if I'm in the same boat as soon as I get home from Duke.  I leave tomorrow (Sunday) around 4pm for the appointment which is Monday at 10.  

Feel better!

Laura
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: cat on September 07, 2003, 05:02:43 PM
Heather,
So good to hear from you. Hope the pain is not too bad and that you have a speedy recovery.
BTW, I love your icon. It's really cute.
cat
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Janet on September 07, 2003, 07:07:24 PM
Heather:

It's not unusual for the pain to get worse before it gets better again. Just stay on top of your pain meds. Take them on a regular scheduled instead of trying to catch up with the pain. I sure wish I had known that at the beginning. You've had a ton of surgery. No wonder you hurt!! It will get better.

I remember when I first tore my quad tendon. It was misdiagnosed in the ER. That was a Friday evening, so Monday I called the doctor, went to see him Tuesday and had surgery Wednesday. Before that, I never suspected I had a serious injury. One day I was fine, and the next I was down on the couch for the next three weeks. I didn't start PT until 3 weeks after surgery. It was my lifeline to the outside world. Since I couldn't drive and couldn't move around well and hurt so much, I spent my days on the couch. My dear husband would come home from work and "load" me in the car (literally) and drive me around just so I could get out. After a few weeks, I came to a certain peace about it all. I came to enjoy the fact that my life was less hurried and that I was home when my daughter got home from school. But it was hard to have my "normal" life come to such an abrupt halt. Because of all my complications, our lives still run on a much slower pace than the rest of the world. My hope is that some day I don't have to plan my life around how much I can walk and how much I hurt that day. Just think, maybe a year from now we'll both be living more normal lives! That seems like a long time, but after all we've been through, it's a drop in the bucket!

Hang in there! Try to keep your spirits up! You're in my prayers.

Janet
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ohiostatemel on September 08, 2003, 05:10:35 AM
Hey Heather.  
I have been keeping up with your progress since you got home from surgery.  I completely understand you being nervous with your husband going back to work Wed.  I was scared to death when I was left alone for an extended amount of time after my TTT.  Make sure you have plenty of "diversion materials" laying close by.  
It sounds like you are doing pretty well.  I am glad that all went as it should and hopefully, your pain will begin to decrease significantly in the next few days.  I'm thinking of you!

Take care,
Mel
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 08, 2003, 05:43:45 AM
These dang blisters that started at the edge of my steri-strips kept rubbing on the immobilizer and finally they burst...yuck!  It appears to be water though. It stains yellow smells like betadine.  I was looking for ANY signs of infection.  They itch like crazy but I am staying away from them. One ripped clear to the bottom and oozed minimal blood.  

I was cleared to wash the knee yesterday but opted not to since my OS is unaware of the blisters.  I am calling my OS tomorrow to schedule my first post-op and will inquire as to what caused these and proper care. Does anyone know?  Just a skin reaction?  Heather M. gave me a great reasoning but I am just so scared of infection. How long after surgery do most infections occur?  Am I in the clear after 4 days? I have never had this happen before with any surgery.  

I also noticed that the swelling is worse while I sleep.  I get up and my knee, calf and ankle are huge even if I have loosened the brace a tad. Also normal? Also the
last two days I have slept about 15-17 hours a day. That wasn't from the meds though since I am trying to ween them. They make me so ill that I can't hold anything down except liquids.  Hubby wakes me for ice so that's not the cause either...lol.

The blood rushing sensation when getting up is horrible too! OUCH!  :'( I'm so dramatic huh?  Sorry, I can't help it.  Any advise would be wonderful.  I'm just paranoid I guess.

Heather

   
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Jillian24 on September 08, 2003, 06:49:15 AM
Heather,
    I am sooooo glad that you are home. I have been waiting to hear. I had the swelling as well. It went away in about 2 weeks. I had aweful bruising as well. Thats what hurt me the most.
It sounds like your recovery is going well and I am so happy for you. I hope that your progress continues and you have amazing results..best of luck to you sweetie and get some rest. I will be thinking about ya.....Jillian
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ohiostatemel on September 08, 2003, 06:54:47 AM
Heather,
I got blisters after my Lateral release.  My OS said people get them when their bandages (usually immediately after surgery) become wet from fluid or blood- and the skin gets irritated.  He had me put antibiotic ointment on mine and keep the bandages off an the area super clean while at home.  Mine eventually popped/drained themselves.
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Heather M. on September 08, 2003, 07:39:53 AM
Heather,

Isn't it funny how you had a massive incision and a surgical fracture of your leg...and the blisters are driving you nuts??  I had the same with serious blisters due to the bandages, and I would have sworn they were gaping wounds!  

Anyway, the best thing to do with blisters is keep them clean, dry, and irritation free (no rubbing) but I've found that they hurt less if they are kept moist with antibiotic ointment.  It's really your doctor's call about what you should be doing with them--if you expose them to the air, they'll heal faster.  Just a few more days and they should go away.

As for infection, I wouldn't worry about getting an infection inside your knee from a blister, just keep the one that bled really clean.  Usually, the wound has to go deeper than that--I got infections through open arthroscopy ports, so we're talking deep.  I'm sorry to say that I've had infections flare as late as 3 weeks post op, but they were probably festering inside all along.  Are you on antibiotics?  I didn't take any last time (except the IV in the hospital) and I did just fine.  The two previous times I was on oral antibiotics and got infections, so go figure!

I'm guessing that your leg swells more during the night because you're not moving around much and not elevating it?  That's just a guess.  As for the pain meds making you sick, are you making sure that you eat a lot of easy to digest food with the meds?  Otherwise, you will get queasy.  I found cheese and crackers, nilla wafers, toast, bananas, and ice cream to go down very well with the pain meds, but it's a fairly individual thing.  If they continue to make you ill, ask for another prescription (maybe the sustained release, like Oxy-contin, which doesn't let the body absorb all the meds at once would help) or for anti-nausea drugs.  I did well taking my pills with ginger ale, sprite/7-up, or peppermint tea--yummy.

I hope you feel better soon.  Wish me luck--I see a new doctor who does open procedures on Tuesday morning.  I've got to get all my records together tomorrow.....

Heather
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 08, 2003, 08:36:28 PM
Oh Heather! That's wonderful about your appointment on Tuesday.  I'm happy to hear you are going to look into it.  We are all here for you to bounce ideas and concerns off of when you return.  How far is the trip?  It's scary isn't it?  You have been through this numerous times but each visit is still enough to get to you and make you nuts.  

As far as the antibiotic ointment...One of the blisters popped at 3 am last night so my husband ran to Wal-Mart and got me some. I have kept them covered with it and exposed to the air as much as possible.  They are to the sides of the lowest part of the incision, like on the sides of the shin bone. He reused my old incision and just added to it to move the tibia.  I think the brace rubbing the leg started this whole ordeal.

I like to open the brace and let the air get to them as I stated earlier, but they are right where the straps cross so I can only do that when not moving or sleeping. I don't trust sleeping with the brace open! Not with my luck anyway.  I had covered them with a light bandage and sure enough it dried to the blister and irriated it when I removed it this morning.

I am elevating at night while sleeping, but I think you are right as to the part where it worsens because it is not being moved. Last night was a good night as far as swelling went.  

It is funny how my concern and worries are with the blisters and not the insicion!  They just look so huge and round compared to the nice neat line down the leg.  lol!  Also the oozing reddish liquid brings me fear.  I have never had drainage from any surgery so naturally I'm freaking. I called my OS this morning and scheduled my post op (Sept 15) and left a msg about the blisters. I removed the steri-strips that were over the blisters since they were getting bigger and bigger with the strips on them.

I also remember when I worked for a foot and ankle clinic that when our patients would come in with blisters that the first thing the doctor would have us do was would be to remove them.  I checked for drainage and any open parts on the incision before i did this though.  They feel better already.  

I'll let every know what the OS says when he calls back.  Good luck with your appointment. I know you know how to handle it as you are the one who gave me advice on how to handle my appointment. Please post back and let us know all you can and especially your thoughts/fears/doubts on the whole procedure(s). I'm hoping for a wonderful outcome for you.

Heather  
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: cat on September 08, 2003, 09:12:54 PM
 :) Heather M,
You have always been a wealth of info for me and I appreciate that. Good luck with your OS appointment. I hope you get the answers you need.
cat
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 09, 2003, 01:07:29 AM

The OS just called and explained another reason why the blisters may have formed.  He says sometimes the steri-strips can stick "too well" and when you have severe swelling (as I did) then it goes down the steri-strips still hold so tightly to the skin in the "swollen" stage that it can form blisters.  It is kind of confusing but when you think about it it does make perfect sense. I am not supposed to pop them but let them pop on their own then put neosporin (or something similar) on them.  Cover with gauze and just keep them clean.  Just thought I would share that with everyone.

Heather
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Heather M. on September 09, 2003, 03:30:04 AM
Thanks Heather and Cat for your encouraging words.  I know I'm always giving everyone advice, but to be honest I feel like a basket case when I think about tomorrow's appointment.  I'm literally making myself sick, and I'm just praying I don't start bawling when the doctor asks me why I'm there to see him!  I'm feeling incredibly emotional--both hopeful and scared sick.  I don't want to get my hopes up, because so many previous doctors have said a variation of 'leave it alone, you could make it worse' to 'I wouldn't touch that knee for a million bucks' to 'I don't know what to do with it.'  I hate that hopeful buildup, the feeling that THIS may be THE DOCTOR who's going to turn your life around...only to have it all fall apart.

But let's not borrow trouble.  This doctor is wonderful--trained at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, trained with Dr. Fulkerson, and spent over a decade at Cincinnati Sports Med, home of another arthrofibrosis specialist (Dr. Noyes).  He's been teaching orthopedics for years, and all the PT's I've talked to have said he's just solid, one of the best, knows what he's doing, has been doing knees for decades.  Of course, the same thing is true of my current surgeon, and even he's getting frustrated and talking open procedures.....

Anyway, I now have all my records together and will see this new doctor at 9:30 tomorrow.  I'll let you know how it goes.  Sorry to hijack your thread, Heather!  And thanks so much again for your kind words.  I figure there has to be SOMETHING positive to come out of this whole knee experience==if I can help someone else avoid the pitfalls I've stumbled into, then that's my silver lining.  Let's just hope that no one else has to deal with PFS, lateral releases, and the ugly ITBS from hell...

Heather
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 09, 2003, 04:45:07 AM
Heather,

Feel absolutely free to hijack this thread if you want!  It's easier for me to keep track of the updates on you...lol!

I wanted to also say that I too heard the stories of how I could make it worse and how several OS's didn't want to mess with it.  I totally understand where you are coming from with that.  I also didn't want to get my hopes up.  When I found this OS he stressed the LOW percentage of total improvement and was painfully optimistic. (Semi-pessimistic if you ask me!!)  I just realized he was trying to keep my focus real and not give me anymore false hope.  

I know I took a chance with this procedure, just as you will if you decide to go ahead with it, if they are qualified to help you that is.  You have to go back and reread your posts here as I did and get back in touch with your misery and pain.  Several times I thought, 'Noway I'm not going to go through with it.  I'm safe where I am and at least here I can manage what I have'.  Then I would rethink that strategy and say "what if I could only take a stair easier? or walk a few more feet at one time?"  Simple things like that gave me the strength I needed to go through with it.  Like I said if you wanted to wait and see how mine turns out I would be happy to personally keep you updated on each stage of the recovery. I am however, only 1 case and our situations are so different but still so simliar.  It's horrible when there are no guarantees and all we have left is chance.    

Don't worry about walking in there and bawling.  I did. They understand your pain and frustration by looking at the thickness of you medical record! LOL!  Just hearing that someone can, will, and has hope for your knee is a real comfort. The real battle begins when you know you can go ahead and have the surgery but have to make the choice of whether you want to risk it.

Just know that we all will be here to help you sort it out and listen to you vent.  You are an asset to this board and it's the least we can do to help you out in your time of need.  You will be in my thoughts tomorrow. I wish you the best of luck.  Get some rest now and try and relax. Let us know what happens just as soon as you can.

Heather

       
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Jammy on September 10, 2003, 12:55:31 PM
Heather - glad everything is clearing up. I have also been getting swollen calf and unable to move toes. I also had a lot of fluid and bruising after the LR haemarthrosis repair op that I had a few days ago. I was told that basically it's gravity trying to move the fluid down, and that I should keep my leg raised (knee higher than hip, foot higher than knee) because it's better to get the fluid to drain to the groin area apparenty. My PT also massaged my calf a lot to push the fluid back up, and is making me loop a belt around the ball of my foot and pull, to keep the calf stretching, which also apparently pushes the fluid back the way it should be going.

Anyway, I hope that this problem disappears soon !


James
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 11, 2003, 11:04:55 PM
Thanks to everyone for all the responses. It means a lot to be able to get advice here.  (Also vent which is what I am about to do)  ;)

Here's an update:

The blisters have popped and are in the process of drying up. I still cannot sleep at night even with the pain killers.  I loosened the brace one night to the point that it may as well have been completely off and I slept almost 12 hours...go figure. I can't keep doing that because I know I am not supposed to. I just needed sleep so badly.  

Even elevated, it swells to fit the brace. So if it's loose, it swells more. If it's tight, the ankle swells more. My ankle on the medial side has lost a lot of its swelling but it's been replaced by severe bruising...lol. The outside of the ankle is still deformed and swollen and is starting to bruise. I know all this is normal so I'm not worried.

I posted about pain around the tourniquet area in my quad and all the responses I received said that was normal as well.  One more thing not to worry about.  

Everything seems to be going as good as can be expected. I think I'm just down in the dumps right now.  No matter how long I have waited between surgeries as soon as this brace is back it feels like it never came off.  I'm also stuck at home on the 3rd floor which doesn't help. I feel like I've gained 6 million pounds (or stones depending on where you are from...lol).  I'm just ready to rehab it now.  

My husband is also frustruating me.  He is back to work now and sometimes I need to wake him in the middle of the night to help me and he gets grumpy.  Well, if I could sleep I wouldn't need anything in the night!!! Ha ha!  I know it's not intentional and when I tell him about it, it breaks his heart that he did it. But still it's so frustrating. I'm probably just being a brat since I never sleep. He means well, Bless his heart.

Oh well, I'm just venting. I'm sure you all understand the "trapped" feeling I am experiencing.  I'm just tempted to drop the crutches and get moving!!!!!  Maybe Monday my OS will tell me I can fully weight bear. That would be a wonderful help! I feel helpless. I can't even carry a glass of soda myself.  URRGG! It's funny because I knew what to expect as this is not my first go around and I still go through with it and then turn around and complain.  Yeah I am a brat!  ::)

Thanks so much for listening!  

Love to you all,

Heather ;D      
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Jillian24 on September 12, 2003, 01:05:15 AM
Oh my gosh Heather you are so not a brat,
     We have all felt that way. It's just a part of surgery and unfortunately it is the pits. But you will get there, I am so sorry though that you are having a hard time sleeping. Thats so hard! Hopefully you can get some releif soon. Maybe ambien? Just to get you through the next week or so. Hang in there! I can't believe that I am having surgery and it's my choice? What the *&^@ am I thinking? Oh man, well hang in there....Jillian
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 12, 2003, 03:47:14 AM
Jillian,

We decide to have these surgeries in hope of a better life. The benefits outweigh the risks hopefully.  It's just so hard when it's time to get better.  I just want to be better now!  How did your tests turn out?????? I'm dying to know!

Heather  
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Janet on September 12, 2003, 04:31:26 AM
Heather:

No matter how much we think we are prepared for surgery, and no matter how much we can't wait to have it done and get on the road to recovery, I don't think we are ever fully prepared for the first few weeks. No wonder you feel trapped. I wrote in an earlier post about my time at home. I realize I said that I couldn't drive for 3 weeks. I meant 3 months! So I know exactly how you feel. I think as the pain and swelling subsides, you will come to a certain peace about the situation and find a routine to fill the days. That's what I found with me. Also, I slept so much....healing is hard work (lol)!

When do you see the doctor again? After this last surgery, they had me starting PT the next day. Couldn't do much because I was non-weightbearing. But it was good because my knee was being checked 3 times a week and I could always ask questions and know if there was anything to worry about. Once you see the doctor again and when you can start PT, I think a lot of your anxiety will end.

Anyway, hang in there. Come here to vent. We really do understand. Things will get better.

Janet
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 12, 2003, 05:17:42 AM
Thank you Janet for your reassuring words.  They mean a lot.  Yeah I won't be driving for a long time either. Still trying to figure out how getting to PT will be possible!  
Last surgery (quad tendon repair) I started out in a hinged brace so after a few weeks I could unlock it some to sit properly in the driver's seat. I have a stick shift so my husband and I switched cars. I was able to at least get to work and PT. This time I'm in the immobilizer for 6 straight weeks so I don't know what I'll do yet. I'm sure I'll figure it out. I see the OS Monday so I can also tell him that bit about the driving and maybe I can start exercises at home or switch braces sooner.  How are things with you?  Any more progress?

Heather    
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Laura_S on September 13, 2003, 10:05:52 AM
Heather:

Hang in there girl....you're gettin there!  It takes time but it sounds like this one will pay off for you.  

As a side note for you because I meant to update you before, I went to Duke Univ...to see Dr. Alison Toth this past Monday.  You were right, as soon as I got in there, they took 3 different types of Xrays of my knees.  She said she's very worried about the amount of weakness and atrophy in my leg/quad/hip.  The xrays show my kneecap being in the right position, hence, no patella baja/alta from what she could read.  She thinks that my muscles are so weak they can't stablize my patella AT ALL.  She said she really thinks that's the case, and at a far chance it could be cartilage damage...but she doesn't know seeing that my other OS LOST my most recent MRI...that's always nice.  So, she says no to patella baja or surgery, and yes to hardcore, intense physical therapy where she will be sent graphs/charts/numbers weekly of how I'm responding to the computer rehab.  Have to see a completely different PT.  Surgery isn't even an option to her because she says there's nothing to really operate on since I'm so weak, she can't tell.  But she said intense PT should do it she thinks, and if not, she'll discuss surgery later...but that's not even something to talk about now.  Reason being, I have never built up any strength post LRR...and I went into the LRR w/ hardly any muscle = bad mixture as you know.  I go back to Duke in 8 weeks, Nov 3.

That about sums up that story, as short as I could get it.

Keep us updated with your recovery...
Laura
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 13, 2003, 07:23:26 PM
Laura,

That's great news that surgery is not in your immediate future. I did want to let you know that patella baja is a very hard thing to diagnose.  Sometimes when you get in the position for the x-ray the knee cap slips back to where it is supposed to be and therefore looks "normal".  It can also do this in the MRI scans.
I think that happened to someone on this board but I can't remember who.  I just hope your knee didn't play a trick on her.

They are good there at Duke so your OS was probably looking for that to happen. My baja was so bad you didn't need an x-ray to diagnose it and when my 2nd OS (the one who referred me to Duke) took bi-lateral views it was just horrible.  Almost scary.

Thanks for the update. Let me know where you are going for PT and what they have you doing.  I had this surgery on top on severe atrophy and now it's even worse.  My leg lies flat, i mean totally flat!  It's going to be the hardest road I travelled yet getting this muscle back. Having the kneecap in the right place should help a bit  ;)  

Keep working at it and don't give up, you'll get there.  It very well could be the weakness. That is what originally started all my tracking problems and pain.  I wish you luck and please share your PT exercises. I'm taking notes so I can be sure to have tried EVERYTHING during my rehab.  Good to hear from you again  ;D

Heather
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Janet on September 14, 2003, 03:54:39 AM
Heather:

Look into a medical transportation van to get you to PT. I used one for the whole 3 months I couldn't drive. I don't know how much it cost because workers comp paid for it, but it would definitely be something to investigate. They came to my house, helped me into and out of the van, then were there at the end of PT to take me home. They would have even helped me into the office if I needed it. Hope the six weeks in an immobilizer goes fast. I thought I'd only be one about that long, but then didn't get enough stability or quad strength and had to stay in it for another 6 weeks. I think that was the beginning of a lot of my problems. 12 weeks in an immobilizer is too long!

Laura: I had scar tissue debridement for the third time about 3 months ago. But that was just the immediate problem. The real problem was that I had been avoiding using my quad for the last four years following a quad tendon rupture. My OS told me before the surgery that it would be 6-8 months before we could tell how much the quad would recover function. At my 6 weeks post-op appointment, I couldn't bend my knee more than 50 degrees without my patella subluxing. I still feel it doing what I call "mini subluxing" all the time....not really going out, but feeling like it is going to and catching a little. That still hurts and irritates the knee! I don't have a tracking problem....just a muscle problem. After 3 months, we are just beginning to see some progress. It is a long journey, but with the right PT and dedicated work on your part (and good pain meds!), hopefully you will be abe to regain your quad again, too. Good luck.

Janet
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 15, 2003, 06:47:36 AM
Janet,

Thanks for the information! I didn't know that there was such a thing. I have Tricare insurance. My husband is in the Military so I can call and see what they offer as far as that goes. My post op is tomorrow so I can get more information about when PT is supposed to start. I'll be posting back tomorrow with the outcome of the visit.

Heather
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: LuvDirt23 on September 15, 2003, 10:57:19 PM
Hi Heather.  I wanted to add something about the transportation to PT.  I am in Cali, and they have programs similar to what Janet was writing about.  Here they are county programs for disabled people.  You can sign up with a letter from your Dr. and they are free if you qualify (which I'm sure you won't have a problem with that).  I'm not sure where you would call, possibly contact the DMV or disability office?  They may be able to direct you in the right direction for info.  Hopefull the military where you are has a program to help you.  Either way good luck!  We have a truck, so I was lucky where I could put my right leg up on the seat and drive with my left foot...which I am still doing.  Getting good at it lol  :D.  I also asked about a disabled parking card.  The Dr. gives them to all serious knee surgery patients, and it has been a huge help when I have to go to the store by myself.  I hope you find something since you will probably start PT soon!!  Now you just need an elevator to get around those stairs  ;)!!  Hope things went well for you today!!

Megan
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: Jillian24 on September 16, 2003, 03:01:20 AM
Heather,
   Just wanted to wish you luck with everthing. I hope you get some good answers at PT and the OS. The disability parking permit is soooo awesome! It was a life safer. So make sure you look into that. Hope you having a good day....Jillian
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 16, 2003, 06:35:39 AM
Megan,

Be careful driving like that! I bet you're pretty good at it though  ;) I need to call my insurance company and ask if driving with a brace on makes you an impaired driver. That means that if you have an accident it would be your fault automatically. Some insurance companies don't let you drive like that.  It's my left leg and I'd be driving my husband's automatic so I don't see why it would be a problem but it could be. We'll see. I just wouldn't want to get pulled over and get a ticket or something.  I wonder if I could? Never really thought about that before.  I won't be driving for another month but when I see the OS again I will ask about the handicapped sticker for parking.  I wish I had done that last time! I just posted about my post op on the '7 week post op TTT' thread and also on Ginger's thread '1 week post op TTT and LR'

Heather  
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: LuvDirt23 on September 16, 2003, 07:14:37 AM
Ohh I never thought of it that way.  That may be true if you were to get into an accident...hmmmm.  Well soon I am hoping to be able to drive normal.  I posted in the other thread that my quad is slowly but surely coming to life  ;D.  If I didn't have to drive I wouldn't.  But if I want to get to PT I have to.  We really don't know many people here, and I don't want to burden the ones I do with driving me 3 times a week for PT.  Anyway definatly ask about the parking card!  When the times comes it will be wonderful for you!  Thanks for the info about the insurance.  I'll have to look into that.  Take care, Megan
Title: Re: Post-op patella baja....
Post by: ~*Heather*~ on September 16, 2003, 09:40:11 AM
Megan,

A doctor I used to work for told me about the impaired driver thing.  I never personally looked into it.  He scared me so bad I would take my brace off when I got in the car!  At that point it was only for walking. I had my ROM back and was allowed to use it, I was just unstable.  It may not even be true.  I sure hope it isn't. I'm going to call my insurance company and ask tomorrow though...well I may wait to call since it's the same insurance company I use for renter's insurance and I bet I can't get through with the upcoming hurricane and everyone trying to make sure they are covered...lol.  Oh well, I'll let you know what I come up with  :)

Heather