Banner - Hide this banner





Author Topic: PKR: When did you return to work?  (Read 9873 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline esther_bunny

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
  • Liked: 0
PKR: When did you return to work?
« on: January 20, 2012, 09:33:01 AM »
Hello everyone, I just had a PKR on January 12. I'm scheduled to go back to work on Feb 12 but I'm not so sure. 4 weeks doesn't seem like enough time to recover, be cleared for driving, etc.
My post op appt is this coming week and I'm going to discuss it with my doctor. My physical therapist said I might want to see if he'll ok a possible extension on my short term disability leave as he doesn't see many people go straight back after 4 weeks and prefers his PT patients to take half days for a month (which is out of the question for me).

I have a desk job but it's very stressful and I normally put in 10 hour days with no time to break for lunch. When I return I know I'll be expected to hop right back in and I honestly don't think I'm up for it. (Plus the commute is a heavy stop/start drive.) --This job is so stressful that 3 months ago I got Bell's Palsy from all the stress (yes, I know I need to find a new job, working on that).

My pain levels are still pretty high and I haven't had the stitches removed yet. I'm doing all my home PT exercises and using a CPM machine.
When I had my ACL revision I was out for 4 weeks and probably should've been out for 5 or 6 because it was so exhausting.

So when did you return to work after your PKR? Did you have to get an extension on your short term disability and if so, how difficult was it to get?

Offline seerobinbike

  • SuperKNEEgeek
  • *****
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 643
  • Liked: 2
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2012, 08:14:59 PM »
Hi Ester Bunny,

What a cute name!  I don't necessary have an answer for you but did want to say hi and congrats on your new knee.  I also had a PKR recently...Jan. 3rd to be exact.  You are just 8 days post surgery and it doesn't surprise me that you are asking yourself this question.  Of course, everyone heals at different rates but I believe at day 8 I was feeling like it would be months before I'd be getting things together.  I was discharged from the hospital in pretty bad shape and 6 days post op I saw my PT for the first time.  She was horrified at my lack of flexion/extension and my lack of ability to get around on crutches.  This improved quickly after our first few sessions together which surprised both of us.  I'm now 17 days post op and am beginning to ween myself off pain meds.  I've gone from needing a heavy duty dose of dilaudid to only one vicodin every 8-10 hours or so.  I feel that by the end of the week, I will be substituting Tylenol for the Vicodin or at least will give it a try.

Four weeks does seem a bit premature to be heading back to work; I can't even drive until I'm 4 weeks post op because it was my right knee that needed the partial.  If you aren't able to do half days, then I would definately try to go on short term disability.  You need to focus on you first.  Even if you do have a desk job, you can't be sitting all day with a new knee!

Do you have a follow up appt. in a month with your OS?  He/she is the one who can most likely give you the best feedback.

Good luck!

Robin
Jan. 12: PKR.
June 10:  Meniscus surgery.
Most of '09:  PT to help constant knee pain.

Offline esther_bunny

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
  • Liked: 0
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2012, 08:54:25 PM »
Thank you seerobinbike.
It does seem like it'll be months before things will be better.  I've only had 2 sessions of PT but I'm religiously doing my home PT.

My post op appt is next week and am definitely going to talk to my doc about that. I'm worried that going back too soon will impede my recovery.

Yes, sitting all day is worrying me. Here at home I'm getting up every now and then to do very light things and I can use the crutches ok but the majority of my day is sitting on the couch w/my legs stretched out.

Sounds like you're moving in the right direction as far as recovery, that is good news!

I have good days and bad days, today is a pretty good day. I've managed to complete my home exercises, the TENS machine twice today, and am in the CPM machine right now.

Thank you,
Jessica

p.s.- Esther bunny is the nickname for our dog Esther ;-)

Offline seerobinbike

  • SuperKNEEgeek
  • *****
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 643
  • Liked: 2
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2012, 10:49:22 PM »
Hi Jessica,

Thought I'd pop in on you to see how you and your knee are doing.  Have you and your doctor discussed your return to work yet?  Hope it's oneward and upward for you!  Let me know how you are when you get a chance!!

Robin 
Jan. 12: PKR.
June 10:  Meniscus surgery.
Most of '09:  PT to help constant knee pain.

Offline esther_bunny

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
  • Liked: 0
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2012, 03:12:36 AM »
Hi Robin!
 Thanks! I'm doing ok but the knee is a different story. I'm doing PT 3 times a day and the stiffening seems to be getting worse. Just can't get to 90 degrees and when I do the exercise where I lay on the bed and bend my knee in, usually an easier exercise for me, is starting to make me cry. Feels like I'm going the opposite way.
  Dr. is delaying my return to work for another 4- 6 weeks.

-jessica

Offline seerobinbike

  • SuperKNEEgeek
  • *****
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 643
  • Liked: 2
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2012, 01:05:32 AM »
Sorry to hear this Jessica! :(  At least you have gotten an extension from your doctor so you don't feel under pressure to rush things.  I totally hear you on the lack of flexion and the stiffening.  I'm going through pretty much the same thing myself right now.  Seems like I have a good day and then a couple of bad ones.  One thing that seems to help with my flexion is something I read in a book this past weekend.  (Maybe you are doing this already but I wasn't.)  Flex your knee while laying down and once you reach the 'sticky' point just let it hang out there and focus on relaxing it.  You may feel some pulling but no real pain.  (If you do feel anything more than slight discomfort, don't continue.)  My knee usually will relax after about a minute and then I bring it just a tad closer to my butt and do it again.  I'm probably able to do this about 4 times before it just won't go any further without hurting.  Then I slowly slide it back into extension using my heel. 

I know it's easier said than done but do give it some time and don't let your PT or doctors freak you out by telling you it better move soon.  It's not moving for a reason.  Is your knee still swollen?  Are your quads tight?  Are you getting ultrasound or any kind of hands on therapy at your PT like massage?  All of these things are going to help your flexion. 

Just a thought that you might want to post your questions someplace else on this board.  There are many wise people hanging out on here that probably have tons of suggestions for you but so few people actually get PKR's, this isn't a place others are looking. 

Chat soon.  Robin :D
Jan. 12: PKR.
June 10:  Meniscus surgery.
Most of '09:  PT to help constant knee pain.

Offline esther_bunny

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
  • Liked: 0
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2012, 04:19:34 AM »
Hey Robin,
  I try to do the flexion thing and let my knee relax in to the pull-if that makes any sense. There is just one point it doesn't seem to want to go past.
My knee is slightly swollen but not horribly so. Today my physical therapist massaged the scar but we haven't done any ultrasound yet. How does ultrasound help flexion? That sounds interesting!

thank you!

Offline seerobinbike

  • SuperKNEEgeek
  • *****
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 643
  • Liked: 2
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2012, 03:33:18 PM »
Hey Jessica,

Since you have no substantial swelling, ultrasound probably won't do much to help your flexion.  I know that you are disappointed in your lack of flexion but 90 degrees isn't a whole lot more than I have.  I see that you are using a TENS unit at home.  Is this a rented one or one provided by your PT?  I ask because many home units don't really do much to help the muscles to begin firing.  I'm also wondering if you are taking any kind of pain medication.  You didn't mention it and often times, you must begin or up your dose a bit just to push through some of the pain.  It's encouraging that the swelling has gone down; I see this as a real true sign of progress!  Try not to rush things!  (I'm talking to myself right now as well as you;))!  We both shall get there one way or another.
Jan. 12: PKR.
June 10:  Meniscus surgery.
Most of '09:  PT to help constant knee pain.

Offline esther_bunny

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
  • Liked: 0
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2012, 01:36:07 AM »
Hey there,

My TENS is one that was given to me through insurance. It doesn't really seem to do much though. I am taking pain meds: 10/325 Hydrocodone but ramping down to 7.5 Hydros on next refill. I've tried taking 1.5x the dose before PT and it did nothing. I can try 2 to see if that helps.

More PT tomorrow.

You take it easy yourself!

We *will* get through this! :-)

Offline seerobinbike

  • SuperKNEEgeek
  • *****
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 643
  • Liked: 2
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2012, 02:48:03 PM »
Hi Jessica,

I just read your other post and totally agree with KW.  I'm kinda pissed on your behalf because who should be telling you that IF you don't get this to 90 degrees by X then it's not good.  Sounds like a threat to me.  I like positive reinforcement. :)  I went to my PT yesterday and she cheered me on like a personal coach would.  I wasn't doing anything spectacular but in her eyes, even 1/2 of degree of flexion gained is a good thing.  We start to doubt ourselves when we listen to others who may not always be right or when we compare ourselves to what someone else has accomplished.  Healing is so individual and in the end, all that matters is that we reach the goal we set up for ourselves.  Hope to hear from you and remember that old adage about slow and steady....:)

Take care, Robin
Jan. 12: PKR.
June 10:  Meniscus surgery.
Most of '09:  PT to help constant knee pain.

Offline esther_bunny

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
  • Liked: 0
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2012, 09:59:29 PM »
Robin,
 I think b/c of the scar tissue building up really fast they want my flexion better so they don't have to go in and break up the scar tissue. That's what my PT said today, that's why they've been so aggressive.
 Got to 96 or 97 today so woohoo! I don't know which one it was exactly b/c it was so painful I was screaming (the scar tissue feels like a rock and my PT is really worried about that).
 Other than being aggressive about not letting the scar tissue get the better of me my PT is awesome. Very positive and always has different ideas of exercises to suit me if there is one that I don't particularly like. He's really good.

So funny that you mention slow and steady b/c I've been calling myself the tortoise all week  :)

Offline seerobinbike

  • SuperKNEEgeek
  • *****
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 643
  • Liked: 2
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2012, 12:45:20 PM »
WooHoo as right!!!  WTG my friend!   ;D  Glad to hear that you really like and have faith in your PT.  I actually just downloaded a book about recovering from a TKR.  I'm applying some of the exercises that aren't being covered by my PT.  I'd be happy to recommend the book if you are interested.  You go Jessica! 

Take good care, Robin
Jan. 12: PKR.
June 10:  Meniscus surgery.
Most of '09:  PT to help constant knee pain.

Offline esther_bunny

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
  • Liked: 0
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2012, 09:23:28 PM »
Thank you!

Oooh yes definitely interested in the book! Are you finding the exercises helping?  :)

Went for my dr appt today. They are watching me very closely because I'm on the borderline of not having to have manipulation-it's a very very find line at this point though. This past week I increased by almost 10 degrees but if I don't *constantly* keep my knee moving then it gets stiff. That worries them. I'm glad they have faith that I'm doing my exercises. They said I'd be surprised at the number of people who have procedures done and then don't do any  of the work to help themselves get better. How could you not? I don't want to walk like a pirate forever!

How is your recovery going Robin?

Offline seerobinbike

  • SuperKNEEgeek
  • *****
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 643
  • Liked: 2
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2012, 03:13:32 PM »
Morning Jessica,

The name of the book is Total Knee Replacement and Rehabilitation: The Knee Owner's Manual.  It had gotten rave reviews and although some of the book deals with presurgery stuff, the bulk of the book has given me lots of exercises that my PT never mentioned.  I do one that I sit on the kitchen table and just swing my knee back and forth and eventually bend it under the table as far as it will go.  This seems to loosen things up. 

I do believe the thing that has helped my flexion the most lately is working on my quad. tendon.  (This is the tendon that is attached to your quad muscles and runs straight through your knee.)  I noticed a wicked bad pulling when trying to flex so I worked the tendon using no oil or lotion.  It seems to have been the cause of some of my woes because I've been able to add a degree or two of flexion each day. 

Hope this helps.  Rehab is pretty much a 24/7 job...especially during the first 3 months.  I feel fortunate that I have the time and resources to do it! 

I totally hear you about people not doing there rehab and cannot imagine not following through on it!  I don't know about you, but my first several days after surgery were horrible.  Pain, pain and more pain!  Who in their right mind would want to go through all this and then hope that it heals up properly?  LOL.   ;D

Have a good weekend and hope the knee continues to improve.  I actually have a post op diary going on this site if you want to look it up.  It's called Robin's soon to be normal Partial Knee Replacement.  You should start one too if you have the time.  It's nice to go back and see where you were days ago and realize how far you've come.  This would also allow others to give you some feedback as well! 

Be well!  Robin ;D
Jan. 12: PKR.
June 10:  Meniscus surgery.
Most of '09:  PT to help constant knee pain.

Offline esther_bunny

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
  • Liked: 0
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2012, 04:02:20 AM »
thanks for the tip, I'll have to look up the book.  :)
Today I got on the bike more which seems to help keep my knee from stiffening so basically I've moved upstairs like I was the first few days after surgery.  Speaking of, my first few days were absolutely the worst! My MIL came down to help and I'm thankful she did. I couldn't even get of bed to do the necessaries b/c of the femoral block. That woman is a saint!

Hope you have a good weekend, too. I'm actually supposed to go to brunch tomorrow and be around people that aren't my doctor or physical therapist, yay!
Going to check out your post op diary now.  :D

Regards,
Jessica

Offline esther_bunny

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
  • Liked: 0
Re: PKR: When did you return to work?
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2012, 05:27:40 AM »
Ok so that book looked really good and i ordered it and it should arrive by Tuesday. Thanks!