Total Knee Replacement – Discharge to Home Post Op Day 10

by Pauline on May 31, 2010

The big day finally arrived and I was going home in the afternoon after therapy. The nurse got all my home instructions, prescriptions, and knee dressing supplies ready after the rehab physician met with me. The therapists went over my home exercise program and practiced again my going up/down 2 stairs to get inside my home.  They advised me if the car ride home is more than an hour I should stop and get out and move around a bit. I was provided with some ice packs for the journey home. The home health nurse told me I would be contacted by the home health agency  to set up my visiting nurse wound checks, physical therapy, and blood draws to monitor my Coumadin dosing until I could start outpatient therapy in a week. My husband arrived and they had a transportation aide wheel me to the car at the front lobby exit to meet him. It was difficult getting into the SUV again only because of the pain of bending my knees to clear the door to get in. Once in, I was pretty comfortable. Our home was about an hour away so we didn’t have to stop except to fill the Coumadin and pain medicine prescriptions. I confirmed with the Mark Drug company that my medical supplies, i.e. raised toilet seat frame, chair cushion, leg lifter, and sock helper were to be delivered to my front door before I got home. They were very helpful as I arranged my supply order by phone and used a credit card. Unfortunately, insurance does not pay for the “personal” items for home use.

Using the walker I was able to get up the 2 steps in the front door but felt pain with bending my knees. After I was seated, my husband let my 2 dogs out who were so glad to see me after 10 days and sniffing the walker. We were all pretty happy to see each other again!  My husband set up the raised toilet frame for me in our bathroom which was a real help to have arms to push up from the toilet.  I did pretty well that day walking around the house and to the bathroom but later in the evening I experienced horrible pain. That freaked me out some as I was taking the pain medicine and not overly doing anything. I tried lying down and using more ice packs to my knees and for awhile I thought my husband would have to take me to the emergency room. Eventually the pain eased up but that was rough for a few hours before bed. I still had no appetite but tried to eat a little for dinner. I slept that night  only about 2 hours at a time which my sleeplessness continued for almost 9 weeks after my surgery. I was told (and also read too) that sleeplessness is common after this surgery but no one ever explained why this occurs. It was not a problem falling asleep, once I got myself comfortable in bed with a pillow between my knees. The problem was that every night I would wake up later and could not get comfortable until I would physically get out of bed and walk to a chair and sit up for awhile, then go back to bed and fall asleep again. My friends noticed this too as they often got emails from me at 2 and 3 AM. wondering what I was doing up in the middle of the night. But, sitting up for awhile with ice packs on my knees and then returning to bed later seem to help me sleep again.

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