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Knee & Hip Problems Message Board

Knee & Hip Problems Board Index

You're welcome! As I noted in my earlier lengthy post to you regarding what I went through with my left knee, starting last Dec., two cortisone shots in the space of six WEEKS apart failed to help me at ALL. But then, as I described, my surgeon and I determined that the osteoarthritis had progressed faster than we thought and the total knee replacement was really the ONLY OPTION for me at that point in late January. And, as I mentioned, when my surgeon opened the knee to prep it for the prosthetic knee, he found so much cartilage debris and left over pieces of what USED to be my ACL, that he had to clean all that out FIRST, BEFORE he could even start cutting the femur and tibia bones (above and below the knee itself) to make sure he could easily fit the prosthetic knee! When he came to see me in Recovery later that morning (mine was his first case of that day), he said the knee was in worse shape than he'd expected it to be, so it was a GOOD THING I had begged him, back in January, to do the TKR ASAP!!! I just KNEW that I had NOTHING LEFT in there to keep my knee from buckling on me all the time and it was getting more and more painful, because it was really just about bone on bone (like the right one already WAS in October of 2010 when I came back under my current surgeon's care.) THERE WAS LITERALLY NO CARTILAGE LEFT IN THE RIGHT KNEE, thanks to my previous Ortho surgeon who scoped it in 2005 and "supposedly" fixed a meniscal tear. I say "supposedly" because that moron of a "so-called" orthopedic surgeon only gave me a spinal for the scope procedure, but NO SEDATION, so I had to watch the ENTIRE surgery on a monitor he placed near my face! (I wasn't squeamish about watching, but it was just tortuous and more PAINFUL than it would have been, had he given me sedation!) Actually, looking back, I was kind of GLAD that I watched the entire scope surgery by this idiot! For TWENTY MINUTES, he was furiously "vacuuming out" the pieces of cartilage before allegedly repairing the tear. (I have to wonder now if he actually DID repair the tear itself back then!) Anyhow, this previous surgeon obviously took out MOST OF THE CARTILAGE in my right knee in '05. In June of 2010, when I went back to him because my right knee was starting to hurt again, and I wanted him to renew my handicap parking permit, he said he had to take x-rays to justify giving me the renewal permit. The jerk looked at the x-rays and told me the knee was STABLE!

Unhappy with him, because I KNEW SOMETHING WAS WRONG WITH MY RIGHT KNEE, I switched back to my current Ortho surgeon in October of 2010. (He originally was in the same group as the one who messed the right knee up, but left in '95 to form his own practice. Why I didn't follow him at the time, I don't remember, but, hey, better later than never, that I switched back to him!) GOOD THING TOO! My current surgeon took ONE LOOK AT THE SAME X-RAYS the other guy had done four months earlier and told me my right knee was stable, and turned to me in absolute horror and said, "Carol, you need a TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENT ASAP! You have NO CARTILAGE LEFT IN YOUR RIGHT KNEE - IT'S BONE ON BONE WHICH IS WHY YOU'RE IN SUCH PAIN!!"

Since I could not take the liquid cartilage injections of Synvisc because I'm allergic to one component of it, the TKR was my only option on the right knee. (We didn't know until a month and a half before my April 2011 surgery that my left knee was going to develop a compensating meniscal tear and torn ACL.) Since I didn't want my surgeon doing BOTH knee replacements during the same hospital admission (would have done them 3 days apart), I consented to letting him scope the left knee during the same surgery as the right TKR. He did the scope at the very end, after he'd finished replacing the right knee. Months later, just out of curiosity, because I wanted to know how he did the left knee scope compared to the jerk who messed up my right knee, I asked my surgeon if he had "vacuumed" out the debris in the left knee. He responded that, no he had not. That he just cleaned it out, I guess by sterilely gloved hand, or small suction device, sewed up the meniscal tear and torn ACL and closed up the knee. THAT told me that the other jerk surgeon, when he had "vacuumed out" my right knee in '05, had totally damaged my right knee!!! My nurse friend and I were talking about this last September, and she said that IF I had NOT had the option of a total knee replacement for the right knee last year, I could have sued my former Ortho surgeon for malpractice and won, because I would have been able to prove that he'd PERMANENTLY DAMAGED MY RIGHT KNEE!!! Thankfully, though, I DID have the TKR option, and grabbed it! My current surgeon did a fantastic job on BOTH TKRs a year apart, so I consider myself very lucky for having made the informed decision of going back to him, when it was suggested to me by a nurse in my former primary care doctor's office!!

I'm dealing right now with some lower back pain issues that MAY have kicked up once both knees were done. Now that I'm walking correctly and balanced, the long brewing back issues have not gotten used to the idea. My surgeon, and pain management doctor, both said that the back issues had probably been brewing for a long time. But because I was constantly shifting my weight from one bad knee to the other, my brain was most likely sending signals to my back that this was "normal" walking for me. Now that my knees are "in balance", the doctors say, my back needs to start receiving new signals from the brain so that I won't get the pain that I'm having right now. My knee surgeon started also sending me to his group partner who is the spinal expert for him to figure out why I'm still having issues in a different part of my back, now that the pain management doctor finished giving me lumbar spinal nerve block cortisone injections. (the second set of which I received this past Monday.) Now, the sacroiliac nerves (just below the hips) on BOTH SIDES, have been getting more painful and I also have a shooting pain UP the middle of my spine! I was supposed to see the spinal doc Thursday afternoon, but, when I got back from physical therapy at lunchtime, there was a message for me from their office. I called and was told I had to re-schedule because he had to cancel his entire office hours appointments due to an emergency surgery he had to do that was apparently going to take most of the day. By Thurs. evening, I was in such pain that I called my knee surgeon via the practice's service and asked him what I should do. He told me I had to go back to the Pain Management doctor, AND see his spinal expert partner, because he only focuses on joint replacements. So, Friday morning, I called my pain management doc and asked if he could see me for like 15 to 20 minutes in the afternoon. They squeezed me in and I went to him. I showed him where it was hurting and he MAY have to give me nerve block cortisone injections in both sacroiliac nerves, but he wants me to see the spinal Ortho doc next Thursday first, to see if that is actually where the pain is coming from. (He's pretty sure it is, but wants confirmation from the spinal doc.) In the meantime, for the pain, he changed me over to oxycodone with acetaminophen at the lowest dose so I don't have a nausea problem, like I did in the hospital in March with my left TKR surgery. I had been taking Tylenol/Codeine which was easier on my stomach, but obviously NOT strong enough to combat this back pain. (Acetaminophen and Tylenol are the same drug. Tylenol is the BRAND name.) So far, I've taken two Oxy tablets and they're starting to help a bit more.

So, that's MY situation right now. I had thought that when I got both knees replaced and they were all healed up, that it would take pressure off my hips and back! Not quite yet, but my doctors, physical therapist and chiropractor all say that when they're done treating my back with the cortisone nerve block injections, I SHOULD eventually be a lot better. I SURE HOPE SO 'cause I'm tired of being in pain all the time! It sucks!

Anyhow, it's after 2 AM here in NY, and even though I don't have to get up early for anything, it being a Saturday, I do want to read for a little before going to sleep. (IF I can keep my eyes open, that is!) The oxy tablet I took at 11 PM, is starting to make me drowsy, which is one side effect I'm not crazy about. That's why I'll only take it if I know I am going to be home all day. I don't exactly want to be caught driving erratically because I'm drowsy and then have all kinds of legal issues because of it! Look what happened to Kerry Kennedy a week or so ago when she took Ambien the night before heading to work and rammed into a tractor-trailer on one of our main interstates! NOW, she's in all kinds of trouble over what she claims was the cause! (But then, those Kennedys are ALWAYS GETTING IN TROUBLE with the law and ending up with slaps on the wrist!)

I'm rambling here. I'll let you go.

Keep me posted on your knee progress. Just keep doing the things I told you in my earlier post, until your surgeon decides to operate to relieve your pain.

Best regards,

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