Knee surgery: what happens next / what should I do / have ready?
March 4, 2012 2:12 PM   Subscribe

What to do / will happen after knee surgery next week? Supplements? Exercises? Other ideas post-surgery for best chance at positive recovery?

Part of my meniscus will be removed (probably) next week: what should I do and have ready for (before) when I get home?

I'll have:
(1) my Rx pre-filled;
(2) some frozen meals to nuke;
(3) my wife to take care of me when she's not at work;
(4) crutches for the first couple days;
(5) pillows and a foam roller to make myself comfy on the couch;
(6) some weights to keep my arms busy while my feet aren't;
(7) some bands to help with physical therapy stretches / exercises.

What should I add to that list?

(a) Supplements to help make sure my body has the parts it needs to heal? Specific reocmmendations? Cissum? MSM / glucosamine?

(b) Something that helped you get through surgery recovery period when stuck to the couch?

(c) Any other recommendations?
posted by unclezeb to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Netflix. A plan for eating - you can't carry the meals you are planning to nuke, so you may be better off with a stool by the counter next to the microwave. Otherwise, be prepared to shove things on a tray, very very slowly. Same for drinking; you're better off with a pitcher of water or whatever next to the couch, because you can't carry a cup of tea or anything. A bag will help you carry non-food items like uh a book.

Swim as early as you can get cleared to; it's the best physical therapy.

Get anyone you can to visit you during the day, both for issues that come up and for the bordeom.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:25 PM on March 4, 2012

Get several bags of frozen peas as well as large ziplocs to put ice in. You'll want to ice your knee as much as possible.

Have shorts ready to wear home from the hospital.

Have a bag with a handle (paper grocery bag- small one, if possible) to put meals in once they are cooked and carry the meals along with the utensils in your bag to a table, couch, or whatever other surface you want to eat on. In case you don't want to eat a frozen meal, you may also want tupperware-type items to heat meals in so you can cover them before putting them in the bag to carry to the couch, etc.

Backpack to assist in carrying anything on the heavier side. I took books from one room to another, so this was helpful.

Glucosamine works. I wish I had continued taking it longer than I did.
posted by superfille at 2:46 PM on March 4, 2012

I had the repair surgery done on both knees. The first time I took it really slowly and carefully with rehab. The second time I was much quicker when starting stretching and non-weight bearing strengthening exercises. Start with the non-weight bearing and quad strengthening exercises as soon as you are able to. It will suck the first few days, but in the long run it makes the rehab process much quicker, easier, and less painful.

I could write a million words out, but long story short, if it is a removal and not a repair, make sure you start walking and using it like you normally would as soon as your Dr. tell you to. It always is sore to work through the stiffness, but you can't really hurt yourself and you'll quickly get feeling much better. In the long run, keep up with the strengthening exercises, stretching, and notice how you walk, it will make life easier. Me-mail me if you want more tips, I can write a book about what I learned after both surgeries.
posted by Nackt at 4:21 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just a reminder (probably totally unnecessary!) not to add any supplements without discussing it with the doctor(s). This is super-important, because some supplements can interact badly with some prescription medications, especially ones around clotting/coagulation post-surgery.

That said, seconding glucosamine (assuming your doc OKs it). I have had great results with Zyflamend as an anti-inflammatory supplement, but definitely OK it with your doc first.

If you want to invest in the frozen-pea-style ice packs, these are fantastic. CVS and Walgreens have store-brand equivalents. The cold lasts longer with these than with the actual peas, and the packs are more flexible.

Best of luck with the surgery and the recovery!!!1!
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:38 PM on March 4, 2012

Repair, not remove completely or replace anything - we think. The MRI isn't clear enough to be sure, but surgeon suspects he'll need to remove a little abraded or damaged meniscus but will be leaving the vast majority of the meniscus in place. I trust him.

Ice - planning on using my favorite ice packs ($9 from Amazon) because they're "soft fabric" is fine to use without a cloth over my skin after a few minutes. I hold them on with ace bandages (velcro attachments). I'll also look into the CVS pearl ice things.

Meals - I'll have help the first couple days so I'm not too worried about the trip to the microwave ... at that point I'm supposed to be getting up a little bit. My main concern is actually that I'll just sit and snack all day (I'm overweight so that'd be a problem). But I like the tote or backpack ideas, thanks!

Shorts - great idea, I bet I would've forgot!

Swimming - Currently hurts my knee but will follow up with my physical therapist about swimming. For now they've said to just go easy with a few minutes on a stationary bike or elliptical.

Netflix - done. Ask.metafilter for clues about new shows to watch too.

posted by unclezeb at 8:45 PM on March 4, 2012

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