“I Think You Put My Knee In Backwards, I Keep Kicking Myself In The Butt”

By Charlotte Canion

Limping through the aftermath of knee replacement is like walking a tight rope without any lessons.   I have known for several years that I was a strong candidate for total knee replacement, but my life in the fast lane would not allow me to schedule the surgery.


Finally, there were two choices: 

                   First:  Live with the constant pain every time I walked.

                   Second:  Make the time to have the surgery and put everything else on hold.

          I am a type “A” person, get it done now, do it myself and help others who need me.  With that as my life style, letting someone help me with  almost everything was out of my comprehension.  Not to mention the STRESS that my mind, body and character was about to endure.

          OK, doc you can schedule the surgery.  I had just spent a week in New York at wonderful book event, with my book “You Have to LAUGH to Keep from CRYING / How To Parent Your Parents.  I booked over 65 radio, TV and media, who want to interview me.  My thoughts were, this will give me the motive to go through the surgery and be back on my feet in record time.

          Five days after New York, I am at the hospital, it took three times for the nurses to get a good IV port inserted.  I guess I can say that is better than the seven times it tool another nurse in the past, which I can laugh at now.  Just call me a HARD STICK.

          As I kissed my husband good bye and was wheeled into the first operation room, the sedation doctor explained that he would use an x-ray to find a main artery and inject a block in my inner thigh.  But as he was explaining the procedure I went into LaLa land.  Cannot tell you anything until I woke up about 3 hours later with a brand new knee. 

          As I awake I feel no pain.  You see not only did they put the block in my thigh, I had 14 pain numbing shots around the new knee.  I will call this the Honeymoon part of recovery.  I was moved to my room and got to see my husband again.  He kept telling everyone I was like the “Energizer Bunny on Steroids”.  I was in great spirits but I might have been talking a little fast according to my husband.  The rest of the afternoon was get up and go to the bathroom, due to the volume of IV floods that were pumped into my body.  After the fifth time in an hour, I was sure I could sleep that evening.  My husband wanted to spend the night in the hospital room with me.  He is such an angel, most of the time.  As the night began to progress, it was either a comedy or a nightmare.  When you have knee surgery, you are considered a FALL RISK.  So to make sure you don’t get up with out calling a nurse, they have this Large Sign on the ceiling above the bed.


          Now logic tells me that I do not want to hurt the new knee, call the nurse and let them assist you to the ten foot walk to the toilet.  Now, let me tell you the walk to the bathroom was not the issue.  I am short and I have short legs and the toilets have a five inch raiser so normal people don’t have to bend their knees as much, but what they did not consider was that I had to get on my tip toes to sit down.  Not Fun, but I am sure to an on-looker it would seem like part of the comedy.  OH,  I forgot to tell you I rang the nurse bell 29 times during the night.  Neither I nor my husband got any sleep that night. 

          DAY TWO:

          I am exhausted and I wanted to sleep about the time my doctor was making his rounds.  I discussed the issues with the doctor and he said do you want to go home and I said “NO”.    I want to get at least one good nights  sleep before I try and sleep at home.  My bed is thirty three inches off the floor and I use a stool to climb in bed, so that was looming in my head.

          After a good nights sleep and only getting up twice to go to the bathroom, I felt I was ready to venture home.  We had arranged our home to accommodate the new walker I had been trained to use.  You see I was doing laps around the nurses floor (500 feet) about three times that day.  I was ready to go home. 

          Upon arriving home, I was still feeling very little pain, due to the block and fourteen shots.  But by day four, I was beginning to know, I now have a foreign object in my body. A Physical Therapy nurse came to my home for two weeks and I tried to be the “TYPE  A” person I knew myself to be, but the knee was not in agreement.  My mental state began to stress me out, I slept a lot, through many movies my husband got tired of watching.  I became depressed and wondered, why in the hell did I think I needed to get a knee replacement?  At that time I did not realize the drugs that the doctor sent  home with me were causing the depressed feelings.  After two and a half weeks, my appetite gone, not progressing as fast as I though I would and feeling lost.  I decided to stop taking the medications the doctor sent home with me.  It took five days for the drugs to get out of my system.  I will never take Hydrocodone / Actetaminophen again. 

          I am getting better, the depression is gone and I see light at the end of the tunnel.  As I walk around my house with my walker or cane, I feel like a toddler taking her first steps, slow and stiff legged. 

         Moral to this story is stress can affect the best of us and you have to use common sense, ask questions and know that baby steps lead to walking again without pain.  Cause even though I was kicking myself in the butt, the doctor did put my knee in correctly.  I will be walking out on stage real soon, without help.

Charlotte Canion
Author – Speaker – Actress