Friday, January 23, 2015

A Knee Replacement the Dutch Way

Exactly 2 weeks ago yesterday, yes, it happened!  And now that I'm on this side of it all, I do have my impressions...but sure would love to compare notes with someone in the US.

There are hundreds of images to show the knee prosthesis I now have.
I like this one because of the crucial "talking points."
Lucky for me, all my arthritic bits-n-bobs are now gone.

Starting 5 days before my January 8th surgery, I had to do all bathing and shampooing with a Betadine scrub
(iodine antispetic), including daubing both nostrils with Bactroban 3x/day.
This was to cut down on bacteria entering the hospital.
Astrid says the nose is one of the worst places for carrying bacteria!

Following the surgery, I must inject myself with Fraxiparine every day for 6 weeks
to prevent thrombosis.  It's not one of my favorite things to do, seriously.

It so happens our Beatrixziekenhuis here in Gorinchem is only a 10-minute bike ride from home.
They do 300 knee replacements there every year with a team of 4 excellent doctors.
My room for 5 days was up on the 6th floor, with a view of many Gorinchem landmarks
(which many of you will recognize by now).
My friend, Jannie, from our senior complex, had her surgery right after mine by the same doctor,
and we became roommates for the duration (with 2 other roomies).

To make a long story short, my surgery took only 45 minutes instead of the anticipated 1.5-2 hours.
They said it was because I had no fatty tissue to navigate.  Well, then.
However, I did have a low-blood-pressure "episode" that set me back my first 2 days.
Let's just say it scared the bejesus out of Astrid...but after I bounced back,
I was my old self again...except for the knee part.

The 5 days in the hospital were mainly for this CPM contraption:
Continous Passive Motion.
Every day my knee was stretched for 2 hours, first at 30-degrees, then, 50, 60 and 65.
I actually got into the swing of it and could even read or use my iPad.

What did they do in the days before this  miracle contraption?
(And yes, that's Dan Brown's Digital Fortress which I finished the day I got home.)

Did I ever mention that Astrid's DIL, Eva, is a security guard at this hospital?
When she visited me, she brought me this bear, bringing tears to my eyes.
How can something so "simple" be so soulful!

Now that I'm home, I have my main mode of transportation:  crutches.
It actually feels GOOD to walk, even outside, with them.  They help me stand tall and straight.
But when I need to transport items (like for breakfast and lunch when Astrid is at work),
the rollator comes to my rescue.  I use it for grocery shopping, too.

Then there's PT, of course, twice a week (4 sessions thus far, out of 24).
Right now I'm still doing half-moons on the exerciser, even at home, to increase ROM.
Talk about S.T.I.F.F.  Also, I still have one place that dang hurts,
which Eline, my PT, thinks is where the patella was stiched back on.  OUCH.

Exercise.  Exercise.  Exercise.
They told us to get a skateboard, which Astrid could have borrowed from her son.
Instead, she bought this home-improvement gismo (for moving furniture)
which is small enough to carry around with me, even to Rummikub.

And throughout everything, Astrid is always there wanting to help!  My Angel!
My foot really swelled up once after PT and she massaged it. 
You may remember that I was a licensed massage therapist for 8 years after my divorce,
but did I tell you Astrid was a sport's massage therapist in her day?  Yup.
I LOVE her hands.  Lucky me.

Speaking of Astrid, she went back to work this week, leaving me to my Ms. Independent self.  HA!
It's amazing how quickly the body bounces back to health and rehabiltation.

And to celebrate a milestone, yesterday at PT I was able to raise my foot 8" off the PT table,
the first time since my surgery.  I hope that means there's no stopping me now!

For all of you who stood in the background rooting me on, THANK YOU.
It's a long row to hoe and I have no illusions about the time it will take to get back into shape.
But I do like the idea that maybe Spring will "resurrect" the new me.  It's a good goal.

Saturday ADDENDUM:
Believe it or not, you can find an hour YouTube that shows a live knee-replacement surgery.
You would need a big stomach to...stomach it.  Trust me.
But dear Astrid found this very simple animated version which I find most educational.
It explains why I still have some sore spots.  HA!


  1. We continue to stand rooting you on as you continue down this path! You are such the trooper! And having Astrid...well yes, what an angel you have! Oh, and Eva is adorable! Keep it up girl!!

    1. With such a fan club, Robin, there's no way I can possibly lose! I feel so dang lucky!!!

  2. When I went back to work, my colleagues asked me how it is going..... My answer: right now Ginnie is doing the laundry... I rest my case. LOL...
    We are not there yet, however you are my trooper. The milestone yesterday was the reward of month after month doing your exercises EVERY DAY!!! Now you will see the result.
    I am so proud of you. I want to help you as much as possible. However the things you can do yourself, I let you yourself.
    Spring is coming and I know we will be walking the citadel soon. IHVJ.
    Great collages to show it the 'Dutch Way'...

    1. Even though I know this isn't going to be a piece of cake, MLMA, I am already very encouraged after 2 weeks. They say it's a 9-month rehabilitation and that I'll be stiff even for a year, but I have a feeling it'll all feel so much better than where I was pre-surgery. This is good. YOU are the real trooper, for which I can never thank you enough.

  3. A bike ride to the hospital, but not back, I hope. Terrific to hear you are on the mend. Self-injection would not please me either. Sorry, knee still intact. Heart, well it’s been helped. Don’t try the trampoline until you’re sure you're ready.

    1. I could walk to the hospital in half an hour, Ted, back before I became "useless." Astrid ended up driving each day just to save time, though she originally had planned to ride her bike. We're so lucky to have everything we need right at our fingertips.

      Here's to hoping we can live through our remaining days without any other procedures. Wouldn't that be nice! :)

  4. What a helpful, informative post! I hope many who will have this surgery will find it.

    Wow, what an extensive ordeal, and I wish you did not have to go through it. But the alternative is far worse, we know, so I will keep rooting for you every STEP of the way. Bless you for having no fatty tissue! and for all the ways you model fitness, health, wellness, and a very beautifully positive spirit. I love you!

    p.s. Would you please explain the hot pink leg? Is it a sleeve, a legging, or what?

    1. Thanks for your enouragement, dear Ruth. It does help being upbeat and positive, I'm sure. Was I born that way or did I nurture it? I don't know. Maybe a bit of both. But it is definitely better than the alternative and shows how much power our brains have.

      That hot pink is the antiseptic they all but poured over my leg, up and down, while prepping for surgery. Remember that I was totally awake throughout and saw that part. It amazed me how MUCH they applied of it. Because I don't get my stitches removed till next Thursday (3 weeks after surgery), I can't get that area wet. Suffice it to say it will probably take a long time before it's all gone.

  5. This post was so interesting and informative. It looks like you are doing so well and I hope you will continue improving quickly. It is good also that you have such experienced doctors in your area. Take care VB

    1. Thank you, Vagabonde. The whole experience was very positive for me. I had great trust in what everyone was doing...with nothing to complain about!

  6. I loved hearing the story of your op and journey to recovery. How sweet of Eva :-)

    You are in perfect hands with Astrid looking after you and your own determined attitude to keep going!

    1. Thank you, dear Cherry. I won't forget it it, of course. HA! And yes, I am in very good hands!!! I love feeling upbeat and positive about my progress thus far.....

  7. With your attitude you will be running a marathon before long!

    1. I happen to have a "chronic" upbeat and positive attitude, Bill, which is so much better than the alternative. It also helps having a Village of supporters, like you, rooting me on. THANK YOU.

  8. I guess I am not amazed that you are already bouncing back so seemed your surgery was different than those I have heard about here and perhaps approached in a better way.

    1. I do seem to be bouncing back quickly, Donna, which makes me a happy camper, yes. Because I have no USA/other examples to compare it with, I have no clue. Little by little I am finding out the Dutch do take a lot of precautions. I guess I can be very happy about that...even though I hate giving myself anti-yjtombosis injections every day for 6 weeks! Better safe than sorry.