FOR KNEES UP MOTHER BROWN
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I have been waiting to get back to work to thank you so much for your
publication 'Knees up Mother Brown'. My daughter purchased this from
you about three months ago when I was in the early recovery stages from
double knee replacement surgery. My surgeon, who has an eminent
reputation but is a man of few words, had pretty much left me in the
dark about what to expect during recuperation. Consequently I was
really anxious wondering if I was doing the right thing exercising, if
all was going according to plan etcetera. My lovely, caring daughter,
Ashlea, found your book on the Web and it helped so much in calming my
fears, putting my rate of recovery into context. I am still exercising
and visiting the local pool three or four times a week and I achieved
good bends of 120 and 125 some weeks ago. I am nearly 70 and still
working part-time by choice and am slowly getting back to my three day
week. I went to my final check-up today armed with your book, telling
my surgeon how helpful it has been. He is now going to include your
website in paperwork for future patients. Again Pam, thank you so much.
I'm not up to tennis yet, but am pleased with my progress and planning
another overseas trip (with lots of exploring) in 2010. Best wishes for
a lovely Christmas.
I have just finished reading your book a few weeks ago & I really
enjoyed it, as I can relate to much of what you said.
I too had two knee replacements (9 years apart) - right knee was done in
1998 & left knee last October 2007 (7 months ago) - I was 69 years in April.
We also shared the same surgeon Dr William Walter at The Mater.
I must say, I feel there was no difference in rehabilitation & pain in
the 9 years, in fact I feel this second knee has been more painful &
taken longer to feel better - it could be that in 1998 I lived in a 2
story house which gave me plenty of exercise up & down stairs - today I
live on a flat level & little chance to go up & down stairs??
In 1998 I was on the moving machine with an epidural in my spine for a 2
days, however this last October there was no machine, I just had blow up
pillows on both legs for a few days.
I have kept a diary of how my knee has progressed & I shall give you a
quick rundown -
* I was in The Mater for 6 days & left hospital with just a walking stick
* Had a haemotoma (Bruising) a blood vessel had burst & knee was a
little dark - no problems, it just takes a long time to go, only now at
7 months has it gone.
* I started rehab & hydrotherapy at President Private hospital
(Kirrawee) as an outpatient after 2 weeks (for 2 days as week) & this
was great - in no time I had 118degree bend
* I was on Duatrol for pain (high dose panadol) as I am unable to take
other painkillers as they constipate me, so I just did the best I could
* At 5 weeks I no longer used any supports like stick & I drove car at 6
* During all of this time I had sciatica & back pain, because of walking
& favoring operated knee, I visited Physiotherapist twice a week &
continue to go monthly for back maintenance
* During this time & up until 3 months after operation I felt nauseous
all the time, I put this down to taking constant painkillers - I also
got very anxious & worried at this time & GP put me on a very mild
tranquiliser - feel the pain of it all & the changes I had to make in my
lifestyle made me not feel not quite myself
* At 7 weeks I stopped all tablets - the only good thing about feeling
nauseous was that I lost some weight, which was good, I weighed 64 kilos
& I went down to 62 kilos (didn't take long to put it back on!!)
* My Blood Pressure rose quite a bit after operation & I am know on half
a tablet of BP medication
* As of today 14th May 2008, I am OK, am still in some mild pain &
stiffness when not active - can feel just nerve pain at times in knee,
especially if I try to kneel on it as I did yesterday when trying to get
off the floor
* Overall I am feeling better all the time & continue to walk daily - I
remember when I had 6 week checkup with Dr Walter junior, he said it is
12 months before you feel great again??
I do hope this knee diary has been of some interest to you
Pat de Corsie
Many thanks for your book. It was a really helpful read and yesterday I had my appointment with Dr Merv Cross and in August I will trade in both my knees for a new set. I know this isn't going to be a picnic but it must be done as my life has become too limited by pain.
I really appreciate the book you wrote and hope many others have the chance to read it also and make informed choices. I have read so much about joint replacement but none can outdo a personal story of experience.
I loved your book. and thank you so much for signing it!
As soon as I received it, I sat and read the first 85 pages in one go! There was so much of it that I could relate to, as I had my bi-lateral knee replacement on 24th October last year. I was 56 years old at the time and had severe degenerative disease of the knees for the last 2 years.
Like you I had one knee that was slower in recovery than the other..and now 7 months on, I am very well even though my right knees plays up now and again. I am very pleased that you have been able to return to tennis!
Thank you again, and I am sorry it has taken me so long to reply,
My wife bought me a copy of your book titled "Knees up Mother Brown". She purchased this at Angus and Robertson bookstore at Warriewood Square, having seen a write up about it in a newspaper the week before.
I had bilateral knee replacements in November of 2005. My wife says I complained about the pain, but I do not remember. I am now old and better than I was, and I wish that the surgeon could rectify age as well as he does knees.
I am now 73 years old. I went to the Mater for the operation, and Delmar for the rehab, and your book brought back many happy memories, particularly those of the Torture Chamber and Swimming pool. My surgeon's name is Cy York and he is great and he even likes cricket! Congratulations on your Presidency of the New Knees Club and thanks for a good read.
I finally got around to reading your book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Congratulations on your effort. It was very interesting to read of other patients' experiences and I believe that I have come out of it very well. When I left Hospital I was getting over 90 degree bend and when I went back to see Dr Cross at 12 months I was getting 126 degree bend, so I was very happy.
My knees are still going OK, a bit stiff at times, and the left one seems to ache a bit when I'm in bed, no trouble during the day though. The right is still better than the left, but they are better than what I had before the operation. I only hope that they keep on the way they are for another 15 years or so (or am I stretching it a bit?) as I am not looking forward to another replacement, but shall cross that bridge when I come to it.
I haven't been back to Dr Cross since the 12 month check up, can't see the need at the moment.
I think you have done a wonderful job with your book Knees Up Mother Brown and I am sure it will help tons of people. It will be a great thing for people who are contemplating surgery to read and if the Doc tells people as well, the word will just keep spreading and sales will just keep growing. The website is also very necessary, as so many folks live on the computer these days.
Regards, Chris Machado
Thank you for an excellent informative book based on your personal experience with bi-lateral knee replacements.
I have suffered with knee problems for the last 20 odd years or so. I am 64 now and have over the years consulted various orthopedic surgeons; I have had the cartilage removed from one knee about 18 years ago. In one case some radical surgery was suggested to re-align the knee joint in one leg, which involved cutting the femur and then, with steel plates and screws, realign the knee joint; I think that was some 15 years ago and I declined, politely. Over the last couple of years both of my knees have become more and more troublesome/painful, but not debilitating enough to stop me from what I like doing, even though it has become more restrictive. Added to this I can not take anti inflammatory medication due to other medical reasons.
A few months ago I decided to explore the possibility of a bilateral knee replacement and I was fortunate to get an appointment with Dr. Merv Cross at the Mater Hospital. His diagnosis was that at this stage I was not bad enough yet for him to contemplate a bilateral knee replacement, however to come back in 6 months time for reassessment, unless the pain did become unbearable. In a way I was disappointed, as at last, after all those years, I had come to a decision to do something about my knees; even though, I really appreciated his down to earth manner and honesty. I really viewed the whole exercise a bit like having a few troublesome teeth extracted or having an appendix removed; a bit of discomfort for a while, but no problems afterwards. As such I was looking forward to my next appointment with Dr. Cross and planning such that my problems would be over by the coming Christmas. Yeah, right!! Enter, "Knees Up Mother Brown", by Pam Bayfield. My mother-in-law, belonging to the same Bunka club as the author, lends me a copy of the book. I started reading at 7pm and finished by 12midnight. At one minute past twelve I was doing my quadriceps exercises, which I had been instructed by Dr. Cross to do religiously, three times a day, but which had been neglected a bit and had deteriorated to 3 three times per week (if I thought of it).
Your book has been a real eye opener for me and I would like to suggest to all orthopedic surgeons that it should become compulsory reading for all those contemplating single or bilateral knee replacements. Before I read your book I didn't really have the foggiest what the rehabilitation, after and long term effects entailed. I think the various emails in the book covering a whole spectrum of ages and cases gave an excellent balance to the book and in most cases reinforced the experiences of the author. After reading your book I have come to the conclusion that my knees are not bad enough yet to contemplate either a single or bilateral knee replacement in the very near future. As my GP said, "You will know when it is time to have the operation". As such I will hold off as long as I can, but when the time comes, I know what to expect, albeit with some trepidation, but when we know what to expect it will be much easier to face. In the mean time I will carry out religiously my quadriceps exercises and even TRY to lose a few kilograms to ease the load on my poor knees.
Again, many thanks for an extremely informative book.
Robert de Bondt
It was also a pleasure for me to meet you at the "book launch" and I had a very enjoyable evening discussing knee replacements with colleagues on our table.
I enjoyed reading the book over two sessions as it provided me the opportunity to compare and contrast the many experiences of fellow knee replacement clients. As I mentioned, I believe Dr. Merv Cross did an excellent job on my knees back in February 2003 as I now experience very little pain - just a little stiffness after sitting for a few hours!! The degree of movement is much greater than prior to the operation and now what I would consider normal for a 61 year old! Unlike many of your correspondents, I can kneel quite comfortably.
I have kept my weight down to the recommended Body Mass Index (27) with exercise, diet and swimming and I really do believe that the combination of this exercising and weight control is the essence of success for bi-lateral knee replacements.
Your book will provide a very handy reference for prospective knee replacement clients - it shows that there is some risk, although this risk is decreasing with the passage of time and the associated improvements in technology. It also illustrates the importance of pre-op fitness and weight control.
Good luck with both your book and your new knees.
Trevor Fardell (Trevor's story is in the book)
I have just finished reading your book and had to write and tell you how much I enjoyed it.
I had a left knee replacement six months ago today (and still can't understand how you could have two done together). I am happy to be pain free although sometimes still a little stiff but it was reassuring reading your book and the letters included that it will keep improving.
I also had my op at the Mater and rehab at Delmar so could relate to your book very well.
I agree with the statement in the book that nobody (especially friends who have already had a knee op) prepare you for the pain in the first weeks. But I think it is like having a baby and you forget about it in time.
Anyway thanks for a good read.
Firstly, we both read your great book and found it very interesting - some good information prior to the operation. Well done!
Now, to the operation which occurred last Thursday at the John Flynn Hospital at Tugun on the Gold Coast. The bi-lateral knee replacement took two hours and all went well - Dr Ray Randle said his knees were in a very sad and sorry state! The only hiccup was some hours after the operation when Jan suddenly became very pale and started shaking through coldness - 7 blankets, hot packs and his blood pressure went to 51/42! The nursing staff were absolutely wonderful, called a doctor who put in another canula and a "gel" was administered through that arm. He really was a sight with the blood draining through both knees back into his body, canula's in both arms and we won't mention what was happening in the urinary department! The operation was over by 12.30pm on the Thursday and all this occurred about 4pm.
Friday morning the drainage from the knees was removed, plus the two canulas (not so lucky with the down-below one!) and at lunch time he was on his walking frame parading around his room, as well as starting exercises! All decked out in a mauve hospital gown mind you.
Saturday he showered himself (no chair - stood there himself), was free of the catheter and was walking on his crutches up and down the wards - 80% use of the crutches and 20% on his own legs. Even hopped onto the exercise bike and did 3 minutes without even hesitation. It was all quite remarkable really.
Sunday at 10am he was discharged! We just could not believe it - three days. Not a great deal of pain - in fact, yesterday he only had two Panadeine Forte and today, only two! Ice packs of course have been used and today he walked along the street, the length of three house blocks and back. Not to mention 8 minutes on the exercise bike and the numerous exercises to be done 3 x daily.
Dr Randle said it was the bike riding preparation over 16 months (and 5,000kms) which helped him with his recovery. Hopefully progress will continue as it has done - no physiotherapy required - just the exercise bike and exercises as per the programme issued.
It really must be a record for a bi-lateral - so many patients in the ward were quite envious and struggling to even get out of bed after two or three days. Experiencing nasty pain as well. Thought you might be interested in this report. His next aim is the golf course - Dr Randle's patient record in that department is four weeks - Jan could just break that record also the way he is progressing!
Fond regards, Lyn Saggers
By all means you are welcome to put Jan's story on your website but there is more to add! This morning, a week later (in fact this time last week the operation was occurring!), he walked 1km without the aid of crutches, walker etc. Half an hour's walk unassisted along the streets here in Yamba.
An interesting factor was that we had visitors staying with us for two days and of course, the exercise routine was disrupted - out of routine. Jan did quite a lot of walking around the house but only managed to do 2 x 5 mins on his exercise bike (and no physio exercises), and by the afternoon his legs were really quite sore and stiff. For the first time since coming home he took something more than the Pandol (can never remember if is Panadol or Panadeine) Fort - stronger painkiller. This morning he was back into the exercise routine and onto the bike - prior to the 1km walk! Hardly any discomfort.
I truly believe the main message in this success story is the pre-operation preparation of the bike riding - strengthening the muscles around the knees.
Jan's name is Jan Dampney for your records. Certainly inspirational to others contemplating the operation.
Regards Lyn Saggers
I have just finished reading your book "Knees Up Mother Brown" after having had a total right knee replacement a year ago. Like many other people, I have had my share of hiccups along the way, but I found your book a real encouragement. Thank you for the time and effort you put into writing it so that others may benefit from not only your experiences, but others too. Could you please tell me where I can buy another copy so that I can pass it on to others who are facing the wonderful experience of a knee replacement!! I only wish I had read your book before I had my op. so that I would have been more aware of the situation. Thank you again.
From Elizabeth Joukhadar
Thanks to Pam for a wonderful enlightening into the ins and outs of knee replacement surgery as outlined in her book "Knees Up Mother Brown". I already had my new knee before the book was released - maybe just as well - as I don't think we can imagine what can go wrong - and there it was in print! Like Pam I have never known such pain but was able to follow Pam's diary each week and compare my progress with hers.
I was fortunate that I had known Pam previously years ago on the tennis court. I met up with her again when I moved to her area and so was able to follow her progress which I found amazing. I'll never forget speaking on the phone when Pam was just home and thinking, "How will I ever cope and Pam had two done together?" Well four months on I'm walking well - still swollen - but thanks to Pam's wonderful ball to ball description, I'm sure by my one year anniversary I'll be able to go on Australian Idol singing and dancing "Knees up Mother Brown".
Thanks for a wonderful account of knee replacement surgery, Pam. I'm sure many other people will benefit from your story.