My Second TKR in 6 months and UBC Hospital Vegan Options

I guess I am posting this because I have met people who chose to put up with the pain of osteoarthritis in the knees because that are afraid of the process that is a total joint replacement.

Almost 6 months to the day, I returned to UBC Hospital for my second total knee replacement (the left one this time not a redo of the right!). Having done this once, I entered the hospital with much less trepidation than the first time around. I knew exactly what was up! I'll start by saying that given the overwork that doctors, nurses and all medical staff face, I would not have been surprised if some were short or grumpy (I have been to emergency rooms over the years and experienced that occasionally), but everyone that I have encountered in my TKR journeys have been profoundly kind and concerned with my comfort and a good outcome. Thank you so much to Dr. Michael Neufeld and all his staff at the Orthopedic Reconstruction Surgery Team. I know there are other equally skilled surgeons working out of this hospital as well but my experience was only with Dr. Neufeld.

It takes a special kind of person to work in medical care and I tip my hat to anyone who is willing to be so focused on the health and well being of others. BTW, who thought of this? Note in the photo above the vacuum cleaner pipe opening in my hospital gown. It is where a connection can be made and warm air blown in to warm the person who is chilly while awaiting surgery and admittedly scantily clad in the process. Wow!
Multiple persons worked on me and checked on me pre surgery including my surgeon and anesthesiologist if only for the purpose of reassuring their patient. Even just as surgery began, they performed an epidural (I keep calling it a spinal tap but I'm not sure what the proper term is) which may strike fear into the hearts of braver men than I but between the gentleness of the team and the thinness of the actual needle this was a simple and painless procedure. A couple of hours (I don't even know) later, I woke up in recovery. They manage your pain obviously and I would say that the most difficult part of the whole process for me, was spending about 18 hours in one position, laying on my back.
Eventually, they got me up to a room for an overnight stay and fed me. I was surprised that I was hungry but really, I hadn't eaten in over 20 hours so, you know. I asked for a vegan meal and on both of my visits, they had no problem with that. Since this is mostly a food blog, please see above. A sort of baked bean, roasted root veggies and a wild rice concoction. Very nice! Less impressive was tepid tea and a pudding (almost certainly not vegan) which was served as someone had run out of applesauce, I guess. No problem. Just keep your eyes open as the kitchen staff are overworked like everyone on else in this field.
The next morning, the physiotherapist came in and made sure I could get out of bed and move around with a walker, gave me a few first week exercises, and kicked my ass out! At home, I spent 4 weeks recovering before getting back to work. This time around, I enjoyed my morning coffee in the company of the spring greenery rather than the Autumn colours like last time.
Like last time, I was pretty useless getting around and looking after myself for the first week. If you do this, count on needing someone to look after you. Its a little hard to find any comfortable position and you will count on some pain assistance. I was off the Hydromorphone by day 4 and I think that is a good goal. After that, Extra Strength Tylenol and Advil took over but less and less frequently. I started physio after a week and the staples came out after 2.
I was up and fooling around in the kitchen again by the second week. Above is seiten sliced thin and cooked in a mushroom gravy with peas. Served on Ciabatta with vegan parmesan. Sorry! Still really a food blog!
By the end of week 3, I was driving and looking after myself and fully functional but maybe just in slow motion. 
I'm back to work after 4 weeks ( I can sit down at my job) but this will vary depending on what you do. I expect it will be at least 6 months before I am capable of leaping around (some say it takes a full year) but already I am virtually pain-free compared to a decade of discomfort.
It seems daunting going in but while it is a pretty big surgery, consider that you are out and home the next day. Sure, you might consider it optional but myself, I am going to need to get around for the next few decades and I don't want to limp. While I live in Aldergrove, I specifically asked for a referral to the VGH/UBC crew. I know there are competent surgeons in other places, but I knew these folks by reputation and had confidence. Most of the pre and post follow-ups and x-rays etc., have been done in my neighborhood.
While I hear a lot of whining about Canada's health care, I have never had issues. According to Copilot, the average cost of a knee replacement in the United States is $32,000 but what you pay there depends on the coverage you have and deductibles and all sorts of bullshit. I never gave that a second thought here.
So get a referral from your GP and find out if you are a candidate and what a TKR can do for you.


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