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Tips for a Successful Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Linda (Kaywood) Bilyeu is a self-published author. Her books are available on Amazon. She writes from the heart—there is no other way.

Cap & Mike during pre-surgery Physical Therapy

Cap & Mike during pre-surgery Physical Therapy

Journey to Knee Replacement Surgery

No one wants to have surgery, but sometimes, we have no choice. The pain in the knee, shoulder, or hip is unbearable, and all you want is to hopefully be pain-free one day.

I am not a medical professional—I am a coach. This article is based on cold, hard facts about my husband's joint replacement surgery. It was quite an adventure, and we learned a lot along our journey. We continue to learn each day.

I acquired so much information that I thought it was best to share with others and hopefully help to ease their apprehension regarding surgery. I learned tips and tricks of the trade from nurses, techs, doctors, and our surgeon.

If you are a caregiver or member of the team, as I was, this information will help you. I will refer to you as the coach. You are a vital part of the healing process. Your patience with the patient is mandatory for a successful surgery.

Always remember there is always sunshine at the end of a storm. One day, you will look back at your experience and be very thankful you got 'er done.

This photo was taken by me, the day after total knee replacement surgery at Florida Hospital East Orlando.

This photo was taken by me, the day after total knee replacement surgery at Florida Hospital East Orlando.

Preparing for Total Knee Replacement Surgery

First and foremost, I cannot stress enough the importance of pre-surgery physical therapy (PT) for your knee. My husband, Dave, went to PT for five months before his surgery. He had at home exercises, which he did religiously. At the start of PT, we had hoped that therapy alone would strengthen his knee and that he could forego surgery.

In his case, PT didn't, but it did help in many other ways. Therapy strengthened his core, his hips, his quads — the muscles surrounding his knee — everything except for his actual knee. All the muscles that were needed for a speedy recovery were prepared for action. When it came time for surgery, he was already ahead of the game.

I firmly believe that due to Dave's 5 months of PT (pre-surgery) is why he was discharged from the hospital 24 hours ahead of time. A shout-out and thank you to Mike of Sports Medicine and Rehab at Florida East Medical Plaza for his therapy skills and for being a huge part of Team Cap!

It's very rare for a Total Knee Replacement patient to be released within 48 hours after surgery. Dave was. He amazed the nurses with how quickly he was up and walking. He walked 3,000 steps while he was in the hospital. This impressed his Hospital Physical Therapist.

Obviously, pre-PT is not for everyone. It all depends on your pain tolerance, determination, and motivation. But, if at all possible, I suggest you look into it. Physical Therapy prior to surgery is a gift to yourself.

This article is our journey to a new, titanium, bionic knee. All patients are different. Situations are unique. Hospitals, surgeons, and pre-testing vary depending on the state, city or country you live in.

In the US, the typical stay in a hospital for total knee replacement is 3 days. In South Africa, it's 2 weeks. It all depends.

Dave's surgeon actually took a photo of the femur and he said it was one of the worst he's ever seen. His femur was bone on bone and that created a rut that caused an abundance of pain. I saw the photo, it wasn't pretty.

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Cap preparing for surgery

Cap preparing for surgery

Team Cap! Dr. Sean McFadden and Dr. Liz Clay: Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic of Orlando, Florida

Team Cap! Dr. Sean McFadden and Dr. Liz Clay: Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic of Orlando, Florida

Tips for Knee Replacement Surgery

Request recommendations for the Orthopedic Surgeon who might perform your surgery. If you aren't comfortable with the first choice, continue on to the second choice. Dave's surgeon Dr. Sean McFadden of Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic in Orlando was our first choice. He came with a boatload of praises and good reports. I spoke with many former patients who had only good things to say about his surgical techniques and success rates. We didn't select him because he was also a Captain America fanatic, but it was nice to know he also believed in super strength. Needless to say, we didn't have to shop around for a surgeon.

If the hospital you will be having surgery at offers a Orthopaedic Surgical Educational Class, do make time to attend. Florida East offered the class. It was well worth the 2 hours. We learned so much, such as what to expect before, during and after surgery. You will have the opportunity to meet other patients who will also be having surgery and you could exchange notes with them. If your hospital doesn't offer the class, I think you should suggest they start. Our class was taught by Sher Bent, who happened to be a longtime friend of mine. There was not one dull moment with her as our head coach!

Plan ahead for surgical pre-testing. Most surgeons require a cardiac clearance which includes a stress test. Since Dave wasn't able to stand on the treadmill, he had a chemical stress test. This was stressful for us. It required 3 visits to the cardiologist which includes the meet & greet. Then, we had to go twice for a CCTA Scan since Dave has an unusually fast heart rate. In the end, it all worked out. If you already have a cardiologist, you are one step ahead of the game. We didn't.

Purchase a binder or folder to bring with you to all visits to keep all your paperwork organized and in one place. This will come in handy when you go for pre-registration, which is usually a few days before surgery. Again, protocol for each hospital is different.

If you are overweight, try to lose some weight prior to surgery. Our knees support much of our body weight. The less weight it has to carry after surgery helps speed up healing.

Preparing for Hospital Stay

  • Pack lightly. Chances are you won't be out of bed until the second day. Both men and women who have the surgery should plan on wearing shorts during their stay. It's easier for you and the nurses to check the surgical site and during treatment.
  • Prepare ahead by getting extra sleep, if that's even possible.
  • Some hospitals allow the coach to stay for the duration of the visit. Our hospital did. So the coach should pack snacks, a book, bring a warm blanket and prepare to not get much sleep.
  • If you use a C-Pap machine, you should bring it along.
  • Bring ear plugs or headphones.
  • Enlist family members or friends to bring you meals from the outside. No one likes hospital food. My daughters brought us subs for dinner one night and a pizza the next day for lunch. They spread some sunshine on our days.
  • Bring nutritional drinks (Boost, Ensure...) with you or have your doctor order them with each of your meals. Even if you don't like them, try to drink them anyway. Your body will appreciate the nutrients.

Knee Replacement Coaches Are a Vital Part of the Team

Do your research. Allow Google and YouTube videos to help guide you through the surgical process, just don't allow them to instill fear in you. Use your best judgement when using search engines to acquire knowledge of your upcoming surgery.

Have a coach whether it's your mate, sibling, parent or friend. A coach is your voice when you can't use yours. A coach will be by your side and will allow no harm to come to you. They will keep track of appointments, be your chauffer, administer medications, plan your meals, calm your fears and make you smile. Having a caring coach will allow you to heal much quicker. As Coach Sunshine, I checked into the hospital with Dave and didn't check out until he did.

As the coach, you should be mentally prepared to bring along some tough love. Not right away of course, but over time. Pampering the patient will not benefit them in the long run. No one likes seeing loved ones in pain, but they need to work through the pain in order to bounce back faster. It's actually OK to stand on the knee and leg right after surgery, it's going to hurt, but using and standing on the leg will not damage it.

Coaches should never feel intimitated at any time by medical professionals. They encourage your questions and concerns. They appreciate a hands-on coach. Ask questions. Take photos. Document or journal the surgery because chances are the patient will not remember much. By the time you arrive at the hospital and then get discharged, it will fly by. It's best to write down all important information to reference back to it at a later date, if needed.

Check with your insurance company regarding post surgery visits at home with a traveling nurse and physical therapist. We had both of them visit the day after surgery. They both provided great advice and tips.

Our daughters and granddaughters were our cheerleaders before, during and after surgery. They continue to support us with hot meals, running errands and cheering!

Our daughters and granddaughters were our cheerleaders before, during and after surgery. They continue to support us with hot meals, running errands and cheering!

Basic Knee Exercises

These should be done slowly and while in bed. Always check with your doctor or therapist before attempting any post-surgery exercise

Ankle PumpsPoint toes towards you and down towards the surfaceHelps prevent edema which is common after surgery

Quad Sets

Tighten thigh muscles, pushing knees downwards

Hold for 5 seconds. Helps tighten the quads

Heel Slides

Bend Knee and pull towards buttocks

Hold for 5. Helps strengthen thigh muscles

Buttocks Raises

Bend knees and raise buttocks as high as you can

Hold for 5. Helps strengthen the core muscles

The CPM is used right after surgery while in the hospital. Another machine which is delivered to your home (depending on your insurance) is also used for up to 21 days.

The CPM is used right after surgery while in the hospital. Another machine which is delivered to your home (depending on your insurance) is also used for up to 21 days.

What Is Expected of a Post-Surgery Total Knee Replacement Patient

Below was Cap & Coach Sunshine's checklist that was given to us by Florida East Orthopedic Dept. and it was our challenge for the first 48 hours. In order to be discharged from the hospital you will most likely need to accomplish a few tasks:

  • Be able to get in and out of bed with assistance.
  • Have your pain controlled with use of pain pills only. Not a pain pump.
  • Be able to get on and off the toilet with assistance.
  • Urinate and have a bowel movement.
  • Bathe and dress yourself with assistance.
  • Eat and drink.
  • Be able to walk with a walker, crutches or cane with assistance.
  • Go up and down stairs with assistance, if you have them at home.

Dave aced this test. Except for a BM. As soon as he was home, that task was completed.

More Tips

Normally you will have a CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) Machine delivered to your home for post surgery healing. Be sure and use your machine as the doctor prescribes. Some patients neglect to use it because it might be to heavy or awkward or just out of fear of doing something wrong. The CPM delivers a passive movement to your leg and allows the scar tissue to heal in the appropiate manner. You will be glad you used it.

Compression socks at home are a must. They help prevent clotting and are useful for edema (leg swelling). Again some patients don't use them because they could be difficult to place over the foot and onto the leg. Here's a tip for you...take a freezer size ziploc bag and cut the zipper part off. Place the bag over the feet. Then place the sock over the bag. It should slide right over. After the sock is in place just pull out the bag and save it for next time. Socks should be worn all day and removed at bedtime. This was our doctors order. Your physician might want you to wear them only at night. It all depends on the patient.

You will be using a walker after surgery. Most likely a cane, too. You might also be required to use crutches. If you've never used these walking aids before, if at all possible, try practicing with them before surgery. By learning to use these aids you will be a step ahead with your therapy. By the way, a cane is used on the opposite side of the injured leg. If your right knee is bum, use the cane in your left hand. Ditto for left leg. We learned that after a few months of using the cane in the wrong hand. Also, the walker should be aligned to hip level. Your posture should be erect, you should not slouch while using a walker.

Having a portable bedside commode at home will be very useful and not just for using the commode. The legs are adjustable so you could use it for a comfy seat anywhere in your home. You could also use it to take showers.

Our insurance company covered the cost of the cane, CPM, commode and hot/cold therapy pack. Some items will be returned about 21 days post-surgery. Hopefully, your insurance will cover your therapy aids also.

Make time to recognize the members of your surgical team who go above and beyond to assist you during your recovery. Two of our favorite team members are Lana, who was the floor nurse and offered much advice. She was a bit anal, which is why we appreciated her even more. Jana, the Hospital Physical Therapist offered a wealth of information to Dave and his Coach. We continue to use her tips today and will in the future. Make sure they know that their dedication is appreciated.

Team Cap! Favorite nurse Lana and physical therapist Jana

Team Cap! Favorite nurse Lana and physical therapist Jana

This photo isn't for the faint at heart, but I thought the incision was so precise and impressive that I had to share. This was taken 36 hours after surgery, when the dressing was removed and replaced with another Aquacel covering.

This photo isn't for the faint at heart, but I thought the incision was so precise and impressive that I had to share. This was taken 36 hours after surgery, when the dressing was removed and replaced with another Aquacel covering.

Hang in There: Your New Bionic Knee Will Learn to Adapt

Any surgery is stressful. But, total knee replacement is supposedly, according to what the nurses told me, the most painful. Imagine yourself down the road, walking pain free and how you made the best decision for yourself and hopefully your stress levels will lessen.

Most importantly is to hang in there. Don't panic. Don't throw in the towel. Also never, ever rest your leg on the bed in a bent position. Ever. Your muscles have been severed. They need to heal in a straight leg position. Not heal in a bent position, because you will end up walking funny.

Lots of ice is needed to help reduce swelling and pain. You'll be using a Cold Therapy Pack, but I also purchased soft gel ice packs to use instead of always using the therapy pack. You should store the gel packs in the freezer. Purchase two or three so that you'll always have one available. You could always use them for picnics or lunches once you are healed.

Chances are your hemoglobin will drop after surgery. It's very common due to blood loss. Even though knee surgery has less blood loss than hip surgery. Don't panic. Your hemoglobin will bounce back on it's own with adequate rest and nutrition.

My husband was an outstanding patient. His coach was superb. We got 'er done. He isn't your oridinary orthopedic replacement patient. Dave was diagnosed with Stage 4 Prostate Cancer six years ago. In October of 2012, he was given 4-10 months to live by his Radiation Oncologist after the cancer had spread to his brain. July 2013 was month 10. Due to his amazing Oncologist and the right treatment path, Dave was able to have his knee replaced and will one day be mobile without relying on a walking aid or wheelchair.

If Dave, nickname of Cap (Captain America) could go forth with the surgery, so could you. Now get 'er done. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

UPDATE (7-19-14): It's been exactly one year since Dave had his knee replaced. So far, so good. He's had zero complications. He's actually considering having his other knee replaced soon. Total Knee Replacement surgery is now being done as an Outpatient procedure by some surgeons. This depends on the patient, their living situation, their overall health and who their surgeon is. Depending on the pain medication given and how quickly the patient adapts to their new bionic knee they could only spend one or if needed, two nights in the hospital. All patients and surgeries are different. Just ask.

Dr. Carlos Alemany ... Florida Cancer Institute, Orlando

Dr. Carlos Alemany ... Florida Cancer Institute, Orlando

We were sprung from the hospital 48 hours after Total Knee Replacement. I wore my "I'm The Coach" button proudly.

We were sprung from the hospital 48 hours after Total Knee Replacement. I wore my "I'm The Coach" button proudly.

Post-Surgery Updates

Day #5 The edema in Cap's feet is gone. He, along with assistance from his coach took his first post-surgery shower using the bedside commode for stability. He still has manageable pain and is taking Percocet every 6 hours. His knee bend is at 100* on the CPM.

Day #6 CPM Knee Bend is 105*

One week ago Dave had his Total Knee Replacement. We were supposed to have the traveling nurse here this morning, but wires were crossed. So instead of the nurse removing Cap's dressing from the surgical site, Coach Sunshine did. His scar looks amazing! We are both in awe of the talents of Dr Sean McFadden.

We then went to the hospital for labs. His hemoglobin is 9.1, it was 8.6 when we were discharged. This is good news. His platelets are 170 and Hematocrit is at 28. It's hard to believe it's only been a week since surgery, but so far, so good! We also visited with some of the team from the Orthopedic Floor at Florida East. They were all pleased with his ongoing progress.

Day #10 Knee Bend is 110* on the CPM. Way to go Cap! Knee swelling is beginning to subside.

Day #11 First post-op visit with Dr. McFadden and Dr. Clay. All went well. Xrays were taken. Dr. McFadden is pleased with Cap's progress. He has 2 more weeks of Home Therapy and then 8 weeks of Outpatient Therapy. We shared a few laughs and we once again thanked Team Cap for a job well done.

Day #14 CPM Knee Bend is at 120. Pain is minimal and manageable with Percocet taken as needed.

Day #19 Cap has traded in his walker for a cane. He took a walk outdoors and was tempted to jump for joy, but he refrained :)

Day #21 Outpatient Physical Therapy has begun. Knee Bend is 118*. Minimal pain. All's well in the world of Cap's Total Knee Replacement.

Update Sept. 10 - Dave has graduated from outpatient physical therapy after 5 weeks, which is earlier than most patients. Cap is in excellent shape with a 135* bend and his knee is flat to the surface while laying down, at 0%. Between outpatient therapy twice a week and working out at home every day (I don't believe in a day off from exercise) he has healed well and is now a leisurely pace. No running yet.

Dave also received clearance from Dr. Sean McFadden, his surgeon. People continue to marvel at the site of Cap's knee surgery. The scar is minimal. In my opinion it's flawless. Kudos to the best orthopedic surgeon at Florida Hospital East Orlando (and Central Florida).

We also learned that patients who have joint replacement surgery are at risk for developing infections of the implanted joints. Due to this, pre-meds are needed before a dental cleaning or any dental work for at least two years. Be sure and mention this to your dentist. Once bacteria that has traveled through the bloodstream find implanted joints, the body's immune system has a difficult time fighting the infection.

I am proud and impressed with Team Cap. I hope that everyone who requires a total knee replacement has the type of team that Cap had.

One day at a time...

Post-op X-rays reveal the bionic knee is a perfect match for Cap!

Post-op X-rays reveal the bionic knee is a perfect match for Cap!

Florida Hospital Total Joint Replacement Reunion 2014

Florida Hospital Total Joint Replacement Reunion 2014

Florida Hospital Orthopaedic Institute: Total Joint Reunion

On February 28th, 2014, we were both invited to a reunion luncheon. We had a great time. Both Dave and I met other patients who had joints replaced.

We met a woman who had both knees replaced at the same time, she's an exception. We also met a woman who had only a partial knee replacement. Among many others.

We also met patients who had no coaches to assist them during their journey. Which made me think, if you know someone who is about to embark on a total joint journey, please reach out to them. Your help will be appreciated, more than you might ever know.

The conference center was filled with excitement. When the guests weren't chattering and laughing away, we were eating our delicious, catered lunch or taking photos in the photo booth.

Our entertainment was by the Royalettes, women who were aged 60-80 and really know how to move!

We heard speeches from the physicians and staff. We listened to stories on the progress on their new bionic knees and hips.

Florida Hospital did not have to host this luncheon. They chose to do so. It would be nice if all, or at least most, medical establishments took the time to appreciate their patients. That's something for other physicians to think about.

Cap, Coach Sunshine and our friend Sher, who planned the awesome reunion!

Cap, Coach Sunshine and our friend Sher, who planned the awesome reunion!

Heaven Has Gained Another Angel. . .

July 6, 2015 — My husband, Dave, peacefully passed away. He will be missed. Dave was an inspiration to many. His knee replacement allowed him to walk pain-free during his last two years on earth. Team Cap is now on separate journeys. I continue to advocate against cancer and Dave's body was donated to research to help others. I am so proud of the man who assisted in empowering me while he was fighting for his life. RIP, Cap.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Linda Bilyeu


Jackie on March 15, 2019:

Thank you for posting Cap’s journey. I’m going for bilateral TKR in April, your post has helped calm some fears and given wonderful advise! God Bless!

Olusegun on December 24, 2018:

Please, what about hip and shoulder replacements..,

It's avascular necrosis

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on June 11, 2018:

Thank you, Philly. Wishing you the best for a speedy recovery.

Philly on June 09, 2018:

Linda... thank you for your wonderful story. May Dave forever Rest In Peace. So sad to read of his passing. Thank you... your story has helped me as I get ready for TKR # 2. God bless. Philly

Glen Rix from UK on April 19, 2018:

Thank you, Just this morning received an appointment date for assessment with a surgeon in early May.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on April 19, 2018:

Best of luck to you Glen!

Glen Rix from UK on April 17, 2018:

Excellent hub! I am now contemplating a second TKR. There are some great tips here that I was unaware of prior to my first op and I will most certainly be using them. Well done, you. Hope I have as good a coach as you clearly were. (I will be emailing a link to your article to my family!)

rituagarwal11 from Jaipur, Rajasthan on March 04, 2015:

Great hub, excellent resource for anyone considering knee replacement.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on December 11, 2014:

Hi Pati, That's a shame. The CPM was very useful. I hope all is well with your knee now.

Pati Lilly on December 11, 2014:

I sooo wish I had found this BEFORE my TKR surgery. PS I was not even offer the use of the CPM machine ... In or after hospital. I was told by so many patients how much the CPM helped them.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 29, 2014:

Hi DJ, I've heard that many times, how the pain after surgery was minimal compared to before. How lucky people are that they could get new knees and be pain free! :)

I do not know Janet Bilyeu, but there are two Linda Bilyeu's in Orlando. I've heard about her, but never met her. We crossed paths at doctors offices a few times,luckily we have different birthdays! :)

Thank you for your visit and sharing your journey. Maybe we'll meet one day in the Sunshine State!

DJ Anderson on September 29, 2014:

Hello, Linda,

What a wonderful informational packet for anyone facing total knee replacement!

In 2009, I had to have both knees totally replaced. The first one was done in April, the second one in December. Had them done in Ft. Myers

by Dr. George Markovich. People ask me how I could stand the pain.

I told them that the healing pain is nothing compared to the pain I had

before the surgery.

Linda, when I saw your last name under the photos, I have to ask if you know Janet Bilyeu from Ft. Myers. She is always mentioning going to Orlando. Bilyeu is not a common name. She is a real sweetheart of a lady, much like yourself.

Great job on this hub!


Audrey Howitt from California on September 11, 2014:

Having a knee replacement is no small matter! Such a useful and positive article!!

Paula Atwell from Cleveland, OH on September 11, 2014:

My aunt had both knees replaced. The recovery was tough but her daughter is a physical therapist and afterwards she was in way less pain and could move much easier.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on May 16, 2014:

Now that knee surgery is in my near future, I'm rereading your very helpful article. Bill will be my coach and is reading this right now on his laptop. I know he'll be totally on my case to keep doing everything the doctor ordered...and more!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on May 01, 2014:

Fantastic story with great documentation in photos. You're right about the patient not remembering much. Thankfully I took lots of photos when the hubby had back surgery. Yikes. That knee looks really painful. Dave was really smart to work out ahead of time and prepare for recovery.

Your good results and tips shared here will encourage others to approach this surgery in a positive way.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on March 08, 2014:

Hi Audrey, I understand your fears. Dave was scared also. With your daughter Lisa, there as your coach, I believe you will do just fine. There are many medications you could take for the pain. Before you know it you'll be walking pain free once again!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on March 05, 2014:

Oh Linda - I am so grateful for this hub and all that I have learned through your own detailed story. Friday, after my final xray, the surgeon will tell me whether or not I am to have a complete knee replacement. I'm tearing up as I write this because I'm so frightened. I have a very low threshold to pain, even with my strong mind and constitution. I have bone on bone along with a deep meniscus tear and it hurts like hell (oooops.) I can barely walk and am taking hydocodone (500mg) for pain. I don't mean to complain but...

I wish I had the strength of your brave and wonderful man. He is one lucky guy to have you there, taking care of him. Thank you for sharing all this information. It really does help. Voted up, across, sharing and bookmarking.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 12, 2014:

Thank you for your thoughtful comments Easy, Rebecca and b. Malin :)

b. Malin on January 30, 2014:

Hi Sunshine,

What can I say that hasn't already been said. This is ONE terrific Hub. You've given such a detailed and Informative Hub on Total knee Replacement. Your right, it is such a journey back while fighting Cancer at the same time...Who ever said life is fair...You guys are always in my Prayers. It's your outlook on Life that is the Secret to being who you are. Voted Up & Interesting and Beautiful too!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on January 07, 2014:

This is full of great information on knee replacement surgery. I was glad to see it, because I can see this in my future. I have one knee that already is beginning to bother me. It sounds like your hubby did quite well!

Kelly A Burnett from United States on November 23, 2013:

What a detailed and wonderful article. Sadly, knee replacement will have to find me someday - when it does, I know where to start. Great article and photos. The exercises are critical - thank you so much for sharing!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on November 17, 2013:

Thank you Christy and Bobbi,

Total Knee Replacement is quite a journey, especially while fighting cancer at the same time, but Cap got 'er done. We were up for the challenge and it ways a bit rocky at times, but we won! :)

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on November 17, 2013:


I voted up and ++++ on this amazing hub. This is just the information anyone would need to know before and after knee surgery.

My best wishes to your handsome husband and stars to his Sunshine Coach. I am so happy your added the children's pictures they are so sweet looking and beautiful.

Blessing your way,

Bobbi Purvis

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on November 17, 2013:

Hugs, many hugs! Dave is so lucky to have you and the family there to help him through the surgery (as well as preparing before it and adjusting afterward). I am really happy that he made it through and was able to improve xx Your sunshine spirit is incredible!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on October 30, 2013:

Hello to you too MM! :)

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on October 05, 2013:

Just stopping by to say hey to Cap and his Coach...and to remark on your adorable avatar. Hugs to you all, MM

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on October 05, 2013:

Hi Lizzy, Thank you for sharing your total knee replacement journey.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on September 22, 2013:

I had a total knee replacement in April of 2013. I did not get any pre-surgery exercises, because I got my surgery scheduled on a cancellation, and had only a week's notice.

I've written a hub of my own on the topic, from my experience--a patient's perspective.

Following the surgery, I had less than a month of 'religiously doing my exercises,' before I got thrown off track with my husband's heart issues coming to a boiling point, and I found myself instead sitting in bedside chairs in the emergency room and hospital for hours on end every day over a period of a couple of months. He'd be in the hospital for a week, be home for a few days, and land back in the emergency room. He felt like he lived at the hospital and visited home.

He would tell me not to try to exercise while I was with him in the hospital, so I wouldn't be too sore to drive home again...and to return the next day. The end result of this was that the knee locked up, and I had to go in again in September, be put back under anesthesia for a forced manipulation of the joint. I'm now recovering from that, and it isn't any more fun than the original exercises...very painful...but then, I'll admit to being the world's biggest wuss with the lowest possible pain tolerance.

I'm glad your husband had such a good outcome. Thanks for sharing.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 22, 2013:

Thank you Audrey! :)

Hi Martie, I'm sure you will do just fine. As long as you find the best surgeon to do your hip replacement. Our surgeon in Orlando will have you out of the hospital in 4 days! :)

Martie Coetser from South Africa on September 22, 2013:

This is an awesome, very informative and comprehensive hub about total knee replacement, Sunshine. Oh boy, if this keeps a person 2 weeks in hospital down here, how long will a patient stay with a hip replacement? My lot! And to be honest, I don't look forward to this ordeal, although I will do about anything to get rid of my constant pain.

Dave is a brave patient - such a role model. And so are you: Best supporter!

Audrey Howitt from California on September 11, 2013:

Oh Linda! I am so happy for you!!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on September 07, 2013:

Hi RTalloni and Sueswan ... Thank you for asking about Cap! He's doing fabulous. He literally makes total knee replacement seem like a walk in the park (no pun intended). He is about finished with Outpatient Physical Therapy and will soon enroll in Sunshine's Physical Therapy. I enjoy daily work outs so I'm keeping him in good shape.

Sueswan on September 07, 2013:

Hi Sunshine,

A very informative hub. Luckily I don't have problems with my knees. My 81 year old mom does and she refuses to have the surgery. Her choice but she chooses to pay attention to people who had a negative experience.

Praying that Dave is up and running soon. He is lucky to have a supportive family and medical team.

Voted up and interesting

RTalloni on August 31, 2013:

What a useful look at knee replacement you have posted here! Because we have relatives/friends who've had this surgery I've wondered, "Oh dear, what if…?" Thanks for answering questions I didn't even know to ask. So glad CA/Dave is doing so well--I'm sure he is extremely grateful for such a good helpmate!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on August 24, 2013:

Hi Glimmer, The hospital meals were not edible. Maybe by some people, but not by Cap. He enjoyed the pizza and subs that were brought in by my daughters much more. Thanks for stopping by!

Claudia Porter on August 19, 2013:

What an awesome and indepth hub. I have been on vacation and in a mini summer slump so am trying to catch up on my reading. I especially love your tip about bringing meals in. It sounds like such a little thing, but it makes a huge difference. My father was in the hospital this past spring for quite some time and was to the point where he refused to eat anything because he just could not bear the food. As soon as we started bringing things in, he improved dramatically. Really useful hub!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on August 19, 2013:

Thank you giri!!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on August 19, 2013:

Thank you MM!! Your support throughout this journey has been and always will be appreciated :)

Girish puri from NCR , INDIA on August 19, 2013:

Thanks for the value information on knee replacement, God bless.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on August 18, 2013:

Woot woot...just had to say how happy I was to hear that Cap and Coach took a stroll sans cane... :)))

You are both incredible, inspirational and irresistible!

Hugs to you and one for Dave too, MM

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on August 18, 2013:

Hi Lyric, Thank you for stopping by! Dave is doing fantastic. It's been 5 weeks since surgery and this weekend he actually took a walk around the block with no cane. I brought the cane just in case. We are so proud of his progress. He truly made having knee replacement surgery look easy, but it wasn't that easy.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on August 18, 2013:

Hi Jeannie...Thank you for your comment. I'm glad Dave isn't camera shy! :)

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on August 18, 2013:

Sunshine, first off, hope and wishes for a speedy recovery for your "Gramps." I never knew that the incision was so long, yikes! Seemed to always be in great spirit, so hope all is well at the time of this post. Great information Sunshine, detail info that will help many. Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared.

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on August 12, 2013:

Your husband is so brave! And such a good sport posing for the camera the whole time, too. I am happy to hear he is doing well after the surgery. Great information and voted up!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on August 07, 2013:

Teaches12345 ~ Vickiw ~ Denise Handlon~ Moonlake ~ Nell Rose ~ Levertis Steele ~ Rose-the-planner ~ Suzzettenaples ~ Vinaya Ghimire ... Thank you all for your comments! They are appreciated.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on August 07, 2013:

We learn about certain disease and health complication when our near and dear suffers. Your first hand information is useful and informative.

My mother has some problems on her knee, and the doc says it is too early to go for surgery. But thanks to you, I'm enlightened on this topic.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on August 02, 2013:

Sunshine: What a great and comprehensive article on knee replacement. Send this out to the medical journals and magazines. You have covered everything. My mom had a knee replacement a few years ago and you have mentioned everything down to a T. I love the photo of your baby granddaughter 'praying.' So precious. What a wonderful family and support system you have. You are definitely THE COACH OF THE YEAR!

Nell Rose from England on July 30, 2013:

Hope Hubbys feeling much better now, send him my best wishes, nell

rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on July 30, 2013:

This is an informative and exceptional article in total knee replacement surgery. Loved all of your images. Two of my uncles had the surgery done recently and they each had entirely different experiences. One uncle had a great experience while the other did not have a positive post surgery experience (lots of pain and discomfort and ended up in hospital again). This was great! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on July 30, 2013:

My orthopedic surgeon performed a surgery to remove broken cartilage and another to stimulate new cartilage growth after boring holes in bad places, I think. At one visit he said that the new cartilage was "cured," but it sounded very crunchy as I performed my exercises. The exercises proved to strengthen my muscles and give more knee support. I still have problems with pain and rising from a sitting position. The surgeon also said that I would probably need a knee replacement in 4 or 5 years. All of that happened nearly a year and a half ago. There is no readiness in me for surgery yet.

This is great information. Thanks for sharing it. I will, too.

moonlake from America on July 29, 2013:

Glad I read this hub. I'm trying to keep from having knee surgery but I think the time is coming and I may have to do it. My left knee is killing me right now. Voted up and shared.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on July 29, 2013:

As a nurse, I have to say that your tips here are of immense value. I hope anyone who is considering this surgery reads this before they move ahead with it. I applaud the work of the PT team. I've just completed my outpatient rehab from the Occupational therapy team, (for vertigo caused by a head trauma and skull fracture). I can't say enough good things about that group of dedicated medical men and women.

I found the sidebars: 'what to pack' and 'what's expected before discharge', especially helpful and right on; us nurses sure love to see that pee and poop are functioning, lol.

Linda, two thumbs up for this very informative hub, the photos, tips and exercise chart-all outstanding. Rated UP/U/A/I and will share.

Vickiw on July 28, 2013:

This is a great article, and so encouraging to those who have to have this surgery. I love the whole idea of your husbsnd's great team to support him. I'm sure this will be useful to many people. This operation seems to be so common now.

Dianna Mendez on July 27, 2013:

I love this article and how it reflects how positive attitude helps people to recover quickly. Cap is an amazing man! Didn't look at the knee surgery photo - faint of heart is right.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 26, 2013:

Hi MM! Lana and Jana were both a beneficial and entertaining part of Team Cap during our stay at Florida East. We've visited them again a couple of times since we were discharged. As a nurse yourself, I'm sure you appreciate the gratitude from former patients and their families :)

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on July 26, 2013:

Thinking of you and Dave...wishing you a restful and peaceful weekend.

Love the picture of Dave's favorite nurse and PT...awesome! Love,MM

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 26, 2013:

Thanks Carly. Your comment means a lot :)

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 26, 2013:

Mary, If you need a knee replacement you will do great! Dave is recovering nicely. Thank you!

Carly Sullens from St. Louis, Missouri on July 25, 2013:


I love how you take challenging moments in life and make it better not only for yourself and your dear loved ones, but for the greater good of others. Your detail hub is amazing. And someone who will be having this type of surgery and their family can gain comfort and knowledge from your post. Voted up and shared! Bravo!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 25, 2013:

I certainly hope Dave will continue on his road to recovery. He has been through so much, he has to be a very special person. I hope I never have to have a knee replaced, but if I do, I hope I will meet the problem head on as you two did!

Great Hub with good info. Voted UP and shared.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 23, 2013:

Thanks DDE!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 23, 2013:

Great hub and thanks for sharing your story so interesting to know of such a case.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 22, 2013:

Oh my Shauna...3 months is much too long for me! Dave is doing so well after one week. I'm impressed!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 22, 2013:

I agree Deb! Thank you!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 22, 2013:

Linda, you are both troopers! I have a friend who had knee replacement surgery a few years back and she was down for about 3 months before she was able to do anything on her own.

What you have provided here is great information for anyone facing knee surgery and how to maximize recovery. Awesome!

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on July 22, 2013:

What a great article, Linda. I'm glad to hear Dave is doing so well. It must be his awesome coach! : )

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 22, 2013:

Thank you MM for your support & thoughts. Xo

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on July 21, 2013:


I cannot think of a more cool, compassionate and competent coach than you.

I love the idea of pre-PT and your other useful suggestions, especially as much rest as possible beforehand.

Lily is absolutely precious...I know she has a direct hotline to the divine with her prayers.

All the best and a hug to Dave...he is amazing, just like his coach.

Love, MM

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 21, 2013:

Thank you Gypsy!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 21, 2013:

Hi LoveDoc, I hope your family member decides to have the knee replacement surgery. So many people deal with the pain because they fear the pain of surgery and recovery, but each day it does get better according to Cap and from what I witness. Wishing them best of luck!

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on July 21, 2013:

Inspirational piece. So glad your husbands surgery went well and hope you two are out and dancing real soon. Thanks for all the information. Passing this on.

lovedoctor926 on July 21, 2013:

Thank you for sharing this valuable and useful information. I'm going to pass this hub on to a family member who has also been diagnosed with bone to bone, but is unfortunately hesitant about going through this procedure. I'm glad that Dave's knee replacement surgery was a success. He looks great in the picture. A good support team is a plus. You've done an amazing job Coach sunshine. voted up fantastic.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 21, 2013:

Hi Kashmir! Cap is doing fantastic today (Day #6). Still has some pain, but "it's more manageable" (his words). Thanks for your comment!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 21, 2013:

I wish your sister-in-law good luck Cyndi. I hope she's able to pick up some tips from our journey to recovery!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 21, 2013:

Hi Tills, I'm not surprised at all that your mom did so well with her total knee replacement surgery. Strength is in abundance within your family! :)

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 21, 2013:

Hi Janine, Thank you for sharing your story. As we know you were one amazing granddaughter and your grandfather was blessed and well loved.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 21, 2013:

tobusiness, The exercises could also help strengthen your knees. I wish you good luck with your journey to be pain free!

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on July 21, 2013:

Hi my friend great interesting article with lots of valuable information within this well written hub. Nice to hear Cap came through this operation and was able to leave the hospital early, awesome !

Vote up and more !!!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 21, 2013:

Thank you Vellur and Michelle!

It was nice to finally be able to teach you something Pam! Your health articles are always a wealth of information.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 21, 2013:

Much appreciated drbj. We proceed on the road to recovery.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on July 21, 2013:

Thank you Jaye for both of your messages. I appreciate you stopping by. Senior moments are common for all ages! :)

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on July 21, 2013:

Postscript to my earlier comment: Sorry I got Cap's name wrong (Bill instead of Dave). Blame it on a senior moment!


Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on July 21, 2013:

This is such a timely article for my sister-in-law. She faces double knee replacement surgery. I will send this to her. It is so thorough and had such a positive outcome, I'm sure this will be a huge help to her. Thanks!

Voted up, useful and sharing.

Mary Craig from New York on July 21, 2013:

God bless the Captain! He is an inspiration in everything he does, of course his coach is pretty good too ;)

My Mom had the same surgery at age 70 some twenty years ago. Once she recovered she said it was the best thing that every happened to her. She was so thrilled to be able to walk pain free. Her knee was like Cap's, bone on bone. The only thing she couldn't do after surgery was kneel.

This hub will be so helpful to so many. The CPM machine is probably the best thing ever invented. It's constant slow motion helps keep the knee mobile as it heals. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.

Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared.

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on July 21, 2013:

You really are truly just a ray of sunshine, Linda and seriously Dave is so lucky to have you as a wife in his corner. You have a wonderful family unit for support, too and couldn't agree with you more on how important that is in recovery for any surgery. I remember as a kid my grandfather having surgery to remove his gallbladder. This was before laser surgery and back in the day when it was truly invasive. I was about 10years old, but went to the hospital everyday after school and my grandmother, my mom and the rest of us were there constantly. That is just what family does and know you already know this, but thank you for sharing here! Praying for a quick recovery now for your husband and sending prayers and thoughts your way!

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on July 21, 2013:

Hi Sunshine, thank you for this, it is very timely for me, not quite ready for a total knee replacement, but I'm currently having some needling problem with my knees and need to strengthen the muscles, too many long hours, occupational hazzard. The exercise video will be very helpful. Excellent hub, beautiful family, especially the gorgeous little munchkin. Hope your hubby is doing well, my best to you all.


Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 21, 2013:

I know someon who is having knee replacement surgery soon and I will get your hub to her. This hub is so thorough and I am so glad you both got through surgery so well. It sounds like the PT ahead of time is really important, which I did not know. I am happy Dave is recovering so well, and we always knew the coach would be outstanding. Excellent hub. Up and shared.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on July 20, 2013:

Great write here, Linda. I always believe that preparation is half the battle won! Will share this!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on July 20, 2013:

Great hub with a lot of useful information about the knee replacement surgery. You have a great support team. Happy that the operation went off well. Thank you for sharing valuable information through this hub. Voted up.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on July 20, 2013:

Your Captain America, Linda, was extremely fortunate to have such a loving, capable coach to help him recover. Congrats to both of you.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on July 20, 2013:

Terrific hub, Linda, and I wish I'd read it before I had total knee replacement. I would have liked to have you as my coach, too. Unfortunately, what I refer to as my "bionic" knee did not live up to my expectations. I hope Bill's replacement does. He certainly "aced" the pre-surgical PT (which gave him an edge) and the surgery itse