Knee Replacement Surgery (hips too)

edited December 2 in Travel Tips

Some of you know I recently had knee surgery for a partial replacement of my right knee. I had been in some pain, though it wasn't severe, and I was still able to get around fairly well (I could not jog or run at all) - I did fine this past summer on Zambia, SA, Botswana (even hiked over to Zimbabwe) and during our family trip to Disney I walked 6 + miles both days, but each night my knee was sore and required Ibuprofen. My knees were getting worse, however, and soon would not allow me to enjoy life like I wanted.

Even though the conventional wisdom tends to recommend waiting to have a joint replaced until you just can't do things or can't tolerate the pain, I suggest, if you've already been told you are a candidate for knee or hip replacement, have no other health issues, and have insurance that will cover the procedure(s), then go for it - have it done sooner than later!!

Each person will have different physiology, but, by having my knee done now, the amount of degradation wasn't as severe as it would have been in a few years, so it allowed me to get a partial knee replacement which requires a less painful, much easier and shorter rehabilitation than full knee replacement. I am so glad I did it now!!! I wasn't in bad physical shape, I am a bit overweight, but I exercise regularly (when convenient :) ), and am certainly not a gym rat or health nut.

In less than 3 weeks after surgery, the pain (mostly surgical from the incision) is almost totally gone, range of motion is nearly restored to pre-surgery levels, and my knee actually operates better. I still have a ways to go, but, as my physical therapist said on Friday, I am no longer in physical therapy but am now "in training" for our trips ahead. I hope to be at 100% or better for Yellowstone in February and really ready to tackle whatever Jordan, most especially Petra, and Egypt throw at me in March! I am determined to make the trek up to the Monastery and possibly trek back to the Treasury via the Wadi Farasa trail and High Place of Sacrifice. I want to be able to walk 7 - 10 miles easily without problems.

In the Tauck traveler demographic there are likely a lot of you who have had knees and hips replaced, e.g. Sealord is recovering from his second knee, and I'm sure a number of us will be willing to share our experiences. The operations can be scary and first few weeks painful, but in the end, I think it is well worth it, so don't wait!!

I am not a doctor and have never played one on TV.

Comments

  • Glad all went well, Alan.

    Can you still play the piano?

  • Alan, glad the surgery went well. I had always thought I was a "planner", but as I've seen through these forums you run circles around me not only in trip planning but energy as well! I look forward to hearing about and learning from your many future adventures.

  • Great news Alan, keep on traveling.

  • Glad to read you're doing well Alan. And your experience makes me feel better about knee problems I've been having. Hoping to deal with it by exercise and PT but if all else fails your advice makes me hopeful that surgery isn't the worst option.

    Wishing you the best for your upcoming travel plans.

  • edited December 2

    Claudia Sails, 8:58AM' Glad to read you're doing well Alan. And your experience makes me feel better about knee problems I've been having. Hoping to deal with it by exercise and PT but if all else fails your advice makes me hopeful that surgery isn't the worst option. Wishing you the best for your upcoming travel plans.

    Thanks everyone.

    Claudia, I had the same thoughts. I didn't know I had knee problems until just a few years ago, but they continued to rapidly deteriorate. Unfortunately, with osteoarthritis and similar problems, exercise and PT won't alleviate the underlying problem. When the joint is shot it is shot, continues to degrade, and will not regenerate. Also, unlike other parts of the body, it doesn't have blood vessels and only gets minimal nutrition slowly from the fluid. After seeing my xrays and talking with an orthopedic surgeon about this, I fully realized that I could (only just) "get by" being extremely careful (minimal walking and stress) and (just partially) limit the pain with icing and drugs, but I didn't want to accept that lower quality of life. Pay attention to your body and avoid living in denial- you don't have to accept a lower quality of life. The chances are better you can have a partial if done sooner. If your legs and muscles are in good shape otherwise, that helps.

    I will wait to see how both knees handle Petra, etc. before I make any decision about also having the left one, which is in better shape, done.

  • Alan - Unless you choose to do the hike to the Monastery (about 800 steps with interspersed landings), Petra is pretty flat from entrance to the main attraction. And hotel location couldn't be more convenient - right across the street from the entrance.

    I did a provocative test on my knees today. First day of the season skiing for me! Passed, but I'm sure quads will be sore tomorrow. Would have been sooner, but I was at Petra recently :-)

  • edited December 3

    BKMD, 5:48PM, Alan - Unless you choose to do the hike to the Monastery (about 800 steps with interspersed landings), Petra is pretty flat from entrance to the main attraction. And hotel location couldn't be more convenient - right across the street from the entrance.

    For sure I plan to do the Monastery trek. But, then after I get back down to the area near the Basin Restaurant, I want to take the Wadi al Farasa Trail which contains a number of interesting structures (the Roman Soldier Tomb, Garden Temple Complex, Broken Pediment Tomb, Renaissance Tomb, etc.) This trail starts behind the nearby Qasr Al Bint temple (Temple of Dushares) and runs S.W. of, and roughly parallel to the main trail but is one valley over in Wadi al Farasa past the old south city wall. I will then follow the High Place of Sacrifice trail before following it down to the Street of Facades. It dumps out between the Theater and the Treasury. (See the yellow line on the first maps and yellow + blue lines on the second one.)

    I have already "walked" the entire route, virtually, using Google Maps street view!! (somebody must have walked the entire route with a Google Maps 360° camera!! What a great resource!!!)

    It is an ambitious plan and I may not have enough time either because it is too far or I used too much time taking photos. One option is to skip the High Place of Sacrifice, up-over-down, portion and instead back-track a little to the trail that comes out behind the theater. I hope to catch a cart back to the main entrance. I'm pretty sure it is included in the price of admission, but believe the TD makes the arrangements for Tauck guests.

  • I’m reading another forum and a regular poster there says she did the Monastery trek in 1.5 hours, she is younger and fit, hope that is helpful.

  • Wow, Alan, you've really done your research! Good luck with your ambitious plan. IIRC, the site closed at 5 PM, which was was shortly after sunset, as of a few weeks ago. Best bet is eat lunch quickly and start the rest of your day ASAP. At lunch, the TD offers either do your own thing for the rest of the afternoon or do the camel/cart ride back towards the entrance. The 1.5 hours for the Monastery sounds about right. You will be tired and dusty. The farewell dinner is that evening and the bus left for the (wonderful) site at about 6 PM.

  • edited December 4

    British, 6:37AM, I’m reading another forum and a regular poster there says she did the Monastery trek in 1.5 hours, she is younger and fit, hope that is helpful.

    Thanks. Joyce made the climb last August (when it was extremely hot!!!). I also exchanged emails with another Tauck traveler whose (young) adult sons made it there in 45 min. so it looks like a 1.5 hr round trip is doable, especially since going down is much easier and quicker, at least for someone in shape with two good knees :) . In the morning of day 2 I hustled up the very steep, rocky, and uneven trail from Machu Picchu to the Sun Gate, and after taking a few photos, since I had seen all to see on the way up, I literally "flew" back down to avoid missing the bus to Aguas Calientes. Only one face plant- on the way up! :o I'll be heading in the general direction back to the Siq on the Wadi Farasa trail.

    It is still early (surgery was just 3 weeks ago today), but I'm starting my walking program today- probably less than a mile. :(

    BKMD, 8:53AM, Wow, Alan, you've really done your research! Good luck with your ambitious plan. IIRC, the site closed at 5 PM, which was was shortly after sunset, as of a few weeks ago. Best bet is eat lunch quickly and start the rest of your day ASAP. At lunch, the TD offers either do your own thing for the rest of the afternoon or do the camel/cart ride back towards the entrance. The 1.5 hours for the Monastery sounds about right. You will be tired and dusty. The farewell dinner is that evening and the bus left for the (wonderful) site at about 6 PM.

    Thanks for the info. Questions: What time did you depart the hotel in the AM ? Did your group use Whispers/VOX wireless listening devices in Petra? How far from the Movenpick is the dinner if I miss the bus and need to take a taxi?

    I have been doing research for quite some time- kinda my pastime between trips :) . I plan to stay with the group until we reach the Basin Restaurant. Then, depending on the time, eat a quick lunch or skip it, get full water bottles and head out- no donkey!

    I don't put much faith in the Google Maps time lines in my previous post- they show it will only take two hours to go from the Basin Restaurant to the Monastery, High Place of Sacrifice, to the Street of Facades via my intended back country route!!! Google uses a relatively fast pace and I doubt it takes into account changes in elevation (climbs). Likewise, I don't put much store in the durations listed in the Trails section of the official Visit Petra website either. The website says the site closes at 4 PM in winter, but from what I can tell that is for ticket sales. According to the official Jordanpass website the site doesn't actually close until 6:00 PM. Also, I understand the staff does not scour the site, certainly not the secondary trails, and doesn't herd people to the entrance. I'm sure the vendors leave after most tourists, too. I just want to be back in time to make the Bedouin dinner with our group. Sunset occurs at 5:53 PM, so we will have a little more daylight when we visit Petra on 25 March.

    Depending on when the group leaves the hotel for the site, another crazy idea (not my own) is to get up and go early and do the climb up to the Treasury view point before everyone arrives. Unfortunately however, I would miss any lectures and briefings given to the group as they transit the Siq so that may be a non-starter for just a bird's eye view of the Treasury.

  • Alan, from which website did you get your great maps? I'd love to print them out. I'll be going in March.

  • edited December 3

    "Thanks for the info. Questions: What time did you depart the hotel in the AM ? Did your group use Whispers/VOX wireless listening devices in Petra? How far from the Movenpick is the dinner if I miss the bus and need to take a taxi?"

    I'm away from home today, so can't refer to my notes. However, first pic I took that day was the entrance to Petra and the metadata shows it was at 8:05 AM, so we must have left at 8 :-) Yes, we did use Whispers up until lunch. Lunch (a buffet) was very good. You can do it pretty quickly, if so desired.

    Coming down from the Monastery is not as easy as you might think. You have to yield to donkeys running (literally) by and some of the stones/rocks are slippery. I wore my usual walking sneakers and almost slid out at one spot.

    It was a ~20 minute ride on the bus to the site of the dinner. The dinner itself was catered by the Movenpick, so it's possible they could give you a lift, if their people are going back and forth. I don't want to say anything more about the site itself. This was one of the more interesting/fun farewell dinners I've experienced.

    On an unrelated note, I know I've quoted posts before, but can't recall how to do so. Any help on that?

  • edited December 4

    BKMD, 6:37PM edited 6:38PM, I'm away from home today, so can't refer to my notes. However, first pic I took that day was the entrance to Petra and the metadata shows it was at 8:05 AM, so we must have left at 8 :-) Yes, we did use Whispers up until lunch. Lunch (a buffet) was very good. You can do it pretty quickly, if so desired.

    Thanks. Since the site opens early, I thought Tauck was going to try to beat the crowds after receiving a number of suggestions (complaints) about leaving the hotel earlier so the group could arrive ahead of the buses and other tour groups. I guess it will be ok if we arrive at the Basin Restaurant by noon. I've heard it was a buffet. I'm weak about food so will probably at least try to grab something to eat (schwarma, hummus, tabouli?). Is bottled water included and would there be any problem taking two?

    It was a ~20 minute ride on the bus to the site of the dinner. The dinner itself was catered by the Movenpick, so it's possible they could give you a lift, if their people are going back and forth. I don't want to say anything more about the site itself. This was one of the more interesting/fun farewell dinners I've experienced.

    I'll probably play that by ear. I hope to be back before in plenty of time, but, just in case . . . . I intend to discuss my plans with our TD on Days 2 & 3.

    On an unrelated note, I know I've quoted posts before, but can't recall how to do so. Any help on that?

    It is not the simple process that it once was. I copy the header and text I want to quote, go to the comment pane. click on the paragraph symbol button, select quote from the drop-down (that generates a right carat ('greater than' symbol) and starts the quote process (puts shading around the quoted text.) Then I paste the text after the carat and a space. I edit the quoted text to remove all returns since a return ends a quote. I sometimes remove additional text that is not germane. I don't always remember, but I also bold the user name.

    MCD, 1:05PM, Alan, from which website did you get your great maps? I'd love to print them out. I'll be going in March.

    I got them from Visit Petra https://www.visitpetra.jo/ and a few other websites. Just Google Petra. Some map images were from articles others just maps images on Google's images page. For map images, I searched for and selected the ones with highest resolution. There are a number of versions/vintages of the same maps on the web so you must be careful. I believe a paper version of the Visit Petra website map may also be included with the price of a ticket or purchased separately at the visitor center- BKMD or others who have already been there might be able to help. My last image above is just a screen grab of the Google map with my route.

  • will probably at least try to grab something to eat (schwarma, hummus, tabouli?). Is bottled water included and would there be any problem taking two?

    Yes, all the usual middle eastern food. They brought big water bottles to the tables. I don't know if the smaller ones are available on request. Tauck will have water bottles available in the hotel before leaving for Petra. You should be able to refill those at lunch. I usually bring a bicycle water bottle with me, as I usually do a half day of biking upon arrival (Tel Aviv is a very bike-friendly city) and with the wide mouth, it's easy to refill.

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