Monday, August 27, 2018

Knee Surgery ~ my column from Sunday's paper

My arms look as if I’ve been in a fight. Plumb-colored-bruises and bandages. Along with a bandage on my knee. Monday was the first time I’ve ever spent the night in a hospital. I’ve spent many days and nights in hospitals with family and friends but never was I the subject of the stay. Even though I received great care, I have to say I’m not a fan of hospital stays.
I’ve whined about squeaking knees for years. These last several months the knee squeaking morphed into grinding, crunching, and descriptive language that could be hard to justify as I transition to the next life. 
Back earlier in the years, my niece Samantha made some helpful suggestions as to surgeons based on the knees she’s “therapied” in the past. I took her suggestion, and I’ve been happy. The road to rehab is a long one. 
Samantha said that surgery is just the first step in the process. Granted, it’s a complicated process, and people considering knee replacement (or any other surgery) should do their homework. This much I know for sure – if a doctor says knee replacement is no big deal, the patient should RUN AWAY. 
When I had my first consultation with my doctor, he said that knee replacement was no picnic. When he began explaining some of the process, I almost had a hygiene issue right there in his office. He went on to say that therapy is an integral part of the process. 
Many people have to spend two nights in the hospital after knee surgery, but medicine has made great process in the last few years. I only spent one night in the hospital. Soon I expect they will be able to do it in your car. You’ll pull into a drive-thru and say, “I would like a knee replacement, and my wife will take the colonoscopy.”
A few hours after my surgery on Monday, the physical therapist stopped by to give me the scoop on what to expect. I was still a little groggy, but he got me up, and we took a stroll around the hospital promenade. My knee felt great, and I didn’t see what all the recovery hoorah was about. 
I guess I must have napped through the part where the doctor said the pain block he’d injected into my knee would wear off sometime on the day after surgery. 
The next morning after breakfast, the PT team fetched me for some work. The pain during that session was brutal, actually, exquisite is a better word. I don’t remember cursing, but there’s a lot I don’t remember about the time I was doing those stretches.
I will do outpatient therapy at the place where my niece works. I ride to work with her, then my wife picks me up when I’ve finished.
This week, I will do three one-hour therapy sessions to start my recovery. I can’t believe I’m actually paying my niece to torture me.
My niece looked so angelic when she was young. Who would have thought
She would turn into a therapy sadists :)


  1. Another day has past. Hope tomorrow has a lessening of pain. Keep on doing that hard and painful rehab - my mom wouldn't complete her physio work and her knee had a permanent bend for the rest of her days. On that note, give Jilda a hug.

  2. There's no telling how children will turn out when they are adults - who would have thought that angelic looking girl would become a sadist therapist?

    Good column, answered most but not quite all of my questions.
    Hang in there Rick, before too long it will all be like a bad dream. :)

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  4. Therapists (good ones) are sadists.
    Keep at it - and enjoy the results.

  5. It's the whole body and brain that benefits from therapy. 12 years ago I had a tumor removed from INSIDE my heart (of all places!) and I hated therapy, but I was back to work 6 weeks later. Decade-Plus later, 3 weeks ago, I went back for throat cancer and they took my head half off. Therapy has got me turning my head and looking where I'm going. Don't fight the therapist. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, you'll appreciate what they did --and for the rest of your life.

  6. You are very blessed to have a niece that cares. It seems to me that what she does would be called tough love. Hope every day finds you a little stronger and in less pain.

  7. Be grateful she doesn't take it easy on you because she loves you. Your recovery will be faster because of it.

  8. Anonymous4:36 PM

    Continue the torture--I mean therapy; you'll be better soon!!

  9. " … a hygiene issue right there in his office." Oh my goodness, I laughed right out loud. Love your turn of a phrase!

  10. Because I had both done at the same time therapy sadists came to the house 3 times a week for 2 weeks and then I went to them. I've said it before, it's the most important part. Having someone like your sweet niece to do the therapy and give you a heads up on a good surgeon is a blessing! (It's not what you know, although that helps, it's who you know in the medical field that's the key to success!) Keep up the good work and I hope you're feeling top notch soon!

  11. Good article, I enjoyed the read and insights. I hope never to see this surgery, but in this life I try to never say never. My best as you ENJOY the therapy. ;-)


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