Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Knee Replacement Surgery

This is one of those stories that started long ago.  In fact, it could possibly be traced back to my childhood because my knees have always seemed to hurt more than any other party of my body.  But for the past ten or so years the knee pain has continued to grow worse each year.

About seven years ago I was treated orthoscopically for a torn meniscus in my left knee.  The surgeon actually made a video of the interior of my knee as he repaired the damages.  In the video he was talking to me as if I was awake, casually pointing out the various steps he was taking.  Then he showed me some arthritis and commented that one day that was going to be a problem and that I would be back.

Here's the video they made while inside my knee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibTky1PhFuA&t=32s

Seven years later I told him, "I'm back."

Naturally, they took x-rays of my knees and it took only one glance for me to see what the problem was.  The inside of both knees had no cushioning whatsoever between the upper and lower joints.  It was clearly bone-on-bone with considerable 'spurs' indicating extensive wear.  No wonder my knees hurt.

The doctor said my only recourse now was to have both knees replaced with artificial knees.  He also pointed out that I needed to do it soon because at my age and medical history I could incur yet another medical condition that might disqualify me from ever having knee surgery.  I would most likely be wheel chair bound within a few years.  Meanwhile, I would continue to incur increased pain and loss of mobility.

It didn't take long for me to say, "Let's do it then."

This is what it will involve:

Because Judy's retirement was already set for June 4th, we selected the following week after her retirement for the surgery.  That way she could help in my recovery which could take as much as three months.

There were a number of medical steps to take first, including watching a video, getting clearances from my primary care and cardio doctors, more x-rays, blood tests, donating two units of blood for use in surgery if needed, arranging for walkers and braces and follow-up therapy and the endless paperwork so that it could be covered by Medicare and my supplemental insurance.

The surgery will be performed at Tops Surgery Center on June 9th and will only address the left knee.  The right knee will be done sometime in the near future.

Needless to say, our plans for travel this year came to a halt.  Now we will just wing it.  If I can move about and travel well we still might get in an Eggfest or two, or perhaps a trip to see family.

I am amazed at how many people have undergone this same surgery and every one of of them say it was the best thing they could have done for themselves.  Most claim it only takes a few weeks before they are able to get around quite easily, even playing golf after three weeks.  That's a good sign.

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