When I was in my 40s, I learned I had degenerative joint disease. The doctor
predicted I would eventually need a knee replacement. But since such replacements
typically last about 20 years, I optimistically thought, "I don’t
want to have three knee replacements in my lifetime."
I was able to manage my pain for a while, but soon I knew it was probably
time for the replacement and when my doctor suggested it, I knew it was
the right thing to do. I’m a professor and I scheduled the surgery
for the beginning of the summer break so I could have plenty of time to
recover. Before the surgery, I wore a brace to take some of the pressure
off my knee.
I learned a lot at an information session for patients scheduled for the
surgery and held at Winchester Medical Center. For instance, I didn’t
know that following surgery, I would initially need to use a walker or
that I’d have to have self-administered injections to thin my blood.
During the class, the teacher passed around an actual replacement joint
so we could see what it looked like and how it operated.
Aside from an adverse reaction to some pain medication and other minor
issues, the surgery went very well. I was really impressed with the team
effort. Everybody had their piece to do and they did it, for the most
part, perfectly. Communication between the various team members facilitated
an easy process. I realized that the people involved in my care were there
to help me, and I appreciated it.
My discharge was slightly delayed because of my reaction to the medication,
but I was discharged four days after the surgery and began physical therapy
two days later. During my recovery and physical therapy small achievements,
such as increasing my range of motion and transitioning from a walker
to a cane, made my day. I tired easily in the beginning of the therapy,
but I was determined to return to a normal routine.
Now I can do all the activities I want to do, although I’m more cautious
with some, like descending stairs and avoiding falls. I’m essentially
pain-free today. I highly recommend this surgery and wish I’d done
it sooner. For those considering this surgery, keep in mind that a positive
attitude, determination, and exercise are the essential elements of a