In his "Writer Without a Clause" articles, Chris writes about whatever is on his mind at the moment without research and without editing.
My New Knee
Writer Without a Clause: A New Knee on Life
A little over seven weeks ago, I got a few new body parts. They were brand spankin’ new. A couple of parts were shiny, some kind of steel I guess. Another part was a fancy kind of plastic. The anesthesiologist put me to sleep and the surgeon went to work. He cut my knee open from slightly above my kneecap to just above my shin bone.
I had gone onto YouTube and watched this entire procedure just before I went under the knife. It was not only a knee opener, It was also an eye opener. Did you know a hammer and chisel are considered to be surgical instruments? When they brought out the electric saw and began cutting away the end of the femur, I became elated at the concept of anesthesia.
The surgeon proceeded to snip the tendons and ligaments until he was able to flip the patella, aka the kneecap, over for the time being. He then proceeded to cut and pound until all the diseased parts were removed and new pieces were in place. He closed it all up with a few staples.
I woke up and had a conversation with the surgeon that was probably a comical moment for him and a completely lost moment for me. But one thing I do remember was when he suggested I get up and walk around the room. I admit that I had been tipped off concerning this little tactic of theirs. I thought it would be some kind of joke and then the doctor would sentence me to three weeks in bed.
The surgeon insisted I get up and circle the room. As I walked on my new knee mere minutes after receiving it, nurses clapped and cheered. I can’t say it was pain free, but I had a feeling this was a new kind of pain. The old was degenerative. It signaled a failing joint that would one day totally let me down, quite literally. The new pain was that of healing and strengthening.
I immediately set out to schedule my physical therapy appointments. I checked out all the agencies in my area and finally settled on the one that was less than two miles from my home. I wish I could say I was more thoughtful than that, but I was not interested in long commutes to therapy.
But the PT gods were in control. I ended up with a young man named Pat, who was kind and gentle with me for about ten minutes into the first session. That’s when I opened up and told him I had high expectations for my physical therapy and wanted to work hard. I told him I was not afraid of pain.
Maybe I should have kept my big mouth shut.
Pat proceeded to put me through twelve sessions of ever increasing difficulty, and yes, pain. Most times we would come to the end of his scheduled workout, and he would say something vague, like, “How are you feeling?” I would respond, “I’m good.” Pat would say, that’s all I had planned for the day. Then he would pause, dramatically. I would say, “It’s up to you. You’re calling the shots.” Pat would answer, “You want more?” Stupidly, I would say, “Sure, bring it on.” So he would come up with things like one legged (The surgery leg of course) inclined squats...two sets of ten. I hobbled out of the gym and hobbled back two days later for my next stroll with Pat through the PT park. For those who are up to speed regarding knee surgery, I finished physical therapy with extension of 0 degrees and flexion of 125 degrees. That was within 6 weeks of surgery.
What can I say about my healthcare professionals? The surgeon, Dr. Michael Peters, numerous nurses and nurses assistants, a physical therapist that knew intuitively what I wanted and needed were all excellent caregivers.
I’m still only a little over seven weeks out from surgery. I’m excited about the future. At age 64, I feel like I can get out there and keep doing all the things I’ve enjoyed over the years. No, it will never be exactly the same. I have to accept my age, but I can challenge myself just like the doctor and physical therapist challenged me. I will find my limits and admit to them, but the fun is in the finding.
Catherine Tally from Los Angeles on October 15, 2021:
Joint replacement is a miraculous thing. Wishing you a speedy recovery and a renewed energy with your new knee:)
Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 14, 2021:
Thank you, it was good to finally share this story with my friends here.
Verlie Burroughs from Canada on October 14, 2021:
What an ordeal. Great detailed description Cam. Wishing you all the best.
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 14, 2021:
So glad you're recovering nicely, Chris. You've been missed!
My stomach queased up a bit when you described the surgery and the video you watched. I wouldn't have made it thru the video. I'm a total wuss when it comes to things like that.
Sixty four, huh? We're the same age.
Keep on keepin' on, my friend!
Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on October 14, 2021:
My father broke his hip when he slipped on some ice and fell. He did well too and continued his trips down to the neighbors just a few weeks later. The neighbors son came home from work and found him laying in the snow and he wouldn't let him call an ambulance. Just wanted help into the house. The dog wouldn't let them into the house, just my dad. He got sat on the porch and left. The dog guarded him until my mom came home. She called the ambulance and made the dog behave when they came. My mom was so mad at my dad that he would not allow the ambulance to be called.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 14, 2021:
I go in on the 28th for my hip. They say it's easier than the knee. God I hope so. The recovery time of six weeks will drive me nuts. :) So glad to hear you have gone through the tunnel and emerged on the other side. Have fun with that new body part, buddy, and well-done.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 14, 2021:
I am glad you are doing so well. I have heard a knee replacement has a difficult recovery and it wound like you went through it like a champ. I appreciate the description of all you endured, Chris.
Liz Westwood from UK on October 13, 2021:
Very pleased to hear of the great progress you have made. This is a very encouraging and informative article for anyone who is facing a knee replacement operation.
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 13, 2021:
Thank you for sharing your experience, Chris. I am so glad the outcome was so good and will allow you to keep doing the things you love. I just had a minor surgery, and that is enough for me for now, so a big well-done to you.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 13, 2021:
Chris, your pleasant attitude will help you find the fun. Thanks for sharing your experience. It encourages other oldies to adjust to these new-parts changes and keep on living. Wishing you full, speedy and smooth recovery.