Thursday, August 9, 2012

A New Knee Will Require a Lot of Work

Teachers at the front of the Carilion lass today.
If the intent of this morning's class was to scare the crap out of me, then consider the laxative taken.

For the past week or so, I've been tested, stuck, poked, educated and evaluated in preparation to have my knees re-surfaced (or "replaced," which is something of a misnomer) next weekend at Roanoke Memorial Hospital. It has been an ordeal, but it wasn't scary until the 2 1/2-hour lass at Carilion Clinic this morning.
The leg will be straightened.

During that class, I learned that this will be an ordeal, filled with considerable potential for danger and draped in a lot of pain. I'll have to work extremely hard to heal properly and could lose my leg to an infection caused by something as simple as a trip to the dentist.

In effect, the ends of the two large bones that meet at my knee will be sawed off and replaced with plastic and metal, forming a new knee--one that I hope works. I've been deficit in my right knee since I was 16 years old and tore the cartilage playing football. Over the years, I've wrenched it, twisted it and sprained it regularly. I've even used it as an excuse on convenient occasions. Once, when a girlfriend was cleaning my clock playing tennis, I went down holding the knee and announced that the game didn't count. She was not amused.

Mostly, though, it's been an inconvenience--a painful one--and a handicap when there were certain leg-driven activities I wanted to take part in. I haven't run for many years and lately I can't even hike the mountains. It is becoming increasingly difficult to do my hour's walk every day. The knee stiffens if I sit at my desk or behind the wheel of my truck. When I step out of the truck, I look like a guy who's 90 years old. And that's why I feel compelled to face down the demons I now know lurk around every bend and face this.

One of the immediate benefits is that my right leg will be straight again. It has become increasingly crooked over the past few years and it's beginning to look seriously deformed. My grandgirl asked me about it the other day, so I'm not hiding it well.

What I'm facing is about a year's rehab, most of it in the first three months, and a lifetime of new habits that begin with some daily exercises. It's going to be a long haul. And it has started. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'll be at Roanoke Memorial next Friday for an early a.m. surgery. come by and see for yourself.


  1. Dan I had a partial knee 7 years ago and am Fine Am due a total knee or resurface within the next 2 years....Just do your rehab and walk and swim....swimming is the best. Good Luck I think Professional therapies on 3rd St Old SW is the BEST knee rehab group around. Genie

  2. I had my left knee replaced last July, at age 64. It's suprising how mobile youu are very shortly after surgery. Rehab is very, very important. Kind of painfull at first but the eventual relief is well worth it. Swelling ocured for almost 7 months. Interesting, my titanium knee hasn't tripped any airport screeners alarms, but one quarter in my pocket will. Good Luck