I took time off for:
Minimally Invasive Total Knee Replacement, in both knees.
Here is the chronicle of my experience.
I promised to chronicle my minimally invasive Knee Replacement surgery.
Where should I begin?
Physically, I started life a wreck with Asthma, which seems as good a place as any to start, since my respiratory system was the focus of my childhood, until age nine.
I went to live with my grandparents when I was six. My grandmother was a school teacher and my grandfather was a farmer with a 110 acre farm (which is a whole story in itself). An old country doctor told my grandparents, “the child will be fine. Once his tonsils are removed, his asthma will be history”. He was right!
Fast forward four years to age 13. I am healthy and playing basketball on the varsity team in an old gym with the backboard attached to the wall. I stole the ball, made the lay up and smashed my knee into the wall. Even though my knee didn’t heal properly, I continued to play basketball through high school.
By the time I finished High School, I told my mother I would get two years of college in the service. Finally, she signed what seemed like a hundred forms for me to join the Air Force at the ripe old age of 17. I played basketball through my service years, (another whole book) without paying any further attention to my damaged knee.
I worked for a large company as a programmer while I went to college at night for Electrical Engineering (G.I. Bill). I played basketball and football on the company teams for 10 years. I managed to tear the meniscus in one knee, my doctor thought it best to remove the torn meniscus from that knee. By this time, my knees are about 70% functional.
Moving on, I decided to purchase outdoor roller skates for me and my family (wife and two boys). That’s when I discovered I could roller skate despite bad knees. I continued skating for another 10 years until I met a rock that locked the rear wheels on one skate (this resulted in a separated clavicle and two surgeries).
Still able to skate in my sixties, I met with a stick that rendered the same result as the rock, a locked skate wheel (this time I did a split, which required a hip replacement). In the meanwhile, Arthritis is destroying what is left of my knees, which are now about 20% functional. I am now officially in the ‘men with bad knees’ club. I refuse to use a cane like so many men I encounter.
We see many ‘men with bad knees’. They come in all ages, for a multitude of reasons. Why do we stumble around suffering from bad knees for 20 years or more? Is it because of the many stories of knee replacement failures? Is it vanity? Or is it lack of adequate insurance? Maybe it’s just plain stubbornness. Whatever the reason, I am happy that I made the decision to have minimally invasive Knee Replacement surgery. It will be great to walk normally again (I love to walk).
My plunge! \/
A Regular Knee!
My old right Knee (x-ray), Bone on Bone!
My new right knee in place (x-ray)
The core surgical team:
Dr. Rajesh Jain: surgeon;
Dr. Ann Mahadeviah: anesthesiologist (the person who woke me up after surgery with a pleasant hello).
The core surgical nurses and recovery nursing staff:
Other core staff:
Stephanie Godbold: Physician Assistant;
Carol Strekis: Surgery Navigator;
Maryam: Surgical Assistant.
There are many more wonderful staff members at the ‘Joint Replacement Institute’ (JRI)
who made this such a pleasant experience.
Day (1) OPERATION DAY (new knee) – 2016/04/21 – Minimally invasive surgery
ARRIVAL – 11:30A:
- Pre-op testing;
- Pre-op preparation;
- Moved to private room with couch, recliner, sink, 50 inch TV and private bathroom by 5:00P.
Dinner at 5:30P.
Post-op tests, interviews and free time.
My caregiver (my wife) spent the night with me in the private room, a real morale booster.
Day (2) HOSPITAL RELEASE – 2016/4/22:
- Post-op instructions, scripts, meds and re-hab;
- Trip to car and good-byes by 2:30P home with new knee.
Day (3 – 4) HOME- 2016/4/23 – 2016/4/24
Used walker, did exercises and took meds prescribed by doctors.
List of prescribed exercises
I chose HEARTLAND Rehabilitation Services at 2630 E Chestnut Ave, Vineland, NJ 08361.
Their website below gives a list of their services and is technical.
The core team of administrators and therapist (Brenda, Debbie, Jeff, John & Selena), are the best. My wife used Heartland after a knee replacement and I previously used them for re-hab after a hip replacement with superb results.
Don’t get me wrong, there is pain with minimally invasive knee replacement surgery, which is why striking a balance between pain killers and stool softeners is so important in the process.
The recovery rate, because of fewer cut muscles, is what’s so amazing. Be sure to note my recovery rate below.
Day (5- 11) Wk 1 -2016/4/25 – 2016/5/1
Out patient Re-hab 3 days, did all exercises (see above list) and took meds prescribed by doctors. Gave up walker for a cane on Friday 2016/4/29!
Week’s accomplishment: Can bend knee 100 degrees.
Day (12-18) Wk 2: 2016/5/2 – 2016/5/8
Out patient Re-hab 3 days, did all exercises (see above list) and took meds prescribed by doctors. Rode bike on Wednesday 2016/5/4! & Thursday 2016/5/5
Week’s accomplishment: Can walk without cane for short distances.
Day (19-25) Wk 3: 2016/5/9-2016/5/15
Out patient Re-hab 3 days, did all exercises (see above list) and took meds prescribed by doctors. Rode bike each day, Wednesday 2016/5/11 & Thursday 2016/5/12 started using step. Stepping up & stepping down. Next: stepping up with one foot followed by the other foot & then stepping down on the other side, one foot at a time, reversing the process, both feet up then back down to the original side.
Week’s accomplishment: Step exercises really took a lot of effort but the results were a stronger unassisted gait.
Day(26-32) Wk 4: 2016/5/16-2016/5/22
Out patient Re-hab 3 days, did all exercises (see above list) and took meds prescribed by doctors. Rode bike each day, Monday 2016/5/16 – Thursday 2016/5/19 continued using step as in week 3
Week’s accomplishment: The step and bike exercises continue to strengthen my knee.
Day(33-39) Wk 5: 2016/5/23-2016/5/29
Out patient Re-hab 3 days, did all exercises (see above list) and took meds prescribed by doctors. Rode bike each day, Monday 2016/5/16 – Thursday 2016/5/19 continued using step and bike as in week 4.
Week’s accomplishment: The step and bike exercises continue to strengthen my knee. I can step up without pulling myself up and I can walk without a cane at home!
Day(40-46) Wk 6: 2016/5/30-2016/6/5
Out patient Re-hab 3 days, did all exercises (see above list) and took meds prescribed by doctors. Rode bike each day, Monday 2016/5/16 – Thursday 2016/5/19 continued using step and bike as in week 5.
Week’s accomplishment: With the step exercises and the bike, my new knee is really getting much stronger. I actually use my cane for my left knee now, which is getting worse.
Skip forward to August, below is an x-ray of
my left and right new knees in place.
It is now September 8th, six weeks of re-hab on my left knee is complete. I no longer need a cane. Re-hab for both knees is a success.
It takes about 6 months for a replacement knee using this technology to heal completely. Therefore, there is some homework.
Stem cell knee regeneration is still my first choice, but that is not feasible and a long way into the future. There is still research being done, however the procedure is not covered by insurance so that leaves me out. It costs around $8,000.00 for one current treatment and it is not suited for knees in my condition .
So 6 months after the 1st surgery I have two pain free knees that are good for my lifetime if I don’t abuse them. Not a bad deal for a ‘Man with two (bone on bone) knees a mere 6 short months ago’.
Disclaimer: This is my experience with this technology.
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