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Hobbled, but repaired and back in the loop somewhatPosted Saturday, October 3, 2009, at 4:15 PM
This illustration shows the new knee prosthesis like the one that was surgically placed in my knee. (Submitted photo)
I know some of our readers may have been relieved that I've been off the beat, but I can assure you it was not by my choice.
On Aug. 31, I underwent complete knee replacement surgery at St. Francis Hospital in Mooresville. That's the second time I've had surgery on this pesky left knee of mine.
The first surgery was more than six years ago at Bloomington Hospital. For some unknown reason, the procedure went bad requiring a revision surgery.
In simple terms, my orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Berend, M.D., from The Center for Hip and Knee Surgery, had to clean out all of the old prosthesis hardware -- made of chrome and titanium -- and replace it with new stuff.
To prove that he actually did change out my old "clunker" knee, my doctor cleaned up the worn-out prosthesis and gave it to me last week during my post-operative check-up.
I've been thinking about trying to cash it in as part of the Congressional "Clunker's" program or I'm possibly going to offer it for sale at a discounted price on e-Bay.
What do you think I could get for this old knee that was replaced with one that cost more than $40,000 -- not including the $11,000 fee my doctor charged to install it?
Overall, the surgery went well.
The surgical team had to clean out some connective tissue that had wrapped itself around the prosthesis. They also had to grind off about one-eight of inch from both my tibia and femur bones to make the new knee fit properly.
That sure sounds like there was a lot of hammering and sawing going on during the procedure.
Can you believe they wanted to know if I wanted to stay awake and watch the surgery with the aid of some kind of spinal block?
I told them to wake me up when it was all over, which thank goodness they did.
I was given a medical release to resume some part-time writing from home last Monday and my homebound journalism will extend for another week.
Then -- maybe then -- I can return to full time duties at the office.
I can tell you I am ready.
The past few weeks have been physically and mentally challenging.
I was home after three nights in the hospital.
That was when the fun began.
The awful PT or physical therapy began and I've got to tell you, Candy -- my PT lady -- can bring tears to you with ease.
She's had me watery-eyed and wincing in pain more than once. I have learned that an ice bag is a dear friend after some of the torturous, but necessary rehab sessions.
There's been plenty of moving, bending, stretching, squatting and extending of my knee in order to restore my range of motion to an acceptable level.
I'm told I am making good progress, but it's all pretty frustrating when I can't just jump up and walk without the assistance of a walker or my black-colored cane.
Tougher than the pain associated with the rehab has been boredom.
I've pretty much become a Fox News Network junkie -- trying to keep abreast with all the national and world news just to pass the time.
My Dish Network has hundreds of stations to choose from, but why did I watch eight straight episodes of Roseanne in one afternoon?
I have managed to catch up on some reading and tooling around on Facebook and updating my status for my friends has helped to pass my time.
One day I was so bored, I actually counted the 174 square ceiling tiles in my bedroom.
I would be remise if I didn't mention the wonderful family and friends who pitched in to help make my recovery go smooth.
My dear wife, Sharon, deserves more thanks and credit than I can ever possibly give her. She has been a real trooper in trying to put up with me when I haven't been the best patient in the world. She's been wonderful and I really do appreciate everything she has done for me.
My daughters have also been there to help and to offer words of encouragement on the days when I was feeling down and out.
Members of my church family at Newberry United Methodist Church and neighbors have all called, mailed cards and stopped in to check on me. Thank you all so much.
Thanks also to everyone else who has called or e-mailed. Your words of concern and care are deeply appreciated.
My road to recovery has not been a smooth one. There have been plenty of curves, turns and chuckholes.
I can see and feel progress one small step at a time.
It's been a tough and bumpy ride, but through the grace of the Good Lord I can see light at the end of this tunnel.
Good health is such a blessing. When it is lacking, you seem to appreciate it even more.
And just so you know, my right knee also needs repaired in the near future.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wordmaster1953.
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