Tips on recovering from knee replacement

I do not remember ever going that long, even during those winters in Connecticut when I was with Golf Digest, without playing the game. However, I was off 90 days before returning to the course in March. Of course, it wasn’t just the weather that kept me off the course. There was the matter of knee replacement surgery in January. The knee is still a little stiff at times and only once in six rounds have I dipped into the 70s.

While I had experienced some problems with my left knee for years, I didn’t know just how bad the arthritis was until I kept an appointment with Dr. Christopher Hanssen with the Cole Clinic. A look at the e-ray showed no cartilages and no shocl absorption between the bones, a condition called osteoarthritis. He asked, “How quick can you get ready for surgery?”

Without thinking, the next thing I know, we had decided to do it the next week as soon as I could get a check up by my family physician. She sent me to heart doctor to check everything out to see if a 69-year-old was ready for surgery. I passed with flying colors.

Here were some of the best tips that I can pass along to others considering the procedure:

*Find an orthopedic surgeon you are comfortable with as I did.

*Educate yourself about the surgery and the recovery. The doctor can help, but there is also wealth of information on the internet.  Ron Johnson, who had the surgery the day before mine, mentioned that he went to a class to learn more.

*Talk with others like I did. Almost by accident, conversations with Jerry Andrews and Keith Rock were very helpful.

*Have a positive attitude and realize that you will feel a little tense. It helped that I did not have a long time to think about it.

*Then perhaps the most important thing is to remember that physical therapy is a key to recovery. “No pain, no gain” is the slogan. They start almost immediately after surgery to get you up and on the way to walking and moving the knee, using a continuous passive motion unit to assist you.

You do experience a lot of pain, but the hospital does keep you well supplied. You still don’t always feel like having company, however. Phone calls might better. Dr. Hanssen came by several times, even bringing his kids one weekend day.

I was scheduled to have home health assist with my treatment on my return home, but Dr. Hanssen quickly recommended going to an outside physical therapist when he discovered that the one from home health had not gotten by to start work. While on the expensive side at a co-pay of $35 per visit—I went more than 12 times in the next month—I think working with Monica Greene at Matrix of Wylie really helped speed up my recovery.

Guess I didn’t really need a nurse either, not with a wife like Betty to take care of me.

One big shock for us was the hospital bill that showed the knee implants cost more than $90,000 and the entire bill totaled almost $140,000. Of course, that’s not even close to what the insurance company actually paid, leaving me owing $1,000.

So while still a little stiff, especially when I sit too long at the computer, I am pleased with my decision to go ahead with the knee replacement and look forward to many more rounds of golf in the future.

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