So today I saw the renown orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Wilson Choy. And I am quite impressed with him and his manners and his knowledge and his experience and his track record.
He readily acknowledges that both knees need replacing. That the right knee is in far worse shape than the left. That it is time.
He won’t do them both at the same time. I could not believe it when I heard it. I was quite deflated and sad and of course, asked him why. The reason is logical and it makes sense to us. He said that he never does a double knee replacement on a person as young as I am who is in the health that I am in. (Which is actually “good” — health, that is. . .)
“Older people have less ‘pain fibers’ and their muscles are not as strong or as resistant,” he explained. “When a person who is as young as you does both knees at once, the result is never satisfactory. We have found that there is no way to accomplish satisfactory rehabilitation, and you would end up with two stiff knees and that is what you already have — and what we want to get rid of. We want fully functional knees when we are done with this surgery. It is a hard haul for someone who is in your condition. Our older patients come in, they get their knees replaced, they go to rehab and they are doing good in a few weeks. It typically takes our younger people longer to rehabilitate — like three months– because they face more physical obstacles along the way.” His voice softened and his eyes were kind. “It isn’t easy. You know that, don’t you? You are in for a tough, difficult time.”
I wondered how he would choose which knee to do first. He didn’t even ask me what I wanted. “We are going to do the left knee,” he said. “It is the better of the two, but it is hurting and I think we should get it done and that will give us a better situation for doing the one which will need more work. The thing is we ARE going to do surgery. My nurse will come in and we will nail down a date.”
And so that is how my plans to have both of them done and get it over with went down the tube. He doesn’t even have a slot for surgery until the 14th of December. But guess what? All of a sudden, it all seems to be for the best. I don’t look forward to the next three months, but it will give me all sorts of opportunity to do some of the holiday things, get ready for Christmas, and ready my heart and my mind and even my body for surgery. He is adamant that I need physical therapy three times a week for four or five weeks before surgery. I suppose it means that Daniel and I won’t be doing the hiking next summer that I have been looking forward to, that there will be two recoveries instead of just one, and that I am going to just have to readjust my thinking, but our nurse daughter is greatly relieved.
Today she said, “Mama, I didn’t really want to make too big a deal of it, but my one nursing instructor said that the only person she ever knew who died of a blood clot after a surgery was someone who had a double knee replacement. I’ve been worried ever since you said that is what you were going to do, so this is a BIG relief to me.”
And so, once again what it really boils down to is that we are at least on our way to doing SOMETHING. And I can trust the Heavenly Father to know what is best, and to do what is best.
And I am quite content.