October 27, 2011 | by Peter Rosenstein
Replacing body parts — a new way of life

I feel very lucky to be living in an age where body parts can be easily replaced or enhanced. As you read this, I am the proud recipient of a new knee. Everyone prepares for surgery in different ways. My biggest hurdle was getting ready psychologically. I have had bad knees since age 21. State of the art surgery back then is what precipitated my knee replacement today. In the olden days, they didn’t do arthroscopic surgery but actually removed the entire meniscus resulting in guaranteed arthritis. So instead of doing this because of a sports injury, which would seem much more butch, I did it because of old age, or at least advancing age.

Once I accepted that the replacement knee would probably outlast me, I scheduled surgery. I made that decision in April. I spoke to many people who have had knees replaced and they all gave me conflicting reports on the amount of pain I should expect; how long rehabilitation would take; and what to assume I would be able to do in the weeks following surgery. Based on the input I received I determined that I would work from home for at least a month and since it is my right knee being replaced it might take that long until I could drive.

So out came my calendar. I looked at my work schedule, my social schedule and the various commitments I had made for the ensuing six months. After much debate, I decided that the last major social event I wanted to attend before surgery was the Shakespeare Theatre GALA celebrating my friend Michael Kahn’s 25 years as artistic director. I told my doctor to set surgery for Oct. 20 — three days after the gala. I then had six months to prepare and at the time that seemed an eternity.

My work schedule is planned far in advance, including meetings, and I began turning down any in-person meetings between October 19th and Thanksgiving. I pre-penned articles for work and met with my staff to ensure coverage of the office. I did all the things that needed to be done and suddenly it was two weeks before surgery and I was getting nervous. A good friend had offered to let me stay at his home the week after the operation, and another friend offered to drive me to and from the hospital.

Everything was ready with the exception of this column for the Blade, which would run a week after my surgery. Picking topics is always an issue as I write about local and national issues. It can be very current if the timing for a Friday paper works. But writing something two weeks in advance meant I had to make sure it wasn’t going to be out of date when it appeared. So hence you are now reading this column about my surgery.

I am assuming from all I have been told that the physical therapist will have gotten me out of bed a day after surgery and by now and I will be walking with my new knee. It is my hope that two weeks from now you will read a new column on something much more relevant and current because those who told me I will have a speedy recovery were correct.

 

2 Comments
  • Jessica, Sparta, NJ

    Best wishes and heal quickly.

  • I am also someone who is going to need a new knee someday (due to fracture 12 years ago) and I am always grateful for the new research that is being conducted each and everyday. They are improving implants by leaps and bounds what they have been in the past and patients are having a much better outcome. I work for MedCure (medcure.org) which is a program that links persons who donate their body with the medical researchers and educators that develop and perfect knees as well as a plethora of other devices, implants, disease study and more. Body donors play such an important role in joint health, especially for those affected with genetic deformities, arthritis or (like me) suffered a trauma. Good luck on your new knee and hope your experience is a positive one :)

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