Orthopaedic Surgery Gave Me Back My Life

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation

By Carolyn P.

Grateful Orthopaedic Patient and Ortho Connect Volunteer

I had suffered for about five years with very sore knees. I used to go to the nursing home to visit my mother to take her out for a drive. Because of debilitating pain I couldn’t walk far so the staff had to bring my mom to and from the car – even though she was in a wheel chair and i could hold on to it for support.

Life was difficult. Shopping and outings became very challenging – my husband even had to put a lift on our travel trailer for me. Often you could find me on a chair at the table preparing dinner as i couldn’t stand long enough to finish

When i finally got a referral to the orthopaedic surgeon i was very overweight and out of shape from lack of exercise and movement. My surgeon was able to help me with cortisone shots every 6—8 weeks which provided short-term relief for a few weeks, but still, my daily life schedule was effected and house work went to the back burner.

Finally i had one  knee replaced and at first it was difficult as i had not prepared myself ahead of time by exercising enough and, due to the bad winter conditions i didn’t get enough physiotherapy quick enough after surgery so my range of motion has never been what it could have.

I will be having my other knee replaced probably within the next year.

My experience has taught me a lot and my upcoming surgery will be much different.

For those planning surgery, I extend some advice that I hope will help you through journey:

  • Exercise before the operation with advice from physiotherapy
  • Get moving quickly, under the advice of the surgeon and physiotherapist
  • Don’t take lightly the importance of physiotherapy and be committed to it

Today, my life is quite different since the operation and, for me, it was well worth it.

I am on very, very small amounts of pain management even though I still have one very bad knee, and have not even had any cortisone shots since

  • I have been on holidays many times in our trailer and have not had to use my elevator to enter and exit
  • I have been able to cope with housework better and even had people from Switzerland share my very small bungalow for a month
  • I am able to exercise  and  as a result have kept my weight down
  • I can go more places and participate in more outings with friends
  • Having even one knee replaced has helped my posture

I understand that no operation is fun, but you can prepare ahead so the suffering is limited and the return to mobility is fairly quick.