Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Entry 3, Pre-Surgery Preparation

I left the assessment centre with an information package and instructions to attend a Pre-Operative Education Program. On June 18, 2009 I attended a three hour class for knee replacement at a local home health care centre. The class was held by a physiotherapist and nurse practitioner from the Holland centre so they were familiar with all of the facilities and staff. They covered topics like:

- improving strength and fitness before surgery

- what to expect prior to going into and after the operation

- exercises and activities for immediately after surgery

- planning for discharge

- preparation of your home

- equipment requirements

Of all the attendees, I was the only one having both knees done at the same time so my post-surgery would be quite different. People with single knee replacement are up that day, and stay in the hospital for 3 days or until they can climb 3 stairs. I won't be out of the bed until the following day, and my catheter and pain drip will remain in for 3 -4 days. I'll stay in the hospital for 5-6 days and then be transferred to the rehab section of the hospital for the next 7 days.

Or at least that's how they expect things to go. Everyone is different and I guess I think I'll be the exception and be up and about in no time! That's my plan, anyway.

I still have a lot to do including getting a total blood workup, EEG, dental checkup, and a 5 hour patient orientation program approximately 2 weeks prior to the surgery. So until then I am trying to enjoy our summer and check out lots of internet information on my new knees.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Entry 2, Assessment and Referral

These are the original xrays taken by my G.P. You can see they are quite knock-kneed. I don't have the ones that Dr. Cameron viewed.

Finally, I couldn't take it any longer, I knew my knees where done, but I was sure I'd have to fight to get something done to at least one of them. On April 30, 2009 my G.P. referred me to Dr. Hugh Cameron at the Holland OrthopaedicArthritic Centre located on Wellesley Street in Toronto. It's part of the Sunnybrooke Hospital. I didn't have to wait long for an appointment, my first visit was to the assessment center on May 5, 2009. The assessment team took about 3 hours to put me through the paces. A physiotherapist checked my function and I had to perform several walking tests. New xrays were taken and they recommended that I see Dr. Cameron, which was set for May 13, 2o09. During that visit, I waited in the room with several other people to see this little Scotsman. I was strategizing on how I could convince him to do something with at least one of my knees. When he opened my file on the computer he called me over to the screen. All he said was "do you see that -- your knees are done; you'll have to have bilateral total knee replacement" I'm sure I looked shocked - and all I could summon up to say was - "why and what does that mean?" He replied that I 'didn't have a good knee to stand on and I'm fit enought to have them done at the same time, one surgery.' That's it, that's all, he was done with me and off to the next - just go to his office and make a date with his secretary for the surgery. In his office the date suggested was July 23, 2009, a little too soon for my liking, I didn't want to be laid up for the summer so I chose October 13, 2009. Now all I have to do is get ready.

Entry 1, Some Background Information

Hi, I have decided to share this experience with whomever might find it interesting or helpful. I have been searching the Internet for information about my upcoming surgery with limited success, and thought this may be a good way to chronicle the process of getting bilateral total knee replacements. Firstly, I have been an active person all of my life. I am a 56 year old female and my life has been full of physical activities. Born and raised on a cattle farm in Alberta, Canada, I have ridden horses since I was 3 years old. I helped raise cattle and horses on my parents farm but moved to the city to earn a living when I graduated from school. I was a cross-country and downhill skier, did a lot of backpacking in the Rockies and loved to dance. Later on I became a fitness instructor and did a great deal of cycling, scuba diving and sailing. Ten years ago my husband and I entered the cattle business again but recently had to sell the herd. We still have our horses and we enjoy golfing, and riding our new motorbikes. During my skiing days, I had a crash at Fortress Mountain in Alberta, and severed my left knee ACL which the doctors brilliantly repaired. But 20 years later the damage to the cartilage is apparent. The right knee took up the slack for the left knee and that proved to be bad for it as well. I had to have my right cartilage removed in 2004. Then in 2006, I was thrown from a young horse when he was spooked when a wild turkey flew up between his legs while riding in one of our fields. My left leg was caught in the stirrup and I got sling-shotted to the ground. I had physiotherapy afterwards to help the pain. So with all this I noticed my legs were starting to look knocked-kneed and the pain was intense. The knees would lock unpredicably and I could feel grinding whenever I tried to do certain yoga and other poses. I knew that I need some help but I had been told, after my surgery in 2004 that although I was a candidate for a new knee, I was too young and the surgeon would not consider it until I was in my 60's. So I was prepared to have pain and discomfort for then next 10 years.