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Post-surgery, it’s like a new ‘knees’ on life for me

As many of you know, Tuesday, February 6 was “D-Day” for me. Double knee-replacement surgery was on the agenda, which started by scrubbing both of my knees with a disinfectant Monday night and Tuesday morning. When Debra and I arrived at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson at 5:45 a.m., I was whisked away to the surgery wing.

Apprehensive, nervous and scared pretty much describes my state of mind then.

In the Army, there is a standard response to the question “How’re you doing?” It is: “Cold, hot, hungry, wet, tired, lost and scared.” Pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?
Let me share a few more details with you.

Hand me a pen

The next step was writing “yes” on each thigh and then initialing it. I like to think this was for legal liability reasons and not just to help the surgeon remember why he was there. Nonetheless, off to surgery I went. Big room, lots of people, bright lights. Then, nothing.

I’m told that I left recovery around 1 p.m. Don’t remember much, though. Kinda hazy. Incredibly, I stood up and took a few steps the day of surgery. Not many, mind you, but stood up anyway.

Wednesday, D-Day plus 1

Walked down the hall and back with knee braces strapped to my legs. For breakfast, always an important subject for me, I got some Jell-O, extremely thin soup and some more liquids. My internist, Dr. David Fleming, came by and asked why such light fare? Don’t know. Shortly after he left, breakfast number two arrived, replete with eggs, sausage and biscuit.

Now, that’s more like it!

Thursday, D-Day plus 2

Knee braces off and more walking. After having demonstrated satisfactory progress, my surgeon, Dr. Jeff Almand, released me to go home. I was apprehensive as to my ability to function independently of the hospital facilities.

Nonetheless, away I went. By early afternoon, my physical therapist, Dale Kennon of Sta-home Health Agency, came by the house and we began our work. Truthfully, it was painful, but nothing like as bad as I had anticipated.

Friday, D-Day plus 3

Feeling great. Two therapy workouts on my own before Dale arrived. I’m walking flat and level for the first time in recent memory. Family members say I’m a half-inch taller after surgery.

Saturday, D-Day plus 4

Tough physical therapy session. Dale wanted to use “Big Bertha,” his five-pound ankle weight but couldn’t find it. Had to substitute a bag of rice instead. Nonetheless, building muscles is tough stuff but necessary to get where I’m trying to go.

Friday, D-Day plus 10

Some drainage around the incision concerned Dr. Almand and he called me in to check on things. Removed staples and sent me on my way. Since I was now able to shower and walk with little assistance from either a walker or a cane, today was a turning point.

Monday, D-Day plus 13

Walking several hundred yards at the time unassisted, able to shower and dress myself. Dale dismissed me from home physical therapy and made arrangements to transfer me to outpatient therapy. With the ending of home therapy I decided to resume a limited work schedule. That was yesterday and here I am today. I’ll probably work half days the rest of this week and see how I feel next week.

Heartfelt thanks

I hope this journal will be of interest to others who may be contemplating a similar surgery. Many have asked as to the wisdom of having both knees replaced at once and wouldn’t it be better to do one at the time. Honestly, I feared I might not have the nerve to come back for round two if I didn’t get both done at once. Both my knees qualified for partial replacements. If full replacements had been required I doubt that I could have handled both at once.

Was it worth it? Absolutely. Though I’m still recovering and have a ways to go I know that I’m standing straighter and taller than I have in years and will be able to resume the active lifestyle that I enjoyed before my knees began making trouble some six or seven years ago.

Recognizing and thanking everyone who has contributed so much to making my ordeal bearable is not possible. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least recognize a few who contributed so much. I have already mentioned my surgeon, Dr. Jeff Almand, my physical therapist, Dale Kennon, and my internist, Dr. David Fleming, who got me a second breakfast the day after surgery.

Since their work is behind the scenes and rarely acknowledged, I’d like to thank the St. Dominic staff that cared for me during my stay. Kate, Berrica, Sarah, Lateisha, Karen, Melissa, Herman, Ron, Kenny and Toby — thanks all for helping ease me through a tough situation.

And, thanks to my friend Sister Dorothea, CEO of St. Dominic, who came by before surgery and visited me every day I was in the hospital. I want to live up to her expectations; however, I don’t think I’m up for the 10K race in mid-March. Nice try, Sister. And, a special thanks to my friend Dwight Whitfield who donated his walker, cane and other paraphernalia salvaged from his surgery last year.

I expected that the Mississippi Business Journal staff would carry on in my absence and they didn’t disappoint me. In fact, they never disappoint me. Thanks to all who kept the ship afloat during the brief absence of the captain.

A gracious thanks to my friends and family, particularly my lovely wife, Debra, for seeing me through this ordeal. And, finally, I am thankful for my faith in God that calms the sea in times of stress.

Joe D. Jones, CPA (retired), is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. Contact him at cpajones@msbusiness.com.

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