Bilateral Knee Replacement – Connie DeFord Patient Story

Connie reflects on her double knee replacement: the first occurring right before COVID-19 halted elective surgery. The second, 5 months later. 

A history of knee pain

“My knee pain was absolutely horrible. It affected every aspect of my life. I had a limp so I’d use a cane. I couldn’t go to the grocery, or any store for that matter, that didn’t have a cart to use. My husband basically became my personal chauffer. He’d pull right up to the curb because I could barely walk far enough to make it to a cart.

When you’re hurting, you don’t want to do a lot… which wasn’t like me at all. My grandkids would come over and I was so limited in what I could do, that my husband had to help me.

I couldn’t stand that.

That was the point I knew I had to do something else. I’d received injections and had done some other treatments, but nothing was providing me relief anymore.

My doctor did X-rays and said I was a candidate for a total knee replacement. I’ve always been a bit leery about undergoing surgery. I had cancer years ago that required major surgery and I’ve just never felt really comfortable with the idea. But, I had faith that if my doctor thought this could help the pain, it was worth the risk.”

Not all patients are candidates for this product and/or procedure. Only a medical professional can determine the treatment appropriate for your specific condition.

Well, then COVID-19 hit. 

"We’d only started hearing about it, and I remember thinking… oh my gosh, what if I have to wait to have surgery? I was so worried because I’d finally made up my mind to proceed and was mentally ready for it. I didn’t want to then have the disappointment of it being delayed indefinitely.

Thankfully, they were able to do my first surgery on March 13, 2020 right before COVID-19 really closed things down. The surgery went as planned. I was surprised at how well I felt right after surgery. I remember walking from the recovery bed into my room’s bed using a walker and I just couldn’t believe it.”

It’s important to follow your doctor’s orders and work hard in the weeks and months following joint replacement surgery to complete your physical therapy. 

“During this first recovery, a few of my family members were allowed to be in the hospital. They were amazed that I was up moving so quickly. I spent one night in the hospital, only because my insurance required it. But, I would have been completely comfortable going home that day… I felt that good.

Because COVID-19 shut everything down, I was able to do physical therapy at home, which was fine with me. I know how important it is to move, so I did my exercises faithfully for 6 weeks as directed by my doctor. I really felt great throughout the recovery process and only had to take pain meds for maybe a week right after surgery. Not long at all. I was amazed by how good I felt.”

From one total knee replacement to a double knee replacement

“It wasn’t long after my first knee replacement that I noticed my left knee hurt… quite bad. So I went back to the doctor and couldn’t believe that my arthritis was actually worse in this knee than in the knee I’d just had surgery on. I couldn’t believe it because I never really noticed pain in my left knee until after I’d had the replacement on my right. Which I guess can be common because my brain was focused on the pain from my right knee since it hurt the most at the time.”

Appropriate post-operative activities and pain will differ from patient to patient. Results are not necessarily typical, indicative, or representative of all recipient patients.  Results will vary due to health, weight, activity and other variables.

“I had my second total knee replacement surgery done 5 months after the first, in August. It was different this time because of COVID-19. Again, I had to stay overnight at the hospital because of my insurance, which I would have preferred an outpatient surgery. But I wasn’t allowed any visitors this time, and that really was a strange, kind of scary feeling. I was grateful that the nursing staff was very attentive, but it definitely was harder trying to feel comfortable around strangers."

"In the end, it’s been wonderful. I feel like I got my life back!”
 
 
 
Pictures taken roughly 2 months after second surgery.

The road to joint recovery

“Within 3 weeks of my second surgery, I was walking without any kind of assistance or aid. 4 weeks after my second surgery, I took my grandkids to the zoo and walked the entire time. It’s a big zoo… and those kids are quick! I pushed a stroller with my youngest grandchild, which I think helped. But, I did it! And I wasn’t in any pain all day. It was incredible.”

Talk to your surgeon about whether joint replacement is right for you and the risks of the procedure, including the risks of infection, implant wear, loosening, breakage or failure, any of which can necessitate additional surgery or treatment.

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