Have a Knee Replacement in the Middle of a Pandemic? Oh, Hell. Why Not?

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

I Could Have Blamed Chubby Checker

…but because it happened so long ago, I won’t.  I was a young teenager, home alone after school, listening to the radio, and all of a sudden I heard the song lyrics, “Let’s twist again like we did last summer.”

So I did.  Joyfully…skillfully…and with great enthusiasm.  I was totally in the moment when I lifted my left leg, had all my weight on my right leg, and made a big twist.

That’s when I heard what sounded like a giant knuckle crack.  That’s also when my knee began to swell to the size of a basketball.

At the ER, the fluid was drained from the knee (without anything to reduce the pain of that procedure, I might add).  I was given a brace, some crutches, instructions, and a doctor’s requirement for “modified PE” for several months.

And so I limped along toward recovery when I injured the knee again within the year.  Chubby Checker was not involved this time.  I think I just abruptly turned when most of my weight was supported by my right knee, and it was instant replay after that.

Six Decades Later

My severely arthritic right knee had a heart to heart talk with me this spring.

“Look.  I’ve had it.  I’ve kept you going through the disco era, decades of gardening, chasing after and frolicking at water parks with grand kids, a few minor tumbles down stairways, and near misses as you exited off ladders.  I’m done.  I need to retire and be replaced.  Get that appointment with Dr. Hockman.  I’m sure he’ll agree with me.  It’s time.”

So I did and Dr. Hockman agreed.  He will perform the total knee replacement tomorrow.


I’m actually pretty pumped about it.  I have read through all the materials the Columbia Orthopedic Group gave me, watched YouTube videos with explanations from surgeons and physical therapists, and I have a couple gal pals who have been through it.  In addition, I have a great team of pals in place to assist once I get home, which I hope will be Saturday at the latest.

Of course, I wish it could be simpler.

"Knee replacement? Can I have it replaced with chocolate?"

I’m glad I didn’t have to wait months.  With the pandemic going on, my goal is to be back at home before the current outbreak might worsen here in mid-Missouri (we’ve been lucky so far), and certainly before any possible “second wave” that might develop later.

Plus it’s not like my social calendar is filled with anything interesting these days.  A weekly yard gathering with gal pals, socially distanced and with favorite beverages in hand is it. We chat, laugh, and lament about world events.  It’s group therapy.  Free.

Ready and Optimistic

During a phone conversation several weeks ago, my son told me, “Mom, you won’t regret getting it done.”  Then my pen pal in New Mexico made the same comment a few weeks later.  My two gal pal knee replacement veterans have “no regrets,” and I’m convinced I won’t either.

I have an excellent surgeon lined up, a wonderful hospital, and I’m sure the whole team who tends to me in the days ahead will be great.


And those Pain Meds…

Three or four, I think.  Already at home, along with an elevated toilet seat, a reaching tool, and an ice pack wrap thingy.

A couple days ago I was reading instructions for the pain meds.  Take one…or two…every four hours.   Take one…or two…every six hours.  Take once a day.  Hmmm. Now that I’m not always of the sharpest mind, I decided to make a spreadsheet.  That way I’ll write down when I take what.  Thank you, Excel.

And…just as I was finishing up this post, the hospital called.  I’m to arrive there at 10 a.m. to check in.  (Yay! not at the crack of dawn.) Surgery will be at about noon and will take about 2-2 1/2 hours.

Then the hard work of recovery and rehab will begin.








About jjmummert

This blog was originally titled "Drifting Toward Planet Elderly," and it shared a journey I had with my elderly parents as they both finished their lives battling the complexities of dementia. After both passed on, I changed the title to "Living on Planet Elderly." I am a retiree who is reluctantly adjusting to the reality that she is now elderly. In July of 2021, I relocated to Middleton WI after living in Columbia MO for over 40 years. I decided that I want to experience a new and vibrant location in a cooler climate with lakes...a bucket list item of mine. I have a first cousin who lives in Madison. We have nice childhood memories, and I thought it would be wonderful to spend some time together as elders. It was. AND THEN....in March 2023, I returned to Columbia. I had a wonderful time experiencing the Madison area of Wisconsin, spending time with my cousin, and making some wonderful friends. No regrets.
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