Lessons From Knee Replacements

I endured more than 20 surgeries in a quest to save my foot. Each time I was wheeled into the operating room my Mom patiently waited, and worried, in the waiting room. She became experienced in her role, eventually bringing a bag snacks, light magazines and a sweater.

Last year my Mom underwent a double knee replacement, and our roles were switched. Instead of being the patient, this time I was the one nervously waiting for word from the doctors about her status. Until I was put in her position, I never fully appreciated the anguish my Mom must have experienced each time I was wheeled away.

When the surgical pain waned, I entered my Mom’s recovery phase with a sense of confidence. After all, I am accustomed to living life with compromised mobility, so I assumed that many of my tricks would easily transfer. I could not have been more wrong, and we were woefully unprepared.

For six weeks my Mom had little to no strength in either of her legs. During her stay at the inpatient rehabilitation hospital her physical therapist taught her how to use a leg lifter, which is a wonderfully simply little contraption. She proudly showed me how it worked, and delighted in the fact that she didn’t need to ring the nurses bell each time she wanted to move. For the first time since she entered rehab, my Mom experienced a glimmer of independence.

Unfortunately the Physical Therapist remembered that he left the leg lifter in her room, and came to retrieve his contraption. We were told that we would need to buy one if she wanted to use it outside the therapy room. I remember frantically begging the volunteer at the rehab hospital to open up the gift shop so that I could buy the coveted, and needed, leg lifter.

Had we been a little more informed about her post-operative recovery, and had I known about UNlimiters, I would have had the leg lifter in hand before her surgery. Being prepared with the proper devices would have saved us all  lot of frustration, enabling her to simply concentrate on her rehabilitation. Instead we were relegated to figuring it out on the fly.

Until she regained strength in her legs, a process that took months, we had to make a lot of accommodations to her home. With so many people undergoing knee replacements each year, it should not have been difficult finding contemporary information about the recovery! In an attempt to pay it forward, I am dedicating my next few blogs to tips and devices that helped my Mom during her recovery from her double knee replacements.

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