Vancouver Physiotherapist TKR
Meet Kerry, local Vancouver Physiotherapist Clinic owner, Physio, and recent TKR surgery candidate.
Total knee Replacement (TKR) Personal Blog: By Kerry Maxwell (Vancouver Physiotherapist)
So I went into this TKR surgery as a Vancouver Physiotherapist and as an ‘only option’ to improving the function of my right knee. For those who don’t know me, I am an (almost) 55-year-old female physiotherapist. I have led a life of adventure and activity with a significant level of ‘clutziness’ that has resulted in many injuries over the years. Add some shitty genetics (thanks mum!) and there I am at 54 with a knee that constantly locks, swells and gives way on me when you least expect it.
Of course, I went the conservative route first. It has been about 6 years of increasing symptoms and multiple consultations, injections, and LOTS of rehab.
Leading up to my surgery, I was working out in the gym with a trainer once a week, pilates 3 days a week, and biking to work at least 3 days a week.
I finally gave up my patient caseload in July as my day-to-day was becoming less and less predictable. Having said that, I for sure, had some really good days and I would think….’ really should I be doing this surgery?’ It just seems so radical to be having a joint replacement when I can still largely function. I have watched many patients over the years struggle to avoid surgery only to end up under the knife with such poor function going in, that the desired functional outcomes have taken a long time to achieve….if ever.
That was really my driving force to proceed with this operation. I want my next 20 years to be spent hiking up vertical mountains, swimming, biking, and generally loving life.
I felt well prepared going in, after all, I had been educating patients about this for years. I was certainly well pre-hab-ed. What I wasn’t prepared for was my own emotional reaction to, well, everything. My sleep was pretty much nonexistent for the week prior to surgery. I wouldn’t say I was dwelling on it, but obviously, it was on my mind. The day of, I almost burst into tears in the car driving in. This rattled my husband as I am normally as stoic and strong as you would expect from the matriarch of a herd of elephants. Not today my friends, I found myself bereft of my normal level of control and felt like the
quintessential drowning man, grasping at foam bubbles for support, only to find them bursting in my hand and leaving me with nothing to hold on to. Overdramatic, maybe, but that is how it felt.
Hubby couldn’t stay with me, it was a drop-and-go situation. I was whisked into a chair and pummeled with a battery of questions, asked by multiple people over and over. Each had their own way of asking them –some softer, more gentle, some brisk and efficient. There was such repetition in their questions that at one point I started to wonder if they were trying to break me down over recreational drug use or a
history of allergic reactions. Eventually, the Anaesthetist came to see me. She sent her resident to do the first round of questions and then appeared herself. She eventually asked me if I had any questions at which point, I started quietly crying. She was a little startled and asked me what set that off. I thought about it, truly thought about it, and responded with: ‘I am a total control freak and the thought of giving myself over to a group of people with power tools while I am unconscious is freaking me out.’
She patted me on the knee and agreed it was a scary thing and then left. Interestingly enough, now that I had voiced those fears, they were easier to manage and I got my shit back together, took a deep breath, and awaited my fate.
I walked into the theater where they gave me a mild sedative while I sat on the operating table to receive the epidural. The resident took three shots at it, and kept missing, so the anesthetist took over and got it in first shot. I felt the cold pour into my legs as I lay down on my back. The operating room looked more like a storage room with lots of binders with instruction manuals in them. Someone put a mask over my face as I wondered how many times those binders were referenced during a procedure in this room.
Then I woke up.