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Old 09-01-2018, 01:47 PM
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My Own Personal Everest- Rehab Tips from a Pirate

The following I wrote for our current newsletter... Thought I'd share for those who don't subscribe.. Most of us, being long term motorcyclists, have not been kind to our knees or joints or the rest of our private parts. Many I-BMW members have undergone knee replacement surgery as I did recently and my guess is... others will be forced to venture down that road at some point. Here's something to think about....

My Own Personal Everest

By now, most of you know that I had full knee replacement surgery last year. In preparation I had researched the procedure diligently and narrowed it down to two of the best surgeons in the country. Both offer revolutionary new surgical techniques featuring super-fast recovery times of only 8-10 weeks and very little pain. I liked the idea of very little pain. After a quick call I discovered that my first choice (Dr. Steve Nguyen in Orlando) was booked a full 2 years in advance and didn't accept my insurance anyway so my second choice (Dr Thomas Gautsch @ the Southern Sports Medicine Institute in Nashville) was easy. Bam.. done.. I booked it... Drove to Nashville on November 31st and had the procedure done on December 1st. While the procedure came off without a hitch... history will record that my recovery has been nothing short of FUBAR. (Google it...) As it turns out.. my leg (ie muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc) was in much worse shape than anyone had imagined from my original injury almost 50 years ago. Lucky me.

I had originally planned on writing a full report on my foretold fast, Wolverine-like recovery for this newsletter, but reality shot that idea all to hell. That being said, I see no reason to share a tale of woe, junkie drugs, debilitating depression, and pain so epic that Ivar Lothbrok would cringe. Like a bad marriage or the Obama presidency.. I just want to forget it ever happened. Instead, I'd like to share some advice I accrued over the last few months for anyone contemplating knee replacement or similar procedure.

Obviously a good surgeon is your first priority, but the real key to getting your life back after a full knee replacement is the rehab. My least favorite lesson learned from this whole ordeal is that everyone recovers at a different rate. Just because your best friend and/or your mother-in-law who is 150lbs over-weight and 10 years older had the same surgery by the same surgeon and recovered fully and was back to work in 8 weeks doesn't mean you will too. This is not a perfect world, my friends and no two bodies are alike. Karma may also figure into the equation, but that's just speculation on my part.

There are two main considerations to ponder for your post surgical adventure. Of course mentally preparing yourself for a 110% personal effort is a given, but every bit as important is who you hire as your rehab therapist. Like any other profession, there are good therapists ... bad therapists.. and also those that could have served humanity better as a carnival barker or taking movie tickets at the local multiplex. I spent time with 5 rehab therapists at 3 different facilities during my lengthy recovery. The first 4 therapists ranged from a Caligula protégé, to an apathetic bully, to a clueless hottie, to a Debbie Downer. I did everything they told me (and more) and made little or no progress. They blamed me and even shamed me for not meeting "their" expectations. After being summarily bruised and battered (both physically and emotionally) by the relentless negativity, I was ready to give up. I relegated myself to believing I'd never ride my bike again. Then in my darkest hour... I found my "Tenzig Norgay"



.Most people (I'd like to think..) know that Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mt Everest.. What many don't know is that Hillary admitted afterwards that he'd never have achieved his lifelong goal of reaching the summit without the wisdom and guidance of the Sherpa...Tenzig Norgay. I can relate.

Once I got back to Asheville (after an entire month in Nashville,) we sought out a local rehab facility and after some research we ended up at Avora Health where I met Krista Connelly, DPT.. (ie.. Doctor of Physical Therapy.) (Pics below). I told her my history, what I had been through up to that point, and my goals.. She was shocked at how the other therapists had treated me and simply said.. "We're going to approach this differently. It'll take a while, but we'll get you there.." That's all I needed to hear. She would be my Sherpa. I would be her Sir Edmund Hillary..

Fast forward 8 months to today: Woohoo! The summit is within my grasp. My final rehab visit was last week. As of this writing, I'm about 97% recovered and the new vibranium knee is functioning as promised. I'm walking normally, hiking again, and most importantly.. I'm back on my bike. With her guidance, patience, humor, and Yoda-like wisdom, Krista ..er.. Ms Connelly helped me achieve the goals I had set for myself and with the regimen she has laid out for me, I am confident that I can achieve that last 3% on my own. Life is good and getting better every day thanks to a rehab therapist that was a cut above.

My advice?.. Do research. Interview a few therapists before deciding. Don't just sign up with the first rehab center you find in the phone book or on-line. Tell them your expectations and goals and "listen" to their responses. Make sure you're on the same page. Don't settle. Seek out your own Tenzig Norgay..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Krista&I-1200.jpg (438.7 KB, 53 views)
File Type: jpg Krista&I-1200B.jpg (590.4 KB, 55 views)
File Type: jpg Krista&I-1200C.jpg (434.2 KB, 53 views)
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  #2  
Old 09-01-2018, 02:16 PM
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Re: My Own Personal Everest- Rehab Tips from a Pirate

I'm happy for you Jerry. If I need therapy of any kind I'm calling Doctor Connelly. I quess we will see you at DGR.
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Old 09-01-2018, 02:32 PM
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Re: My Own Personal Everest- Rehab Tips from a Pirate

I'm really glad that you're back in the saddle, Jerry. Listen....any pics of the clueless hottie?
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Old 09-02-2018, 07:13 AM
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Re: My Own Personal Everest- Rehab Tips from a Pirate

Some people have jobs just for a paycheck and some people have jobs because they have a real passion to help people. Doctor Conelly is the latter and we need more people like her.
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:35 AM
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Re: My Own Personal Everest- Rehab Tips from a Pirate

No wonder you've been a little out of your mind, you've had physical torturers bringing the pain and haven't been able to ride! I knew you had the knee done but assumed that your rehab was short and successful. Sorry to hear of all of the ups and downs, both physical and emotional. Awesome to hear that you found someone to put you back on the right "track"! And hoping to see you (and Amber of course) in Maggie Valley.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:07 AM
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Re: My Own Personal Everest- Rehab Tips from a Pirate

Good news Jerry, thanks for the info!
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:51 AM
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Re: My Own Personal Everest- Rehab Tips from a Pirate

Glad to hear you are doing well! And it's for personal reasons. Two knee surgeries in the past. and limping for the last two months, I been wondering if I am due for new knee. Have an appointment next week with an ortho. Over the phone they said because another Dr worked on me 25 years ago he would not do any more than drain or give meds. With my back I found a few Drs that won't give second opinions or even see you if you have seen another Dr. I now find myself thinking finding a surgeon that will even talk to me because of past work will be fun. So just seeing this ortho may queer me from being able to any other Dr. Glad you seem to be doing well, gives me hope.
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Old 09-02-2018, 11:13 AM
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Re: My Own Personal Everest- Rehab Tips from a Pirate

That's interesting... I had multiple doctors work on me in the past and my surgeon acted like that was an irrelevant issue.. All he was concerned about was my pain.. One x-ray and he knew I needed a knee.. Made the appointment after a 20 minute visit and examination and of course.. making sure my insurance covered it.

Having spoken to multiple ortho doctors over the last few years, they had one commonality.. Generally, they won't even consider replacing a knee unless you are in chronic or semi-daily pain and that's after you've tried everything else.. As it should be, I guess. Have you tried everything else? Most are just stop-gap fixes, but you generally have to go through the process.. as I did.. Good luck with it, buddy..


Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmm
Glad to hear you are doing well! And it's for personal reasons. Two knee surgeries in the past. and limping for the last two months, I been wondering if I am due for new knee. Have an appointment next week with an ortho. Over the phone they said because another Dr worked on me 25 years ago he would not do any more than drain or give meds. With my back I found a few Drs that won't give second opinions or even see you if you have seen another Dr. I now find myself thinking finding a surgeon that will even talk to me because of past work will be fun. So just seeing this ortho may queer me from being able to any other Dr. Glad you seem to be doing well, gives me hope.
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Old 09-02-2018, 02:22 PM
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Re: My Own Personal Everest- Rehab Tips from a Pirate

Great account of your experience, Jerry... I know how depressing it can be to be unable to participate in your passions due to physical limitations. Congratulations on your recovery!!
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Old 09-02-2018, 03:45 PM
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Re: My Own Personal Everest- Rehab Tips from a Pirate

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmm
Over the phone they said because another Dr worked on me 25 years ago he would not do any more than drain or give meds. With my back I found a few Drs that won't give second opinions or even see you if you have seen another Dr.




Those are doctors you want to steer clear from anyway...
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Old 09-02-2018, 03:45 PM
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Re: My Own Personal Everest- Rehab Tips from a Pirate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pirate
That's interesting... I had multiple doctors work on me in the past and my surgeon acted like that was an irrelevant issue.. All he was concerned about was my pain.. One x-ray and he knew I needed a knee.. Made the appointment after a 20 minute visit and examination and of course.. making sure my insurance covered it.

Having spoken to multiple ortho doctors over the last few years, they had one commonality.. Generally, they won't even consider replacing a knee unless you are in chronic or semi-daily pain and that's after you've tried everything else.. As it should be, I guess. Have you tried everything else? Most are just stop-gap fixes, but you generally have to go through the process.. as I did.. Good luck with it, buddy..
I was told this by the office gal when I made the appointment. They had a referal from my NP. I found a few back drs that would not see me because I saw someone else first. Weird. I do have the
" Broke Dick" insurance coverage. So finding someone that even takes my insurance is a pain in the ass.
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