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Chuck Molnar, Senior Corner: Knee replacement worth the anxiety

Source – Santa Cruz Sentinel
Posted: 07/24/2011 01:30:55 AM PDT

John Glenn and I have something in common. We both recently underwent total knee replacement surgery.

John, God love him, is 90; I am 76. This is my second total knee replacement. The first was five years ago. So, although I knew what to expect, it didn’t help any with my anxiety level about the whole thing. After praying a lot, I had the surgery at Stanford Hospital on July 11.

My orthopedic surgeon, the same doctor who performed my knee replacement surgery five years ago, is in charge of the training there. His name is Christopher Mow, and I was referred to him by the folks at Coast Athletic Sports Orthopedic Training, where I have worked out for seven years.

Before the surgery I had all the anxious thoughts you can imagine anyone has before undergoing major surgery. One does this kind of thing only if it becomes absolutely necessary. I am a docent at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and greatly enjoy hiking in the forest. I finally reached the conclusion that my knee problem, a lack of cartilage, was definitely interfering with my ability to enjoy my avocation.

The surgery went well and the staff at Stanford could not have been more solicitous in checking on my well-being the four days and three nights I was there.

The staff physical therapist had me up and walking the morning after the surgery as they do with all patients. I was determined, as I imagine most people probably are, to get out of the hospital as quickly as possible.

With the aid of the lingering anesthetic, I managed to perform well ahead of the curve. In fact I was cautioned, rightfully so, to take it a little easy. I had been the same way five years ago. My son said then: “Dad, you were the first out of the gate but then you overachieved and hurt yourself somewhat.” I will have to guard against that.

My motivation is to be entirely mobile by Monterey Jazz Festival come Sept. 15. I am now in the good hands of the Visiting Nurses Association and hope to be rehabilitating in a couple of weeks.

For anyone needing this kind of surgery my intent about writing about my experience is to help you to decide to go ahead. The result is well worth the pain and anxiety. After all, as with all things in life, one must have faith.

The next meeting of the Santa Cruz County Seniors Commission is scheduled for 1:30-3:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Office, 1523 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz.

Contacted Chuck Molnar at the Santa Cruz County Seniors Commission office at 454-2355.