Monday, March 30, 2009

Mom's Knee Surgery at Cleveland Clinic in South Florida

So far, so good. It's hard to believe that you can have knee surgery in about the time it takes for a few fillings at the dentist's office. Okay, so prep and recovery add some time, but the process itself is about an hour for a full knee replacement.

My mom did really well. The hardest part was getting to the point where she walked through the front door of the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida (west of Fort Lauderdale and if you are anywhere near South Florida, it's a great place to go). Kudos to my brother, Stephen, for doing the research on where to get mom in for knee surgery.

My mom's big worry is, of course, her two orange tabby cats, Tyler and Pineapple (the former being the rather overweight indoor sissy cat and the latter being the lean, outdoorsy hunter). The cats have access to her garage and plenty of food and water, so I'm not the least bit worried.

Me? I'm staying a mile down the road at the Courtyard Marriott (not a lot of choices nearby) so I can spend most of the day at my mom's room and not have a 1.5 hour drive back to her house in the sticks, I mean, the "acreage" out in Loxahatchee (my brother and I talk about it being as far west as you think you can go and then go a little farther).

Stephen wondered why it took me so long to drive down here. I patiently explained that mom's Saturn has seen far better days and that it needs a good alignment session (I asked my mom if she had hit a curb before and she said "yes" but only going about 5 mph, hmmm). So for now, her car tops out at around 55 mph in zones where 70 mph is perfectly legal. A fine car for a little old lady who most days goes no farther than the grocery store and the gas station, but for long commutes, not so fun!

I have to say, the Cleveland Clinic seemed to live up to its reputation. I wrote on my Facebook status that my mom's anesthesiologist looked and sounded like Antonio Banderas (nice!) and her operating room nurse's name was "Hope" (even better). Everyone was incredibly helpful and nice and the facility seems first-rate (my mom bragged about having a room "with a view").

Around 10:00 pm, Stephen called (my mom had only gotten to her room less than an hour before he called). There were many things my mom couldn't remember, but she remembered a little piece of gossip she had heard and promptly repeated it to Stephen. Funny how that works. We teased her about being a bit dramatic (she feigned shock, quite true to form). Lots of laughter and good spirits, which allowed me to let out a big sigh of relief at how well my mom was doing (pain meds help, of course!).

Meanwhile, my mom is a night owl at heart and around 11:30 pm tonight she looked plaintively up at me as I started to gather my things to leave. I promised to come back in the morning and set her up with the tv remote, along with her juice and jello, and she blew me a kiss with a big smile telling me how happy she is that I flew out to be with her for her surgery.

Dramatic. Appreciative. Endearing. That's my mom, and I am happy to be here for her. Fingers crossed for a good day two!


Flora said...

Knee Pain Not Helped by Surgery, Study Shows

Surgery is no better than more conservative treatment to relieve arthritic knee pain, a new study finds. If the pain is from arthritis and not some other problem, the operations do not help.

In the new study, being published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, 98 patients who had the operation fared no better over two years than 86 who had physical therapy and took medications to dampen inflammation.

The results of the study are in line with those from a study published in 2002. But experts are divided about what effects the two studies will have.

Some say the new study just confirms what they already knew. Others say they hope that doctors who did not believe the 2002 study will be persuaded by this one to stop doing such operations.

Cindy Marteney, CEO, Our Health Co-op said...

Flora, I agree when the knee has not led to bone on bone grinding, which was the case for my mom. It was a mechanically-caused pain and not just inflammation. My brother did extensive research on options and although we always prefer natural approaches that support the body healing itself, we felt this was the right solution for her. Thanks for taking the time to write about the good work published in the NEJM though! Cindy

Cindy Marteney, CEO, Our Health Co-op said...

Flora, here's an article that differentiates between the arthroscopic knee surgeries that have not had good results in early and mid-stage arthritis and total knee replacement, which have excellent results in late-stage arthritis of the knee: