David, 67, has been physically active his whole life: a skier, a gymnast, a scuba diver and cyclist. When he was 15 he broke my tibial plateau, tore both cartilages in the anterior cruciate ligament. By age 30, his knees were arthritic and unstable and his knee issues led to back pain. It got to the point where he could barely walk four blocks. David’s wife convinced him that he needed to have surgery.
DAVID: My name's Dave. I'm 67 years old. I worked in government and private industry. I was a skier, a scuba diver, a cyclist. When I was younger I was a gymnast. So I was fairly active physically all my life. When I was 15 years old I did a vault, landed wrong on my left leg and it hyper extended backward. Broke my tibial plateau, tore both cartilages in the anterior cruciate ligament. So from that point on I was pretty well limited in what I could do physically. I couldn't run. But I could ski. I'd be skiing since I was a kid.
DAVID: By the time I was 18 I'd had both cartilages removed from my left knee. And I had arthritis in that knee. When I was 29 years old I tore the anterior cruciate ligament on my right knee. Developed some arthritis in that. So from about the age of 30 on my knees were arthritic and somewhat unstable. When I was 50 years old I picked up cycling largely because of wife who's a triathlete. I had to do something to keep up with her. And I couldn't run. We would cycle together. I did a number of century rides. 100 mile rides. And until probably I was in my 63rd, 64th year I was pretty avid both skiing and cycling.
DAVID: Things began to slow down, even though I'd had a lot of problems with my knees, it began to get worse and worse. I had gotten used to the pain over 40 some odd years of living with bone on bone in knees. But what was really the issue was the way my knees were positioned, uh, was throwing my entire alignment out. And I developed a lot of back trouble. And by the time I was about 64 I could barely walk four blocks.
DAVID: My wife finally convinced it was time to do something about it. As it turned out in November of 2012 I had bilateral arthroplasty. I had both my knees replaced. I had good strong upper body strength, which was one of the reasons that the doctor was willing to do both of my knees.
DAVID: With a knee surgery, there's going to be a period of time when the leg is simply not gonna work very well. And if you do both of them at the same time, there's gonna be two legs that aren't going to work very well.
DAVID: I actually went through my house and tried to do the things that I would normally do but without being able to use my legs to any great extent. I tried to simulate what it was gonna be like to actually have the surgery. And one of the things I found was the only way I could get up and down the stairs was to pull myself basically up the rail and then brace myself on the railing going down. You need a fairly good amount of upper body strength to be able to muscle yourself around. Now having said that I will say there was some muscles that got sore that I wasn't expecting in my arms and shoulders during recovery.
DAVID: There's an entire protocol that-that is laid out fairly well for-for joint replacements. I was asked not to take any anti inflammatories including aspirin for a period of a couple of weeks before the surgeries. I was asked to take iron supplements because of the possibility of blood loss. So I took over the counter iron supplements.
DAVID: At the time we only had one dog so that wasn't too much of a problem. We now have three so that was kind of a detour. My wife had her hip replaced in December of this year. So we had to board our dogs for the period of time leading up to the surgery in order to, uh, to try and keep things as-as clean as possible.
DAVID: For about three days before the surgery we used a special soap and frankly I'd advise anybody to-to just be aware that it's gonna dry out your skin.