Out With the Old (knee), In With the New

This coming Monday I’m having total knee replacement surgery. Neither of my knees is very healthy, but my left knee has been particularly painful. It’s been over a decade since there has been any cartilage between the bones of the knee, and all that wear and tear has taken its toll.

I tried to get my actual x-ray to illustrate this post, but that proved to be difficult, so here’s one I got off of Google Images:

knee xray
X-ray of a Normal knee vs Arthritic knee

Normally the bones are separated by cartilage, which allows them to move without much friction. My left knee’s x-ray looks almost exactly like the image on the right. I have had to have all the cartilage in that joint removed over the years, and now it’s “bone on bone”.

I’ve written about my physical ailments before, and for the past two years I’ve been despondent over this decline. Then this past November came the email from the state soccer referee representative informing us of the upcoming registration and re-certification for the 2019 season. I thought about my complete lack of involvement in soccer over the past two years: I reffed a few games in early 2017, and didn’t ref a single game in 2018. I had decided that I should face the truth and retire. I told my wife and family, and felt at peace at finally accepting that this was something I simply could no longer do.

But a couple of weeks later it started gnawing at me. I didn’t want to give this up without a fight. I told my wife that I was thinking about getting a knee replacement, with the goal of being able to ref a few games by the end of 2019. She was 100% behind me, so after the holidays I started looking around for a surgeon. After many hours researching knee surgeons in San Antonio, I found Dr. David Fox, and set up an appointment. We discussed what would be involved, and he didn’t sugar-coat anything. He told me to “expect 6 weeks of hell” after the surgery, as the recovery process involves doing a lot of physical therapy exercises that can be painful. Normally, people undergoing this surgery have to take 3–4 weeks (and sometimes longer) off of work, but as I work from my home, I can be back at work as soon as I’m off my pain meds and mentally clear.

I’ll be sure to follow the course of the surgery and recovery process in future posts. Now I’m ready for my 6 weeks of hell!