Brett had his right knee replaced this morning.
Five years ago, he had the left knee replaced. That surgery took quite a long time, he was in the hospital for three days -- managing to take two tentative steps on day one and working up to getting down the hall, slowly, before discharge. Recovery and rehab seemed to take forever: first the walker, then a cane, and finally-- after months-- pain free walking with good flexion. We never doubted it was worth the long recovery and pain, but we were a wee bit anxious about getting the right one done given that we now live in a two story home, with a porch -- you can't get into this house without going up stairs and there are no handrails.
So, when the surgeon who did Brett's knee today (Stephen Howell) told us that the rehab would be noticeably easier we thought "maybe." We hoped for the best and prepared for the worst.
Brett's surgery took under an hour. An hour and a half later, they wheeled him from recovery to a room. We were just getting settled, when physical therapy arrived to take him for a walk. He used a walker, but he walked the hallways making a loop around the entire floor. And he walked pretty fast; without a peg-leg gait. Walking behind, I could hardly believe it. And Brett looked great -- his color wasn't pasty and he wasn't loopy. He did ask for a double-double from In-N-Out -- a tell tale sign that he had been under anesthesia. He always asks for In-N-Out when he wakes up.
But, seriously, does this look like a guy that just had his knee replaced?
The procedure is, obviously, different than the traditional method used last time. Dr. Howell's method involves a shorter incision, a shorter surgery time, less cutting of bone, less loss of blood and a new knee that is placed at the natural angle of each person's leg (instead of straight) so you have a knee that mimics the one you were born with. I'm a believer, and Brett is too.
He took another walk at 3:00 before I left, booking it so fast that I had trouble keeping up. When I got back home from the hospital, he sent me a text that he had been up again.
He will get a complimentary glass of wine (courtesy of the good doctor) with dinner and he plans to enjoy it!