Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Knees and other thoughts

Thinking about Tibet and organizing my thoughts and images of that journey had to be put on hold for the past while: friends always come first. I spent much of last week in Seattle, at one of the major hospitals, advocating for a dear friend who had  knee replacement surgery.
It appears that we all should take an advocate with us when we are planning a hospital stay.  There are lots of controversies swirling around of late about the state of health care in many Western countries: many of the stories are negative. It was definitely appropriate that I was there ( or someone else could also have been the watchdog!) to intervene when people were not paying the attention they ought to have been doing.
My friend's ability to walk without severe pain has decreased enormously over the past few years and in the images below you will see  the evolution of her new knee joint. 
#1 ... the degree of displacement of the bones of her lower leg.  The fibula bone is posterior to the knee in a very dramatic way.  When I saw this image I wondered how she could possibly walk.
#2 ... an image of her "new knee" in place and her now straight leg.  The unusual looking ladder on the front side of her leg are the staples put in the skin until it heals.
#3 .. the new knee joint in a frontal view ... look at how straight it is!  Remarkable.
The first Total Knee Replacement surgery occurred in 1968.  It was an unthinkable option when I was in nursing school.  I think of how much my grandmother would have benefited from such a surgical intervention.  This surgery was a great success and my friend is at home recuperating ... doing her exercises diligently and imagining hiking up a small hill next February to assist with an art installation. 
Meanwhile it's time for our family to gather and await the birth of a new grandchild in the next few days ... then it will be time to get back to documenting my Tibetan adventures.
#1 Side view pre - surgery

Side view of same knee with new joint in place

Front view with new joint in place and the oh-so-straight leg.

1 comment:

  1. Holy Moly! She is now quite the Bionic Woman!