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Trina O’Quinn is back after knee replacement surgery – sharing a big idea and looking for your stories…

Hello! After along unanticipated break, I am back to posting my blogs on NABBW and BabyBoomer.org. My recent hiatus, not by my own choice, has come to an end, finally.

The past 10 months have been a whirlwind for me. Ups and downs, for sure, along with finding some joy in the ride. It all began last July when I went to New York City to visit a friend. There were storms along the way. That meant I ended up sitting in both the LA and Boston airports for a total of 5 hours due to grounded connecting flights. What should have been a 5-hour flight took 10 hours. Needless to say, I started my visit exhausted.

When I arrived, the weather was in the 90s and very humid, typical NYC summer heat. Normally I can take it, but because of the travel stress my asthma kicked in, and that, combined with the pain in my knees, meant walking became extremely difficult. NYC is very much a walking town, so I was miserable.

I realized that I had to sit down with myself and seriously start thinking about total knee replacement surgery. By Labor Day, I could not walk at all without pain – extreme pain. My husband suggested that I call my rheumatologist, to see if I could get my gel shots earlier than scheduled. She told me that they were no longer working, and advised that I see a surgeon for a total knee replacement consult.

March 28 I had the surgery on my left knee. Thankfully, it went well. What no one tells you though, is that the recovery is difficult. I had three weeks of in-home Physical Therapy, then went to a facility for 12 more sessions. After this batch, the PT therapist told me to ask the surgeon for more. I am happy to say that I have now finished 3 of the next 12 – 18 sessions total.

Here’s what I’ve learned, that I want to share with anyone who is contemplating joint replacement surgery:

  1. No one told me how difficult it would be for me to regain the optimum range of motion of 180 degrees. I turned the corner finally: going from 100 degrees to 120. Only 60 more degrees to go and I can drop to once a week and return to water therapy. On June 3, I actually walked 2,871 steps. That is the most I have walked since July 2023. Only this time, thankfully, I was walking without pain.
  2. I am so grateful for my 86-year-old husband of 60 years, as he has been the best nurse and chauffeur anyone can ask for. He watches me, reminds me to slow down and takes me anywhere I want to go, without complaints.

There is much else going on in our lives.

  1. The sadness is that my son-In-law was diagnosed with bladder cancer in August last year. He had his first surgery on October 3, 2023, and has had two more since. He is also in his second round of amino therapy. His attitude is good, and he is working when he can. The MDs so far have been able to save his bladder.
  2. The joy is that my eldest granddaughter had a baby boy in May, named Corin. That makes my husband and me great-grandparents. We now have 4 generations in our family once again. I went to Washington State for the baby shower in March and came home to have knee surgery. I am hoping that I will be able to get to see everyone after Labor Day. I have finished the top of Corin’s crib quilt and will have it ready by then. Maybe I will have my middle granddaughter’s queen-sized bed quilt finished by then. We will see.

As I said before, I believe I have turned the corner and have more motivation once again. I am waiting to have the other knee done until late fall. I want to enjoy the summer and early fall. I will start writing soon. In fact, this letter is the beginning of my new blog, so you will recognize it when I send it to you. 

NOTE: If you are also a survivor of joint replacement surgery, there is something you can help me with, if you would. I would like to create a booklet of some sort which includes advice and suggestions from joint surgery “survivors.” I wish I would have read something like that while I was recovering. When I mentioned this to NABBW’s “Boomer in Chief,” Anne Holmes, she suggested that perhaps I could create such a booklet by collecting thoughts, suggestions and advice from my experience, as well as the experiences of other readers who have also had joint replacement surgery. If you’re interested in this project, send us a message in the form below this post, and let’s see if we can get something going…

Fondly,
Trina


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NABBW Contributing Author

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