Knee surgery


My arms look as if I’ve been in a fight. Plumb-colored-bruises and bandages. Along with a bandage on my knee. Monday was the first time I’ve ever spent the night in a hospital. I’ve spent many days and nights in hospitals with family and friends but never was I the subject of the stay. Even though I received great care, I have to say I’m not a fan of hospital stays.

I’ve whined about squeaking knees for years. These last several months the knee squeaking morphed into grinding, crunching, and descriptive language that could be hard to justify as I transition to the next life. 

Back earlier in the years, my niece Samantha made some helpful suggestions as to surgeons based on the knees she’s “therapied” in the past. I took her suggestion, and I’ve been happy. The road to rehab is a long one. 

Samantha said that surgery is just the first step in the process. Granted, it’s a complicated process, and people considering knee replacement (or any other surgery) should do their homework. This much I know for sure – if a doctor says knee replacement is no big deal, the patient should RUN AWAY. 

When I had my first consultation with my doctor, he said that knee replacement was no picnic. When he began explaining some of the process, I almost had a hygiene issue right there in his office. He went on to say that therapy is an integral part of the process. 

Many people have to spend two nights in the hospital after knee surgery, but medicine has made great process in the last few years. I only spent one night in the hospital. Soon I expect they will be able to do it in your car. You’ll pull into a drive-thru and say, “I would like a knee replacement, and my wife will take the colonoscopy.”

A few hours after my surgery on Monday, the physical therapist stopped by to give me the scoop on what to expect. I was still a little groggy, but he got me up, and we took a stroll around the hospital promenade. My knee felt great, and I didn’t see what all the recovery hoorah was about. 

I guess I must have napped through the part where the doctor said the pain block he’d injected into my knee would wear off sometime on the day after surgery. 

The next morning after breakfast, the PT team fetched me for some work. The pain during that session was brutal, actually, exquisite is a better word. I don’t remember cursing, but there’s a lot I don’t remember about the time I was doing those stretches.

I will do outpatient therapy at the place where my niece works. I ride to work with her, then my wife picks me up when I’ve finished.

This week, I will do three one-hour therapy sessions to start my recovery. I can’t believe I’m actually paying my niece to torture me.

Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Goes On is available on You can contact him via email at