Orthopedics & Sports Medicine blog

July 25, 2017

Knee Replacement Surgery at Sauk Prairie Joint Health Center

Dan Weaver: You'd be sleeping in the middle of the night, it'd wake you up in the middle of the night and your legs would hurt so bad. You'd get up the next morning, and the first thing you'd do is you'd walk like Frankenstein.

Jean Sandrock: We were in New York, up and down stairs, and it was my first problem that I noticed, that I was having trouble going up and down the stairs at the colleges.

Weaver: And even my wife would take a look at me and say, "You know what, you're not fun to live with anymore." Because I was grumpy; I hurt all the time.

Sandrock: Saw my family doctor and then decided. He said, "Oh, you have arthritis and you're probably at some point in time, you might have problems with it."

Narrator: Dan Weaver's knees became so painful, he could barely walk up and down the stairs. Jean Sandrock's painful knees often prevented her from working on her art. After doing some research and speaking to doctors, she decided to have her knees replaced one at a time at Sauk Prairie Joint Replacement Center in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. Dan Weaver came to the same decision and decided to have both knees replaced at the same time.

Weaver: I happened to know one of the doctors up in Sauk and had started talking to them and talking to the nurses and stuff, and they said, "Come on in, let's take a look at you. Let's see how bad it really is." And they started taking a look at everything and the quality of life and what I could do and what I couldn't do, and they said, "You know what? It's time."

Sandrock: It was scary. I was pretending to be brave, which I was pretty well until the night before and the days before. And then, you know, with anybody, this is major surgery and it was scary, but I kept my eye on the idea that I wanted to be able to have 30 years more of mobility.

Weaver: When you walk in the door from day one, you are given this booklet, here's what to expect, here's what's going to happen, here's when you're going to go home, when you go home here's what's going to happen, here's the physical therapy that you're going to have to do when you get home, here's kind of a step-by-step plan.

Sandrock: We liked the class that was offered. That was very helpful. It answered so many of the questions. They walked you through everything. You talked to the anesthesiologist, you found out what to expect. They showed you where you were going to be. They explained how everything was going to work.

Weaver: When you go in there, you are treated with such respect. You are treated as an individual.

Sandrock: I do remember being slightly out of it. I do remember them talking about a special cocktail of drugs that they used. I was surprised that they didn't just knock you out.

Weaver: Before when I went in, I was in so much pain that the next morning when I woke up, you've got muscle pain, but there was no joint pain. And that was completely different for me. I could not believe it. The first time I stood up and stood on them and took those first steps, it was like, "Wow, they don't crack." I don't hear crunching anymore. They don't hurt. The joints don't hurt anymore. And granted, there's plenty of medication that you're given. 

What they had done is they had given me a spinal, which is a time-released morphine that they had given that lasted for 48 hours. So at first you can manage the pain and get through and start working and start using those joints, but also it kind of gives you that nice outlook, because you know what? This isn't so bad. I can actually do it. When the pain actually gets in, it's muscle pain, but it's nothing if you look at it as far as when you go into the operation to what it is afterwards. To me, it was extremely tolerable.

Sandrock: It's such a reassuring thing that you have a chance that you're getting up and you're walking the next day.

Weaver: I was the furthest room in rehab, so I had the most to go, and everyone was like, "Oh, what a challenge." To me, that was my personal way of doing it, it's because I'm one of these people that love a challenge.

Sandrock: I can stand on this leg and I can move and I can get my leg off the side of the bed and I can stand up. Certainly there were people there to help me when I needed help, but they want you doing it on your own, and you are doing it on your own from day one. 

Weaver: You walk to therapy, and with that then you've also got everybody else who's had their surgeries. It could be hips or it could be knees.

Sandrock: I am very intimidated by having people... I don't like to exercise in front of people and I don't like people to see me if I'm less than 100 percent. 

Weaver: There were five other people that had gone through the surgery, and they had all done these too, so we're all in there and it's nice because it's an encouragement where you can get to know everybody.

Sandrock: The people that we met were wonderful. We all realized we had been through a similar experience. It was great for us to talk about it.

Weaver: Everybody was kind of struggling a little bit at first, but you really kind of help each other out. 

Sandrock: How many steps did you take today, or how far are you on the walking? You always wanted to be the one that had walked the farthest, so that was great. That was a wonderful, great motivation. I loved that it made you feel that anything was possible and that because we were all doing it, there was sort of that security in the group that we could all do it.

Weaver: The coaches are there to not only help you go through your exercises, but also as far as encouragement.

Paul Sandrock: The best advice that we received was to do exactly what you're told, don't do more, don't do less, don't do it sooner or later, just stick to everything and it's a formula. And it works.

Weaver: Before, I would walk up the steps, and they could hear me coming all the time because my knees would crack and just crunch. They could always hear me coming. Now I can walk up the steps and I can sneak up on them, and I've done it. I'll go up there and all of the sudden... one night I went up there and they were up in bed, and they were up there playing their Game Boys, and they were supposed to be in bed sleeping. And I caught them doing it. They were like, "Dad! We didn't know you were coming!" It's just something of that nature where, you know, enjoyable things that I can do with my kids.

Mrs. Sandrock: We danced at my niece's wedding in September. I haven't danced in years and years. It's absolutely life-changing, and the idea that I can now do the things that I want to do without thinking about it.

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