Arthritis caused by an old knee injury did something freezing waters, crushing weights and Herculean stunts never could… it nearly brought Jack LaLanne to his knees. So he brought his knees to the Arthritis Institute. Today, with two new knees, Jack's back… working out, traveling and acting like a kid again.
Living with pain...
"When you lose your ability to get around normally, you feel inadequate, you feel like an old person. Every day you're getting worse, you're going downhill."
A life changed...
"You know, before my surgery, I felt like I lost my freedom. And movement is freedom. I had this excruciating pain, and I couldn't move the way I wanted to. But thank God, I've got my movement back, which means I've got my freedom."
"After my surgery, the biggest surprise I had was the freedom of pain and the movement that I had. I expected to be laid up much longer. The wonderful people at the Institute were so caring. I felt like they had just one thing on their mind--helping me. And that was what was so great about it."
Just do it...
"I've had close friends of mine who kept putting it off, and they've suffered for years. I keep asking them why don't you do something about it? Life is so short. Why spend years and years of suffering when you can just spend a short time to get the things repaired? You'll have your whole life ahead of you…take advantage of what modern science has available today. Don't put it off. I look at it like I am doing them a big favor. It's like saving somebody's life. It's so easy, so please do something for the most important person on this earth - you!"
A lifetime biker and runner, Chuck Reynolds is living proof and, at 76, thankful to be back on the road with two new hips that were replaced in 1998.
The Pain Begins
"My problems manifested themselves mostly in one leg. They were indistinguishable from spinal problems, which I had had. And gradually you find yourself cutting back, cutting back, cutting back. I wound up on a cane."
Nerves. Anticipation. Answers.
"I've never seen anything so studied and organized and planned and together. This whole operation, from one end to the other, is step one, step two...tell me what it's like at day three; fine, they'll tell you what it's like--the whole deal is worked out, and you just finally say "to worry is silly"; they've got it all planned! It's gonna work."
"I called and asked a question or two about my house--I had a roman bath setup I had to step over to get into a shower. Bang! Jeri Ward (Orthopaedic Nurse at the Arthritis Institute) was out to the house, personally checked it out; everything's fine, here's what you do. I took her out in the garage and said, can I use my Nordic? That's fine. And then she drove to Santa Barbara to see one of their other patients, and then drove back to work. I mean, these people don't know the definition of not doing it. They just don't know it."
Life After Surgery
"It's an astounding sensation. They say get up on your feet. Really? Okay, you get up on your feet, and it feels like it did back when you were 17 or something, it's just, no sensation, you don't know whether to feel gypped or pleased. Did you really do this thing, it's remarkable."
"I think it's remarkable that you're so complete after these surgeries, you're just back where you were. I don't feel impaired in any way. And life now can just be whatever you want it to be. It's gorgeous."
Physical Therapy - A Team Approach to Get You Going Again
"It will start off this way…In terms of the physical therapist and the occupational therapist, we joked around with them. They're nice people, but we used to call them PTers, pain and torture. But that's only a joke for them. They were nothing short of amazing. Okay, first day, you're going to do this and you're going to do this. Nah, you're crazy. No, no, we can do this, we can do this. But I just had surgery 24 hours ago and you want me to walk on these brand new things, I've never even tried. They work you through it. All, the daily things for those first six weeks, everything you need to know. How to get in and out of a chair, in and out of a car."
Technique and Procedures at the Arthritis Institute
"There were a number of things that convinced me it's the right place. You hear them say we're going to use this new technology. Some of them were simple but made it all the more comfortable for the patient. One of them was a hip wrap, which is how they wrap your wounds. Why do you have to torture patients? Why not just wrap it up with some velcro wraps. We get the same thing done, and then we velcro it open, velcro it shut. So it's those little things that make us comfortable or make it easier for us so that we may get out of there faster and return to our lives faster."
"You become, in fact, part of a family. When I came back for my six-week checkup, I couldn't tell you how many times I got hugged by these people."
Sukjkit Dhillon had a bilateral knee replacement in 1997 and rediscovered the joy of walking without pain. She describes her experience...
The Pain Begins
"I felt it day by day, I am cutting down all the activities. I remember once we were on an Alaska cruise, and I felt so bad I couldn't even come out from the cabin to go on the deck or anywhere. That was really pathetic. I was really in a lot of pain."
The Family Is Disrupted
"Naturally, when you are in pain and you suffer, I think your whole family suffers with you. I couldn't do housework, I couldn't entertain friends, entertain my family, even my grandkids. It was really, really sad. And at one point I couldn't even go to the bathroom, I had to crawl to the bathroom."
"I think another thing they (the Arthritis Institute) have going in that respect is that the entire staff that you interface with at the hospital is on the Arthritis Institute team. Everybody there knows who you are, what your needs are, your idiosyncrasies, and day or night, they are just there, and there's no problem. And this is not an every day experience in a hospital."
Physical Therapy - A Team Approach to Get You Going Again
"I felt that the physical therapist really prepared me to go home. And I have 16 stairs at home, mind you, I knew that I was totally prepared to handle the stairs. And I wanted to push it. In other words, the physical therapist had to tell me to do less rather than more because I wanted to repair so quickly. But I went home and felt like I was totally able to handle those stairs, and my life. I didn't feel like I was impaired and unable to deal with the things in a normal household."
When The Pain Is Gone
"Since I had my surgery, my life has changed because I don't have any more pain, and I can do whatever I want to do. I can travel around (because I love to travel). I can play with my grandkids…they love to take grandma shopping, and to the park, and it's such a beautiful feeling."
"It's so funny, Dr. Dorr told me, when you are in the hospital, we'll treat you like a queen, and they did. They did treat me like that."
Robert Mondavi recalls his successful knee replacement. "They made me taller!" As the travel demands of his worldwide wine empire became increasingly painful, he turned to his physician, who recommended a half dozen leading surgeons. "I did my own research and was impressed by what I saw… I was standing the next day have never looked back."
patient adventures >