To replace or not to replace? Navigating the decision of knee surgery as we age

May 07, 2023
Source: Getty

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been keeping tabs on several procedures that will probably come my way, such as cataract surgery, hearing aids, and a few possible joint replacements. Most of my friends have undergone a few of these, so I guess it’s just a matter of time before I have to consider them as well. 

The first one on my agenda might be a knee replacement. Oh boy. I can hardly wait.

I’ve been flirting with this for a while because I am not completely sold on the idea. But I’m leaning toward it. Many people claim that a knee replacement is a game changer. But still, the idea frightens me

I had a very complicated knee fracture years ago, so now I’m retrofitted with all types of hardware. So, the idea of being laid up again fills me with dread. 

You see, I am not in a ton of pain, it’s more of an inconvenience. I can walk, but not the way I used to. My Gate is a bit off and I don’t move as fluidly as I used to.

It’s one thing if you break something and you have to have an operation. That’s a no-brainer. But when it’s a question of improving the quality of your life? You roll the dice. 

Will I feel better? Will I feel worse? What if something goes wrong? What if I’m finally able to do many of the things that I used to do? Why didn’t I do this sooner? 

Before I broke my knee, I led a very athletic life. Every morning I would work out for at least an hour. Usually, it involved running, biking, or swimming.

Anything sport that involved a ball was fair game for me. Basketball, tennis, softball, and golf were regular pursuits. I did all of those things easily. My place in space was limitless. I never thought about losing my balance and falling.

But since that fracture, I’ve had to redirect my time into other pursuits, most of which include writing music, photography, and comedy. And that’s been wonderful! Expressing myself creatively has been extremely rewarding. 

But I still wonder what my life might be like if I undergo the surgery. Maybe I won’t have to wrestle with my day-to-day mobility. Maybe stairs won’t be an issue anymore. Perhaps I won’t have to question my depth perception.  

I imagine travelling to unknown places with less trepidation. Maybe those cobblestones will no longer scare the shit out of me, and all those hills won’t be a pain in the ass anymore.

And maybe I owe it to my partner Erika to be a more active partner for her. Perhaps the rehab is worth the eventual outcome. She tells me it’s my decision, whatever I decide to do, and promises to be supportive if I elect to go through it again.

Have you had a knee replacement or any other elective surgeries? I would love to have your feedback. 

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