John Barbis, aging Philadelphian PT had a bilateral knee replacement 4 months again. I have just watched him scurry though the snow like a squirrel and run up stairs like a five year old. He can sit on his haunches and he has been doing all this for months.
John says “……I felt immediate ownership of my new knees after surgery. But I had prepared well – more my mind than the rest of my body. I started two months before the surgery. I did left/right knee discrimination exercises 3 times a day, I visualised the surgery, I visualised the IV going in, then going under and waking up. I did lots of mindfulness , the UCLA mindfulness project. I visualised my knees moving after the surgery and I imagined how they would move much more than they did before. I imagined that I would have pain, but I reasoned that it would not be pain related to any danger to my knees. I knew medication would be available if I needed it.”
“Having seen knee replacement surgeries before was helpful. I knew they would be bending my knees full range in the operating theatre and I knew it would only be swelling and sensitivity that would limit me post-surgery and this would be temporary and a part of the healing process. I knew the only way I could hurt myself was if I fell. I visualised walking normally as soon as I woke. I only used a walker at night for a few days, but I didn’t want use it as I wanted a normal walking pattern using my arms as soon as possible”.
“The new knees were all mine as soon as I woke up and I was glad to say goodbye to the old ones. I wanted to be in total control. I didn’t want anyone pushing on my knees. There is no reason why someone else should have to push on someone’s knee to get range of motion”.
“I knew there would be nociception, I knew there would be neural flares but I knew they could be made safe. I avoided the total knee education class offered – it was scary”
“Overall, I worked on my brain more than working on my knees”
Any questions – John would be pleased to answer.