While sitting in the waiting room at the orthopedic surgeon, I had a conversation with an older gentleman who said he was suffering from an illness called A.G.E., and I was thinking I can relate to that! I was waiting for an appointment to discuss my joint replacement coming up in about 2 weeks and, in my case, it’ll be a knee replacement. Much of my time the last couple of weeks has been spent on all the pre-op testing and procedures that are necessary to make sure that the process goes smoothly, including following the 26-page booklet that the hospital gave me on how to prepare for and recover from the surgery. This happens to be my third joint replacement; I’ve had two hips, and now I’m about to have a knee joint too.
As part of my preparation for surgery, I am in the process of filling out an advanced directive. This, all by itself, is a very sobering thought. At what point, do you trust others to compassionately decide on your continued existence? Would you feel comfortable crowd-sourcing this decision or letting AI or an insurance company make this call?
The processes that we go through to restore our body’s functions, such as the movement of a joint, are amazing. In my case, we’ll be using a Stryker robot that will assist the surgeon in his surgery along with a customized knee that was created following a CAT scan. The CAT Scan will be programmed into the Stryker robot to guide the surgeon during the surgery. As amazing as this technology is, someday it will become obsolete once medical knowledge advances to replace the cartilage in the joint. But had this been 50 years ago, none of this would have even been possible.
In the meantime, I am grateful for the restored mobility that joint replacement offers. Stay tuned for further post-surgery adventures!