WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) Most people think surgery is the hardest part of getting an operation. But the recovery process is perhaps the most difficult and most important thing to get through. Take it from Wichita Falls resident, Richard Pfeffer.
Just two weeks after his total knee replacement surgery, Richard has been pushing, pulling, and stretching through the pain as part of the process of Joint Camp. After years of chronic pain in his left knee, Richard knew it was time to stop putting off the inevitable.
“I’ve been grinding bone on bone for 20 years and the team, Dr. Schacter and them have done wonders for my knee, but it got to the point that the pain was basically now about 24/7,” said Richard.
Lucky for Richard, United Regional has received advanced certifications in joint repair and use the same methods found in the metroplex. For example, Dr. Chandler Harvey says during a surgery like total knee replacement, they have different ways of numbing a patient without completely putting them under.
“There’s two ways to do anesthesia, one is a general anesthesia which is what most people think of,” said Dr. Harvey, “…and with regional that’s a way that we can just turn off the part of the body that they’re working on.”
In Richard’s case, he was given a spinal anesthetic.
“We give some numbing medicine that goes in between the bones and ligaments of the back into the fluid that surrounds those nerves and that temporarily turns those off, so just like when you go to the dentist and you get a couple of shots, we just instead of turn off the mouth, we turn everything off from about here down,” said Dr. Harvey.
When the surgery is done, no time is wasted in getting patients back on their feet. Richard said his knee surgery was early on in the morning on June 6th, and they had him in Joint Camp at 2 ‘o’clock that day.
“They do the exercises to push me to exercise the muscles, activate the nerves to make sure that everything is working,” said Richard.
According to the director of rehabilitation services, Travis Newberry, Joint Camp is not just physical therapy.
“We do a very extensive educational class which happens a couple of days or a couple of weeks before the surgery, depending on when it’s scheduled,” said Newberry. “We go over the entire surgery process from before you have surgery, during the surgery, post-op recovery in the hospital and then follow up care after the hospital which in many cases is in the facility.”
For Richard and his number one motivator and wife, Teresa Pfeffer, being able to share the experience together has been hard but rewarding in so many ways.
“It’s quite an ordeal, it’s not just an overnight thing and the quality of his life should improve greatly,” said Teresa.
“If you don’t do this and you don’t take the recovery process seriously then you won’t get what you expect out of it, but if you push yourself and do everything you’re supposed to be doing, then yes you will succeed,” said Richard.