By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: January 2012
“Six months after knee surgery and feeling great,” says Kathy Carpenter, here with her granddaughter Elizabeth Caroline and daughter Kelly Morrison.
Kathy Carpenter is exceptionally active, and her lifestyle makes you tired just learning about it, much less doing what she does every day. Kathy had her left knee replaced last June. The surgery was performed by Dr. Ronald LaButti.
While still in high school, Kathy began experiencing painful arthritis and tendonitis and has had orthoscopic surgery twice on her right knee. To further exacerbate her condition, when she was 21 she stood all day on concrete floors at the department store where she worked. Kathy has taught piano for 20 years, plays the organ at her church, loves to work in her yard, enjoys hiking vacations in Colorado with her family, and adores her granddaughter Elizabeth. Kathy is an achiever by anyone’s definition.
Two years ago, Kathy was virtually stopped in her tracks by knee pain. She found that she couldn’t pick up her granddaughter, and she struggled to play the organ because lateral leg movement generated excessive pain in her knee. When she walked, the knee frequently “buckled.” In short, Kathy’s activities were shut down and living with the knee pain was a new way of life she didn’t want to accept. On a family hiking outing in Colorado in May of 2010, Kathy was forced to stay behind because the pain in her left knee had become so severe.
Upon returning home from Colorado, Kathy’s family doctor said it was time for her to consider knee replacement surgery and highly recommended the person he referred to as “the man,” Dr. LaButti. Surgery was originally scheduled for December of 2010, but because of family commitments had to be rescheduled for March of 2011. And then again, family obligations forced rescheduling for June, 2011.
“Admittedly, patience has always been my problem,” says Kathy. “The surgery was a piece of cake, but I’ve never liked having anyone wait on me. And after surgery my knee did not improve as quickly as I wanted it to.” Before surgery, Kathy was frustrated that she couldn’t go outside and work in her flowerbeds because she was confined to using a walker, and after surgery she wanted things to return to normal – instant gratification.
With everything now behind her, Kathy realizes just how impatient she had become. She praises Dr. LaButti and his staff for being so patient and understanding. “They immediately responded to all of my phone messages and questions,” she says. “It was really tough for me to be a patient.” Her advice to others suffering from knee problems is to get to the doctor now and see if surgery can provide a solution. “Don’t put it off,” she advises. “Suffering from knee pain is much worse than the surgery and rehab sessions.” Once Kathy submitted to listening to the professionals and doing exactly what they instructed, she began showing daily improvement.
Today, Kathy is working in her gardens, happily chasing after her granddaughter, teaching piano, and playing the organ at her church, all without knee pain or discomfort. Complete range of motion has been restored to her knee, and she and her family recently enjoyed the entertainment and walking the hilly streets of Branson. She’s also looking forward to another family hiking vacation in Colorado this summer.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.