Nine days after Patsy Hurst had a total knee replacement in her right knee, Via Christi Home Health physical therapist Elly Wilber is at Patsy’s home just southwest of Pittsburg. Wilber is about halfway through her post-surgery two-week therapy regimen with Patsy.
This is Patsy’s second total knee replacement this year — she had her left knee replaced in March.
When Patsy, 84, started exploring her options with her knees, she says they asked her which knee was the bad one.
“Left, I told them. But by the time I was ready for surgery, they were both bad,” she says with a smile. “I was hoping this one would do as well as the first one, and it has.”
Wilber, who has been a physical therapist for 24 years, spends about a half-hour with Patsy, putting her through a series of therapy exercises indoors. These exercises will strengthen the muscles around Patsy’s new knee so she can get back to fully participating in the many activities she enjoys.
“She’s a motivated patient,” says Wilber, “and could progress quickly beyond what might normally be expected.”
After a series of exercises inside the house, Wilber takes Patsy outside where she can practice walking on the uneven surface of the yard and up and down the driveway. Using just a cane — she’s progressed enough she doesn’t need a walker — Patsy has no problem navigating the surfaces.
Wilber and Patsy walk through the dappled sunlight and Patsy shares the story of when she and her husband moved into the home they’ve lived in for about 50 years, which is nestled among dozens of trees.
“When we first moved out here, my husband ordered 50 seedlings from the extension service. We planted them all, and 49 of them survived!” she says, laughing. “We’ve been thinning them out since then.”
Wilber will have just a few more sessions with Patsy, but the work they’ve done together has Patsy confident that the next steps in her progression will go just as well.
“The therapists are so pleasant. They don’t tell you what you’re doing wrong,” she says, “but what you’re doing right and how you can do it better.”