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home : opinion : columns May 4, 2016

5/13/2012 6:00:00 AM
Kingman Column: A kneed to know basis

Rich Thurlow

If they were going to make a movie about it, the title wouldn't be "The Comeback Kid," especially when "The Kid Who Came Back Too Soon" is a more accurate description.

But who's going to make a movie about knee replacement surgery anyway, unless it's about the surgeon replacing the wrong knee, or maybe they replace the knee with a '57 Chevy?

Even without a movie, however, a synopsis is in order, because who doesn't like to talk about their own bit of misery? I had the surgery April 12 after putting it off for years, mostly because I was terrified of the pain, and the first week to 10 days after would be more than I cared to deal with.

My fears were mostly based on knee surgery that I endured 40 years ago, one that left me flat on my back for a week, and one that is now routinely handled on an outpatient basis.

Times have changed, and dealing with pain has, too. Something to do with the femoral artery blocking the initial pain for about 30 hours, and thanks to some involved talks with a pain management doctor, I was well prepared to face what came next.

They call it "staying ahead of the pain," and I did that like clockwork for the next 10 days.

Physical therapy and exercise on my own followed, as did hours on end laying horizontal with an elevated leg. It seemed for the longest time that my routine was to get up in the morning, do coffee and the newspaper, then take a two-hour nap to recuperate.

I was alarmed to learn that, as my knee improved, I could do a lot of things, but sitting comfortably in a chair for more than 10 minutes at a time was not one of them. This is not good news for a guy who has made a career out of sitting in front of a keyboard for hours on end.

And that brings us to "The Kid Who Came Back Too Soon" and work days that didn't come close to eight hours. At first there was giddy euphoria - I'm back to work and this doesn't feel all that bad - followed by the realization that so far I'd only been at work for 22 minutes.

But, seriously, how bad can it be when one of the toughest parts of a recovery is coping with a well-upholstered chair?

Life is good and it's great to be back.

And would you look at the clock! I've been here 23 minutes already.


Kingman lost a great man when John Lingenfelter died April 12. My few words of appreciation for the man are more than a month late but no less sincere.

I'd lived in Kingman for a few years knowing little about Mr. Lingenfelter, in fact nothing more than what I'd read in the Miner. I knew his reputation as a philanthropist and as a physician, but not a thing about his demeanor.

So I wasn't sure what to expect when the phone rang at the office and I was told that Mr. Lingenfelter wanted to see me up front.

Five minutes later he was walking out the front door and I was headed back to my desk, sorry I'd lived in Kingman for so long without getting to know John Lingenfelter better. I was struck most by the fact that he was just such a nice, friendly man with a ready smile.

Others said much the same about him. John Lingenfelter may have been the most important man in town in a lot of ways, but he had a way of making you think the roles were reversed when he spoke to you.

Rest in peace, Doctor.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012
Article comment by: joker wilde

Hey, if you think knee surgery is painful, wait until you get shingles! The worst!

Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2012
Article comment by: Grumpy Old Sourpuss

So says the fine editor, to wit, ". . . my routine was to get up in the morning, do coffee and the newspaper, then take a two-hour nap to recuperate."

Indeed, a page from my own retirement playbook, albeit the recuperative part being more to mend the knee-jerk response I quite often experience to today's style of local journalistic experimentation.

Yay, mend thee well, my good fellow, and bring not change and uncertainty to mine well cemented routine in this the twilight of my years, I pray thee.

Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2012
Article comment by: nnp .....

I'm placing my hopes on Benjamin Netanyahu''s new troika and the freaks at Bohemian Grove to bring in the New World Order and exterminate us before my own knee replacement surgery is unavoidable.

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