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11/20/16 04:07 PM #108    


Mark Podolner

Since it came up in our discussions on this web page I wanted to let everyone know that I had my knee preplacement surgery on Thursday and I am recovering well. Thanks to the multiple narcotics and other medications,  the pain is only mildly excruciating. I am able to get around on my walker some now and I've already had a home PT and nursing session. Everyone says I'm recovering without any problems (so far) and that would seem to be accurate. My grandkids brought me flowers and hand made cards in the hospital and I have been reveling in all of the attention and sympathy. 


11/21/16 10:10 PM #109    

Steven Andes

Great news!

11/22/16 12:06 PM #110    


Susan Moise (Herman)

Mark, good news.  Hope your reccovery is speedy with no issues!  Thanksgiving is here so give thanks for what seems to be successful surgery!  And soak up all that attention while you can!



11/22/16 05:02 PM #111    

Gus Pappas


I'm glad you are doing well...get back to normal soon because you are important to a lot of people ...

How are you walking? 


11/22/16 08:22 PM #112    


Mark Podolner

Steven and Susan - 

Thanks for your words of encouragement about my recovery from knee replacement surgery. I'll be up and around soon and ready for  another lunch at Manny's or whereever. 

11/23/16 04:07 PM #113    

Gary Matthews

Hi Mark;

As a retired PT who worked in the field of geriatrics for nearly 40 years and treated a multitude of hip and knee replacement patients in their homes, I can honestly tell you that the most important part of this whole rehab process is being compiant with your home exercise program and being conscienctious with it even after being discharged from out-patient therapy.  If you do that, your long term results should be outstanding, hopefully returning to your pre surgical activity level....probably a higher level!

Although admittedly not the norm, (and probabbly not recommended by many surgeons), I play tournament level softball with several guys who have had knee replacements and perform very well in the field and on the bases.

So, anyway, good luck with your new bionic knee; take care and stay active.


11/24/16 12:40 PM #114    

Sherry Zivin (Terao)


Sending you hopes for a quick total recovery!  I had both my knees replaced about 6 years ago, and wished I'd done it years earlier.  I have zero pain in my knees and full mobility.  I'm still working on those muscles around the knees, tho'.  Your victory is certain....just be wary of those pain meds; they play havoc with your digestive system!



11/25/16 03:50 PM #115    


Mark Podolner

Gus - 

Thanks for all your support and encouragement. It's been great getting re-introduced to you through our mutual knee issues. I can walk pretty well already - actually lying in bed is more painful because my leg is full extended, which is the way it should be but it makes sleeping hard. Stairs are still a challenge but I'm getting there. I'm guessing I'm be  up and around in  2-3 weeks and available for lunches at Manny's or wherever.  

11/25/16 04:04 PM #116    


Mark Podolner

Hey Gary - 

I really appreciate your professional prerspective and all of it is accurate in terrms of what I've experienced and what I've heard listening to stories for the past decade (having had this condition for a long time). I've had some trouble dealing with  the pain issues which then restrict my exercising but that's gotten better as I've learned what's most effective - Norco versus  morphine. I've had 3 PT sessions at home and next week I go to outpatient PT. I'm pretty highly motivated since I'm a active person. Also the activities I engage in don't require much lateral movement - hiking, biking and swimming. I found that I couldn't even play golf well because my osteoarthritis is pervasive and the degenerative disease in my back inhibits that torque you need for a good swing.

My primary motivating goal is a Meditarian sea cruise that Marion and I are taking in  April to celebrate our 40th anniversary. And if I can do it I'm scheduled to drive (or fly) to San Antonio and Scottsdale at the end of January. I pretty much work backwards from the trips that we plan. This also gives me a high degree of motivation to do those boring and painful PT exercises. In fact I'm going to do a set right now. Thanks again for your support and advice.  

11/25/16 04:07 PM #117    


Mark Podolner

Susan - 

Thanks for your worlds of encouragement. At Thanksgiving time I am definitely thankful for my kee and all the parts that connected to it (which have now been removed to make room for the bionic alternative). With some hard work in PT I hope to be up and around fairly soon.

11/25/16 04:16 PM #118    


Mark Podolner

Sherry - 

I knew there had to be others out there who had this very common surgery for people our age. Did you have both knees done at once?  I know several people who have done that and there's no way I could have pulled that off. 

I find that in alot of medical advice you get from doctors you still have to figure out a lot yourself - be your primary health advocate. Now I was already constipated from the other medications but the real killer on that fron is the morphine and I very quickly realized that and  use Norco (Vicadon, Hydrocodone) as my primary pain killer along with  Celebrex as an anti-inflamatory. Now before this surgery I had been prescribed "Linzess," which is a powerful anti-constipation medication (too strong before I started taking these painkillers). Now there's a battle going on in my body between Linzess and Hydrocodone and Morphone, which basically keeps things in balance. None-the-less, I defintiely look forward to getting off all this stuff. 

It's great to hear that your recovered so well and regretted not doing it sooner. I have a feeling that's what's going to happen to me. Thanks for your encouragement. 

11/27/16 09:44 AM #119    

Paul Kerman (Margievalenti@gmail. Com)

Hi Mark,

Glad to hear you are doing well! Don't overdue, no set backs please.


11/28/16 10:11 AM #120    

Steven Andes

I echo the comment about keeping up with physical therapy.  You have to keep moving.  I can move much better now with the new knee than before.  But, the new knee tightens up if I don't do the therapy.



11/29/16 10:28 AM #121    


Susan Moise (Herman)

Anyone with experiene with a T12/L1 bulging disc that is pushing against a nerve??  Cortison shots did zip. Started physical theraphy last week-hoping that will give me some relief. Surgery not an option according to 2 different surgeons!



11/30/16 07:48 AM #122    

Felice (Fifi) Kaufmann

Sue - How open are you to alternative therapies? There is an Eastern Medicine treatmnet called Gua Sa that TOTALLY did the trick for me. Accupuncturists, which I think I spelled wrong, often know this technique - If you can't find anyone who does this, let me know - The woman I saw for Gua Sa literally wrote the book on it ad she would undoubtedly be able to help.....

Felice aka Fifi




11/30/16 03:19 PM #123    

Gus Pappas


Fifi can you please give me her name and number

I would like to giver a try I have those same type of pains.. thanks ....


11/30/16 05:40 PM #124    

Felice (Fifi) Kaufmann

Hi Gus - She is in New York CIty ( where I now, alas, live) - so unless you live here, which I think you don't, it might not work... 

HOWEVER, do I recall that you are a PT? (Cant remember why I think that but,.....) - She has some professional lectures on You Tube which would enable you to describe the technique and make it easiser to find someone in your community who might know someone who might know someone (and on and on) who could do it.

This is her website:  If you write to her and use my name (Felice, not Fifi - "Fifi" is only for  people who knew me before age 25, so y'all get a free pass)  I'm sure she will be able to give you the names of people in your commuity who do this technique

This is a video done by one of her students that explains Gua Sha As a PT you may understand it ways that others (like me) do not......

And just for good measure, here is her bio on You Tube -

NOt sure if ths will help - but if all else fails, if you ever come to NYC, I'm down for getting you in to see her or somebody!!!


PS Apparently there are many accupuncturists who do this technique but don't necessarily advertise it - so maybe all of the above is irrelevent and you could do better by just calling around......







11/30/16 05:43 PM #125    

Felice (Fifi) Kaufmann

Ooops Gus - I just noticed that it is someone else who is a PT - I'm an idiot - SORRY!

11/30/16 06:12 PM #126    


Mark Podolner

Paul - 

It's good to hear from you. I think my recovery is going pretty well and I am very careful about the rehab and everthing that's involved with it. I can walk without a cane now so it's a question of regaining flexion and extension. Thanks so much for expressing your concern. 


11/30/16 06:17 PM #127    


Mark Podolner

Susan - 

Hopefully the PT will help with the disc problem. I can't really think of too much else except accupuncture and I haven't had any personal experience with in. Cannabis might help but I doubt it. I know that my lower lumbar disks deteriorated altogether leaving the vertebrae pressing on nerves. I go in about every 6 months for ablations in which they melt the nerves of a given vertebrae. Perhaps, that could be used for bulging discs - I don't know. I reccomend that you consult with a pain specialist if you haven't done so already. 


11/30/16 06:19 PM #128    


Mark Podolner

Steven - 

Have you recovered from your bicycle injury? I appreciate your advice on the PT follow-through. It's difficult when it involves a fair amount of paint at this stage but I'm doing my best. In fact I'm going to stop writing to you and go do my new exercises. I've been having in-home PT and today I went for my first out-patient session. 


12/01/16 07:00 AM #129    


Susan Moise (Herman)




Hi Fifi(Felice),

I'm open to any alternatives! My PT treatment do seem to be helping a bit so will continue those for now. - few friends have said Pilates has helped them. If these don't work, will check out your suggestions and acupuncture. Perhaps your contact can recommend some one here in Chgo!

Thanks for chiming in to our geriatric thread!!




12/01/16 11:03 PM #130    


Mark Podolner

Hey Gus - 

Here's a NY Times article on a study that indicates that you shouldn't wait too long until getting a knee replacement. Of course, you're in pretty good shape so some of the concerns (especially for women) don't apply. However, this is definitely something to think about. I'm two weeks out from the surgery and I'm beginning to feel something like a human being and taking less narcotics as the wound heals really helps my cognition and my mood. 

Though I'm not having an easy time with my recovery from full knee replacement surgery, one can also wait too long making the recovery even more difficult. So if you're holding off you might want to consider this:

New Advice for Surgery on the Knees

FOR years, people with worn-out knees were told to wait as long as possible before opting for replacement. Wait until you are older, the thinking went, so the joint will outlive you.

But medical experts say doctors and patients are pushing the limits of their old joints too far. Improvements in artificial joint technology and surgical techniques mean replacements are lasting longer than ever — often 20 years or more. But doctors are still advising candidates for replacement to “wait until you can’t stand it.” As a result, some patients wait until the cartilage in their knees wears out completely, leaving them housebound and with painful bone-on-bone rubbing in their knees.

The problem is that patients who wait too long become so debilitated that recovery is harder and function is often not fully regained. “There’s definitely a point where there’s a diminishing return if you wait too long,” said Lynn Snyder-Mackler, a professor in the department of physical therapy at the University of Delaware. “You end up trading one set of impairments for another.”

About one in five adults has arthritis or chronic joint pain. As people age, cartilage begins to wear, and the resulting inflammation causes swelling, pain and stiffness. Jobs and sports that involve repetitive motion on a particular joint can increase the risk of developing arthritis in that joint. Family history and weight gain also play a role.

Joint replacement is not inevitable once arthritis sets in. Treating the pain and inflammation early on can help people maintain function longer. Over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers as well as supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin may offer relief. Maintaining a healthy weight lowers risk for arthritis in the knees. Moderate exercise can also help.

As for surgery, women appear more likely than men to wait too long before opting for it. It may be that they are more inclined to accept the limits of weakened knees. Doctors may discourage women from surgery because they typically live longer than men.

In research published last fall in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Dr. Snyder-Mackler and colleagues studied 95 men and 126 women who were to have knee replacements. They found that even after controlling for gender differences in strength and agility, the women had far higher levels of impairment before choosing surgery than the men had.

And earlier this year, The Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that doctors recommended surgery more often for men than for women. University of Toronto researchers selected one man and one woman, both 67, who had identical levels of knee osteoarthritis. They each went on separate visits to 29 orthopedic surgeons and 38 family doctors. Although they both described similar symptoms, two-thirds of the doctors recommended knee replacement for the man, while only a third thought it appropriate for the woman.

After years of suffering, Craig Mason, 65, of Whittier, Calif., insisted that her doctor refer her for a knee replacement. Ms. Mason could get around only using a walker. She said that when she was “truly incapacitated,” her doctor still wanted her to postpone surgery.

“My primary physician kept putting it off and putting it off, and finally I almost had to threaten and say, You’ve got to do something about this,” she said. “He just wanted me to get older.”

Last year, Ms. Mason underwent surgery. Recovery was painful, she said. But unlike the chronic pain associated with her knee, the pain of surgery and physical therapy eventually disappeared. “When I woke up from surgery I said, This was a big mistake,” she said. “But they say it’s like childbirth — you forget the pain. I should have had it done a long time ago.”

Total knee replacements are not for everyone, and doctors say patients in their 40s and 50s may still want to consider partial knee replacements or other interim surgical procedures.

Sometimes patients themselves insist on delaying surgery because they worry about long recoveries and giving up favorite activities that they now suffer through with braces and medication. Doctors say, however, that many patients can resume normal activities, although it depends on the person’s fitness and disability levels before the surgery.

02/04/17 09:34 PM #131    


Paul Jevert

Hi, Bobby Alpert !

Thanks for the nice Chicago R.R. Station pictorial !

I has some pretty cool photos of a few of the long lost grand station buildings which sadly were torn down in the name of progress !

Thanks again 


02/14/17 08:23 PM #132    


Mark Podolner

This is a recent photo of Marion and me in the Sauguro National Park near Tuscon. It's one of the most beautiful national parks I've ever seen with a very subtle expanse of climable mountains and some of the largest Suaguro groves in Arizona. Less then 3 months out from my knee replacement surgery I found that I was able to hike up all the mountain trails we went on during this two week trip without too much pain. Next we go on a Mediterranian Sea Cruise in mid-April.I'm determined to travel asmuch as possible while I can. 

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