Retirement Lifestyles: Joint replacement helps county man “live again”

Published on Thu, May 13, 2010
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Ross Boice, of Everson, coached high school sports, was a professional football player, avid golfer and active grandpa.

But when knee pain from osteoarthritis sidelined him, it made it impossible for Boice to participate in most of the activities that he enjoyed.

He was no longer able to exercise, and his activity level slowed immensely, causing him to gain weight.

Boice’s condition, which affected both knees, would cause his knees to swell and throb at the end of the day. Like others who suffer from joint pain, Boice took medication to prevent swelling and ease the discomfort.

When the pain would no longer respond to these treatments, Boice took the advice of two friends who had previously undergone joint replacement surgery and wished they’d done it sooner, and then contacted the Joint Replacement Center at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center.  

“The doctor helped me register for a preoperative education class which gave me an idea of what the joint replacement process is like. I was really excited. My wife wasn’t, but I was. She was really scared that I was going to fall,” said Boice. “After the class, my wife was much calmer. They taught her how to be a coach and they mentally prepared me for the things that I needed to do prior to the surgery.”

The Joint Replacement Center’s program is a comprehensive, planned course of treatment that supports a culture of wellness and early return to activity.

Care includes group physical therapy, a family member or friend who coaches you through recovery, private rooms and a personal coordinator.

Benefits of a comprehensive joint replacement program include education before and after surgery, a dedicated recovery unit, and staff who specialize in caring for joint replacement patients.

“They had a great staff. Fantastic bunch of caregivers. The physical therapists were the ones that had me standing on the first day without pain. I climbed up and down steps on the second day after my operation,” said Boice.

Sitting cross-legged on the floor, playing with your grandchildren, taking a walk and working in the garden are just some of life’s simple pleasures that are difficult to impossible with the onset of chronic joint pain.

When joint pain and loss of function become severe, joint replacement surgery can improve a patient’s quality of life by easing pain, improving range of motion and increasing activity levels. This surgery creates new joint surfaces by replacing the ends of bones in a damaged joint.

Boice’s total knee replacements completely changed the physical limitations he was experiencing. Today he is virtually pain free and able to participate in the normal activities of daily living.

“The whole process is just the best thing I could have ever done. My advice to you is if you’re thinking about it, do it. I’m serious – it’s one of those things you will never regret after you’ve done it. I believe I’m getting stronger every day and now I can get on and enjoy the rest of my life. I have no regrets and it feels good to be back,” said Boice.

Individuals who have undergone a total joint replacement can return to an active lifestyle.

Exercise is very important during recovery as well as years following the surgery, in order to restore mobility and strengthen the joint. Activities that place a high level of stress on the joint, such as running or skiing, should be avoided, while activities such as swimming, tennis or golf may be encouraged.

To learn more about joint replacement, or to schedule an appointment at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center’s Joint Replacement Center, visit www.PeaceHealth.org/Whatcom/Joint or call 360/788-6059.