Kathy Nutt, 70, spent her career in a classroom, and was looking forward to a retirement enjoyed in the great outdoors. “I love to spend time with my family,” she said. “We like to go and get out in nature, and see things.”
But a long-ago injury received in her own school days had this teacher ready to learn a new way around pain.
“I injured my knee at 14 in a high school P.E. class,” Nutt said. “My entire life, I’ve dealt with swelling knee, a hurting knee, a weak knee, and I went through all the steps: I had the shots, I had arthroscopic surgery, a brace, etc. and it just kept getting worse.”
On a trip to the Ozarks with her granddaughters, Kathy’s knee gave out, causing her to fall a couple of times. It was then that Kathy decided she had had enough. When she returned to North Texas, she saw Robert Schmidt, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon with Texas Hip and Knee Center, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice. Dr. Schmidt is on the medical staff of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth and Texas Health Clearfork.
X-rays of Kathy’s knee showed that her knee had completely worn down on the inside. “When you lose your cushion, you lose your shock absorber, and then you have significant discomfort when you stand, walk, or initiate gait,” Dr. Schmidt said.
He recommended a complete knee replacement for Kathy using a minimally invasive technique to help preserve the muscles in her knee. Using metal and plastic medical components, Dr. Schmidt created an artificial knee for Kathy during her joint replacement surgery.
Kathy was discharged from the hospital the day after her surgery. Before she left, Kathy received instruction for a program of exercises she would do at home, in addition to her work with a physical therapist, to regain motion and strength in her lower leg.
“I knew if I did what the therapist told me, and did the exercises the way I was told, I would be able to do the things I wanted to do,” Kathy said.
After her surgery and recovery, Kathy spent three days in Houston at a quilt show she had looked forward to attending. She walked and enjoyed the show for three days, something Kathy could not have done prior to her joint replacement surgery. “I couldn’t have walked that much,” she said.
Recovered and ready to take on retirement on her own terms, Kathy looks forward to a trip to Yellowstone with her husband to celebrate their 50th anniversary, a trip that she says will be full of hiking and horseback riding, things she could not have done prior to her knee replacement.
“Without pain, life is so much better,” Kathy said. “Life is good.”