Little did Mary Harrison know that an old bowling injury would lead to two knee replacement surgeries 20 years later. Her issue started as a meniscus tear in her right knee while bowling that never really healed. As a result, her left knee began compensating for the pain in her right knee.
Ultimately, both knees suffered to the point that there weren’t many activities that Mary could do without experiencing discomfort. Walking, climbing steps and working were a chore. As the owner of a bead business in the Benbrook area, Mary was constantly up and down, at the cash register and waiting on customers. All became difficult.
“It was embarrassing, and it made me feel old,” the 62-year-old admits.
Years went by and Mary got used to having painful knees. She had joint injections done but nothing brought lasting relief.
When she finally realized that surgery was the only long-term solution, Mary met with David Shau, M.D., a member of the medical staff at Texas Health Southwest Fort Worth and an orthopedic surgeon at Texas Hip and Knee Center, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice also in Fort Worth. “She couldn’t get around well, she couldn’t work well, she couldn’t function at the level that she wanted to function at,” Shau explains.
Upon performing X-rays, Shau made the diagnosis of osteoarthritis in both knees. “They were bone-on-bone. We discussed doing a staged knee replacement. Meaning, we would start with the right knee replacement followed by the left knee replacement at a later date,” he adds.
Thankfully for Mary, Shau performs all of his knee replacement surgeries at Texas Health Hospital Clearfork, a premier destination for joint care® in North Texas. Dr. Shau used robotic-assisted technology for Mary’s surgery to help minimize soft tissue trauma and post-surgery pain.
Mary had her first surgery in November 2021. Her left total knee replacement was done four months later to give her right knee time to heal. With her second surgery, Mary spent a night in the hospital as a precaution. Before she left, she received instruction for exercises she could do at home in addition to the work she would do with a physical therapist to regain range of motion and knee strength.
In her first week post-surgery, she got up every hour and walked around her house for 10 minutes. Soon, she was hitting marks during her outpatient rehabilitation ahead of schedule. So much so that Mary says she felt rather like a superstar. She was able to bend and lift her knees relatively quickly and was driving at the end of two weeks after the surgery.
“All through recovery, people would say, ‘You’re doing so great.’ Other patients would look over and tell me, ‘I can’t do that yet.’ The therapists who helped with my rehab had the same thing to say, ‘You’re doing so well. Who was your surgeon?’ I got a little tired of repeating Dr. Shau’s name so often,” she jokes.
On a more serious note, Mary says that she is very thankful to Dr. Shau and Texas Health Clearfork for making the process of feeling better easier. “Dr. Shau really cares about his patients and wants them to have the best possible outcome. He even called me the night before surgery to calm my nerves.”
“My life is 100 percent better than it was … Living pain free is pretty cool,” she says with a smile.