C.A. “ARNIE” BARG SAYS “YES” TO GETTING BACK IN THE GAME – Knee Pain

Looking back, I’ve had trouble with my left knee since high school. I was a basketball player, and I remember straining it during a game. I probably had a partial tear in my meniscus, but I didn’t tell anybody. I wasn’t very tall – a 6’1” guard – but I was tough. I didn’t want to sit the bench!

Any right-handed basketball player will tell you that you’re constantly jumping off your left foot. And I kept playing for decades, first in college at Concord University in West Virginia and then in community-based leagues. I also was on softball teams for more than 30 years, which I’m sure didn’t help. So for 50 years, my knee pain got progressively worse as I procrastinated about seeing a doctor.

Ten years ago, I had to quit organized sports and was limping out of pickup basketball games. Two years ago, the pain had grown unbearable. Every step I took led to sharp pain. Climbing stairs was excruciating. I tried every knee brace there was, until finally, I made an appointment with SMOC’s Dr. Scott E. Grabill, a certified orthopaedic surgeon.

I should have done it years ago. 

Dr. Grabill was down-to-Earth, knowledgeable and skilled. He took the time to explain all of my options to me in detail, as well as to answer my many questions about post-surgical recovery. By that point, my meniscus was basically gone, so a total knee replacement was the best choice.

I was 67 years old when I had my surgery, on Oct. 26, 2016. Thanks to new pain medications, I experienced much less discomfort than I expected in the days right after the operation. I was back on my feet the next day and could take steps without a walker by the second day, although I kept using it for a few weeks as a precaution. I only had to spend one night at Chesapeake Regional Hospital.

In other words, the operation was a breeze! Thanks to the skill and expertise of Dr. Grabill!

My rehabilitation team was just as good as Dr. Grabill. For four months after my joint replacement, I worked with physical therapists Kristin Anglin and Sherry Kresinke at SMOC’s new rehab facility off Kempsville Road. The freestanding clinic had all of the latest equipment and was adjacent to SMOC physicians for any needed consultations.

Three days a week, my therapists supported me through a systematic rehabilitation schedule with stretches, leg lifts and work with increasingly heavier weights that brought my strength and flexibility back.  Due to their professionalism, work ethic, patience and friendly demeanor, I made a full and speedy recovery. I can’t thank my entire SMOC team enough for making everything so simple and easy. 

Today, my left knee is 10 times stronger than my right knee. My life is noticeably different too. My daughter recently gave me a Fitbit, and many days I get up to between 15,000 and 18,000 steps. While I am still retired from organized sports, I am back to the active person I want to be.

Most days, I’m out boating, fishing or working in the 1½-acre garden that my wife and I have at our Chesapeake home. I’ve got about 400 tomato plants in there now, along with peppers and all kinds of berries. I’m hoping my 2-year-old grandson will be my chief weed-puller in a few years.

I would recommend SMOC to anyone – but they shouldn’t wait as long as I did to get help. I was on the bench for too many years!

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