A Letter from Des Tobin

I was always hesitant about having a total knee replacement having heard of too many negative outcomes.  I was waiting for the miracle cure that was surely coming, without having to undergo extensive surgery.

14 seasons of 1st Grade football, in the Illawarra, resulted in ligament damage to the left knee in 1964 and then the right knee in 1965.  With age I experienced pain in the inside of the joints and my legs became very bandy.

Knee damage in the 1960’s meant either the removal of the cartilage, or in the case of ligament damage, 12 months rest from football and leg strengthening exercises, or retirement.  With solid gym work after the 1965 injury I was able to play a further 6 seasons.

With the pain worsening in my mid to late fifties, I began to appreciate the slogan ’Move it or lose it’, until it got to the stage, in my seventies, that something had to be done.

After reading an article on knees in the Men of League magazine in 2011 by Dr Brett Fritsch,  Knee Surgeon, I decided to seek his opinion, which was a total knee replacement of both knees.

The left knee was replaced in early 2012 and the right knee in early 2013.  The operations were carried out at the Mater Hospital, North Sydney, and after five days post operative care, I was transfered for rehabilitation care to Lawrence Hargrave Hospital, Thirroul.

I found after both operations that I could walk normally with the aid of a walking stick after 1 week, and two to three weeks totally unaided.  However I continued to use the walking stick so as to prevent a fall for six weeks.  Now, six weeks after the second knee replacement, I have returned to walking our dogs, going fishing, and my legs are straight and pain free.

I am extremely grateful to Dr Fritsch and his medical staff, The Mater Hospital, and medical and physiotherapy staff at the Lawrence Hargrave Hospital at Thirroul.

Des Tobin

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