Al Scully - Glennie, MI
"Life is better with a new knee, absolutely better. The positives far outweigh the few drawbacks."
Determination Got Him Back on His Feet After A Total Knee Replacement
When Al Scully needed his right knee replaced, he knew exactly who to call: Orthopedic Surgeon Eric Cornish, M.D. He was familiar with the doctor's work because his wife, Donna, had both of her knees replaced by Dr. Cornish.
"I have all the faith in the world with Dr. Cornish and his team," Scully said. "I like his bedside manner, he explains things clearly and he's a no nonsense kind of guy. He is also well respected by his team."
Arthritis was the cause of the 83-year-old Scully's failing joint. "I was dealing with it for about five years," he said. He tried cortisone shots to keep pain at bay and for a while, they worked. "Eventually, you know when it's time for a permanent solution."
On February 15, 2017, Scully underwent total knee replacement surgery at MidMichigan Medical Center - Alpena. His operation went just as planned and he said the post-op experience for his first joint replacement was great. "Even the food was good!" he said.
The hospital staff had him on his feet quickly. "The first day after surgery, I got up and walked about 50 feet and that did me in," Scully said. "The next day I walked about 150 yards. The day I was released, I walked up and down the hall and all around the place."
Scully was eager to get back to his active life and he knew physical therapy would help him to do that. He went directly from the hospital to an area long-term care facility that offered rehabilitation. "Most people would avoid a nursing home but I knew I could get therapy there five times a week," he said.
During his 10-day stay, Scully worked with both occupational therapists and physical therapists. "We did joint therapy sessions every day and I walked – a lot – in addition to therapy," he said.
After he went home, Scully made use of rehabilitation services, working hard during and after his therapy sessions and it paid off.
Just a few weeks later, much more quickly than his health care team anticipated, Scully had essentially graduated from physical therapy. "They told me I was at the point where they couldn't help me much more," he said.
While sitting in a straight-backed chair, with feet flat on the floor, the knees usually bend at 90 degrees. "My doctor told me he wants patients to use their knee to reach 120 degrees after six months of therapy," Scully said. "I was there at the end of just a few weeks."
He said there was a very good reason why he was so determined to get back on his feet and back to his life as quickly as possible. "First of all, I wanted to be able to drive again – I had things to do," he said. "I'm a busy man and I want to stay that way."
Scully spent his career in retail, at one point operating three stores. He currently sits on three municipal boards and, in his spare time, creates furniture, jewelry boxes and other hand-crafted items in his woodshop. "Also, whether using a bow or a rifle, I don't miss a day of deer hunting," he said.
Almost a year after his knee replacement and vigorous therapy, Scully feels well and has no trouble getting around. "I have a little stiffness now and again but everybody does," he said. He deliberately avoided using a walker from day one and doesn't like a cane. He will carry a walking stick if he's out in the woods or navigating an uneven surface.
"I feel blessed," Scully said, grateful that everything went so well for him. He encourages other people not to put off what they need to do to feel good and stay active.
"Get some advice then get it done – don't postpone it," Scully said. "Life is better with a new knee, absolutely better. The positives far outweigh the few drawbacks."
Those who would like more information on Dr. Cornish or MidMichigan Health’s orthopedic services may visit www.midmichigan.org/bonesandjoints.