Having worked as a licensed practical nurse in five states, Mary Stroud knows plenty about hospitals and surgeons. So when the time came for total knee replacement, she felt completely at ease choosing Parkwest Medical Center, a hospital where she’d worked for 12 years.     

The orthopedic/neurosurgery unit at Parkwest is a leader in safe knee replacement for pain relief, mobility and activity. Mobility and activity are important to Stroud. She rarely slows down.     

“I see things that need to be done, and I get them done,” Stroud says. While taking care of a neighbor’s dogs several years ago, Stroud had taken a bad fall and hit her knee against a large rock. There were no broken bones, but there was a lot of pain, and that same knee gave her trouble off and on for the years that followed.     

The cause of the swelling and pain appeared to be a fluid filled cyst behind her knee. It was removed, but the pain in her knee kept coming back, in spite of various medications and shots. “It just got worse and worse,” she says.     

Stroud doesn’t slow down for comfort. She took on the task of caring for her grandson when her daughter was deployed to Iraq for seven months with the U.S. Marine Corps. After retirement, Stroud had signed on as a Parkwest volunteer.     

But the turning point finally came last year when Stroud was house sitting at her daughter’s small farm. Stroud enjoyed the farm work, including walking down to round up chickens and trekking back up the hill to the house.     

  “The first day I was fine,” Stroud says. “The second day my leg swelled so badly that I just could not sleep.”        

Stroud spent the rest of the week doing lighter work, and only performed tasks that put strain on her knees when it was absolutely necessary. As soon as the week was over, she went to see joint replacement surgeon Brian Covino, MD, who explained her x-rays indicated she was in need of total knee replacement surgery.     

Stroud had been told that Dr. Covino wouldn’t perform surgery unless it was absolutely necessary. At a follow-up appointment, she learned just how necessary the surgery was.     

“It was bone on bone on one side,” Stroud says. “My cartilage on the inside of my knee was deteriorating.”     

“First and foremost it is important to establish the diagnosis of degenerative arthritis,” Covino says.  “Second, a trial of conservative measures such as anti-inflammatory medications, joint injections and therapeutic exercise should be considered prior to surgery.”        

The surgery was performed with no complications, and Stroud was very pleased. The physical therapy that followed at Parkwest Joint Center was impressive, too.     

“At physical therapy, they’re very good at explaining what you need to do and why,” Stroud says. There was a lot of activity in her hospital room as she was prepared to get up and get moving as quickly as possible.