Surgery does not leave you bedridden

01.06.2017 — Patient stories

Man sitting and enjoying coffee in forest

Unto Kauhanne, 67, had his knees replaced one at a time. A practiced hunter and fisherman from Ylöjärvi, Kauhanen was quickly up and about after both operations.

During his 39 years as a grocer in Helsinki, Kauhanen visited his occupational physician several times concerning his knees. His was not standing work, so he could sit down during the day to rest his legs and knees. However, the smallest stress made his knees ache and he had to take pain medication to be able to go out in the wild. In the later stages, his pain required cortisone injections.

“The pain was so overwhelming that I went to see an orthopaedist. They found damage in my knees and suggested corrective surgery,” says Kauhanen.

He did not take the physician up on the offer. It was in January 2014 that Kauhanen reconsidered, as they had retired and moved from Helsinki to Ylöjärvi, where they had a summer home.

“Exercise was getting difficult, and I could no longer hunt and fish. I was certainly not too old yet, so I decided to do something.”

Kauhanen visited a physician that autumn and was referred directly to Coxa. Imaging showed that his knees would need to be replaced.

Smooth surgery

Coxa’s physicians described in detail what the replacement surgery would entail. Kauhanen says this information alleviated their concerns over the surgery.

“I am not averse to pain, so I was not afraid to undergo surgery. I was given a comprehensive explanation of what was to be done,” says Kauhanen appreciatively about their first contact with Coxa.

The operation was delayed a little due to Kauhanen’s high blood sugar levels. Being overweight is a risk for surgery, so he had to lose some weight first. Kauhanen was not surprised by his blood sugar, and the delay was of little concern. He followed the physician’s instructions diligently.

In March 2014 Kauhanen was ready – with the condition that one knee would be operated on first and then the other. The first operation would be used to plan the second one to avoid any surprises.

Kauhanen praises the unreserved mood of Coxa’s reception, glad to have been received warmly from the moment he came in. He could relax in the presence of the staff.

“When I lay down on the table, the nurse asked me if I would like be awake or asleep. I immediately said I wanted to stay awake. How else could I make sure they did a good job! Can always do with a bit of humour,” says Kauhanen, laughing.

The surgery was routine and took one hour to complete. Before the second surgery, Kauhanen needed some time to recover.

Immediately up and moving

Kauhanen spent two days in the ward and then moved in with his son’s family by the lake Sääksjärvi. A couple days of rest at the cottage was enough, and Kauhanen moved back home to Ylöjärvi. Chores at home posed no issue, even though the house has three floors.

“I could walk all the stairs by myself and could halve the dose of my medication. I lived a normal life and slept well at night,” Kauhanen sums up their rapid recovery.

Check-ups followed that spring and plans were made for the next surgery. Kauhanen asked for the surgery to be postponed a little.

“It was the most beautiful springtime, and Näsijärvi was free of ice. I called Coxa to ask if I could just putter on until autumn to make sure I could finish all the work in the yard and on the house,” says Kauhanen.

Coxa gave Kauhanen permission. The second surgery took place in January 2015. The second operation was as successful as the first. This time the anaesthesia did take longer than the first time. Kauhanen remembers his recovery at Coxa fondly.

“My instructor took me for long walks in the halls where we met the orthopaedist from time to time, and they asked about my progress,” says Kauhanen.

The key to success: two surgeries

Kauhanen has thought about the success of the surgery. In his opinion, taking sufficient time to do two operations was the reason for his quick recovery. Overall, the process took a long time, but the healing process was quick for each individual knee and leg.

Staying independent

“Getting both knees done at once would have prevented me from climbing stairs. I would have needed a stand and assistance to go to the toilet. Now I was able to cook and do other chores all on my own,” says Kauhanen.

Exercise is necessary after joint replacement surgery to maintain mobility. Kauhanen followed their exercise programme and got their daily exercise naturally, as they had little pain. Only the left knee, the second to be operated, reminded them of the surgery from time to time. Pain comes if the knee is fully bent. Kauhanen is not worried.

“It will get better in time. Aside from that, I have had no other pain or infections. I did not have to take any pain medication,” says Kauhanen, clearly pleased.

For anyone in the same situation, he encourages them to contact Coxa. According to Kauhanen, it is “all just standard fare” that should not make anyone nervous. Surgery will fix a problem that may have persisted for a very long time.

Your quality of life will improve, thanks to the hearty staff.

“Every Coxa nurse was great! I got on very well with the orthopaedist from the start. Whenever they were on their way out, they would come see how I was doing. I could not have asked for better care,” Kauhanen concludes, thanking the Coxa staff.