As a retired nurse, Kathy Kliefoth knows quite a bit about treating patients in pain. Dealing with her own pain was a different experience, but ultimately a positive one for her at Alton Memorial Hospital.
Kliefoth retired from the AMH Wound Care Center in 2018, by which time she was already experiencing some pain in her knee. Although she was able to manage the pain for a while, she visited Dr. Aaron Omotola and his team at BJC Medical Group Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at AMH, and it was then that a knee replacement was recommended.
“I had a couple of injections and I thought that took care of it,” Kliefoth said. “But after a while I noticed that I couldn't straighten out my leg. My lower leg was starting to bow out and eventually the upper leg. I would bend my knees so it wouldn’t hurt. And after a year or so of that, I guess the hamstring just contracted. So then I couldn't straighten out my leg and I thought I really needed to see what was happening.”
Dr. Omotola recommended the knee replacement, but went a step further when he asked Kliefoth if she was allergic to any metals. She suspected she might be allergic to nickel, so a trip to an allergist confirmed that.
“So I asked Dr. Omotola what we do in that case, and he said they would give me a ceramic knee,” Kliefoth said.
The surgery was six weeks later and Kliefoth has been very satisfied with everything.
“I was walking with help the night of the surgery,” she said. “I just stayed overnight and I went home the next day. I had family to take care of me, then BJC Home Health took over for a couple of days a week, got me going on the exercises. I did everything that they told me to do. The first week was the most painful, but by the next week I could walk around in my home, hanging on the furniture a little bit. But I was balanced and steady and so impressed.”
Kliefoth was eager to get back to doing what she wanted to do, which includes golf, gardening and taking care of grandchildren.
“My advice for people with pain like I had is not to wait,” she said. “At least go in for a consultation. It was worth it. Dr. Omotola and his people were just great. There is a class to attend about joint replacements, and you know exactly what to expect the whole way through. I’m so pleased now to be walking normally and without pain and, and it's behind me.”