Knee replacement close to home

johnokane106x142newulm 4New Ulm resident John O’Kane readily admits that he can’t keep up with his wife’s 10-15 mile-per-day walking routine. But when his knee began hurting so badly that he couldn’t walk even 2-3 miles a day, he knew it was time to get the total knee replacement that he had been putting off for years.  

“I got tired of looking out my living room window and seeing people walking by,” he said. “I wanted to get back out there and take my dog for walks.” 

After getting opinions from various friends around town, O’Kane decided to go see Dr. Mario Desouza, orthopedic surgeon at New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC). It turned out to be a great decision.  

“I like a person who has a sense of humor and can smile and be positive all the time,” he said of DeSouza. “I asked a lot of questions and he answered every single one.”  

O’Kane’s surgery was followed by a standard three days in the hospital.  

“Everyone, from the housekeepers, the LPNs, the RNs, and the doctors to Toby (Freier, hospital president) delivering the newspaper in the morning was so positive and nice,” he said. “The housekeepers probably don’t realize it but when they come into your room with a big smile on their face and they chat with you for a while—that’s medicine! That makes a big difference.”  

As is standard, O’Kane was up and out of bed the day after surgery, putting minimal weight on his new joint with the help of a walker and the guidance of physical therapy.  

Just a few months later, O’Kane was back to things he enjoys doing, including one of his favorite pastimes—fishing. Getting in and out of a boat is a lot easier with his new joint in place, he said.  

“I don’t think that the people in New Ulm and the surrounding area realize how lucky we are to have New Ulm Medical Center here,” O’Kane said. “They should know that they don’t have to go anywhere else.”