How is Barbara doing? Seems everyday, someone is asking me in person, an email or on Facebook about Barbara Ciara following her double knee replacement surgery and her road to recovery. I remember visiting Barbara in her hospital room days after her surgery--that was about five weeks ago.
I was amazed when I caught up with her at one of her physical therapy sessions, which started with her loosening up on an exercise bike. "Believe me, Kurt this is the easy part-- the warm -up is the easy part. Once he starts with some of the exercises, that's when he brings the pain!" Barbara says with a laugh---and the he, she is referencing is Michael LiVoti, her physical therapist with the Jordan Young Center for Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, who says "Her motion is coming along very nicely, her quadriceps, the strength in her legs is coming along nicely as well."
LiVoti had Barbara doing a range of stretching and balancing exercises. It's a very tedious process--repeating basic moves and it can be painful. But---leave it to Barbara to have a sense of humor about this. As she was finished counting one particular exercise she responded with a "Yessssssssss! I think I might be an opera star after this!" And she then belted out a high note with dramatic flair.
In all seriousness, Barbara realizes it was only five weeks ago she had had major surgery, not one----but both knees replaced. "I'm doing, I think a lot better than expected. I just would like to not wake up with extreme pain and stiffness in the morning. That's my major challenge, the actual act of getting out of bed; that's the most difficult part of my day right now."
And, another big challenge for Barbara, "I'm trying to get off the pain medication; it makes you stupid--you can't finish your sentences. It's a narcotic; it's very powerful. It takes away the pain, but it takes away some of your intellectual capacity. When I return to work, I hopefully won't have to use that at all because you know, we talk for a living."
Barbara knew she had to do something; her x-rays confirmed that----showing the cartilage in her knees was gone. she could feel it in how she was moving slowly and painfully moving around. The only question was whether to do one or both knees at the same time. But she will tell you now, "I have no regrets about having bilateral, having both knees done at the same time. The idea of coming back within a year's time, to do the other knee and going through surgery, hospitalization and all of that for a second time within a year's time, made no sense to me."
Barbara and her physical therapist are pleased with her progress, so does she have an idea of when she's coming back? "Yes I do. I plan to be and I am owning this--- I plan to be back to work, the first Monday in October!"
Barbara, we can't wait!