As a hospital custodian my husband, Ron, spends a large portion of his day on his feet. His other passions, walking our dog, Allie and cycling, have been quite physically demanding lately due to knee pain.

Those who know my husband best know he is no slouch. He has always been active and rarely complains. Despite Ron’s enthusiasm for a life “in action,” his severe knee deterioration began to challenge his level of activity several years ago. Between indoor and outdoor cycling and his job I have become keenly aware as to how much his knee pain has begun to tire him out. Despite the level of fitness he has managed to maintain, on his days off from work I find him spending more of his time sitting versus moving.

It is difficult for a spouse to watch their loved one’s health and activity level slowly decline. It’s seems as if I have watched my husband slowly grow older in front of my eyes. Ultimately, Ron has also come to realize that he no longer can watch life pass him by, so he and his surgeon have decided it is time for total knee replacement. He is scheduled for surgery at the end of the month.
I am relieved he has elected to have the surgery as I know it is important to maintain an active life style as this often prolongs life and I want him around as long as the good Lord is willing to lend him to me. I know Ron has the right mindset going into surgery but I am more of a worrier by nature and when I am told that surgery is done and everything has gone well, I will be able to breathe much easier.

In regards to the recovery process and rehabilitation, I know my husband will be “all about it.” He will follow his doctor’s and physical therapist’s directions to a tee because he is anxious to return to the things he loves and he wants to enjoy them, again, as quickly as possible. I, too, look forward to longer bike rides, evening walks and the return of my highly active husband who is my encouragement when I would rather sit than move due to my own back pain.

In anticipation of his rehabilitation and recovery, we recently purchased an indoor recumbent exercise bike. We had been going to the gym but canceled our memberships in favor of being able to work out at home. This recumbent exercise bike is easier to mount than the gym variety as it is a “walk-through” model. The gym variety required total weight bearing on one leg while the other leg had to be swung up and over the center portion of the bike to reach the pedals on the other side.

With the cold weather finally breaking, we have also begun walking regularly outdoors to build up endurance for the biking season.

We continue to plot our exercise miles along the Trans America Trail. Presently we are in Colorado. I am just beginning the northward portion of my ride along the trail. I am just south of Currant Pass, a mountain pass in the Front Range of central Colorado with an elevation of 9,485 ft.

We recently passed through Pueblo, Colorado where we found several bike shops to stock up on supplies. Pueblo was the halfway point of our trip and we celebrated with a virtual overnight stay at a five-star hotel.

The next day I rode through Royal Gorge Park.The Park offered a fun layover day for hanging out at the Arkansas River bridge. We took the time to take a virtual helicopter ride over the gorge. Then we saw it first hand and up close during a virtual raft trip through the gorge.

The Arkansas River bridge was constructed in six months, between June 5, 1929, and late November 1929, at a cost of $350,000. To pay for construction, it was built as a toll bridge. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The bridge was not constructed for transportation purposes; instead, it was built with the intent that it serve as a tourist attraction, and has continued to be one of the most-visited tourist attractions in Colorado since its construction. The Royal Gorge Route Railroad runs under the bridge along the base of Royal Gorge.
Measuring from deck to the river below, the Royal Gorge Bridge held the record of highest bridge in the world from 1929 to 2001, with a height of 956 ft. In 2003 it was surpassed by the Liuguanghe Bridge with its height of 974 ft; however, the Royal Gorge is still the highest bridge in the United States.

At present, Ron is approximately 200 miles ahead of me and has almost entered Wyoming; a goal he wishes to reach before surgery. My sister who is jogging versus biking has jogged 1,147.6 miles and is in Illinois.

I know I will catch up to Ron and may surpass him during his surgery and recovery period. Normally, being highly competitive, I would be celebrating and rubbing it in. I will continue to ride solely for my own health as I wait for Ron to recover so that he can ride again, pain-free. I will wait to celebrate when he is back on the trail.

Editor’s note: If you are considering a total knee replacement, your doctor may recommend a totally different treatment based on the damage to your knee, bone strength, age, lifestyle and other medical conditions you have. As with any medical treatment, individual results may vary. Only an orthopedic surgeon can determine whether an orthopedic implant is an appropriate course of treatment. There are potential risks, and recovery takes time. The performance of the new joint depends on weight, activity level, age, and other factors.