Knee Surgery Past And Present

A guy by the name of Mack Lee Hill died in 1965 after knee surgery, according to Wikipedia. He played professional football for the Kansas City Chiefs, in the American Football League, from 1964 until his death in 1965 at the age of 25. He was born in Quincy, a small town in North Florida. His death was due to complications from knee surgery, due to a football injury.

My wife just had arthroscopic knee surgery a few days ago and she’s doing just fine. Mack Lee Hill graduated from the same high school where my wife and I met. He played football on the same high school team that I did. The outcomes of the knee surgeries, however, were quite different.

I have previously griped loudly about modern medicine in this forum, but not this time. Sure, as my mother used to always say when she commented on my school report card, “there is always room for improvement”. Today, however, I am very thankful for medical advances. No bloody gashing of the flesh to open up the knee. No extensive suturing to close the incision. No long and dreaded recovery, heavy medication or overwhelming pain killers, rehabilitation or intensive convalescence.

What if Mack Lee Hill had been given the same opportunity. Would he have lived through knee surgery today. I don’t know all of the details or complications that took place with his procedure and so my reflection on that situation is just to say how things have changed.

Our doctor tried hard to present a pleasant “bedside manner”. Other staff members did well in making us feel comfortable. No perfection yet but progress aplenty.

We were able to be diagnosed, have an MRI, get crutches, and have out-patient surgery, all at the same facility. I’m not griping, but we have good medical insurance and indeed that made a huge difference. Today I am thankful for having good medical coverage.

My wife is a little uncomfortable, she was expectantly groggy after the procedure until the anesthesia wore off. She gets the few stitches taken out in a short time and I’ve been here with her to make things go as smooth as possible.

During the procedure I was very nervous. We’ve all seen stories on TV or heard about cases where someone went in for a routine operation and died on the operating table. My wife was admittedly nervous, so no gripes today, just thanks. These past days have caused me to think about the relative nature of things. It reminds me of the old anecdote about whether the “glass is half full or half empty”. Today mine is bubbling over. So thank you modern medicine and all of the sincere good folks that practice it. Thank you good medical insurance and your community for what you have provided.