Living Well - Swedish Medical plays key role in getting cyclist back on track

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Posted 2/23/18

When you are active in walking, running, hiking and cycling like Paula and Stan McClure, having knee surgery can be a tough pill to swallow. However, as the Centennial couple will tell you, having …

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Living Well - Swedish Medical plays key role in getting cyclist back on track

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When you are active in walking, running, hiking and cycling like Paula and Stan McClure, having knee surgery can be a tough pill to swallow. However, as the Centennial couple will tell you, having the great medical team at Swedish Medical Center, and the drive to get back to their regular activity can help.

Stan joked that Paula is probably more of a “heroine” in their situation, given that she had knee replacement surgery in November, and she was out three months later doing her daily six-mile trek.

At 71, Stan is recovering from the first surgery on one knee in January, while mentally and physically preparing for the second knee replacement on Feb. 26. “The reason to have knee replacement surgery is definitely different for everyone,” Stan said.

“For me, I tore my ACL 20 years ago and the cartilage in there has just wore down faster, causing some arthritis.” Knowing they had to have the work done, Stan said he’s a researcher and he took to the internet to find a medical facility and doctor he was comfortable with.

That research took him to Swedish Medical Center where he discovered 37-year-old Dr. Joseph Assini. “When you read about this doctor, he’s 37 and has already done more than 1,000 procedures,” Stan said.

“This guy is amazing. He got my first knee replaced in 62 minutes. That’s incredible to do what you have to do to make this happen.”

Assini said it was important for both Paula and Stan to have realistic goals going into the procedures. “Both are very committed to staying in shape,” he said. “They had realistic goals that we discussed pre-op and this is very important in making sure patient satisfaction is maximized. Each of them are in great shape aside from the respective joints. Being in good health can really make recovery easier. However, for many patients getting their knee or hip replaced helps them exercise again, which in turn, gets them back to better overall health.”

Assini said patient care is a top priority, and through the Swedish Medical Center joint program, cases are completed more efficiently, with better patient satisfaction and improved outcomes.

Stan joked that he can’t blame Dr. Assini for the pain that comes with knee-replacement surgery, but knows the doctor did a great job and is hoping to be back at his high level of activity by April. And, high level is exactly what Paula and Stan do.

Besides Paula walking more than six miles per day, Stan has spent years cycling and being active. Stan has done 5 tours of the annual, RAGBRAI, or The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Stan said there’s something special about starting the 500-mile, 7-day trek, by dipping the back-bike tire in the Missouri River, and finishing the tour by dipping the front tire in the Mississippi River.

“Doggone I hate it, but I think I might have to skip the bike tour this year,” Stan joked. “But, I should be back to cycling form by mid-April. I might have to skip jogging after I recover. That’s hard on the knees.”

In all seriousness, having the team at Swedish Medical Center get him back on track to cycle is important to Stan for a much bigger reason that just his own competitive nature. Stan, a Vietnam Veteran, said he cycles to bring awareness to the ever-increasing rate of Veterans committing suicide with multiple organizations.

“What many people don’t realize is 65 percent of Veterans who commit suicide never get in to Veteran Affair Services,” Stan said. “We’ve got to do better, and I know I can be out there to make a difference.”

In the meantime, as he recovers, Stan is still carrying on his work with local Veterans, serving as the Post Service Officer with VFW Post 4666.

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