It’s safe to say that Westfield native Kelly Pelkey has been a lifelong active person, particularly enjoying a good opportunity to bike ride or go to the gym to work out. Those pleasures came to a grinding halt, however, when her knees began to fail her.
Pelkey had experienced deteriorating conditions with her knees since she was 13 years old. “I was active up until probably a year before the operation when things just kind of halted,” she said. “I just couldn’t do anything. I put it off as long as I absolutely could, and just decided let’s do this finally.”
She scheduled total knee replacements at Baystate Medical Center with Dr. Andrew Lehman of New England Orthopedics. The first one was completed on June 28, 2016, and the second on August 9, 2016.
TIME TO TAKE ACTION
“It ultimately got to the point where I could not even stand up from a chair on my own; eally difficult,” she said. “I had no issue walking, but any lateral movement and I was down on the ground. It was just years and years of that.”
Pelkey was admittedly nervous going into the first procedure, but her anxieties were quickly quelled by staff at Baystate.
“There is a coordinator who sets up all the knee replacements, so there was a meeting at Baystate with her,” Pelkey said. “She went over everything; it was kind of like a class. She was very very informative, very helpful. If I had any questions at all about any of the prep, she was extremely knowledgeable and helpful.
After Dr. Lehman successfully performed the procedure, Pelkey recovered in Baystate’s new South Wing.
“My stay there was just excellent,” she said. “Having a private room was great, and everybody from the people who emptied the trash to the dietitians, the nurses -- everybody was just phenomenal,” Pelkey said.
So phenomenal that Pelkey began looking forward to having her second knee replacement, including physical therapy. “They were great, too; really personable people,” she said. “Very helpful and down to earth.”
GETTING BACK TO NORMAL
While the recovery process will take some time until Pelkey will experience the full benefits of the procedures, she is already enjoying a return to normal. To reach her office, she has to scale a large set of stairs. Prior to the procedure, this was a daily challenge. Suddenly, it is much easier. Pelkey also hopes she will soon be able to use a beautiful new bike path that was constructed in Westfield.
“Actually, I’m back to the gym. I try to go three days a week and try to do the recumbent bike and just kind of minimal things to keep it moving and what not,” she said. “It’s all kind of odd to me. I can do squats and stuff like that I never was able to do without a lot of difficulty.”
Most importantly, Pelkey is looking forward to daily activities that others take for granted. “Walking without having to worry about winding up on the ground,” she said.
“It was just awesome," she said. "I could not have asked for a better experience.”