Two years ago I was diagnosed with moderate to sever bi-lateral osteoarthritis. The condition is work related as a result of my 23 years in law enforcement. Twenty-one years at the time of my diagnosis. That amount of time spent carrying an extra twenty-five to thirty pounds of gear around the hip, chest and back coupled with the constant entry and exit of a patrol car will accelerate the degradation of anyone's joints. I enjoyed several collateral duty assignments which were done in addition to our regular work schedule. I spent twenty years on the department's off-road vehicle team riding off-road motorcycles and snowmobiles through some pretty rough terrain with an untold number of crashes, spills, and falls. And lastly I spent sixteen years on the department's search and rescue team with a total of over 3,000 miles hiked with a forty plus pound pack, off trail, and sometimes boulder hopping while playing a deadly game of hide and seek. I have had a multitude of tears in the meniscus of both knees as well as prior knee surgeries.
It took our workers compensation provider more than one year to make the determination that my injury was work related and they have spent the past year and a half denying any of the treatment options recommended by the orthopedist. WC said no to ortho-visco supplemental injections and no to stem cell therapy. During that time I have continued working and my knees have continued to worsen.
That all changes tomorrow as about a month ago Workers Comp reversed their decision to deny surgery and agreed to replacement surgery. I will have a total knee replacement on my left knee on Tuesday December 3rd and in eight to ten weeks I should be having another TKR on my right knee. All of that will hasten my retirement which will come as soon as the doctor releases me from his care. The county's rules will prevent me from returning to work as a law enforcement officer with TKRs.
Chapter 2 begins next year, we'll see what is in store.