William Sarge of Avis enjoys an active lifestyle, and nothing brings him more pleasure than riding his motorcycle with his wife and seeing where the road takes them. It’s no surprise that he hasn’t let arthritis, or six joint replacements, stop him from hitting the open road.
Staying Active with Arthritis
Knee pain started for William in his 30s. At the time, his doctors said he would probably need a knee replacement by the time he turned 55. The news was disappointing. William was active in team sports as a teenager and as an adult became an umpire for softball and baseball. He didn’t want arthritis or surgeries to slow him down.
“I retired at 55, and I didn’t want to spend the first few years recovering from joint replacements,” recalls William. “I worked very hard to stay active and put off surgery as long as possible.” At 67, joint pain was disrupting his sleep, and he noticed his daily activities were slowing down. William knew it was time to consider a knee replacement.
At his primary care doctor’s recommendation, he went to see John Bailey, MD, orthopaedic surgeon, UPMC Williamsport, and got some news he wasn’t expecting. Not only did he need to have both his knees replaced, but the arthritis in his shoulders would also make rehabilitation from knee surgery a challenge. Dr. Bailey recommended shoulder replacement before knee surgery.
William’s first shoulder replacement took place in 2010, and a year later, he had the second shoulder replaced. “I knew that I needed my shoulders strong so I could be ready for my knee replacement surgery,” says William. “I had less pain the day after surgery than I did the day before surgery.”
After each joint surgery, William followed his doctor’s orders. He participated in rehabilitation and performed daily exercises to build strength and increase his mobility. “As a provider, I make an effort to better understand their individual needs and how we can take a holistic approach to treating those needs,” says Dr. Bailey. “I’m here for them when I’m providing care as well as when they’re going through rehabilitation and recovery, instilling confidence in the process, and building trust throughout their entire journey. I want my patients to have confidence from their experience so they feel comfortable reaching back out to me for help if they experience pain or have any issues.”
Knee Replacement Surgery
When it was time to schedule his knee replacement surgery, William didn’t have any doubt about which doctor to call—Dr. Bailey. Given his experience in Dr. Bailey’s care with his shoulder replacements, he wanted to have both knee replacements done at the same time. “I thought I would need to convince Dr. Bailey that I could handle bilateral knee replacement,” says William. “When he recommended it for me, I was joyous.”
As with his previous replacement surgeries, William immediately felt relief from the pain he’d been experiencing in his knees. With a team of nurses and therapists by his side, he didn’t waste any time and was back on his feet and participating in physical therapy right away.
“Dr. Bailey is great. His primary concern was my comfort and care and how the surgery would improve my lifestyle,” says William. “He explained everything, and I knew what to expect every step of the way.”
Hip Replacement Surgery
With two new shoulders and two new knees, William was able to stay active and pain-free for some time, but arthritis was still a problem and pain started to become an issue. He called Dr. Bailey’s office to see if he could help. “It turned out the pain was from arthritis in my hip joints,” says William. “Although Dr. Bailey said the arthritis was worse in my right hip, my left was more painful. That pain was radiating up into my back.”
In 2017, William had his left hip replaced, and in May 2020, he returned to Dr. Bailey to have his right hip replaced, William’s sixth joint replacement. Two weeks after his right hip replacement, William was back on his motorcycle exploring the open road without any pain. “I believe exercising and rehabilitation was key to my successful joint replacements,” says William. “I still do shoulder, knee, hip, and back exercises every day and go to the YMCA in Jersey Shore three days a week.”
Whether he is exercising, hunting, or riding his boat, jet-ski, or motorcycle, William is thankful to be pain-free and active. After all, retirement isn’t the end of the road. It’s the beginning of the open highway.