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Back in the Saddle

February 6, 2020 9:08 a.m.

  • Diane Thompson

When fear caused Diane Thompson to put off a knee replacement, she turned to SBL for the best care.

Years of dancing and endurance horseback riding took its toll on Diane Thompson’s knees. In the competitive sport, the rider takes all of his or her weight off of the horse’s back and puts it on the knees. 

At 75 years old, Diane’s knees were completely shot. She walked with a cane to help with her distorted balance. Her knee joints were so deteriorated that her lower leg was bearing outward. Yet, despite the pain, Diane’s fear of needles and memory of her husband’s difficult and painful bilateral knee replacement, held her back from seeking help.

It was only when she was researching for a friend non-invasive knee surgery options that she ran across an online story about Orthopedic Surgeon Peter Bonutti, MD, and a technique he uses to replace knee joints.

Two years later, when Diane could no longer get out of a chair on her own, she called the Sarah Bush Lincoln Bonutti Clinic and made the first step to getting her mobility back. “We live on a farm and I love it,” she said. “I wasn’t going to a nursing home to live.” Diane and her husband, Kenny, both retired from their careers, live near Peoria on an 80-acre farm outside of Elmwood, where they raise cattle and have horses and mules along with her dogs. She rides her mules and their cattle graze on another 340 acres of pasture land. 

“Well, if the truth be told, I’m a big wuss. I’m afraid of needles, and I watched what Kenny went through with his knee replacements, so I put the surgery off for as long as possible,” Diane confessed. But to her delight, Diane was pleasantly surprised by the friendly interactions she had with the staff – from those at the SBL Bonutti Clinic to those in surgery. “Nick [Williams, PA-C, at the SBL Bonutti Clinic] answered all of my questions. He took all of the time I needed to feel comfortable with what was going to happen,” Diane recalled. Nick Williams assists Dr. Bonutti in surgery.

“I told my anesthesiologist about my fear of needles, so he gave me medication to help relax me before putting a nerve block in my knee. While I was unconscious, they even gave me a steroid shot in my other knee to help manage the pain,” she explained.

The surgery was expected to take about 20 minutes, but because of the significant deterioration in Diane’s knee, it took twice that. Following surgery, Dr. Bonutti apologized to Diane’s husband for the delay. Diane chuckled a bit and said that Kenny’s bilateral knee replacement had taken more than seven hours!

“People were so accommodating at Sarah Bush Lincoln. I needed more pain relief after the surgery and was quickly given it. The nurse used a larger blood pressure cuff so it wouldn’t pinch my arm and that was very thoughtful of her. The staff laughed and joked around with me like they’d known me for much longer. I really had a good time as a patient,” Diane said. “They just make you feel at home.”

On Diane’s follow-up visit, Kenny sought the advice of SBL Bonutti Clinic Orthopedic Surgeon Frank Lee, MD, for a wrist issue, which for now doesn’t require surgery.

Diane felt so confident in the care she received at Sarah Bush Lincoln that she made plans to have her left knee replaced later this winter, after she enjoyed the autumn of riding her mule and four-wheeling on the farm. “I don’t mind the three-hour drive to get the care we’ve received,” Diane said.

World Class Technology

Sarah Bush Lincoln orthopedic surgeons use the latest technology to improve the health of their patients from the least invasive surgical techniques and the Mako robotic-arm for total and partial knee & total hip replacements to its use of cutting edge biologics, featuring Stem Cell Therapy, Platelet Therapy, Biologic resurfacing and muscle stimulation.

• Joseph Ajdinovich, MD

• Peter Bonutti, MD

• Eric Brewer, DO

• Michael Chioffe, MD

• Timothy Gray, MD

• Jim Kohlmann, MD

• Frank Lee, MD

• Louis Mendella, DO

• Didi Omiyi, MD

• Donald Sandercock, DO

• Jeremy Stevens, MD

For more information or to make an appointment with any of the Sarah Bush Lincoln orthopedists, call 217 238-3435 for SBL Orthopedics & Sports Medicine or 217 342-3400 for the SBL Bonutti Clinic.


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