October 5, 2023

Stories That Move Us: Paul Gonzales

CIO patient Paul Gonzales struggled with knee pain for years, especially when officiating basketball. On his feet all day, Paul would go from his day job walking on concrete to refereeing basketball after work hours, running up and down the court. When the pain started interfering with other aspects of his life, like being able to enjoy vacations with his family, and his granddaughter commenting that “grandpa walked funny,” he knew it was time to explore options for pain relief and a better quality of life.

“I chose to go to Central Indiana Orthopedics because my father-in-law had experienced a fall and needed hip surgery. Dr. Damer was his surgeon, and he had a really positive experience,” Paul shared. “I also received several recommendations from friends and my primary care physician to seek care at CIO.”

After consulting with Dr. Damer and getting x-rays on both knees, Paul learned his knees were bone-on-bone. While surgery was recommended, Paul appreciated the fact that Dr. Damer allowed him to be in control of his treatment plan. “Dr. Damer told me I’d know when it was time for surgery – ultimately, when I was tired of living with the pain,” Paul said. “We tried injections first, but knew they wouldn’t help long-term due to the severity of my arthritis.” Once basketball season was over, Paul decided to schedule surgery and have his right knee replaced in March 2022.

Prior to surgery, Paul met with Nurse Practitioner and Patient Navigator Natalie McClintick, an important part of the process before an outpatient joint replacement at CIO. “Natalie went over everything with me, including what to expect after surgery, making sure I understood my medications – I felt prepared going into surgery,” Paul said. “She also gave me a bracelet with her name and phone number on it that I could use 24/7 to contact her with any questions or concerns during recovery.”

For Paul’s right knee replacement, his surgery was second on the schedule at CIO Muncie’s outpatient surgery center. With a surgery start time of 9:30am, Paul was relieved to be back home in his recliner by 2pm that same day. “My wife did an outstanding job keeping me up on my pain meds, so the pain was very minimal after surgery,” Paul said. “Just two days after surgery, I started rehab and returned to work six weeks later.”

Paul decided to wait one more basketball season before getting his left knee replaced. “I didn’t realize how bad the left knee was until I got my right knee done,” Paul said. Dr. Damer and Paul discussed that they both wanted an instant replay of his first knee replacement, so they scheduled surgery on his left knee for February 2023. Paul went in for outpatient surgery at 6:30am and was back home in his recliner by 11am the same day. Six weeks after surgery, he was back to work.

Before Paul’s surgeries, Dr. Damer discussed different surgical approaches, one being Mako SmartRobotics™ technology, which they chose to utilize for both knee replacements. Dr. Damer educated Paul on the benefits of Mako technology, including a personalized surgical plan and more precise cuts during surgery, which ultimately can lead to less pain and a quicker recovery. “I felt confident in Dr. Damer’s recommendation for Mako technology, and now after having my knees replaced, I believe the technology played a huge part in how great I’m feeling today.”

Now that he’s enjoying life pain free, Paul referees about 50 games per year and says he’d like to continue officiating basketball at the high school level for a couple more years, reaching 30 years before retiring. Paul’s advice to anyone living with pain and needing a knee replacement is to get it done. “Living with the pain is harder than having the surgery,” Paul said. “My granddaughter says I don’t walk funny anymore, and now I’m enjoying golf, bowling and continuing to referee.”

Hear Paul’s story and outcome in the video below. If you’re suffering with knee pain and would like to learn more about treatment options and innovative surgical technology, call 800-622-6575 to schedule an appointment or visit ciocenter.com/services/surgery-revision/.