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“I can get out, work in the yard, bend over and pick things up with no problem. There’s no more pain in the knee, period.”

~Randy Kiesling

A smiling Randy walking down a path with his fishing pole in hand.

Joint Replacement Gets Fishing Guide Back on the Water

When it comes to finding the best fishing spots in southeast Alaska, few people know the waters of the last frontier better than Randy Kiesling, 74, of Corvallis. But when it came to navigating treatment options for his chronic knee pain, he chose the experts at Samaritan Medical Group Orthopedics –Albany to be his guides.

For 22 years, Randy showed tourists to the 49th state where to cast and reel in lunkers worthy of a great fish story. But it came at a cost.

“I started noticing the pain getting worse when I was in Alaska,” Randy said. “I kept hyperextending my knee, because I was constantly bending over the rails of the boat to get fish and doing stuff like that.”

Randy boating down the Willamette River.

Randy decided it was time to see a doctor. He knew people who had pain similar to his and ended up having joint replacement surgery. In fact, Randy’s sister had two knee replacements several years prior and his wife, Nance, was her coach for both procedures.

“His sister had her surgeries in Salem, so I just assumed that’s where we’d go,” Nance explained.

Before making a final decision, however, Nance did some research. That’s when she learned about the DNV-GL certified joint replacement program at Samaritan Albany General Hospital.

“I was like, ‘Wait a second,’” she recalled. “I read about some of the new things they had done at the Albany hospital and it sounded like the greatest place.”

Randy followed his wife’s advice and made an appointment to see James Ryan, MD, the program’s medical director.

“Like any sensible husband, I just did what she told me to do,” he joked.

“I’d tell them to get it done. It’s just not worth being in all that pain.”

~Randy Kiesling

Randy alongside his boat on the Willamette River.

Dr. Ryan diagnosed him with severe osteoarthritis and joint replacement was indeed one of the options on the table. However, since there were plans for several more seasons in Alaska, he initially opted to try a series of less-invasive treatments such as cortisone and lubricant injections into the knee joint, taking ibuprofen and wearing a knee brace.

But following his final season in Alaska, Randy acknowledged the inevitable.

“It was bone-on-bone,” he said. “It got so painful to walk on, it was ridiculous. Dr. Ryan showed me the x-rays and said it was time to get things taken care of. I trusted him and figured I could take what he said to the bank.”

Randy fishing on the Willamette River.

Soon after his joint replacement, Randy was feeling like his old self again.

“It’s night and day – just such a big difference,” he said. “I can get out, work in the yard and bend over and pick things up with no problem. There’s no more pain in the knee, period.”

Randy credits Samaritan’s joint replacement education class with getting him well-prepared for his surgery and recovery.

“I felt very well-informed about everything that was going to happen,” he said. “I was given the pre-op exercises and I did them militantly. The same with rehab. It made a huge difference. You need to do it absolutely by the book.”

“It really made me appreciate how a thoughtful, conscientious crew can really make a difference in your experience.”

~Randy Kiesling

A smiling Randy with his fishing pole in hand.

In addition to Dr. Ryan and his physician assistant, Eric Moen, PA-C, Randy gives the entire Samaritan team rave reviews.

“It really made me appreciate how a thoughtful, conscientious crew can really make a difference in your experience,” he explained. “From the nurses to the person who empties the trash in your room, from the person who brings your food to everybody in between, they all took their jobs very seriously. I never met an unpleasant person.”

When asked what advice he would share with other people who are considering joint replacement, Randy doesn’t hesitate.

“I’d tell them to call Samaritan and get it done. It’s just not worth being in all that pain.”

You Don’t Have to Travel Far to Get the Best Possible Care

Samaritan Albany General Hospital is one of only two hospitals in the state – and one of only four on the West Coast that is recognized as a DNV GL Healthcare-certified Hip & Knee Replacement Center. This certification is your assurance that we have the resources and commitment to offer you the best possible care for hip and knee replacement. The right personnel. The right training. The right facility – close to home.

Learn More About Knee Replacement

Dr. James Ryan, medical director of Samaritan Orthopedics, describes the mechanics of the surgery and what to expect from total knee replacement.

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