Globetrotting with a Set of Brand-New Knees

Organization: Story Topics:
Senior Health
Caroll Ohlinder

Caroll Anne Ohlinder is an active woman with a passion for exploration. The former high school Biology teacher constantly is on the move, periodically traveling to a new part of the globe to satisfy her never ending quest to explore. At “78 ½-years-old,” Caroll has no plans to stop exploring and thanks to the MemorialCare Senior Plus Program at Long Beach Memorial she knew exactly where to go to keep her knees fit for travel.

When Caroll’s right knee started to bother her last year, she didn’t think much about it. Having suffered from arthritis, she told herself it was just arthritis pains moving down to her knees. One day while taking a seat she heard a pop in her knee and from then on the pain in her knee began to worsen. She knew it was time to get some help.

“When I heard the pop I knew right away that this was more than just my arthritis,” says Caroll. “Luckily I’ve been a member of the MemorialCare Senior Plus program for a few years and attended a health education lecture about the MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Memorial and all that they provide.”

MemorialCare Senior Plus is a membership program open to adults 55 and older. For a fee of $25 a year ($20, if renewing), members are granted access to a multitude of services, which are included in the membership, such as parking and free transportation to Long Beach Memorial, Community Hospital Long Beach and other MemorialCare locations in Long Beach.

“In order to provide services that are beneficial to MemorialCare Senior Plus members, we offer health education classes and events that encourage the older adult community to be more proactive in their health,” says Norma Frias, senior services coordinator, Long Beach Memorial. “Our members are given a calendar of programs to help them access information they may need. From lectures on joint replacement or cancer screenings to classes that help them when it’s time to renew their driver’s license, we seek out the information that our patients need and provide them with services that help them live happy and healthy lives.”

Equipped with the information she had gained from the lecture, Caroll saw her internist and asked him a few questions about her options regarding her knee. Upon inspection, Caroll was referred to Michael Pahl, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center, Long Beach Memorial.

"Caroll came to me with bilateral knee pain,” says Dr. Pahl. “We tried to treat it conservatively without success, which led us to elect the total knee replacement surgery.”

On April 1, 2013, Caroll underwent surgery to replace her right knee, was up and walking in a matter of hours, and home three days later. Following her surgery, Caroll received physical therapy at Long Beach Memorial and continued her therapy at home. With a new knee and a thirst for travel, Caroll and her friend set off to Croatia and Montenegro.

On this particularly active trip Caroll began to notice that her left knee was now giving her trouble. As soon as she returned she made a trip to see Dr. Pahl and informed him of the situation. On the heels of one successful surgery Caroll made the decision to replace her left knee as well.

“She did so well with her right knee that we almost immediately decided on the second surgery,” says Dr. Pahl. A few months later, Caroll was back for round two and everything went smoothly again.

Having recently finished the in-hospital physical therapy for her left knee, Caroll already has her sights on another section of the globe.

“This time it’s Germany,” says Caroll.

Unafraid of the cobblestone streets, Caroll plans to get back to her normal cardio routine with the SilverSneakers Fitness® program at the Alpert Jewish Community Center.

“I’ve always been very trusting of the physicians at Long Beach Memorial,” says Caroll. “I had my son here at the BirthCare Center before Miller Children’s existed, I’ve had surgeries here, my doctors are all here and now I’ve had my knees replaced here. Long Beach Memorial has been there for all of my medical needs and I will always look to them first for any new procedures.”