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Go for it, Joe. I have arthritic old knees that aren't ready yet for replacement, and I can hardly wait till the doctor gives the go-ahead. I've had arthoscopic surgery twice on one of them for a torn meniscus.

DH walks with his cronies on the boardwalk 3 or 4 miles every morning. It drives me nuts that I slow him down if I go along with him, and that I can only walk 1/2 a mile or so if I do go with him. On bad days I go up and down stairs one by one like a two year old. I don't try to go on trips to the zoo with the grandkids because too much walking is involved.

The longer you wait, the harder it'll be to recover muscle strength. I've met many people who've had hips or knees replaced, and not one of them said they regreted having it done. Aside from no longer being in constant pain, they were able to become active again. Wouldn't that cheer you up? If you come down to our boardwalk or go to one of the indoor shopping malls that opwn early to allow "mall walking," you'll meet lots of people who remind me of the bionic man (remember him?) One guy I met had 2 new knees and 2 new hips.

I did have a cataract removed a couple of years ago. One day later I could see again, and better than I could in years!

One thought to put in the back of your mind: up until the end of 2005, Medicare covered as much physical therapy as your doctor thought he should prescribe. Starting In January of 2006, it's now limited to some pittance that covers a lot less than you'll need after a knee replacement - something like $1,400/year as I recall. Physical therapy is crucial to a good recovery from knee or hip replacement, and I hope you can afford to pay for some out-of-pocket when the Medicare allotment gets used up.

Let us know how it goes. Good luck!

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