Coffee, cookies and a total knee replacement

Archive, February, Month

A surgeon and his patient toast to her new knee.


“For my health,” said the patient. “For my knee.”

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“That’s right,” the surgeon said.

Every day, like clockwork, Teresa has a couple of chocolate chip cookies with her cup of decaf, so why should a short hospital stay after a knee replacement stop that?

“She’s the best,” said Dr. Christopher Vitale, “such a positive person.”

Teresa first met the McLaren Macomb orthopedic and trauma surgeon in February 2021. She, like so many with advancing osteoarthritis, came to the point where the pain in her knee was keeping her from many of life’s joys.

The day after Dr. Vitale (using advanced robotics) replaced Teresa’s right knee, he stopped by her room to check on her.

Out of bed and sitting in her room chair, Teresa was about to bite into her cookie and sip on her coffee.

“She invited me to sit down and join her,” Dr. Vitale said, “so I did. We sat and talked for a bit over some coffees.”

For months, Teresa remained a welcomed presence in the McLaren Macomb Orthopedic & Trauma office. Follow-up appointments and advancing arthritis in her left knee kept the surgeon and patient in regular communication.

And she always came bearing gifts.

A dedicated artisan, Teresa brought her crafts to share with the office staff, including a ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ ornament for Dr. Vitale to share with his wife and newborn.

She truly enjoyed the time she spent with the staff and Dr. Vitale.

So, the following December, when she again met with Dr. Vitale, who again recommended a total replacement for her worsening left knee, her initial reaction, with a smile and a laugh, was: “You better be there the next morning with a cookie and a coffee.”

Pulling a laugh out of her surgeon, Dr. Vitale quickly agreed.

Her surgery was set for January 13.

True to his word, Dr. Vitale, in between cases the following afternoon, checked in on his patient as she began her recovery from another successful procedure.

With him, he brought a couple of chocolate chip cookies and two cups of decaf.

A couple months later...

One of Teresa's follow up appointments after replacement happened to land on her birthday.

True to form, Dr. Vitale and his staff welcomed her with a hearty rendition of 'Happy Birthday' and cake.

And, of course, a couple coffees.