With a little help from her doc, she's still active at 90

Dr. Wagner and ThelmaThelma showed no signs of slowing down, even after celebrating her 90th birthday in October.

She still runs all her own errands, visits her extended family and works outside in the summer tending to her flower garden.

Thelma has always enjoyed her freedom. Which is why when that freedom was threatened, she let it be known to her doctor that she wanted to keep it.

"Doing this surgery was risky at my age," she said. "But what's the alternative?"

One Sunday morning, Thelma, who lives alone, was in her kitchen when she tripped over a house slipper and fell to ground with her knee hitting a step ladder she kept nearby.

She fractured her femur and displaced the knee replacement she received 10 years earlier.

Thelma was rushed to the McLaren Macomb emergency room and soon came under the care of Dr. Michael Wagner, an orthopedic surgeon with McLaren Macomb.

"Thelma was bed-bound unless we reconstructed her knee," Dr. Wagner said. "Considering her age, this normally would have been an injury we stabilized, meaning she would have had limited mobility. But she wasn't ready for life off of her feet. It was tricky, but we worked to make it happen."

Dr. Michael Wagner

Aided by the latest technology, Dr. Wagner replaced Thelma's artificial knee and extended the rod to fix the fractured femur during a minimally-invasive procedure. (Thelma also has tremendous support from her family with 89 people waiting to hear the outcome.)

"He's fantastic," she said. "I thank him very much. They really don't know how much I prayed for this."

Working with McLaren Macomb physical therapist, she was soon up and walking again.

"With a patient like her and a procedure like this, it becomes more than fixing a knee," Dr. Wagner said. "It's about allowing them to maintain the level of comfort and quality of life they've become accustom to. With Thelma, we were able to do that."

To learn more about knee and hip replacements at McLaren Macomb, which utilizes MAKOplasty technology, visit mclaren.org/mako.