Friday, November 19, 2004
Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak is facing another setback after months of surgery.
On Wednesday, she was rushed to Yampa Valley Medical Center after her right knee began seeping fluid. Doctors determined that her recently replaced knee was infected.
"They've always told me that there was a possibility that I could become re-infected and they'd have to look at how to handle that," Stahoviak said. "So it's happened, and we'll just have to deal with it.
"For me, the bottom line is it still will not affect my ability to serve the citizens of Routt County, it's just going to have to be from (the hospital) for a while, it looks like."
On Monday, Stahoviak is scheduled to undergo a surgery in which doctors will take out the infected replacement and put in a temporary replacement. Then, they can re-evaluate her options.
Those options include installing a permanent knee replacement, or fusing her right knee joint, which would keep her from bending her knee but would lessen the risk of infection.
Regardless, Stahoviak will spend time in the hospital for the surgery, and then in the Doak Walker Care Center or at home with nursing care.
Eleven months ago, Stahoviak was flown to a Denver hospital because of life-threatening kidney failure and infections. Last spring, she had temporary replacements installed in both knees.
In June, she had a permanent knee replacement installed in her right knee, and in October, she had a permanent replacement installed in her left knee. The installation of a permanent replacement in her left knee was delayed after doctors discovered infection in that knee.
The most recent infection in her right knee is one that typically is picked up in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, Stahoviak said.
Earlier this week, she was walking, with the help of a knee brace and platform walker, and has said she felt her strength was improving each day.
Now, she said, she's had to adopt the mindset that the setback happened for a reason and that perhaps the final outcome will end up being better than it would have been otherwise.
Stahoviak said she thinks her job is something she can do well from anywhere, as she is able to respond to e-mail, phone calls and even visits, and reads and researches the issues, then participates in meetings through phone conferences.
"I'll continue to do my job," Stahoviak said. "I've had rheumatoid arthritis for over 25 years. ... It's not like it's something that I've let limit me in the past, and I won't let (this) limit me now."
-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail email@example.com