Whether it’s cheering for her beloved Hawkeyes or staying competitive in bridge, Marcia Wiedmeyer, 87, LeClaire, Iowa, doesn’t like to lose. And, she wasn’t going to let a knee replacement stop her from enjoying life either.
At age 86, Marcia faced her first knee replacement with spunk and determination. A successful surgery and rehab was on the line for a special reason: Marcia had tickets to cheer on the Iowa Women’s Basketball’s championship season, and she was not going to miss the game.
“Her joy and commitment to stay strong blows any stereotype of aging right out of the water,” affirms her ORA Physical Therapist Mackenzie Woods.
“My surgery was in the fall of 2022, but I had tickets to see Iowa take on North Carolina State in early December,” recalls Marcia. Knowing that Carver-Hawkeye arena has steep stairs to the famed court, she researched handicapped access for the game.
Her PT had other plans.
“I told her she wasn’t attending the game by wheelchair, walker, or cane. Together our goal was that she would walk to her seat,” adds Mackenzie.
ORA Total Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr. Edward Connolly successfully performed the knee replacement in October. Throughout her rehab, Marcia and Mackenzie bonded and became fast friends, transcending generations to discover a mutual joy for a life well-lived and a shared goal to finish strong.
For Mackenzie, Marica was one of her first patients after graduating from St. Ambrose University’s PT program, while Marcia, a retired dental hygienist, and widow who enjoyed visiting grandchildren and playing bridge, trusted Mackenzie to bring her back in time to wear the black and gold in Iowa City.
“For many years, my husband and I attended Iowa games as alumni, and we loved all Hawkeye sports. It’s just been a big part of my life.”
Post-surgery and a championship season, bragging rights were on the line.
Iowa was riding high on its historic run-up to the National Championship. Marcia’s goal was to attend the Iowa vs. NC State game on December 1st and cheer team legend Caitlyn Clark.
“We had to get her knee moving on day one,” explains Mackenzie. “Post-surgery is a lot of work for patients. Pain management is key as muscles are stiff, sore, and weak. Marcia progressed very quickly.
“It usually takes five to six weeks to recover, and she has just been a model patient. Marcia has a positive mindset, and it helped that she was very active prior to surgery. By week six, she could walk and take stairs unassisted.
Game day was a victory for Marcia as she walked into Carver-Hawkeye and took the stairs to her seat. “We did lose the game, but seeing Caitlyn Clark play was worth it. I was so glad to be there.”
Enjoying her first summer on her new knee and full range of motion, Marcia is stepping it up, attending water aerobics three times a week, and traveling to meet family and friends. “My quality of life is great. I have been active, and the key is to keep busy. I have a lot of friends, several who are widows. Mackenzie has made it fun.”
Back with some “pep in her step”
Mackenzie says Marcia is one patient she’ll never forget. “She’s got a pep in her step, and she’s ‘blowin’ it out of the water!
“She reminded me of my own grandmother, so she told me, ‘I am your Iowa grandmother now.’ As a PT, when you connect with a patient, it is so worth it.
“I genuinely enjoy her company, and she helped me transition into my new career. I’m never going to forget her.”