Computerized Knee Helps Senior Scale New Heights

Wednesday, November 30th 2011, 6:53 pm
By: News 9

Technology is sometimes designed to help folks lead normal lives.  It often launches them to new levels.

Rhonda Graham severely injured her leg in a motorcycle accident over thirty years ago, and subsequent infections led to amputation of her left leg.  She lives in Lubbock but drives to Oklahoma City to visit Scott Sabolich Prosthetics and Research for maintenance of her prosthesis.

Graham was physically active before her accident, and her new computerized knee has allowed her to remain that way.  She recently returned from a hike to the base camp of Mt. Everest, where she put the new knee and herself to the test.

Graham had her doubts early on.  She nearly gave up while passing near a small village with especially rough terrain.  It was the sight of her destination that kept her going.

"I looked to the left and I caught my first glimpse of Everest," Graham said.  "Right then I knew 'Nope, I'm goin' on.'" 

Graham met several other hikers and climbers during Everest's busiest season.  She met a climber from Switzerland who moved at easily twice her pace.  She figured she would see him again during her descent from the Everest base camp, but began to hear rumors of a very sick climber at a higher altitude. 

When a rescue helicopter landed at base camp, she realized it was the climber from Switzerland she had met earlier.  The man needed to get to a lower altitude, but the helicopter pilot refused to move the man without someone with medical experience to attend him.  Graham volunteered, relying on her twenty-five years of hospital experience.

She's glad she was there to help, and but does have slight regrets that she didn't make the trip down on foot.

"Yes I do, I really do," said  Graham.  "But I don't feel enough regret that I think I'll go back to finish it off."