Dale, Knee Replacement

I tried not to let my knees slow me down at work and in my personal life, but the pain was getting to be more than I could stand.

I’ve been with The Greeneville Sun for 25 years – 23 of those years as director of printing and distribution. I manage about 20 full-time and part-time employees and oversee about 50 independent newspaper contractors. I’m responsible for the delivery of four publications here – The Greeneville Sun, Knoxville News Sentinel, USA Today and The New York Times.

On my way to work, I sometimes put papers in vending boxes around town. Then I come to work and focus in the early mornings on any issues that might have developed the day before or during the early morning deliveries. After that I go right into the daily issues of printing, packaging and delivery of several different products.

Continually throughout the day, I’m flipping hats between printing, packaging and distribution.

I have an office, but I have to be able to get up and move around and be in different departments with my team, resolving problems as needed.

In other words, I’ve got to be mobile. The work my team and I do affects a lot of people.

I started work at The Greeneville Sun in 1994, the year Greeneville Industries, a subsidiary of Newport News Shipbuilding, closed. Greeneville Industries built parts for the U.S. Navy – we built parts for air craft carriers and submarines. I started out as an assembly worker, was promoted to inspector and later become a supervisor. I was on my feet on concrete floors about 90% of the time.

At the time, I also farmed about 80 acres, raised and showed cattle and sheep. If that wasn’t enough, my family also built a convenience store/restaurant on our property, opened a tanning salon and then built a six-bay car wash.

I guess with all that, I just wore my knees out.

I’m a really active person. I tried not to let my knees slow me down at work and in my personal life, but the pain was getting to be more than I could stand.

Something had to be done.

I wanted to stay involved with my family. My 13-year-old granddaughter, Kylie, has been playing soccer since she was 4, and she also enjoys playing basketball. I like to go to her soccer and basketball games.

I lived in this community all my life. When it came time to choose where I wanted to have my surgery, I chose Greeneville Community Hospital East.

I also wanted to stay involved with my friends. I have a lot of good friends. Each year, I have a huge birthday party at my home. My friends started calling it Dale-A-Palooza. We have cornhole competitions and give away Dale-A-Palooza T-shirts to the winners. People come out with tents and campers. It’s a big deal. I wouldn’t want to miss it.

I’m president of the USS Greeneville Committee. Three years ago, we had the 20-year reunion, and it was a big deal. We had sailors who had served on the USS Greeneville (SSN 772) come from all around to celebrate this event. I didn’t want to miss attending the upcoming 25th reunion of the commissioning of the USS Greenevillein 2021 because of my knees.

I am proud that I came up with the idea of naming one of the 688-class submarines after Greeneville, Tennessee, when I worked at Greeneville Industries. At this time, the Navy was naming subs after cities. But in 1988, they were just about to stop naming them after cities. I spoke up to the plant manager, “Why not get them to name one after Greeneville?” He said our city wasn’t big enough. I thought about it for a couple weeks and decided I was going to try to do it anyway. I, along with the plant manager, got together with the local officials and told them the story, and that Greeneville could represent all the small towns in America.

That campaign started in 1988. The community and all of East Tennessee and those who worked at Greeneville Industries supported the naming. In 1989, we were able to convince the Navy to name a sub after Greeneville. The Navy christened the Greeneville submarine in 1994, which also happens to be the year that Greeneville Industries closed. The USS Greeneville was then commissioned and made a U.S. Navy vessel in 1996. It’s currently stationed in Hawaii.

So I decided it was time to get my knees replaced. I have a lot of friends who work for Ballad Health in Greeneville. I lived in this community all my life. When it came time to choose where I wanted to have my surgery, I chose Greeneville Community Hospital East. Why would I go somewhere else?

I went to Dr. Richard Pectol Jr. He said I needed surgery on both knees due to severe osteoarthritis. I had my right knee replaced on June 5, 2019, and my left knee replaced October 15, 2019. Dr. Pectol is an awesome physician, and I consider him a great friend.

The staff at Greeneville Community Hospital East was excellent. They took great care of me. When the surgery was over, the therapist got me up and walking in no time.

If I can educate the community, I’d tell them not to be afraid. You’ll feel a lot better, especially after you heal from surgery.

My pain level before surgery was probably 5 to 7 out of 10. But now it’s only 1 or 2.

I’m also moving around better, but the doctor said it would probably take six to 12 months to fully recover. And that’s plenty of time for me to be ready for the 25th reunion in 2021.

And now, with my new knees, I can watch my granddaughter play sports.

Is knee replacement for you?

If you think surgery might help you get moving again – like it did for Dale – learn more about total knee replacement here.