Dover mayor keeps busy while recovering from knee surgery

DOVER — Mayor Robin Christiansen said he’s on the road to recovery after successfully undergoing knee replacement surgery last month.

“Despite the pain that I was in it was a very productive mini-vacation,” he said.

The mayor had his left knee replaced March 22 and was back in the office with limited mobility on March 24.

“It was a pain that I was feeling for a long time,” he said. “The surgery was long overdue.”

Mayor Christiansen is an active parishioner at the Church of the Holy Cross in Dover and has been active as a community volunteer with Dover Little league and Dover Fire Department for 40 years.

Mayor Robin Christiansen

Mayor Robin Christiansen

“I had to get (the knee) replaced due to some of the injuries I sustained being a firefighter and playing sports over the years,” said Mayor Christiansen, a 1968 graduate of Dover High School. “It got to the point where it was bone-to-bone arthritis.”

The mayor is not alone in dealing with knee pain.

Janelle Hobbs, nurse navigator for orthopaedics at Bayhealth Kent General, said the surgery can be needed due to wear and tear on the knees over the years.

“As you get older the cartilage in your knees starts to wear down,” Ms. Hobbs said. “People start to develop arthritis and it starts to become bone on bone for some people. But it can happen in various ways.”

She said there has been a rise in the surgery for younger athletes that play sports.

“They play heavy sports and overuse their bodies,” she said.

Mayor Christiansen had the procedure performed at Rothman Institute Orthopaedics in Philadelphia. It only took an hour and half, he said.

Ms. Hobbs said the length of stay for patients has shortened, due to medical advances over the years. She said the recovery process sometimes takes four to six weeks.

“Patients may start off with a cane,” she said. “Then they slowly start to progress; some patients may just need the cane for only a few days. It depends.”

That seemed to be the case for Mayor Christiansen.

“Physical therapy helped me a lot,” he said. “They said I would have to walk with a cane for three weeks, but after three days I was able to get rid of it.”

Mayor Christiansen credited his family for keeping him entertained during his recovery.

“They were my medical staff; they kept me entertained and occupied,” he said. “I watched a lot of TV, which isn’t saying much these days. I read anything I could get my hands on.”

He only missed one council meeting, but was still hands-on as if he was there, he said.

“I was able to work from home and stay connected through by email. Any papers that had to be signed they sent it to me.

“I have to credit members of council for helping me out any way that they could.”

Mayor Christiansen said he read the charter during his time off.

“I read the charter a few times and just made notes on a few items moving forward. I had more time to interpret things.

“I don’t like to sit around and not do anything,” he added. “I got a chance to look at the preliminary budget and do some planning on our 300th birthday.

“That’s a really big deal to us and I want that to be the best that it can be.”

While founded in 1683 by William Penn, Dover was officially laid out in 1717.

The mayor said his knee is gradually getting stronger, but because he walks with a slight hobble residents try to help him any way that they can.

“Some people called and asked if I needed a ride,” Mayor Christiansen said. “That’s what’s great about being in a city like this, because the residents were really there for me and genuinely wanted to help me out.”

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