A New Knee Means She Can Ride Elephants and Travel the World!

elephant hug
Moline Globetrotter, Linda Meadors, 68, on an adventure in Thailand with “her new best friend”, following successful total knee replacement surgery at ORA Orthopedics.


If you have a bucket list to see the world (or even a small part of it), meet Linda Meadors, 68, a Moline retiree who has likely traveled a road you’ve only dreamed about.

Red Square; check. Ride an elephant in Thailand; check. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu; check! The list goes on…European villages, cruises down the Danube, and cooking school in Burma, just to name a few.

“The world is my palette, and my joy is planning and sharing every amazing sight with kindred spirits who long for adventure, too,” says Linda.

Linda’s wanderlust predates her retirement, but she’s stepped up the schedule now that she has more time.

“I’m traveling about 3 months out of the year, leading 3 to 4 groups as a travel consultant for Blue Horizon Travel. Typically, I work 18 months ahead, so when I’m not traveling, I’m planning trips. I’m already looking at African safaris and rail journeys in Canada next year!”

Not on the list: knee injury

Of course, plans can change unexpectedly, as Linda discovered while on a recent trip to Germany.

“I was walking down a cobblestone street when I wrenched my knee. It began to swell and I went straight to an ER in Germany. Their X-Rays revealed bone-on-bone arthritis and they recommended a total knee replacement.”

Dr. Peter Rink, ORA Orthopedics
Dr. Peter Rink, ORA Orthopedics

From Europe, Linda called ORA Orthopedic’s Total Joint Surgeon, Dr. Peter Rink, who recommended she return to the U.S.

She made an appointment, was evaluated, and Dr. Rink made the recommendations, including total knee replacement. Undaunted, Linda began making plans for both surgery and rehab that would not interfere with travel plans.

“I told him I still had plans including a trip to Australia, as well as to hike the Inca Trail the following year, so my knee had to be good to go. We had to schedule the surgery to make my timeline happen!”

Dr. Rink specializes in total joint surgery and says Linda’s knee definitely needed to be replaced.

“Age and activity can wear down the knee surface, and Linda was suffering arthritis in both knees. Total knee replacement is a great solution for people like Linda who want to maintain activity in retirement.”

ORA performs more total knee replacements than any other orthopedic practice in the QC region

Quad City ORA orthopedic surgeons perform about 1400 total knee replacements each year. That’s more than any other orthopedic practice in the region.

“It’s always the patient’s choice on when to do surgery, and Linda posed some unique challenges in timing so she wouldn’t miss any trips!”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Rink successfully performed her total knee replacement.

“In surgery, we remove the arthritic surface and then insert metal and medical-grade plastic components that replace the knee’s worn surface.”

The procedure takes about an hour and the patient is up and walking right away.

“Linda was a hard worker throughout her physical therapy. PT is necessary for about 6 weeks and patients fully recover in about 3 months,” he explains.

“It’s gratifying to see her recover so successfully and return to the world of travel she loves.”

By year’s end, Linda had achieved all of her goals, traveling to both Australia and Thailand for her first elephant ride.

One year later, she made another check on her bucket list by successfully climbing the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru.

Her advice to anyone with travel dreams, “You are never too old. Get outside your comfort zone, make a plan, and go for it!”

Happy trails, Linda!