Bridgepoint Health

“I gave up driving because I knew I no longer had the reflexes”

Posted on Wednesday September 17, 2014

After four arthritis-related surgeries, 69-year-old Gale Deacon’s family jokingly calls her a bionic woman. Diagnosed 20 years ago with arthritis, Gale has had both knees replaced and her latest surgery fused the bones in her left foot back together in three places. Two days later, she began rehabilitation at Bridgepoint Active Healthcare.

“I’m a very independent lady, but the pain from arthritis can be excruciating,” says Gale. “I gave up driving because I knew I no longer had the reflexes in my knees; it was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made.”

According to Bridgepoint Occupational Therapist Sandy Duncan, there’s a common perception that arthritis is a disease of the elderly — something your grandmother may have. The reality is that 56 per cent of Canadians living with arthritis are under age 65; approximately three out of five are working age. In Gale’s case, arthritis forced her to stop working in her 50s, when the physical limitations became too much. 

Gale has been working with our Physiotherapy team to regain her mobility and strength. She works hard to maintain a positive attitude and a sense of humour, and is grateful for constant encouragement from Bridgepoint staff.

Gale knows this isn’t the last procedure she’ll face: she expects she’ll need the same surgery on her right foot, plus she has two degenerating discs in her back, and frequent arthritis flare-ups in one of her shoulders.

“Arthritis affects your work. It affects your thinking. It affects your emotions. The hardest part is the depression,” she says. “I remind myself that it’s not the end of the world; there are good days when the pain isn’t as bad. If you’re living with arthritis, make sure you have a good support group around you. You need friends and family who understand what you’re going through, especially the pain.”

September is Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada

  • There are 100 forms of arthritis; the most common is osteoarthritis
  • It affects more than 4.6 million Canadians over age 15, including 1.8 million Ontarians
  • Arthritis affects more women (20%) than men (13%)
  • Osteoarthritis is the root cause of 80% of hip replacements and 90% of knee replacements
  • People with arthritis are more likely to have other chronic conditions

For more arthritis facts and resources, visit the Arthritis Society of Canada website at