Rose, 62-years-old, sat in her car reading, taking in the scenery of Yellowstone. Rose was in the midst of vibrant hot springs, mudpots, geysers, mountains, forests, lakes and more — it was a shame that she had to experience the national park from the front seat of her car. She was unable to go out and walk the park because she was limited by pain.
Rose suffered from chronic osteoarthritis pain in both knees. This vacation was an example of how joint pain controlled Rose’s life, but Rose had enough. It was time for a change.
The joint pain had gone on for years. Rose tried conservative options to relieve her pain, including exercises, stretches and cortisone injections, but nothing worked. Rose was advised to consider joint replacement as her next option for relief.
Rose was reluctant to undergo joint replacement surgery thinking recovery meant very limited mobility for an extended period of time, unbearable pain and subpar outcomes.
“I love taking care of my husband and family,” says Rose. “I struggled with the thought of putting my family, especially my husband, in a position where they would have to care for me for many months.”
A consult with Andrew Wassef, M.D., medical director, MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center (JRC), Long Beach Memorial, helped ease Rose’s concerns about joint replacement surgery for her knees. Dr. Wassef also recommended that Rose participate in a pre-op education class offered by the JRC at Long Beach Memorial.
Long Beach Memorial offers a comprehensive program that includes pre-op education classes, patient guidebooks, group physical therapy sessions, pain management protocols, and encourages family support in the form of a patient “Coach” role.
“At Long Beach Memorial, we strive to achieve best practices for our patients,” says Dr. Wassef. “One especially effective practice is patient education. I knew Rose would benefit from our pre-op classes because they teach patients and their families what they should expect from surgery and what they need to do to recover and get back to their daily activities.”
Rose attended the pre-surgery total joint replacement class and learned that she had many misconceptions about joint replacement surgery.
“We talked to real people who had their joints replaced and learn all about joint replacement,” says Rose. “I also learned that I could be up and around soon after surgery, which really impressed me.”
At pre-op class, Rose met Debi Fenton, Joint Replacement Coordinator, JRC. Debi’s role is to guide patients who undergo joint replacement surgery, helping to navigate them and their families through the joint replacement process. Debi believes the success of JRC is partly due to pre-op patient education.
“Once a patient learns what to expect post-op and the rationale for protocols, they gain a sense of relief and ultimately have a better experience.” says Debi. “Also, meeting the team, having an opportunity to ask questions, visualizing the post-op unit, and encouraging their ”Coach” to participate are the advantages of pre-op class that support patients preparing to take on their procedures.”
Rose had a total knee replacement on her right knee on Monday, Jan. 25. She was up walking by the next afternoon. Her husband did a great job as her coach, helping her to manage her pain once they were home.
“The JRC at Long Beach Memorial enlightened me and helped me realize that taking back my life was possible — they gave me the hope for a pain-free life that I had lost,” says Rose.
Rose’s experience was so positive that she chose to have her left knee replaced only four months following her right side. After about six months, Rose’s right knee was pain free and her left knee was following suite. Rose recommends the joint replacement program to anyone who is living a limited life due to joint pain. She also highlights the importance of physical therapy for recovery.
“I lived in pain for years and had long forgotten what I was missing,” says Rose. “I took pain-free movement for granted and can’t believe that I needed to take pills every four hours to get through the day. I am proof, that with the right help, like JRC, you can take back your life.”
- Orthopedic Surgery