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In the video above, Joel shares his experience as a bilateral knee replacement patient. His entire story is also featured in Mercy's 2010 Annual Report.
Relying on innovative rehabilitation to enhance a patient’s quality of life
For 75-year-old Karry Vasey, orthopaedic surgeon Craig Mahoney’s advice to have hip replacement surgery came as a relief. She had been suffering from arthritis pain and limping for years after being injured in a car accident, which affected her daily life in many ways and made wearing her favorite high-heeled shoes a challenge.
“By the time I visited Dr. Mahoney last year, I had very limited movement and was in a lot of pain,” Karry says. Eager to improve her quality of life, she attended a pre-operative educational session to learn more about hip replacement surgery and the innovative rehabilitation program Mercy offers hip and knee replacement patients – Joint Camp.
“Karry was an ideal patient,” recalls Michelle Arnburg, RN, an orthopaedic floor staff nurse who helped facilitate the session. “She was enthusiastic to learn about the surgery and how she could be involved in her recovery, which is helpful since the more we can educate patients before surgery, the better their recovery is likely to be.”
“Mercy’s Joint Camp creates an atmosphere of wellness where patients can truly focus on living well and recovering from surgery,” Dr. Mahoney says. “Patients also benefit from specially trained nurses, therapists and support staff who are dedicated to helping patients and their families through the process.”
After going home and gradually regaining her strength and ability to bear weight on her new hip, Karry went back to work part-time as a caregiver who helps elderly individuals stay in their homes and is currently planning a trip to Colorado with her husband. “My only regret is that I didn’t have the surgery sooner,” she smiles. “Before surgery, I dealt with pain every day. Now I have a new hip – and a new life – and I couldn’t be happier.”
Karry wore her beloved high heels to her last post-operative visit with Dr. Mahoney. “He came in and saw how well I was walking and moving – then he noticed my shoes. ‘I think you’re going to do just fine,’ he said. And I knew he was right.”
Joint Camp – Where Fun is Key to the Recovery Process
It was a wonderful experience,” Paul Schafer, 54, said of Joint Camp at Mercy Medical Center. Paul had a total replacement of his left knee in January 2008 after several years of joint discomfort. Before Dr. John Nettrour of Iowa Orthopaedic Center performed the surgery, Paul was unable to comfortably climb stairs or even walk without a great deal of pain. By the end of a work day, Paul said he would be “hobbling” around, barely able to move.
“The group physical therapy in Joint Camp was a great experience,” said Paul. “It made my hospital stay more enjoyable and it was nice to see how others were progressing by comparison.
"I’m glad I was able to participate in Joint Camp,” Paul added. “The pre-operative education class explains all about it and tells you what to expect following the procedure. If you follow the program and do the simple exercises they teach you, it’s really very easy.”
Paul plans to attend Joint Camp again sometime in the next few months to have his right knee replaced, as well. “It’s amazing how much more active I am even after having just one knee done,” he said. “I can hardly wait to have them both done and feel as good as new!”