Patient Testimonial Stories
Dr. Secor (Knee)
Total knee replacement patient Judy B. recently attended the Orthopedic Destination Center’s reunion luncheon at Los Alamitos Medical Center. She went home following her operation and tells how easy the transition was for her.
“I went home after my surgery and hospital stay,” she shared; “I had a friend who came to my home to help me. “ Her friend even attended the luncheon with Judy. She was a big help in the first few weeks. “My friend helped me and we’re still friends,” she joked. “I also used the sock helper tool and it was great.”
She also shared how she used a helper handle for the car. The ODC luncheon can be a great place to share stories and resources that worked or helped patients during their recovery.
Marion D. recently had total knee replacement surgery at Los Alamitos Medical Center. She seems to be a very independent spirit and had the surgery so she could walk pain free. “What a relief it is,” she told the group. When asked what the best part about having the surgery was, she didn’t hesitate - “I can walk pain free.” She also told the group that she didn’t need to use the walker after three days. “I did pre-surgery exercises for five weeks before my surgery,” she said. “I think that’s what really made such a big difference.”
Dr. Secor (Hip)
Los Alamitos Medical Center’s Orthopedic Destination Center luncheon is held so that staff can follow up with patients, but also so that patients can share their stories with the group. The mix of knee and hip replacement patients have much in common, but their determination to be pain free and walk is what truly bonds them. Hip replacement patient Verda B went home after her brief hospital stay and had a home health service to take care of her. “They were very helpful,” she shared. “I felt good after two weeks but had them stay a third week just to be even more comfortable.” Verna attended the luncheon like most post-operative patients do – without a walker or cane.
Dr. Woodson (Knee)
Jim D and his wife Rosemary attended Los Alamitos Medical Center’s reunion lunch after Jim had total knee replacement surgery. Both Jim and Rosemary shared that they used the binder they received in the pre-surgery education class quite a bit after he was home. “It was so helpful”, Jim said. Rosemary was his caretaker at home and also referenced the binder information. Jim was able to return home after a very brief hospital stay and he’s well on the road to recovery. The luncheon guests usually attend without a wheelchair or even a walker – Jim did just fine on his own as well.
Painful arthritis and bone on bone pain were the reasons Geraldine B had total knee replacement surgery at the Orthopedic Destination Center at Los Alamitos Medical Center. “It was bad” she said, “and I knew it wouldn’t be getting any better.”
Total knee replacement patients and total hip replacement patients get private rooms with recliners, are able to wear their own clothing, and have a personal trainer with them to offer support and encouragement. Group physical therapy allows patients to interact and cheer each other on through their repetitions. A fun horse-racing themed board let’s patients move their marker to show how many steps they’ve accomplished – often resulting in competitions.
Now that her surgery is behind her, Geraldine said “I don’t have the pain I had before. I’m looking forward to being more mobile now.”
JD “Joe” P
“This was my ninth knee surgery and hopefully my last,” said Joe P. a recent total knee replacement patient. Joe attended the Orthopedic Destination Center’s reunion luncheon as most recent patients do – without a walker or cane. The father of four lives an active life and enjoys the outdoors – great reasons to be pain free and have his mobility back again.
The Orthopedic Destination Center patients have a group reunion each month. The total hip and total knee replacement patients are part of a new orthopedic program that includes a pre-surgery education class, private rooms, group therapy, and lunch with their therapy ‘trainer’ (support person). Most patients head home the day after surgery and daily newsletters keep the patients informed about what to expect each day.
After nine surgeries, Joe Pearson was glad to be well on the road to recovery. “My son got to see me in my 50’s playing football and surfing, ” he said – and it didn’t sound like he was slowing down now.
Brian D’s wife was asked what the hardest part of Brian’s recent hip surgery was – his second total hip replacement in six months. “Getting him to slow down!” she responded. His first hip replacement was last June and he had his other hip done in late December. Only two months after surgery, one couldn’t tell who had been the patient when the couple arrived at the reunion luncheon.
The orthopedic destination center staff hosts a reunion luncheon to see how the patients are doing. The staff is part of the hospital’s team that educates the patients prior to surgery and is often waiting at the bedside when they come out of surgery. The patients have private rooms, wear their own clothing, and eat meals with a group of other orthopedic patients. When Brian had trouble with arranging durable medical equipment for home after his surgery, he reached out to the hospital staff. “They went out of their way to help – when it wasn’t their job,” he said with appreciation.
The reunion luncheon is a time to provide feedback to the hospital and to share experiences with the group. Brian shared that he was doing well. So well in fact that one morning after surgery – he was locked out of his home when his wife left for work – so he climbed over the wall to his backyard to re-enter the house. “It was more of a crawl than a climb,” he said with a laugh; but it’s going to take more than two hip surgeries to get him to slow down.
“I get too emotional when I try to talk about it,” said Charles S when asked to talk about his recent knee surgeries. Yes, two. Charles had both knees done at the same time. His wife was by his side when speaking about the surgeries and said, “I told him, let’s just hope it’s the right decision,” and he said, “it’s going to be the right decision! He was determined from the start.”
The journey toward surgery started long ago for Charles. He had bone on bone pain and it was unbearable. It hurt to walk. One physician told him he had too many other health issues to try surgery. “He didn’t say yes or no” said Charles, “but just deal with it.” But this didn’t stop him from pursuing a pain free life. He then went to a physician at Los Alamitos Medical Center who said he would do it. “My legs were really bowed so the doctor said let’s do both!” The Orthopedic Destination Center staff made it easy as he had a private room, could wear his own clothes, and his wife could be there for therapy and meals.
Charles said the nurses were fantastic and he loved the guidebook that he received prior to surgery. “We used it as a reference with home health services,” said his wife. “We could always find the answers in there.” Now his legs are not bowed and he can get around now and even climb stairs. Friends tell him how good he looks – because there is no pain in his face. He couldn’t believe how many people mentioned it to him. “The major thing is that there is no pain” he said, “and I can go to concerts again.”
Maria V could no longer go out with her family. She just never knew when her knee would go out on her. When it went out, the pain would be terrible. Her knee would just collapse underneath her and her family was afraid to leave her alone in case she fell. The pain was from a meniscus tear. When she fell over a year later, it got worse. Twice when her knee locked up her family had to take her to the emergency room for the pain.
Then Maria had total knee replacement surgery through the Orthopedic Destination Center at Los Alamitos Medical Center. “It was so lose before the surgery and now it’s strong,” she said.
Her daughter Yadira was with her at the reunion lunch and talked about helping her mom before the surgery and how she was able to be at her side for physical therapy and lunch meals. Maria can once again go out with her family and enjoy family activities.
“I was blown away,” said total knee replacement patient Deborah B. “At this age, you hear stories about surgery taking a year out of your life.” That wasn’t the case for Deborah. She did 4000 steps on the second day after her surgery. “I was giddy,” she shared “it was the first time I could walk in years! I didn’t want to stop.” Prior to her surgery, Deborah’s husband became ill and she became his caretaker. She needed to be able to get around so that she could care for him and maintain their home. The Orthopedic Destination Center at Los Alamitos Medical Center prepares patients for what do to before their surgery, educates them on what to expect on surgery day, and tells them how to prepare their home for their return. There is a class and comprehensive guidebook to use as a reference tool. “It was phenomenal, just phenomenal,” continued Deborah. “It was awesome to have a physical therapist waiting in my room after surgery. Just awesome.”
I had total hip replacement surgery at Los Alamitos Medical Center and I was walking around, practicing steps, and doing laps around the hallway in the hospital! When I attended the education class before my operation, they told my wife and I that patients would be competitive and try to walk more than the others. We didn’t know what to expect. But now that I had my surgery, I was one of the patients having fun moving my step-count magnet along the board that measures how far we go. Other patients made it fun as I passed their rooms and would come out and walk too. My wife was there to support me with therapy and the staff had me practicing so I would be ready to go home quickly. I couldn’t walk very far for years because of the pain I had and now I’m walking the halls a day after surgery.
“I would not mind getting sick again!” joked Donald W., a recent total knee replacement surgery patient. “The class was really informative and helpful.” “It eliminated questions we had beforehand,” said his son Duane.
That is just one aspect of the new Orthopedic Destination Center at Los Alamitos Medical Center that patients appreciate. The surgical candidates attend a pre-surgery education class where they get a comprehensive binder explaining how to prepare their home and themselves for surgery, what to expect on surgery day, and how to prepare for going home post-surgery. Total knee and hip replacement patients in the program also get private rooms and are allowed to wear their own clothing.
Donald had the surgery because his knee hurt all the time and he couldn’t get in and out of his truck. After making the decision to have surgery, he was surprised at how well the process went. “Three days later and it’s all over, something I never imagined would be so easy. Far more mild than I ever thought it would be,” he shared.
Patients in the Orthopedic Destination Center develop camaraderie and a fun sense of competition. The Triple Crown Commitment board is part of the unit’s horse racing theme and patients move a magnet along the track to show how many feet they’ve walked – it’s not unusual to see a patient motivated to walk when they see a fellow patient go by their room.
“The most wonderful thing about it?” said Donald. “I went to bed, had surgery, and the next thing I knew, I was going home!”