Sally Dwyer: Total Knee Replacements
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis cause 54-year-old Sally Dwyer joint pain that affects her back, neck, hands, knees, hips, ankles and feet. Fortunately, two total knee replacement surgeries at Henry Ford Allegiance Health have helped to increase Sally’s mobility and improve her quality of life. “That’s especially important when you have seven grandchildren,” she said.
Working as a classroom aide for children with special needs required Sally to do a lot of walking and bending. Eventually, the pain in her knees made it difficult to get up and down from the floor and impossible to kneel. Sally had arthroscopy done on both knees, a procedure in which a physician places a tiny camera into the joint to indentify and repair or remove damage. When this proved to be unsuccessful in relieving Sally’s knee pain, she considered surgery.
Sally decided to consult with an orthopaedic surgeon who had performed successful joint replacements for several of her family members.
“My doctor was straightforward with me, and I appreciated that,” Sally said. “He was very thorough in explaining the procedure, and he was honest about the pain that would be involved for someone with my level of arthritis.” Determined to regain some mobility, Sally decided to have her left knee replaced in 2007, at age 49.
In preparation for surgery, Sally was given a tour of the Henry Ford Allegiance Joint Replacement Center—also known as the Joint Camp—a unit in the hospital devoted to patients having hip or knee replacements. “I got to meet some of the staff and learned all about what to expect regarding my surgery and recovery,” Sally said. “That really helped prepare me and eased my anxiety.”
Sally’s surgery went well, and she was pleased with her Joint Camp experience. “My care was excellent,” she said. “The nursing staff is focused on joint replacement recovery, and they really know what they are doing. They don’t baby you, but they get you moving and give you a lot of support.” That included using a model bathroom to teach Sally how to get in and out of the shower safely to avoid falls at home.
Joint Camp patients are treated to a gourmet “graduation” dinner at the end of their hospital stay. For Sally, that was truly a special occasion. “The food was fabulous, and June Yee from Henry Ford Allegiance Nutrition Services does an elegant presentation. I loved getting to sit with the patients I had worked so hard with in group therapy and celebrate,” she said.
Sally was relieved to find that the staff also took care of getting her home ready for her recovery and had arranged her physical therapy. “They really couldn’t have been better,” she said.
Her first knee replacement allowed Sally to continue working “far longer than I would have been able to without it,” she said. Her doctor successfully replaced Sally’s right knee in 2010, and she was again “thrilled with the results.” With the help of her husband, Paul, Sally continues to care for her young grandchildren several times a week.
“I am so thankful for the Henry Ford Allegiance Joint Camp,” Sally said. “It has truly made a difference in my life.”