Carol Cox is no stranger to surgery. She had a procedure on her right knee in 2017. Then, unfortunately, her left knee had gotten into bad shape as well.
“I waited and put it off, instead getting steroid shots and gel shots, but it got to the point that I had to have surgery,” Carol recalls. “So, we scheduled it for March of 2023.”
To prepare, Carol was enrolled in Joint Camp, the pre-operative program that helps our ministry’s patients ensure they are in tip-top shape for surgery. However, it was during one of the program’s evaluation points that Carol hit a snag – as a diabetic, her A1C was too high.
“Carol’s elevated A1C was cause for concern, so we just wanted to hold off and give her time to make some changes to ensure the most optimal post-surgery outcome,” Dylan Watson, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Bon Secours Piedmont Orthopaedics, explains. “That’s the whole idea behind Joint Camp – a team-based approach with the hospital, surgeon and patient working cohesively together around a central goal of optimizing patient health before surgery.”
Carol’s procedure had to be postponed for three months. Despite the disappointing news, Carol used the program’s findings as inspiration to upgrade her lifestyle.
“I made some big changes during those three months – gave up sweets and started exercising more, to name a few,” Carol says. “My goal was to ensure I was able to have surgery, because it was way past time and my knee was really hurting.”
The changes Carol made more than paid off. She lost 25 pounds in addition to getting her A1C down enough to get the green light for surgery in June.
“Some patients are more compliant than others when testing reveals a concern, but Carol knocked it out of the park!” Dr. Watson shares. “She worked hard, understood the importance of making some changes and went after it! That’s what we love to see.”
However, the health journey wasn’t over yet. Carol’s next challenge would come after the procedure was over.
“When I had my total joint replacement on my right knee, I spent four days and three nights in the hospital,” she reveals. “Then, they transported me to another facility for rehab. This time, I came home that same day. I live alone, so I arranged for friends to stay with me, but Bon Secours also had home health care set up, which was a new experience for me – but it ended up being a wonderful experience.”
Our home health team consisted of a nurse and a physical therapist, each who would visit Carol twice a week.
“The home health team works diligently to help patients reach their goals of being independent around their home and getting into outpatient rehab even faster than ever before,” Barbara Wally, one of our physical therapists, explains. “The phenomenal work of everyone up to the point of outpatient rehab helps spring patients forward into their goals and back to living their lives to the fullest.”
Carol was grateful for the help, but being a former athlete, she also knew she would have to put in the work to get where she wanted to go.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it – the first few weeks after surgery are hard,” she shares. “I know it hurts, but I’m also an ex-athlete who understands the saying ‘no pain, no gain.’ I have goals to get back out on the pickleball court and things like that, so I’ve been doing the exercises and everything they tell me to do. The good thing is I feel like I’m on the downside of the mountain. While I still have discomfort and swelling, my knee is already better than it was prior to surgery and I’m only six weeks into my recovery.”
Carol credits much of her success to her therapists who “gave me exercises to do outside of what we would do together, telling me exactly what to do, showing me how to do it and answering any questions I had.”
However, if you ask the therapists, they’ll say Carol is responsible for her own success.
“She was very motivated and willing to put in the work to get ahead,” Jeremy Hinkle, one of Carol’s home health physical therapists, says. “She knew we would only be in the home for a limited time and that she had to do her part, so she was more than happy to get outside in her beautiful backyard, get some fresh air and work on our exercises and gait training. It’s no surprise that she is doing so well with her recovery.”
Today, Carol is continuing to focus on her recovery in outpatient physical therapy. She and her therapists are positive she’ll be back on the pickleball court in no time thanks to her hard work and determination. Also, because of the great continuum of care she received from our entire team, from pre-surgery to her post-procedure recovery.
This holiday season, we are celebrating by spreading the good news! Read more thankful stories, like this one, that feature our team members, patients and the wonderful communities we are blessed to serve.
Also, learn more about the orthopedics and sports medicine services we provide at Bon Secours.