Helen Cahalane arrived for her hip replacement surgery at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital before the sun had risen. Before it set that same night, she was back in her Edgewood home with her new hip.
Helen has degenerative joint disease and has suffered joint pain for years.
“I tried shots, medications, all types of measures to control the pain," she says. “It came to the point where there were no other options but surgery."
Helen had a visit with Brian Hamlin, MD, at the Bone and Joint Center at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. He suggested she have joint replacement surgery on her right hip.
In the months leading up to her surgery, Helen had a number of pre-op tests. And the staff at the Bone and Joint Center managed her care with her PCP.
“I had to go through a series of tests. They wanted to double check everything and make sure I was healthy," Helen says.
Thanks to her good health, Helen was a candidate for the Same-Day Discharge program. She could have her surgery and be ready to go home just a few hours later.
“The staff was very attentive, and they have a methodical approach. They were very good at explaining things and putting me at ease," she says.
In just over an hour, surgeons finished Helen’s hip replacement. Shortly after, she was up and getting ready for her first physical therapy.
A few hours after that, she was on her way back home.
“I was concerned at first about walking up my front steps, but it really wasn't a big deal. The pain was manageable," says Helen.
"The next morning, I did feel some pain again. But it was nice knowing I already had my in-home physical therapy scheduled for that day. To have someone getting in and helping me right away with those initial movements was great," she says.
Within the first two weeks post-surgery, Helen's pain got better each day.
“It was truly amazing how well I felt after the procedure. I did have some troubles. There was some pain at first. And I had to be sure to take proper wound care," Helen says. "But a few weeks down the road, I had no problems sleeping. And I didn't need the pain meds after a few days."
“I think the biggest thing for me was knowing that, after surgery, I'd be able to go home so soon," says Helen. "I'd be in my own house, in my own bed. It was comforting being where I wanted to be."
“The bottom line is that you have to relearn how to do a lot of things after the surgery. How to get your clothes on, or how to go to the bathroom," Helen says.
"When you're in your own home, you can do that so much easier. You need to get back to your normal routine, to regain your confidence, courage, and strength. And being at home really helped me do that."
Note: This patient's treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.
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