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Jimmy Marler’s Orthopedic Story

My grandson Payton and I began a tradition of playing football in our front yard when he was five years old, year round and almost daily. Spending time with him meant so much to me that I decided to take an early retirement to have more time with him while he was young. But by the time he was nine years old my right hip had degenerated to the point it was so painful that I could no longer participate in the activities we enjoyed so much. In 2013, I decided it was time to do something about my hip joint, so I turned to Johnston Health’s Joint Center for help.

Jimmy Marler, Orthopedic TestimonialFollowing my initial exam, my surgeon, Dr. Alioto, asked me what my goals were. I answered simply “To be able to get back to where I can play football with my grandson”. He recommended hip replacement surgery and we moved ahead.

The surgery went great and the support care couldn’t have been better. Immediately after surgery the staff began therapy and had me up and walking. Johnston Health Home Care worked with me at my home, and once I could drive I began physical therapy at Johnston Health Rehabilitation at the Johnston Medical Mall. They were actually amazed at how well I had progressed. I think the secret was strong motivation and really good therapists.

I focused my energy on rehabilitation and after six months my surgeon released me to resume normal activities. I did so cautiously and a year after surgery I had reached my goal- Payton and I resumed our football games. I was so happy with my outcome that I volunteered to do a testimonial ad for Johnston Health to benefit others who might need the help that I had found. I hoped to create a better awareness of what Johnston Health can offer, here, so close to home. But my story didn't stop there.

In October of 2017, I slipped on a boat ramp and took a hard fall. Trying to avoid falling on my new hip, I twisted as I fell and took the impact on my left shoulder. I knew my shoulder was injued but thought that it was superficial. After a couple of weeks with no improvement I went back to Dr. Alioto. An MRI revealed extensive damage which required surgery to reattach torn ligaments in my shoulder and collarbone. Surgery once again went very well and rehab at the Joint Center again brought me back to where I can once again raise my hand over my head and resume normal activities.

I thought that those two ventures would pretty much wrap up my need for orthopedic procedures. However, that was not going to be the case. A knee issue that started with a church league softball injury from years ago was gradually getting worse. Over time arthritis set in and the knee joint began to degenerate. I tried to push through it - for way too long. I walked with a noticeable limp that became more prevalent and the swelling was limiting my mobility. Eventually I reached my limit.

In September of 2019, Dr. Alioto showed me that I was down to bone on bone and I realized my knee had finally reached the same level of limitation and pain as my hip had years before. It was really past time for a knee replacement. Again, Dr. Alioto did my surgery and the Joint Center directed my rehab. I am already back to 80% of normal and way better than before the surgery.

I have had three different orthopedic procedures at Johnston Health and come out with some clear insight. First is how fortunate we are to have this level of orthopedic surgical and rehab care available, here in our community. The other is this - if you realize that you have knee, hip or shoulder damage that is limiting your life and activities, have it repaired sooner than later. Get with your doctor or surgeon and make a plan to take care of your situation. Sure it is a challenge, but it is amazing how much it can improve your quality of life. I would do it again tomorrow for the difference it has made. A few weeks back we needed some laminate flooring installed and I was able to do it myself and got along great!”

Contact Us

If you have questions about joint replacement, contact:

Christy Collins, RN
Nurse Manager, Fourth Floor Surgical/Joint Center
919-209-3470
Christy.Collins@unchealth.unc.edu

Laura Vaughn, RN, BC
Joint Replacement Center Patient Navigator, CPM Champion
919-209-3472
Laura.Vaughn@unchealth.unc.edu

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