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Sandy Altman’s Knee Replacement Story

Sandy Altman sitting with her dogs

When I was in college, I was in an automobile accident that severely damaged my knee. For years, I struggled with different therapies, injections, and medications while trying to avoid more surgery.

It finally came down to bearing the discomfort or having knee replacement. My fear of surgery finally gave in to my fear of having my lifestyle and activities severely limited. One of the most difficult limitations was realizing I could no longer walk Doc and Ruby, my black and yellow labs.

I went back to my orthopedic surgeon associated with Johnston Health and told him I was ready to change things and get back to a fuller, pain-free life. He scheduled my surgery, and I enrolled in “A Joint Adventure”—a new program through the Johnston Health Joint Center.

A Joint Adventure—The Prep I Needed

I was told the program would not only look after me during surgery and recovery; it would also help prepare me for all the steps ahead. Perhaps the biggest surprise was a presurgery class that was part of the program. This was so helpful in my preparation!

It allowed me to see ahead of time the entire plan for my procedure—each step and how it would be handled. It was one plan designed for my success. It explained the surgery, recovery, and rehabilitation and told me what to expect.

Taking Small Steps to Recovery

My surgery went great, as did post-op care and rehab. The team handled my initial therapeutic rehab in-house. Dedicated Joint Center rehab therapists are specifically trained to work with joint replacement patients.

Sandy Altman walking her dogs

They were able to work with me immediately on how to approach and overcome the obstacles in front of me—getting out of bed, walking, standing from a chair, taking steps, and climbing stairs. Their rehab room in the Joint Center in Smithfield even has a device to help therapists work with you on getting in and out of a car.

Pain-Free With Goals in Sight

At discharge, I was fully prepared to go home. My pain is gone. My therapeutic rehab at Johnston Health’s Rehab Center is ongoing and helping me reach my goals. It is still hard work, but the Joint Adventure program helped me go into it with realistic expectations and a great plan for achieving optimal results.

I am already able to resume walking Doc and Ruby and going a little farther each day. I think they are just about as happy as I am.

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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