When Char Ellig heard that Redwood Area Hospital was going to start offering total joint replacement surgery, she wanted to be first in line.
“I had my other knee replaced a few years ago so I knew this one was needed, but actually put off surgery for about six weeks in order to have the surgery here,” explained Ellig.
In December 2014, Redwood Area Hospital’s total joint replacement team was ready for surgery in partnership with Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic, and so was Ellig. She scheduled her surgery for the first day the service was available and was the second patient to have total joint replacement surgery completed at Redwood Area Hospital with Dr. Edwin Harrington.
“I appreciate having a local hospital and knowing the staff makes a big difference in the quality of care,” continued Ellig. “In addition, it was great for my family to be able to stay at home in their own space and come and go easily.”
Ellig said the surgery was a lot tougher than her first due to the nature of the joint damage, but the recovery went very smoothly.
“The staff was very good and listened to what I was saying as a patient and really worked at accommodating that,” Ellig said.
During her inpatient stay she was cared for by the local ACMC physicians and worked virtually with Dr. Harrington through the FaceTime video chat feature on an iPad. Ellig was able to talk directly with Dr. Harrington, based in Mankato, about any issues.
“Using the iPad, I didn’t feel rushed at all and felt my doctor was very engaged in my care,” Ellig said.
In addition to virtual visits, Dr. Harrington monitored Ellig’s electronic medical record for progress updates such as distance walked, lab values, medication use, orders, and range of motion.
Consistent Care Start to Finish
Physical Therapy provided a seamless continuum of care throughout Ellig’s stay and during her outpatient rehab process. She had therapy on Sunday before being discharged from the hospital, then came back for outpatient rehab on Monday with the same physical therapist.
“It was great seeing someone who knew my abilities right away, from the uniqueness of my surgery, to things I struggled with initially and recognizing where I was at physically throughout my recovery,” explained Ellig.
She continued with physical therapy 2-3 days per week and graduated from rehab on March 2nd 2015. Even though the surgery was tougher than her first, she was happy to find her rehab process was about a month shorter than the first.
Rediscovering Quality of Life
Before her joint replacement surgery Ellig described herself as a “sideline person,” often watching instead of participating or saying no to plans when she knew she wouldn’t be able to keep up with the group. She would plan her movements so she wouldn’t have to move as much, and spent a lot of time sitting.
With new joints and great rehab, Ellig is now rediscovering the quality of life she had let go of in the past. Just two and a half months after surgery, Ellig enjoyed 10 days in Albuquerque, New Mexico climbing the trails and keeping up with her travel companions.
“Three to four months ago, I couldn’t have participated,” said Ellig.