Pain was an everyday occurrence for Tricia Stanford, 62, who for the last two years has suffered from severe osteoarthritis in both of her hips. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people each year.
“It started off as a nagging, infrequent and intermittent pain,” she explained. “Over time it became more frequent and was a sharp and stabbing pain. I could never get comfortable sitting because it was compressing a nerve and laying down was strenuous. No position was comfortable because it was bone on bone pain,” shared Tricia.
Stanford is an interior designer with new construction and remodeling, requiring her to be on her feet at job sites. “It has progressed from me walking freely to walking with a cane, walking with a walker and to not being able to walk at all,” she said.
As her pain worsened, Stanford was treated at another facility where she was discouraged by the quality of treatment. “The level of care was cut, dry and impersonal, and I was getting nowhere with the pain management.” Injections and medications were not giving Stanford any lasting relief. “It changed my life in a course of a year. No matter how much medication I threw at it, there was just no relief. It changed my personality,” she said.
After speaking with one of her clients whose father had a successful hip replacement at Seton Harker Heights, Tricia began exploring other options, specifically at Seton Harker Heights.
Stanford said, “I researched all of Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston and couldn’t find what I was looking for. I was looking for a good match for insurance, good match for an orthopedic surgeon and good reviews about the surgery, treatment and care.”
Through recommendations and her online research, Tricia came across Wellstone Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Erik Lovria and the joint program at Seton Harker Heights and was immediately interested.
“Luckily, he was in my network of Blue Cross Blue Shield. I made an appointment to see him and we hit it off immediately. He was extremely knowledgeable, personable and very caring. He is real upbeat and very good at what he does. I had not experienced that at the other hospitals,” stated Tricia.
When Stanford made the decision to have surgery on her left hip completed at Seton Harker Heights, she was pleased to speak with other patients in the waiting room. Tricia shared, “It was nothing but extraordinary feedback from every single one of them.”
What really stood out to Tricia was the preoperative care and education facilitated at Seton Harker Heights for joint replacements. “The preparation for surgery was just magnificent. Seton Harker Heights’ staff scheduled me and took care of all the insurance verification. It was seamless. Every person that I dealt with from the front desk, registration to joint care coordinator, every single person was thorough, detailed and very compassionate.”
Preparation for surgery also included attending Seton Harker Heights’ Active Again Total Joint Camp. “It was a small group of us and each of our surgeries were scheduled for around the same time. We all had that same level of apprehension. The Active Again Total Joint Replacement Program Coordinator, Stacy Sepeda, was so upbeat and so caring. She and the team walked us through everything. We met with the nurses, anesthesiologist, physical therapy and orthopedic teams that would be taking care of us and we were able to ask questions. When I left Joint Camp, I had a complete picture of everything that was about to take place and who was going to be taking care of me,” shared Tricia.
Tricia’s left hip replacement surgery was completed on February 20, 2018.
“I had a completely flawless experience healing and had zero complications. I woke up from surgery and they got me up immediately to try my new hip, but the team didn’t push me. I was stunned at how good I felt. I was mentally prepared to be doubled over in pain and that wasn’t the case. I woke up feeling good and very energized.”
After speaking with friends from Joint Camp who had already experienced aftercare at Seton Harker Heights, Tricia was eager to begin her road to recovery. “My physical therapy experience was amazing. There were huge amounts of knowledge, kindness, compassion and encouragement,” she shared. Stanford completed four months of physical therapy at Seton Harker Heights.
“The support at physical therapy was very important to me because a depression can set in easily and you start feeling sorry for yourself. You start to think, ‘Wow, am I going to get past this?’ and Nicole was such a cheerleader getting me through this. When I needed to rest, I rested. When I needed to work out, I worked out.”
Looking back at her experience, Tricia is appreciative of the level of care she received at Seton Harker Heights. “Until you’ve been through this bone on bone pain, it’s not something another person can relate to. Every nurse, doctor and staff member affiliated with Seton Harker Heights showed the highest level of kindness and professionalism. My experience was everything that you would hope to have,” stated Tricia.
Stanford was so pleased with her left hip replacement that she chose to get her right hip replaced at Seton Harker Heights in early August. “I have so much confidence about this second time around because I was so pleased with my surgery on my left hip at Seton Harker Heights,” she shared.
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