When Wlodek Zaryczny began having trouble with his knees, he chalked up the pain to a lifetime of athletic overload. Decades spent playing competitive sports and running half-marathons with his children had worn away the cartilage in his knees, leaving bone rubbing on bone.
“I’ve always been active, and I didn’t want to give that up,” Zaryczny says. He tried cortisone and joint fluid therapy for a while, but in time the injections lost their effectiveness.
“Dr. Blocker had told me my body would let me know when it was time to have surgery,” he recalls. “I had reached that point—the pain was affecting every aspect of my life.”
Once Zaryczny scheduled surgery on his right knee at the Joint Replacement Center, BMH Orthopedic Care Coordinator Andrea Sadler met with him to discuss the program. He also received a comprehensive guide to surgery and attended a total joint education class on pre-op preparation and post-op treatment. “I didn’t go into it cold,” says Zaryczny. “It was extremely helpful knowing what was going to occur.”
|"The hospital really tries to make recovery fun," Zarczny says.|
The day of his surgery, Zaryczny checked into the Joint Replacement Center on the fourth floor of the hospital. Rather than report to the pre-op holding area, he was able to relax in his room with his wife, Tedi, until nurses came to prep him for surgery.
Just hours after the operation, a physical therapist helped him get out of bed and walk down the hallway. Over the next two days, he walked increasingly longer distances to participate in group activities like cornhole and mini-golf. "The hospital really tries to make recovery fun," Zaryczny says. “It’s nothing like traditional surgery.”
When combined with carefully coordinated patient care, this type of innovative programming has been shown to improve clinical outcomes. Patients at the Joint Replacement Center are able to walk sooner and farther, require less pain medication and spend fewer days in the hospital.
“The level of discomfort is dramatically different than what it used to be,” says Beaufort Memorial orthopedic surgeon Edward R. Blocker, MD. “The program has advanced patient care by leaps and bounds.”
It certainly surpassed Zaryczny’s expectations. “Overall, it was a phenomenal experience,” the Bluffton resident says. "Everything was extremely well-coordinated."