Nurse Only Disappointed That She Waited So Long to Have Surgery

Catherine Svetz, R.N.

A new hip joint at age 44? NorthBay VacaValley Hospital’s Catherine Svetz, R.N., wonders what took her so long.

“The spring is back in my step and I’m always smiling, literally!” she says. “I had been suffering for several years with hip pain, though I had no idea the pain I was experiencing was related to my hip. Unfortunately, I ignored the pain for quite a while and only mentioned it at a routine check-up and an x-ray revealed my right hip needed replacing.”

She didn’t immediately schedule surgery, but by the end of 2009 she was in so much pain she was limping as she worked. “I’m a nurse and when your patients start asking you if you’re OK you know it’s time to do something,” she says.

And for Svetz, the NorthBay Joint Replacement Program was just a walk downstairs from her nursing unit. From the moment she saw orthopedic surgeon Andrew Brooks, M.D., and scheduled her hip replacement surgery, the joint replacement team took her under their wing. “Everyone on the team helps make the journey as pleasant as possible,” Svetz adds. “Even though I’m a nurse, my area of expertise is not orthopedics and I have to admit I was scared to death to go through this major surgery.”

The team eased her worries and had her looking forward to being pain-free. “They assured me the hip pain would be gone when I took my first steps after surgery—something that was so hard to believe—but they were 100 percent right! The hip pain I’d been living with was completely gone, just as promised.”

Every step of the journey is carefully planned out and executed perfectly, Svetz explains. After leaving the hospital, a NorthBay Health at Home nurse visited her for dressing changes and follow-up care and NorthBay’s physical therapy team kept her exercising. When she was ready, she attended outpatient physical therapy.

“My post-surgical care was just as fantastic as my in-hospital care. I can’t say enough about how impressed I was with the entire joint replacement experience,” she adds. “And, I’m happy to report I returned to work only four short months after my hip replacement surgery. I feel wonderful and the pain is becoming a distant memory.”

Looking back, she wishes she had done this a lot sooner. “I’m often asked how I knew it was time to have my hip replaced. My answer is this: When I realized I was missing out on many of the things I love doing, I knew it was time. My quality of life and happiness were being compromised by my hip pain. Dr. Brooks offered a solution and NorthBay’s Joint Replacement Program made it possible. I’m glad to have the surgery behind me, but I would do it again in a heartbeat!”

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