For Jeanette Graves, knee replacement surgery was nothing short of a miracle. “My husband pushed me into NorthBay VacaValley Hospital in a wheelchair and three days later I walked out, holding his hand,” says the Vacaville resident. “It was a miracle.”
Graves is referring to her total knee replacement surgery, performed by orthopaedic surgeon Teodoro Nissen, M.D., at the Joint Replacement Program at VacaValley Hospital.
Getting a first-hand look at the program made the difference. I felt prepared.”
Graves, 55, says her knee problem began when she played high school basketball. Over the years, her “trick” knee got worse, and in 2010 it started to buckle on her. Soon she was limping from pain and avoiding family outings. “I became a recluse,” she says. “My bad knee was ruining my quality of life. I avoided family gatherings and the hiking and fishing we all enjoyed.”
Graves, a rehabilitation clinical support specialist at NorthBay Medical Center, was familiar with health care. Still, the thought of anesthesia and her own surgery made her put off a decision on her knee.
“Just the thought of surgery made me nervous,” Graves says. “But I finally realized I had to get this done. I gave in to the pressure from my family and agreed to find a way to get back on my feet.”
Dr. Nissen recommended a total right knee replacement and asked if she would like to be his first patient at VacaValley Hospital. “Dr. Nissen said he had heard a lot of good things about the Joint Replacement Program and I was thrilled to have the surgery close to home,” Graves adds.
Her next step was an appointment with Cynthia Giaquinto, manager of the Joint Replacement Program, to learn how the program worked and to tour the facility.
“As soon as I met Cyndy I knew I was in good hands,” Graves remembers. “Getting a first-hand look at the program made all the difference. I felt totally prepared for what was ahead.”
The Joint Replacement Program offers hip and knee replacement surgery with a two- to three-day hospital stay. The first day is surgery and the following days focus on getting the patient up and walking. A friend or family member serves as “coach” to help the patient and to learn about post-surgical care. When the patient goes home,
he or she is visited by a home health nurse who helps with rehabilitation exercises until the patient is ready to attend outpatient rehabilitation.
Today, Jeanette is back hiking and enjoying the outdoors with her family. “It took me four months to return to normal,” Graves says. “I highly recommend the program and I only wish
I had done it sooner.”
For a list of surgeons participating in the program, or for more information about the NorthBay Joint Replacement Program, call Cynthia Giaquinto at (707) 624-7600.