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Count It All Joy

Posted on December 7, 2017 in Patient Stories

Following hip and knee replacement, patient sings the praises of Fort Sanders Therapy CenterFollowing hip and knee replacement, patient sings the praises of Fort Sanders Therapy Center

The look on Connie Blair’s face is one of pure joy – the kind that comes when a person has overcome adversity to win a major victory.

For Blair, the victory is being able to sit, stand and walk without assistance. It sounds simple, but these are things she couldn’t do before hip and knee replacement surgery at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, and physical therapy at Fort Sanders Therapy Center.

“I went from pain to cane to crutches to a wheelchair,” Blair says. Suffering terrible pain and disability with no relief in sight, Blair began to wonder if life was worth living.

A physician recommended Blair contact Knoxville Area Project Access (KAPA), a program sponsored by the Knoxville Academy of Medicine Foundation that links individuals and families needing health care to local physicians, hospitals and clinics that provide services. The program is supported by many community health partners, including Covenant Health.

KAPA introduced Blair to orthopedic surgeon Paul Yau, MD. During surgery, Blair’s hip was remodeled with bone grafts, and Dr. Yau lengthened her leg by about an inch.

After transitional care at Fort Sanders Regional, Blair rolled into Fort Sanders Therapy Center in a wheelchair. In addition to her therapy sessions at the center, she worked hard on prescribed exercises at home, and refused to give up.

“Connie pushed herself most days, and never once said no when I asked if she wanted to increase [her exercises]” says Jennifer Civis, physical therapist and unit coordinator. “It’s always a pleasure to work with motivated patients like her.”

Blair still remembers the day she stretched out on the therapy table to try to raise her right leg, and it worked. “I was so happy,” she laughs. ”It was almost like Christmas!”

Exercises she had done to strengthen her leg also prepared her for recovery from knee replacement surgery.

“To see how far Connie has come, from a wheelchair on her first visit to walking with no device and with normal gait on her last visit, it really makes us feel like we have accomplished a great deal,” Civis says.

Blair can’t help getting emotional when she talks about the freedom surgery and therapy have given her.

“It is still amazing to be able to stand, it is amazing to be able to take a step without pain,” Blair says. “I cannot put into words how exciting it is.”