Published on April 01, 2013

Life after hip replacement surgery for Ellen Fierman

Ellen FiermanWhat lights up your life? Golf? Travel?

For Ellen Fierman of Philadelphia, it’s an energetic Sheltie named Max and the walks they enjoy to a nearby park.

But not long ago, there wasn’t much joy in those walks. As the osteoarthritis in her hips grew worse, Ellen sometimes returned from the park in tears from pain.

“I kept trying to soldier on, but when it got to the point where the pain kept me awake at night, I knew I had to do something,” she says.

Ellen met with William Arnold, MD, PhD, a board-certified hip and knee surgeon from the Rothman Institute at Nazareth Hospital, and made the decision to have him replace both of her hips — at the same time.

“One of the things I liked about Nazareth was that all the care I needed — the pre-surgery joint replacement class, surgery, inpatient rehab, home health therapy and outpatient rehab — was available in one coordinated program close to home. I knew I’d have several months of rehab, so that continuing care and convenience meant a lot,” she says.

Rehabilitation and Home Health care

Following surgery, Ellen spent a few days in the Acute Rehab Unit at Nazareth, where therapists trained her to use a walker. Back at home, Mercy Home Health therapists helped Ellen graduate to a cane.

“They were optimistic and encouraging, but they never pressured me to do more than I was comfortable with. They were just great,” Ellen recalls. "The Home Health therapists literally helped me every step of the way.”

More intensive rehab followed at Nazareth’s Center for Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation and Balance, where highly skilled outpatient therapists helped Ellen build the strength and confidence to walk without her cane.

“I think it’s important to have a goal to get through the recovery process,” says Ellen. “For me, it was being able to walk Max again. It was worth it!”