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Patient Stories

Knowing What to Expect Makes All the Difference

Thinking about knee or hip surgery? St. Luke's offers one fo the area's only pre-operative orthopedic education programs - for current or prospective patients, and even those just researching their options. The Stride to Success program is offered twice a month. For information or to register for this free program, visit the Stride to Success section on our site or call 314-205-6986.

Stride to Success Equips Patients with Tools for a Successful Recovery from Total Hip Replacement

Joe Genoni doesn't sit still much. Fortunately, he hasn't had to.

First of all, he's the athletic director and junior varsity golf coach at Saint Louis Priory School, so he spends a lot of time on his feet at games and practices.

Plus, he and his wife, Marie, like to walk two miles a day. And he's a self-described "fanatic golfer."

But in the fall, Joe started experiencing serious knee pain. He had to quit walking with his wife and give up golfing.

"I would be sitting at my desk, and my knee would start hurting terribly," he says. "I had no strength in it, and I couldn't even move it. Sometimes I couldn't even lift my leg up to get in the car and drive."

He kept working, but by the winter he was mostly confined to his office - doing bookwork, paying bills. He had to pass on many of his responsibilities - traveling to away games, being down in the gym - to the assistant athletic director.

In the meantime, Joe was making visits to an orthopedic surgeon at St. Luke's Hospital. Joe learned that the pain in his knee was actually a symptom of arthritis and spurs in his hip. The surgeon recommended a total hip replacement.

Joe was skeptical
"I had never spent a night in the hospital in my life, and I didn't want to," he says. "My knee hurt - not my hip - and I didn't like the idea of having my hip replaced when my knee was what hurt."

So he avoided surgery. He saw a chiropractor and tried several types of physical therapy. Nothing helped. In January, he began to reconsider his decision not to have the operation.

"I went to see the orthopedic surgeon again, and he spent a significant amount of time answering every question I had," Joe says.

They scheduled the operation for Feb. 4. Joe had no idea what to expect - for the surgery itself, for his stay in the hospital, for his recovery at home. So when he heard about a program called Stride to Success, he signed up.

Offered by St. Luke's, Stride to Success educates orthopedic patients about the various aspects of their recovery before they undergo knee or hip replacement surgery. The free program gives patients an overview of their stay at St. Luke's; offers suggestions for a smooth recovery; gives participants an opportunity to meet with orthopedically-trained nurses, physical therapists and social workers who work with joint replacement patients; and provides information about continuing rehabilitation in the Medicare-certified subacute care unit.

For Joe, it made a world of difference
"The program explained how the first couple of weeks after the surgery would go and helped my wife and I prepare for me being at home. They went over kind of a timetable for what I could do after a week, two weeks, etc," he says.

Through Stride to Success, Joe learned about the therapy he would need to undergo after his operation and about some of the equipment that would be helpful for him to have at home. Because he attended the program before his surgery, he had a few weeks to borrow and purchase everything he would need for his recovery and rehabilitation.

He was especially pleased that the program covered in which types of chairs he could and could not sit. He discovered that nothing in his house was suitable, so he borrowed a few chairs from his son-in-law and daughter.

The operation went well, and after three nights in the hospital, Joe and his new hip went home. With their house already prepared for his recovery, Joe and Marie could put their minds at ease. They didn't have to scramble to purchase furniture, equipment or supplies. They were ready for Joe's time at home.

And their preparation paid off. Within three weeks, Joe was back at work. He was driving within four. He's coaching golf again and looking forward to playing himself.

Joe couldn't be happier with his progress. And he's excited about his post-recovery life. He says he may walk a little less and swim a little more. Mostly, he plans to do what he loves.

"I just want to dance with my wife and play golf. And that's it."

For more information about orthopedic services at St. Luke's, please visit our Orthopedic and Total Joint Center section.