Grandmother of 18, Decorating Devotee and Joint Camp Graduate
Bay City, Michigan
"From the time I walked in the door ‘til Joint Camp was over, the hospital staff and procedures were exceptional."
Exercises and Joint Camp Helped Her Recover from Knee Surgery
Agnes Bramlage, 76, raised eight children and is now a busy grandmother of 18 who loves decorating and flower arranging. Last year, the veteran homemaker noticed pain in her left knee that was becoming more intense.
“I moved from Florida to Bay City last year,” said Agnes, who is originally from Midland. “I think the problems really started during the move. My knee hurt especially when I walked up and down stairs and when I would lie on it at night. The pain kept me from sleeping.”
X-rays and an arthroscopic examination by David Bortel, M.D., showed the problem was arthritis. Because it was confined to the inside knuckle of Agnes’ knee, also known as the medial compartment, he recommended a partial knee replacement.
“I can’t say enough about Dr. Bortel,” Agnes said about the board-certified orthopaedic surgeon. “A doctor’s personality means a lot to you, and I felt like he was a friend. He explained in the office how everything was supposed to go. His staff was also very experienced and helpful.”
As Agnes prepared for her knee surgery, she learned that Dr. Bortel emphasized patient education to help get the best results from every treatment and procedure. That philosophy was also right in line with Joint Camp, a program at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland that provides specialized care to joint replacement patients.
Joint Camp’s formula of special care and patient camaraderie has led to faster recovery times, higher patient satisfaction, lower risk of infection and improved clinical outcomes. Preoperative classes help patients know what to expect, and a “well” atmosphere encourages patients to get up, get dressed and participate in group activities that help them recover from surgery.
Agnes learned about the Joint Camp concept when one of her daughters had a knee replacement at a hospital in Chicago. A family member is typically included in the Joint Camp experience. She helped her daughter in Chicago, and another of her daughters, who works at the Medical Center, helped her at MidMichigan.
Joint Camp patients meet with staff about a week before surgery to explain everything that would happen before, during and after their operations. Topics included presurgery exercises, pain management and what to do once they went home.
“There was a lot more detail at the meeting in Midland than there was Chicago,” Agnes said.
At the Medical Center for surgery, Agnes was impressed with the high level of organization and personal attention.
“From the time I walked in the door ‘til it was over, the staff and procedures were exceptional,” she said. “The nurses were always there and made sure we were taken care of. It made you feel comfortable.”
Before surgery, Agnes had faithfully done exercises to strengthen and increase range of motion in her legs, build strength in her arms and help her recovery. Her hard work paid off.
“The day after surgery, I used a walker. The following day I was discharged, and I never needed a walker after that,” she said.
A few weeks later, with outpatient physical therapy three times a week, she was moving much more easily and with little or no pain, including going up and down stairs.
Agnes was glad she had the knee surgery.
“I knew my condition was not going to get any better without it,” she said. “After surgery, I laughed when Dr. Bortel joked with me about not being bothered with arthritis in my knee anymore. He said, ‘I took Arthur out, and he won’t be back.’”
MidMichigan is the only tri-city hospital to offer Joint Camp – a unique program that offers faster recovery times, higher patient satisfaction, lower risk of infection and improved clinical outcomes. If you need a total hip, knee or shoulder replacement, attend one of our free classes or ask your doctor for a referral to MidMichigan. For more information, visit our Joint Camp page.