Mother, Grandmother, MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot Volunteer and Knee Replacement Patient
St. Louis, Michigan
"Gratiot’s outpatient rehabilitation helped me make remarkable progress after total knee replacement surgery. Now I can enjoy being on my feet to volunteer at the Medical Center’s gift shop."
Getting Strong Before Surgery Helped One Woman Quickly Bounce Back from Total Knee Replacement
Gertie Levandowski spends a lot of time at MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot. She has volunteered there for more than 20 years. Currently in her second year as president of the auxiliary, she also volunteers in the gift shop.
Two years ago, Gertie went from volunteer to patient. In July of 2008, she had a total knee replacement at the Medical Center.
“My knee was very painful – it was bone-on-bone and I knew it had to be done,” she said.
Gertie opted to have surgery in the summer.
“I thought it would be safer. I knew I could take a walker out in the yard and I wouldn’t have to worry about snow and ice.”
Gertie believes her pre-surgery routine was the main reason why her recovery was so quick.
“I didn’t have a lot of pain after the surgery and I think that was because I worked hard to build up my muscle strength before I had the knee replacement,” she said. Gertie exercised in the pool, before and after surgery, and faithfully went to Curves.
After the total knee replacement, Gertie took advantage of outpatient physical therapy at MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot. "I used a machine that was sent home with me – it automatically bends your knee and forces the muscles to flex. I think all those things helped a lot.”
During one of her last physical therapy sessions, she knew she was making remarkable progress.
“I walked in carrying my walker and they reminded me I was supposed to be using it,” Gertie laughed. “Two months after surgery, I was back to exercising.”
Being able to stand and walk pain-free helps Gertie do her best as a volunteer.
“I like to be able to stand and greet everyone who comes into the gift shop,” she said. “It sends a warm welcome.” Now that her knees aren’t bothering her, she hopes to continue her volunteer career for a long time. “Gratiot is a really nice place to work. It means a lot to me to be a part of this organization.”
Rehabilitation at MidMichigan has one goal – to help patients achieve the highest possible degree of independence after an injury, illness or disability. We help most people through convenient appointments at one of our twelve outpatient locations. We also offer inpatient rehabilitation for more complex conditions such as stroke, head and spinal cord injuries. For more information about MidMichigan's Rehabilitation Services visit www.midmichigan.org/rehabilitation.