From tears to cheers: Hip replacement patient returns to concerts, travels and so much more
Marge Skaggs knows what it feels like to live with hip pain. All from the wear and tear of life.
At 63, this active Lakeville resident considered her options and decided to try cortisone injections before a complete joint replacement. All she knew is she did not want to be debilitated by the increasing amount of discomfort she felt.
The first injection worked wonders. Three months later, she had another. But this shot only lasted a matter of weeks before the pain in her right leg not only returned, it intensified.
“It felt like lightning bolts going through from one side of my leg to the other,” she says.
The third injection didn’t help at all.
Like many of us, Marge had tried to make do. Grin and bear it. Tough it out. She worked full time, loved to ride horses, vacationed with family when they could.
Until December 2021. Marge and her husband had flown out to Las Vegas to see a couple of concerts. She felt relieved that the plane ride went so well.
But she did not expect what came next.
“I had severe muscle spasms and so much nerve pain that it took me a good half an hour to be able to lie down. My leg would lock up and shoot pain to where I couldn’t stand it. It takes a lot of pain to make me cry. But this was so painful that I remember crying for about an hour.”
Two weeks later, the avid country music fans had to cancel plans to drive down to Nashville, Tenn.
“For me to miss a trip to Nashville, miss a Christmas concert with Vince Gill, Amy Grant & Family, and to miss a Christmas dinner show with the Oak Ridge Boys, you know I had to be in pain,” she says.
Marge met with Dr. Gregg Ebersole, orthopedic surgeon, at Beacon Bone & Joint Specialists before Christmas. They discussed and scheduled hip replacement surgery. It meant canceling their annual Country Music Cruise in January, but she knew the pain would be too much to handle.
She remembers receiving the phone call with her surgery date.
“YYYEEESSS!!! It’s finally going to happen and the pain will be gone,” she remembers saying to herself as she circled January 19, 2022 on the calendar. She was over the moon excited and couldn’t wait to learn more about what to expect before and after surgery.
At Beacon, this is where a nurse navigator enters the picture.
Sally Hull, FNP-BC, contacted her right away and served as the single point of contact for Marge about anything and everything related to her procedure.
The two still remain in contact today because of the friendship they formed.
“The relationships I build with my patients is by far the best part of my job. It starts with the first phone call when they are scheduled for surgery,” Sally says. “Marge would call and email any questions she had before surgery and she was very grateful to get quick responses from one point of contact. Surgery can be very stressful, so I did everything I could to take some of the stress away by being a quick resource for her.”
Fast forward to January 19, 2022. “Dr. Ebersole came by to see me, the anesthesiologist came by to see me, and then I was wheeled into surgery. Let’s go!” Marge recalls.
She will never forget how she felt waking up in the recovery room.
She was pain-free.
“The nurses let me wake up a bit, I drank some water, and I felt really good,” Marge says. Within a few hours, she was up and walking around with assistance.
Marge was discharged later that day with a walker, of course. Her children and grandchildren met her at home and Marge has photos of her youngest grandson with her behind the walker. As long as she kept up with her medications, she mainly felt discomfort for about two weeks post-surgery.
“The only exercise I struggled with was the leg lift, but Dr. Ebersole had told me that was the last one I would be able to do without help on my own. But I mastered it and I thought I had won a gold medal,” she says.
Sally played a huge role in her recovery. “Nothing was too small to ask her,” Marge recalls. “She would send emails asking about my progress. I had a question for her even as recent as a couple of weeks ago, and Sally is always willing to help.”
Six weeks after surgery, Marge traveled to a goat show in Georgia, where her oldest grandson was showing his Boer goats. She was able to do anything she wanted to do that trip, except drive. “That was different for me, being a passenger,” she laughs.
Eight weeks after surgery, their entire family visited Disney with campers and RVs for spring break.
“I walked a lot, rode rides that I wanted to, and just enjoyed the week. I did everything I wanted to,” she says.
Hip replacement surgery was the best thing Marge said she has ever done, and she is grateful for Dr. Ebersole, Sally and the entire Beacon team who cared for her.
“My hip surgery was 16 months ago, and I couldn’t feel any better,” Marge says. “I am 65 years old and work out with a trainer twice a week. I ride my stationary bike daily and exercise on my own. I work full-time and we vacation when we can. I drive our RV to many places and enjoy all the concerts we can go to.”
Her advice for others?
“If you have a lot of nerve pain and hip pain from your knee up to your hip, have your doctor look at what’s going on. Don’t wait. The hip is one of the easiest surgeries to heal from. You will be a new person.”
Do you need a joint replacement?
If you answer yes to these questions, talk to your provider or visit beaconhealthsystem.org/bone-and-joint-care/:
- Significant pain that persists despite medication and other conservative therapies;
- You can no longer complete daily tasks without help decreasing your quality of life;
- You have degenerative changes on X-ray and other signs of osteoarthritis; or
- You are no longer as mobile as you would like to be or find yourself avoiding activities to avoid pain.