SMOC patient has successful hip surgery thanks to her “guardian angels” in her community
I prayed for God to give me a guardian angel, and he did. But didn’t just give me one – he gave me several.
During Christmas of 2017 a pain that had started in my legs got so bad that I couldn’t make it through my Christmas shopping – I would have to sit down in every store to take a break. One day I stood up, and my entire left leg went numb. I knew it was time to see my primary care physician, Dr. Margaret Stiles. She did a few rounds of x-rays and found arthritis in my hips. I asked if there were any more pain pills I could take to try and get relief, and that’s when she referred me to Dr. Geoffrey Wright at SMOC.
After looking at my x-rays, Dr. Wright broke the news to me – I had no collagen in my hips and the only way to eliminate the pain was total bilateral hip replacement. I burst into tears and begged for another alternative – cortisone shots, pain pills – anything but major surgery. You see, I have worked at 7-11 for almost 10 years, and I knew a major surgery like that would have me off my feet and out of work for weeks, maybe months. My insurance would cover the surgery, but how would I continue to pay my everyday expenses?
Over the next several months my pain only got worse. It began to show at work. I am very close to my regular customers at 7-11, and I love talking to everyone who comes in and making them feel welcome. One of my regulars, Mr. Bill Hawkins, noticed my limp one day and asked what was going on. I told him I needed hip replacement surgery but couldn’t afford to take the time off. A few days later on my day off, my manager calls to tell me that Mr. Bill had started a Gofundme to raise money to cover my living expenses during surgery. The next day when he came into the store, I came around the counter and gave him a big hug. He said “schedule your surgery. I will cover the copay.” Here was my first guardian angel!
“When I went to make the appointment for the surgery, Dr. Wright talked to me extensively about the entire procedure. I was still nervous, but he assured me everything was going to be alright and set me at ease.”
The surgery was scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving. My son wasn’t able to take me to the hospital, so another 7-11 customer, Ms. Pamela Burritt, stepped in to help – my second guardian angel! She carried me to the hospital and she sat in that waiting room through the entire surgery. After one hip had been done, Dr. Wright even came out and told her exactly where they were at and what had been done and what still needed to be done.
When I woke up from surgery my son and Ms. Pamela was by my bed. I couldn’t believe it – I couldn’t feel any pain. I just kept twitching my toes, thinking ‘this can’t be my leg!’
“Dr. Wright came in after my surgery to explain to me exactly how everything went and what was done. He is always so patient and takes so much time with me – you feel like you’re his only patient when you’re with him – like I was the only person he had surgery on that day!”
Within a few hours they had me up and walking the hallways and within a few days I was able to go home. Now I’m up every day – walking to the store, to the post office, to McDonald’s, and I go to therapy regularly. I was doing so well in therapy that the staff asked me to talk to another hip replacement patient and encourage him to get started walking again. My first post-op appointment was on my birthday – December 12th. My bandages were removed and Dr. Wright was as excited as I was about my progress. He told me:
“Simultaneous bilateral hip arthroplasty is a difficult surgery to go through but you were the perfect candidate with the perfect attitude.”
“Alice is a wonderful, giving person with a fabulous attitude. It was an honor to take care of her. She was walking the same day of surgery and motivated others on the orthopedic floor to do better.” Dr. Geoffrey Wright
My recovery is going great, but I do miss my customers and my work, and I’m ready to be back in the store greeting everyone. My coworkers have been calling and texting me to let me know customers are asking how I’m doing and feeling. Another guardian angel 7-11 customer even signed me up for meals on wheels so now I have a hot meal every day. God has put a lot of people in my life – friends and family I didn’t even know I had – who have touched my life. I want to thank everyone who has helped support me and donated to my Gofundme from the bottom of my heart. So many donors are anonymous, and I want them to know I appreciate them and am blessed by them.
“My only regret is that I didn’t do this surgery sooner. I went through so much pain – but I didn’t want to just sit here and wither away. If you need hip surgery my only advice is to go see Dr. Geoffrey Wright and get it done immediately!”
I keep a stack of Dr. Wright’s cards with me all the time and I hand them out to everyone I know who needs hip or knee replacement. I even put his card in my sister-in-law’s Christmas card because I know she needs to get her knee replaced! My guardian angel, Ms. Pamela, is now a patient of Dr. Wright’s after she’s seen how well I’ve been recovering.
Dr. Wright is a wonderful doctor – I truly believe he cares about all his patients. He even gave me some Christmas cookies at my last appointment that his wife had made – they were good too! Everyone at his office and the SMOC staff are all so kind – they have been my guardian angels too. I am so blessed to have so many, and it’s not so much about the money – although that has been truly helpful – but it’s also the friendship and kindness that they give me.
Dr Wright utilized cutting edge hip replacement technology from Stryker Orthopaedics.
Surgery at Sentara Obici.