Total Joint Coordinator Shares Special Insight After Hip Surgery

When patients are having a hip or knee replacement at the Optim Surgery Center, they’re assigned a Total Joint Coordinator. This Registered Nurse works closely with patients, educating them on what to expect and helping facilitate care, from pre-op to discharge and then follow-up care.

When Ed Osterman was scheduled for his hip replacement, however, the Total Joint Coordinator was not available. That’s because Ed is the Total Joint Coordinator.

“From a nursing/educator’s position, it’s been quite beneficial for me to have gone through the entire process of pre-op struggles, having surgery and ultimately recovery,” said Ed, a Registered Nurse. “Now, when I talk to patients, I’m able to relate even better with them. I understand and know first-hand what they’re going through. When patients are informed and know what to expect, they gain more confidence and feel better all along the way.”

Ed’s surgeon for his hip replacement was Charles Hope, MD, one of the region’s most renowned total joint specialists. “When I became a nurse back in 2009, I started on the orthopedic floor at St. Joseph’s and that’s when I met Dr. Hope,” recalled Ed. “I got to know him and learned to appreciate his qualities as a surgeon. He’s very detail oriented and totally focused on his game plan. I decided back then that, if I ever needed a joint replaced, I would use Dr. Hope.  However, what I’ve learned since then is that all of the surgeons at Optim are pretty amazing, but my decision had already been made.”

When choosing his surgeon, Ed also relied on the first-hand experiences of his family, since Dr. Hope has replaced a total of 7 joints on his wife’s side.

For Ed, the pain in his hip got progressively worse over the latter part of 2018, so he made the decision to talk to Dr. Hope. “As Dr. Hope put it, my hip had ‘too many miles and too many years,’” said Ed. “I knew the problem was not going away and that it was only going to get worse.  By the time I had surgery, I was really struggling to get around.  To move meant pain, and it had gotten pretty bad.  It had become quite debilitating.   Hip pain, as with any other type of joint pain, can really affect your quality of life in a negative way. I knew it was time.”

His total hip replacement surgery took place on the 31st of December in 2018 at the Optim Surgery Center, a beautiful facility in Savannah that is solely focused on orthopedic procedures. For patients like Ed, choosing Optim’s ambulatory surgery center was about more than its high-end finishes and premium recovery suites. In 2018, Optim’s highly specialized physicians performed more than 7,500 medical procedures in the facility, which continually boasts an excellent safety record and a low risk of infection.

And even though Ed already knew all of the staff members, his surgery enabled him to witness firsthand their above-and-beyond quality of care. “The staff is not only very nice, but also very competent, showing so much great attention to you as a patient,” he said. “I understand why patients love coming here. The attention you get as far as nurse-to-patient ratio is wonderful. They go above and beyond to make everyone feel important and special.”

Total Joint Coordinator Ed Osterman with Registered Nurse Kyra Mohr, one of the staff members who took great care of Ed when he had hip replacement surgery in December 2018.

After the hip replacement surgery, which Dr. Hope performed using the anterior approach, Ed began his journey of recovery. “It was actually easy compared to the pain I felt before I had the surgery,” he said. “Even though I had witnessed and heard the story over and over from the many patients that had come through and had a joint replaced, I was still amazed at how quickly I was back on my feet walking around with little discomfort.  For the first couple of weeks I just moved around the house and took short walks outside, and then I started easing myself into doing exercises to help strengthen the muscles.  Dr. Hope had told me that he didn’t want me doing much more than that for the first couple of weeks.”

Now, months later, Ed enjoys living a “normal life” as he calls it. “Before, I couldn’t take a step without hip pain,” he explained. “Now I can bend over without pain and I can actually tie my shoes again.”

As a Total Joint Coordinator, Ed cautions patients to not overdo it in the beginning. “Most patients feel so much better immediately following hip replacement surgery (compared to before surgery) that they want to take off and get right into exercising and right back to a normal life,” said Ed. “Just remember, there is a healing process and it takes time.  To much too soon can lead to increased swelling and pain.  My motto is, ‘I don’t care how good you feel, you still have to heal’.”

As a joint replacement patient, Ed advises patients undergoing surgery to relax. “All of the Optim surgeons are highly skilled with many years of experience doing orthopedic surgeries,” he explained. “Trust the surgeons, trust the process, trust the staff. You’ll be fine.”

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