As a mental health technician at a local hospital, Teresa Harris-Wallace, 56, was continually on her feet and in motion helping her patients. However, in 2018, Harris began to feel left hip pain that progressed to the point where she could barely walk. “It was difficult to stand up. I was walking bent over trying to hold myself up,” she recalled. “I could not participate in many activities. I remember trying to get on the patient x-ray table and it was horrible pain.”
Harris was referred to Broward Health orthopaedic surgeon, Kenneth Taylor, MD. and the Total Joint Replacement Center at Broward Health Medical Center. She was diagnosed with arthritis in the hip. Harris was a candidate for elective left hip replacement surgery, an outpatient surgery where a patient could stay overnight and be discharged the next day from the hospital.
“Patients are in pain without the surgery and every day the pain gets slightly worse,” said Dr. Taylor. “Patients need to choose the time that is right for them. Usually that is when the pain is not able to be controlled with anti-inflammatory medication and non-operative treatment. It has progressed to the point that their pain is waking them up at night or inhibiting their activities of daily living or work or function.”
Prior to the elective surgery, Harris along with other joint replacement patients at Broward Health Medical Center, completed a pre-surgical class on what to expect before, during, and after surgery as well as how to stay safe at home post-surgery. “During the class, patients could meet with the anesthesiologist, physical therapist, physician assistant, case manager and nutritionist to answer any possible questions,” said Odette Hamilton, coordinator for the Total Joint Care Program. “Once patients are stable from surgery, the nurse will begin to walk with them and get them moving. Movement is critical in recovery and studies have shown that it is important to start moving as soon as possible.”
On September 21, 2018, almost 6 weeks since she first started feeling pain, Harris had elective left hip replacement surgery at Broward Health Medical Center. Before she was discharged, Harris met with the Broward Health physical therapist who provided and customized post therapy exercises for her to do on her own at home. Within three months of surgery, Harris was back at work.
In 2021 Harris began to feel pain in her right hip which her medical caregivers had warned could happen. “It was difficult standing up straight. My mom is 75 years old and she was walking better than I was,” she said. Harris went to see Dr. Taylor and started the process for another elective joint replacement surgery at Broward Health Medical Center. She again did her pre-surgical class with the Total Joint Center Program to prepare for the procedure. On March 26, 2021, Harris had an elective right total hip replacement surgery. She was discharged the next day.
Within 2 months of surgery Harris was walking every day around her neighborhood and was scheduled to go back to work at the end of May. “No walker! No cane! I feel fine,” she said. Her advice to people with hip pain is simple. “Don’t be afraid. The longer you wait, the worse off you get. The first time I was terrified doing the surgery, but that experience made it easier to do it the second time. It’s worth it - I gained myself back!”