Almost Like Home

Originally published in Central Florida Health Alliance’s Discover Health, Fall 2011 •

Forget hospital gowns and bring your own casual wear for your stay at The Joint Center, where hip and knee replacement patients find that socializing is just part of the recovery process.

Susan Sims of Yalaha describes herself as an “HGTV queen” because she loves tackling home improvement projects. Although she had pain in her left hip on and off for five years, she managed to carry on with her projects. The pain eventually became so severe she could hardly walk.

“I thought I had mild osteoarthritis.” says the 66-year-old. “A friend encouraged me to make an appointment and I’m glad I did because I learned the pain was caused by avascular necrosis, which is very rare.”

Avascular necrosis causes bone tissue to die due to a decrease in blood supply. “This is most common in hip joints,” says Dr. Mandume Kerina, Orthopedic Surgeon at The Joint Center. “The condition leads to tiny breaks in the bone and worsens with time.”

She was surprised by the diagnosis , but was more astounded by how quickly she was up on her feet after her hip surgery at Leesburg Regional Medical Center in June.

“I was back in my room by 11 a.m., and they had me walking that same afternoon,” she says.

Not only was Susan walking, but she also helped her husband, Tom, install 1,000 aquare feet of new hardwood floors in their home in July. By August, the couple was planning an extended trip to California. Although they did not take their RV on that trip, they plan to hit the road again in the fall now that Susan is pain-free. She says they love to travel almost as much as they love home-improvement projects.

The road to recovery at The Joint Center includes a wellness approach where patients may feel more like they are at a hotel than in a hospital. “Patients wear their own clothes, sleep in private rooms, have group meals with other patients, and participate in group activites and special events,” says Cindy King, Joint Care Coordinator at Leesburg Regional.

Susan described the team of specialized designated nurses as “fabulous.” She had morning and afternoon sessions with her therapist and completed the program after only 18 sessions.

“The whole process was much better that I ever expected,” she says. “I would never put off hip surgery again for as long as I did.”

Don’t let hip or knee pain stop you from participating in the activities you love. Contact The Joint Center at Leesburg Regional by calling (352) 323-2229 or visit up online at

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