Debbie Omasta-Mokrzecki works with Physical Therapist
Dennis Mathewson to regain leg strength following hip
For more than two years, Debbie Omasta-Mokrzecki’s life was ruled by unrelenting hip pain.
Most weekdays consisted of going to work, returning home, and going to bed almost immediately. Omasta-Mokrzecki could do little else; the chronic, debilitating pain caused by bone-on-bone arthritis left her inactive, depressed, and almost hopeless.
“On a one-to-10 pain scale, I was a 12,” remembered Hadley resident Omasta-Mokrzecki, age 60. “That’s no way to live.”
Reassured by Research
Knowing she needed hip replacement surgery, Omasta-Mokrzecki researched her options. She talked to friends and colleagues who had hip replacement surgery, interviewed orthopedic surgeons, visited hospitals, and compared local and Boston-area hospitals’ infection rates.
In December, she attended a knee and hip pain lecture at Cooley Dickinson where she met orthopedic surgeon Daniel Sage, MD. Later, she made an appointment at the surgeon’s Hatfield office. From there, she developed a pros and cons list. A clean, close-to-home facility with a history of low infection rates, and a surgeon “I trusted to treat me like family” were high on her list. It was an easy decision, Omasta-Mokrzecki said, “I was going to Cooley Dickinson!”
Having never had major surgery, Omasta-Mokrzecki was apprehensive. Friends noted that Sage hadn’t performed many surgeries locally. Again, Omasta-Mokrzecki turned to her research.
“I knew he had done many joint replacement procedures as part of his fellowship training,” she said. “At my first office visit, Dr. Sage spent a lot of time addressing all of my questions. I was impressed with
all the steps he took proactively to prevent the risk of infection.”
Freedom from Pain
A day after surgery, Omasta-Mokrzecki noticed that she was “nearly pain-free, compared to the pain she had experienced before surgery.” During her hospital stay in the Joint Re placement Center, Sage visited Omasta-Mokrzecki several times. He showed her how to change her bandages and expressed “a genuine concern” about her comfort.
“He is a skilled surgeon. I really did feel like he was treating me like a member of his family,” said Omasta-Mokrzecki. In addition, she praised the Center’s nursing staff. “Whether I needed the bed adjusted or a cup of water, the nurses were reassuring, helpful and so accommodating.”
Life with a New Hip
Omasta-Mokrzecki recovered at home where Cooley Dickinson visiting nurses and physical and occupational therapists got her through the first few weeks after surgery. “They helped me get my strength back and taught me about the restrictions that must be followed after hip replacement surgery,” she said.
Omasta-Mokrzecki attended outpatient physical therapy twice a week and now follows an at-home exercise program. She looks forward to having the strength and mobility to ride her bike and travel again.
Of her experience, Omasta-Mokrzecki says it’s critically important to become an informed consumer and to have confidence and trust in your doctor. “We have a wonderful community hospital here that is as good as or better than Boston hospitals. I am 100 percent satisfied with Dr. Sage and with the care I received."