Ron Plantone is ready for a hobby again. That wasn’t the case over the last five years. Ron, who is semi-retired as co-owner of Strunk Funeral Homes, became ill in 2011. He struggled with digestive health issues, blood clots, skin disorders and infections. Making matters worse was a bad hip and knee.
X-rays indicated that the cartilage in his hip was deteriorating. He tried medications and pain injections. After a year, another X-ray showed that the problem had gotten worse.
“I was in such pain that I couldn’t sleep,” Ron says. When he moved at night, his wife, Marsha, would wake to a terrible grinding noise.
Sadly, he couldn’t replace the joint until his other health issues were resolved. Soon he lost mobility. He used a walker for a few months and then began to use a scooter.
The day his final infection cleared, he called his orthopedic surgeon, James Reid, MD, an independent member of the medical staff at Easton Hospital, to schedule a hip replacement.
Ron chose the three-step process of Easton Hospital’s JointWorks! program. Step one had him attend a pre-surgery class. The other patients, or campers as they are called, who would have surgery on the same day were also in that class. Together they learned about the surgery and what to do to prepare for it.
On the day of surgery, step two, Ron was excited that he was on his feet so quickly after the procedure.
“I was surprised how the pain was gone,” Ron says. “I was sore from surgery, but I was able to move with assistance.”
As he recovered on the orthopedics floor, Ron began step three—five sessions of group rehabilitation with the other campers. The Joint Works! program uses a core group of physical therapists from Good Shepherd Rehabilitation.
“I amazed myself,” Ron says. “The therapists were surprised too. I was more flexible than I ever imagined after having been in the scooter for so long.”
Ron liked traveling through the steps with other campers. “I got to know their names and develop relationships with them even over that short period of time,” he says.
Ron used a walker and then a cane as he gained strength and confidence in his new hip. “I could have given up the cane sooner than I did,” Ron says.
He’s been pain free since surgery. And, surprisingly, even his knee feels much better. Ron is happy to be able to join Marsha in regular activities again.
“I need a new hobby,” Ron says. But he has one that he gave up. Fishing. He has a small boat on a nearby lake. Last summer, he couldn’t even get in the boat.
“I will be more involved with that boat this summer,” he says. “And I look forward to swimming again.”
“I can’t say enough about Dr. Reid, the nurses and therapists at Easton Hospital,” he says. “Anything is as good as you make it, and that joint program is as good as it gets.”
250 South 21st Street
Easton, PA 18042-3892