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“I Got My Life Back”- Physical Therapy Aids Recovery After Hip Replacement

Posted on April 14, 2021

Marilyn Warblow is a Sevier County transplant from Buffalo, New York, who has called Sevierville home for almost 20 years. Her grown children and their spouses followed suit, and now her fam­ily lives within a stone’s throw. A caretaker and doting grandmother, War­blow endured stubborn hip pain for the past two years. Her right hip especially hurt when walking up and down stairs.

She had particular trouble getting in and out of the car and required her hands to lift her right leg. She found temporary relief from occasional cortisone shots from her doctor, but she knew surgery was in her future. In November 2020 she underwent a total hip replacement procedure to relieve the pain.

Marilyn Warblow and Sara Albert, PT
Sara Albert, PT, helps her patient with a balance exercise after hip replacement surgery. Warblow, 71, says, “Sara has brought me a long way. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without her.”

After surgery, Warblow was feeling down and de­bilitated. She relied on her husband and daughter to help her get by, from house­work to grocery shopping. “I felt so old, like I couldn’t do anything for myself,” she recalls.

Part of her recovery in­cluded physical therapy at Covenant Health Therapy Center at LeConte Medical Center, starting just a few weeks after the procedure. Warblow visits physical therapist Sara Albert twice per week. “Right after surgery, it was a hard time emotionally,” she says. “I knew I had to keep going. Now, I come in and tell Sara all the new things I can do!”

Excellent Care, Close to Home

Following two months and 15 sessions of physical therapy, Warblow says she is feeling great. She pro­gressed from using a walker to a cane. Now, about to “graduate” from physical therapy, she no longer uses a cane to walk unless she has to go long distances.

“I have noticed such a big change thanks to Sara and the therapy center at LeConte,” Warblow says. “They brought me back to life. I really feel I got my life back!”

Her exercises help regain range of motion, strength and balance. Albert varies the exercises to increase difficulty. The physical therapist reports that her patient has remained mo­tivated, cooperative and willing to try anything. “She has made excellent progress,” Albert says.

“Each patient presents and progresses differently. We take into consideration their medical history, assess their current level of func­tion and ask them what their personal goals are.

For Marilyn, we noticed she initially had trouble bending down and putting on her shoes. That was an important goal we worked toward, and now she can do it with no problems.”

Warblow now can trans­fer in and out of a car with ease and climb the stairs with no pain. “I couldn’t do that before surgery,” she says.

Looking Ahead

The active retiree is back to shopping and going on walks, up to a mile at a time. She shows her physi­cal therapist how high she can raise her leg with her new hip joint.

“I like that they work with you one-on-one,” Warblow says. “You get to know your therapist, and that really puts you at ease. Sara has brought me a long way. She got me off my walker and my cane. She has done a miracle for me, truly. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without her.”

Albert explains, “Each visit, we progress our ex­ercises to help the patient regain strength and range of motion. We continually assess them with one-on-one care. It’s important to give constant feedback and adjust exercises as needed.” A therapist with 25 years of experience, Albert says, “I love it because every day is dif­ferent, and I’m always learning something new.”

Warblow is positive about her recovery and what the future holds. She and her husband are looking forward to getting their COVID-19 vaccina­tions and spending time with their children and six grandchildren. Warblow exclaims, “There is nothing I can’t do now. I am just the luckiest person!”