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Strength in recovery: Meet Jody

Patient Spotlight December 13, 2017 By Main Line Health

Jody DiMaio has been living with a painful knee for the past decade. Six years ago, she had surgery to fix a lot of the problems that she had with her knee, but the surgeon had warned her that it was a temporary fix. A whole knee replacement was imminent. Arthritis was wearing the knee down to nothing.

For a couple of years, DiMaio received cortisone shots to help manage her knee pain from orthopedic surgeon Jonathan Garino, MD. The shots kept the pain at bay for a while before returning. “The pain wasn’t constant, it would come and go,” says DiMaio. “There were stretches of time that it felt fine.” While she definitely had problems going up and down stairs, one of DiMaio’s biggest complaints was sometimes not being able to kneel down to garden, one of her favorite pastimes. “I like to be busy,” she says. “Having this knee pain did limit some of my activity.”

During one of her last cortisone shot appointments, Dr. Garino recommended that she consider the knee replacement, because her knee was not going to get better. “I knew it was coming,” says DiMaio, 81, of Paoli. “It felt silly to drag it out any longer.”

At the beginning of October 2017, DiMaio underwent a right knee replacement surgery from Dr. Garino. “He did a great job prior to surgery explaining everything to me and telling me what to expect,” says DiMaio. Paoli Hospital also runs a pre-surgery program for all patients who are undergoing knee replacement surgery to provide information and answer questions, which DiMaio also participated in. “They suggested exercises to strengthen the knee before surgery, and I did that,” says DiMaio. “That was really helpful.”

The surgery required a two-night stay at Paoli, which DiMaio describes as excellent. “I couldn’t have asked for better service or better support,” she says. “The entire staff was very, very nice.” DiMaio’s overall surgery went very well with no complications. “Thankfully, I didn’t have a lot of pain afterwards,” she says. “It’s just a healing process now. It’s going to take some time.” The nurses had her walking with a walker the day of surgery to begin use of her new knee. Physical therapy started two days after. “The nurses and staff were very good about explaining what I should be doing once I got home,” says DiMaio. “I felt confident when I left.”

Two months post-surgery, DiMaio is back to the majority of her routine, including volunteering twice a week at Paoli Hospital. “My husband, Ralph, passed away from a heart condition and he received excellent care over the years at Paoli,” she says. “I never forgot the care he received and I appreciated it. I wanted to give back to the hospital that did so much good for my husband by volunteering.” Now that she’s volunteering, she hopes to be back to her other favorite pastime, gardening, by the spring.

“I had a very good experience at Paoli,” says DiMaio. “If someone had to go and get something done I would tell them to go to Paoli. Not just because I volunteer there. I think they’re a great hospital. Everyone was so nice and helpful. If you had any concerns or questions they were there to answer them. They’re just a really good group of people.”

The Paoli patient experience

Whether your journey leads to hip or knee replacement or some other type of treatment that relieves your day-to-day pain and improves mobility, the Hip and Knee 360° program walks you through every step—from pre-op arrangements to on-site physical therapy to recovering soundly at home—and everything in between. Working with a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic experts, a navigator will guide you through every step of the joint replacement process.

The Hip & Knee 360° program is an all-inclusive approach to caring for your hip or knee. The program is offered at our four Main Line Health hospitals, including Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital, and Riddle Hospital. Learn more about Main Line Health’s Hip and Knee 360° program.