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Published on March 25, 2013

Rehabilitation, Home Health and physical therapy: Rolanda Rimel’s Plan after joint replacement

Thanks to Mercy Fitzgerald, Rolanda’s walking again without a knee brace and crutches.

RimelRolanda Rimel can’t wait to get outdoors this spring to watch her grandkids play sports, tend to her garden and, most of all, enjoy the freedom of walking without a knee brace and crutches.

Last October, the 56-year-old Colwyn woman had surgery to repair a fractured kneecap, but she was no stranger to orthopedic surgery.

Since 2009, she has had total joint replacement surgery on both knees and surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in her shoulder.

Each time, she has turned to Mercy Fitzgerald for her surgical care and Mercy Home Health for visiting nursing care.

This lady’s a trooper

Rolanda says her problems are likely due to decades of working as a housekeeper.

“This lady’s a trooper,” says Thomas Duffy, DO, the orthopedic surgeon at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital who cared for Rolanda. "She keeps fighting and getting better.”

To fix her kneecap fracture, Dr. Duffy performed a sophisticated procedure known as an extensor mechanism allograft, which involved a reconstruction of the knee with cadaver bones and tendons.

“It’s not a common surgery, but we take great pride in being able to offer any orthopedic care a patient might need right here in the community,” Dr. Duffy says. “She was in a lot of pain when her knee fractured, and now that pain is gone.”

“Rolanda’s procedure was not a common surgery. We take great pride in offering any orthopedic care a patient might need,” he added.

After her surgery, Rolanda received 30 days of skilled nursing and rehabilitation care at ManorCare Health Services at Mercy Fitzgerald.

Mercy physical therapy helped her get better

Once at home, she received regular visits from a Mercy Home Health nurse along with a physical therapist who visited Rolanda to work on leg strength and flexibility at home.

Rolanda began her outpatient physical therapy at Mercy Fitzgerald in January. She hopes to get back to her volunteer cleaning duties at her church, where friends playfully call her “The Bionic Woman.”

“I’ve had my ups and downs,” she says. “Mostly it’s been up because I always know the outcome is going to be good at Mercy.”

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