When being mobile has nothing to do with a phone


Dr. Kurt Droll, Orthopaedic Surgeon, gives Dawn Sebesta the great news that she can play golf again after two hip replacements. Help equip our Orthopaedic Surgery Team with specialized sets of power equipment to provide joint replacements faster and in more locations across Northwestern Ontario. Make a gift today at www.healthsciencesfoundation.ca/ortho or call 345-4673.

By Heather Vita - August 23, 2017

Dawn Sebesta likes to consider herself a healthy person – she likes to golf and exercise regularly. So when her right hip started bothering her a few years ago, she figured it might just be muscular. But lo and behold, after seeing a physiotherapist, she was referred to Dr. Droll - an orthopaedic surgeon.

That’s when she got the not-so-good news. She needed a hip replacement.

As Dawn says, “I’ll never take my mobility for granted again. Osteoarthritis is no joke, that’s for sure. Having it in both hips almost sidelined me.”

Dawn was shocked that she needed a hip replacement at her age. It seemed unreal to her as she’s only in her fifties. The pain she was dealing with though – that reminded her that something was wrong.

“At first, it was manageable,” she says, “but as the months went on, it became crippling. I’d go to the mall, and wouldn’t even last a few minutes. Grocery shopping? Forget it. Cleaning my house? Not a chance. Eventually, I couldn’t even go to work. My quality of life went downhill very, very quickly and my once-active lifestyle vanished.”

As hard as it was to come to grips with needing surgery, it was even tougher for her to wait for it when she was in so much pain. From the time she had her initial appointment with Dr. Droll in June, to her surgery in November, her pain got progressively worse every day.

As Dawn says, “I’m sure most people are like me – you don’t want to be a burden to your family. You like being a productive person. You want to be independent and enjoy the life you’ve made for yourself. Having that all taken away is humbling. Not to mention frustrating. But that’s exactly what happened to me.”

Dawn considers herself lucky that she got in for surgery thanks to a cancellation; others wait longer. She’s aware that the surgeons do their best to get patients in as quickly as they can, but they also need help.

Dawn was ecstatic when she was told about a fantastic improvement to the orthopaedic surgery program that will help people all across Northwestern Ontario have surgery faster and closer-to-home.

For those needing a joint replaced, it can be done in Kenora, Dryden, Fort Frances or Thunder Bay. Orthopaedic surgeons are now travelling to each of these cities to perform surgeries. Best of all, they actually do initial assessments and follow-up as well so patients don’t have to travel. Dawn says, “I think this is just wonderful. Having the option for closer-to-home care is always welcome, and certainly helps financially.”

Best of all, because surgeries are available in multiple locations, wait times are actually decreasing! Thanks to multiple hospitals offering surgery, there is additional Operating Room time available in Thunder Bay, so more surgery times can be offered. And, if a surgeon has extra time available in a city, say, like Dryden, he or she can offer that surgery time to any patient on his or her waiting list, no matter where they live. It’s absolutely win-win.

“I can’t tell you how much it means to have surgery available faster,” says Dawn. “My quality of life improved drastically after I had my hips replaced. Yes, my hips - plural. Because, sure enough, about a year and a half after my right hip was done, I needed surgery to replace my left hip. Already, and I say this in amazement, just a few shorts months later, I’m ready to play golf again.”

Dawn’s wish is that anyone who needs access to a joint replacement can have this procedure done quickly. To not suffer for months in excruciating pain. However, the orthopaedic team needs help to make faster access to surgery a reality. Since they travel to different hospitals, they need to bring special sets of power equipment to perform these much-needed surgeries.

Let’s stay mobile together

Equip our orthopaedic surgery team with the essential tools they need for joint replacement surgery.

Donate at healthsciencesfoundation.ca/ortho or call 345-4673.

Right now, they only have a few sets, but they need more to ensure they can provide as many surgeries as possible in a day, because the sets cannot be cleaned in between surgeries quickly enough. It’s imperative that they have enough sets, otherwise they cannot perform multiple surgeries. This specialized equipment is not funded and can only be purchased thanks to generous donations.

Concludes Dawn, “I can’t say enough about the quality of care I received throughout this entire process – it was just incredible. Dr. Droll and his team were so calming and helpful. I was very anxious before my first surgery, not knowing what to expect. But the second time round, I wasn’t nervous at all – well – much less nervous, because I knew how well I’d be taken care of. As I begin my journey into retirement, I can only guess that I’ll know more and more people who will need a joint replaced. I know that our help now will only benefit each of them.”

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