From Roller Skates to Rehabilitation

Joe Rutledge, aged 74, has always been active and loves to spend as much of his time as possible outside.  He and his wife Wanda have been married for nearly 54 years, and they love to go fishing at their favorite spot, a private pond where they can spend hours reeling in those big bass.  Life is good for the couple who enjoy any opportunity to spend time with their three children, 4 grandchildren, and great-granddaughter Sophia.

Throughout his life, Joe logged miles on his roller skates becoming a skilled skater who could skate forward, backward, and in circles and amaze his friends with his tricks.  When great-granddaughter Sophia wanted to celebrate her 5th birthday with a roller skating party, Joe was excited.  He just knew roller skating would be just like riding a bike and his body would kick in and know just what to do.  Unfortunately, this was not the case.  Joe made it not much more than a foot off of the carpet before a slip and fall caused Joe to need a hip replacement.  But not to worry, this story has a happy ending and Miss Sophia was still able to enjoy her birthday party.

Although the couple had no experience utilizing the local orthopedic services, the Rutledges decided to visit Dr. LeRoy Gurganious, an orthopedic surgeon with Premier Orthopedic Services in Fayetteville, TN.

Their experience could not have been better.  “He has a wonderful bedside manner and he answered all of our questions to a ‘T’”, stated Mrs. Wanda.  After finding out Joe would need a total hip replacement, the Rutledges planned to return home after surgery and Mrs. Wanda would care for Joe, but with Dr. G’s recommendation to consider utilizing a Skilled Nursing Center to help expedite the recovery process, the couple decided on the Short Stay Rehabilitation Center at Donalson Care Center.  Mrs. Wanda worked for Lincoln Health System’s Care Centers for 7 years as a Certified Dietary Manager and she knew her husband would receive personalized care while at the facility.

Dr. G performed the surgery at Lincoln Medical Center and Mr. Rutledge was transferred to the Short Stay Rehabilitation Center at Donalson Care Center just a few days after surgery.  Mr. Rutledge said, “Dr. G is a fantastic surgeon and I praise him to the highest.”

At only a week and a half after his surgery, Joe is up walking the halls and cutting up with his nurses and therapists.  “Chris and Janet [Joe’s physical and occupational therapists] have been by my side the whole time I’ve been here,” Rutledge noted that he is confident when he returns home in the next couple of days that he will be well equipped to take care of himself because of the staff at Donalson.

“I have received the best care that anyone could ever get.  I don’t think I could even travel to New York City and get better care than I have here – and that is with the hospital, Donalson nurses and therapy”, stated Rutledge.  “It has been an experience to see what these folks can do to help me get better.  It’s overwhelming.”

Wanda and Joe look forward to getting home and getting back to their active lives of fishing, spending time with their family and church family and maybe taking a trip to the Smokies in the near future.

“This is a great place.  I have not seen a person in any department – housekeeping, dietary, nursing – that has not had a smile on their face," said Mrs. Wanda, and during their stay at Donalson Care Center, this family has put a smile on our faces as well.