November 15, 2019

Switching roles and gaining a new perspective

Employee Stories | Knee | Patient Stories | Sports Injury

I’m the marketing coordinator at OrthoIndy and I’ve been working here for a year and a half. My coworkers and I have always joked that if I got hurt, I was working in the right place. Now that’s my reality.

Normally, I’m the one interviewing patients before their surgery at OrthoIndy. However, now I am a patient as well. By going through this experience, I have gained a different perspective of my job.

I started to fully understand how my work impacts others and what emotions they experience throughout the whole process at OrthoIndy.

I see the impact of how reading about people’s personal experiences at OrthoIndy can calm nerves and put people at ease. There is a common bond that is shared between people that have gone through or are about to go through the same experiences.

Background

Injuries have become a normal part of my life. I’ve played soccer since I was 5-years-old and finished up my soccer career at Butler University in 2017, so I’ve had my fair share of injuries.

Fortunately, I’ve never had to get surgery for an injury before, which some would say is almost unheard of. I consider myself lucky.

A number of my teammates have had surgery and I’ve always been interested in the process, which is why I enjoy working at OrthoIndy. I find joy in helping people get their normal back.

Injury

I wasn’t ready to give up soccer completely after I graduated college and still wanted to continue playing for fun so I joined a few soccer leagues with my friends.

During one of my games, I went to change directions and I put all my weight on my left knee. I felt a sharp pain overtake the outside and back of my knee.

I knew something wasn’t right with my left knee, but I continued to hobble around and finish out the game because I refused to believe I injured myself. That is the naturally competitive nature in me.

The next day at work, I was limping around. My knee was stiff and I was in a lot of pain. I decided it was time to see a physician.

I made an appointment with Dr. Stephen Kollias, an OrthoIndy sports medicine physician. He is also the team physician for Butler University, so I knew that’s who I wanted to see.

Not only do I work with Dr. Kollias for help on some of my marketing projects, but he has also operated on a number of my friends from Butler. I knew I was going to be in good hands.

Non-operative care as a first option

Dr. Kollias suggested that I try physical therapy at OrthoIndy first, along with rest and ice to see if my knee could heal on its own.

Steve Gaskill, OrthoIndy physical therapist, helped guide me through therapy. He was patient with me and answered all my questions, which I had quite a few.

We soon learned that physical therapy wasn’t going to fix my knee completely, but could help it. Steve still made sure I was icing my knee every day and doing my therapy to keep my muscles strong so I could recover faster if I had to get surgery.

After a few weeks of therapy, I scheduled another appointment to see Dr. Kollias, who requested I get an MRI. I was nervous to find out the MRI results, but ultimately knew I was ready to do whatever it took to feel like myself again.

Dr. Kollias sat me down and went through my MRI with me. He explained that I had an intense bone bruise that they typically see with a torn ACL. I was very fortunate that I did not tear my ACL.

When I found out that I had a bone bruise, I didn’t think I would need surgery. However, since it was so intense and wasn’t healing with therapy and rest, surgery was my best option.

Surgery

Dr. Kollias said the surgery would require me to have bone marrow taken from my pelvis to create an injection that would be put into my knee by Dr. Bruce Rougraff, an OrthoIndy bone tumor and soft tissue oncology specialist.

Then, Dr. Kollias would perform an arthroscopy of my knee to fix any cartilage damage that I may have.

Dr. Kollias, along with his physician assistant, Rachel Krupp, made sure to answer every one of my questions and put me at ease, making me feel comfortable about my surgery.

As weird as it sounds, I was excited to get surgery because I knew it would make me feel better in the end and would allow me to get back to my active lifestyle pain-free.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous before surgery, but I fully trusted the surgeon’s expertise. I can’t thank Michealene, an OrthoIndy nurse, enough for calming me down, making me laugh and even putting a smile on my face before surgery.

Life after knee surgery

The day of surgery, Dr. Kollias gave me specific instructions to not let my knee become stiff. I made sure to follow exactly what he said to do because I knew he had my best interest in mind.

One day post-op, I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Kollias where I was able to straighten my knee, which was a good first step to recovery.

During the first few weeks of recovery, not being able to do things for myself while on crutches made life tough. I would get very frustrated.

However, I give a lot of credit to my family, friends and co-workers who took great care of me. They made my life a lot easier during the entire process and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.

Going forward, I feel a little better every day. I’m now six weeks post-surgery and I’m able to bike for 20 minutes with no resistance and bend my knee almost fully, now focusing on getting strength back in my quad.

I get excited thinking futuristically about being able to run and jump again. I know if I’m proactive with my physical therapy and have a positive outlook, focusing on the end result, I will recover faster.

I’m 100 percent up for the challenge to get my normal back and I would like to thank Dr. Kollias, Dr. Rougraff, Steve Gaskill and the OrthoIndy nurses for everything they have done throughout the whole process. I’m thankful that I was able to get my surgery done at OrthoIndy.

I can now say I have experienced and seen both sides at OrthoIndy from an employee and patient perspective.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kollias, please call 317.802.2817 or visit OrthoIndy.com/Request.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000
McKenzie Muchow

By McKenzie Muchow

McKenzie is the current Marketing Coordinator at OrthoIndy. McKenzie is responsible for online reputation management and creation of individual physician websites. McKenzie graduated from Butler University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications with a concentration in journalism. She has been with OrthoIndy since January 2018.

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