Just before my 16th birthday I tore my Anterior Cruciate Ligament and the cartilage in my knee. I thought my dreams of dancing were crushed. Knowing the reputation of HSS, my mother and I traveled to Manhattan for a second opinion. My surgeon, Dr. Stephen Fealy, is a brilliant orthopedic surgeon who patiently reviewed the options, answered my questions, and reassured me that everything was going to be okay.
As a dancer in high school, I had many concerns about the timing of my rehabilitation and recovery. Dr. Fealy explained the recovery process and renewed my confidence that I could return to my intensive training, regain my flexibility and strength, and keep up with a busy college prep schedule.
Although the ACL repair is a relatively simple orthopedic operation, the meticulous preparation by HSS was remarkable. I was amazed by all the staff at HSS – the office staff who efficiently handled insurance issues and arranged for rehab equipment to be fitted and ready for me on the day of surgery, and post op medication to be delivered to my home before the surgery so that it would be ready and waiting for me when my mom and I returned home. It reminded me of a well-rehearsed performance!
The day of surgery, we arrived at 5:45AM and were greeted (by name!) by another remarkably professional and friendly registrar who carefully performed all the necessary functions. When a new concern was identified in pre-op, not one but two anesthesiologists came in to discuss the options for anesthesia. Throughout, nursing staff were thorough and compassionate.
After surgery, I was impressed with the organization of the recovery room and physical therapy staff. Unfortunately, I was not able to go home that night, and I was admitted to the pediatric unit overnight. The nursing staff scooped us up and took care of not only me, but my mom, too! They made sure I was comfortable, and then brought my mom and me sheets, towels and takeout menus to order dinner for my mom. My follow up appointments were conveniently scheduled at the Long Island office. I actually completed my physical therapy ahead of schedule and was back to gradually retraining at ballet within a few months.
When another injury in the fall threatened my performance for the upcoming season’s Nutcracker, I needed to have another arthroscopic procedure to trim the meniscus (cartilage). Again, Dr. Fealy and the expert care at HSS were amazing. The nurses in post anesthesia were so enthusiastic and optimistic; they turned my tears into laughter. Everyone in the team helped me get back to strengthening and training, in time for final rehearsals for my performances. I made a full recovery, was promoted in rank to principal dancer, and danced my favorite duet (Pas de Deux) for my final performance the following year.