Counting her blessings for exceptional care

In August of 2019, Romy Arguello took one wrong step in her backyard. The busy, working mom of four kids dropped to the ground in agony. Three days later, when the searing pain in her left knee had not abated, Romy knew she needed to see an orthopedist.

Romy met with a surgeon at another facility, where her MRI revealed a completely torn ACL (the anterior cruciate ligament which holds the bones of the knee together). That orthopedist recommended she try Physical Therapy (PT) as an initial option.

After a month of PT, with no improvement to her condition, Romy sought a second opinion. “I was limping around in a lot of pain,” Romy explains. Something needed to change. Her Physical Therapist recommended Great Basin Orthopaedics and Dr. Christopher Dolan.

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Romy’s visit with Dr. Dolan began with him asking her about her lifestyle and her recovery goals. “I am a massage therapist and a busy mom who needs to be on my feet all day,” she explained. When he understood she wanted to get back to her active life – which also included working, exercising, running after her kids, and dancing – without pain, he scheduled surgery.

Dr. Dolan recommended using donor tissue (allograft) to reconstruct the missing ligament because it would provide adequate strength for her lifestyle with a smaller incision, a shorter surgery and less post-operative pain.

“Dr. Dolan acknowledged my fears and needs and desire to get back to my life,” says Romy. “He made me feel like I wasn’t a nuisance or a complainer.”

Related: ACL Reconstruction after run-in with a dog

Before she even went into surgery, the GBO team had set Romy up for recovery success. They sent her home with a non-narcotic pain medication option, anti-nausea medicine in case she had a reaction, crutches, non-slip socks, and a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine. The CPM gently flexes and extends the knee to improve motion, reduce stiffness, and help prevent development of scar tissue following surgery.

“Everyone in the office is so professional. The surgery team put me so at ease,” Romy says. “And Dr. Dolan’s consideration of my needs, to make sure I wasn’t in pain, was incredible. It is such a blessing I ended up having my surgery with Dr. Dolan.”

Three weeks post-surgery, Romy is delighted with her results.

She only needed pain meds the first four nights. Three days after surgery, she started PT. Four days after surgery, with a brace on her knee, she went back to work part-time doing massage. After two weeks, she no longer needed the brace. Three weeks post-surgery, Romy is back to doing most activities, including dancing, which she recently enjoyed for the first times since last August.

Romy credits long sessions on the CPM with aiding her speedy recovery. “Every single day it’s better,” Romy explains. “I almost have my stride back.”

Romy has a weekly PT session which she complements with at-home PT exercises. “I am following doctor’s advice to the T so I can get my life back as soon as possible,” she shares.

Related: UNR runner returns to top form after hip surgery

Asked if she would recommend GBO and Dr. Dolan to others, she says she already has to several friends.

“I didn’t know Dr. Dolan was a former doctor for [the San Francisco] 49ers,” Romy says, “I’m just a working mom, but I want to be able to chase my kids, and some day my grandkids. I didn’t want to be diminished in anyway and was afraid of not being myself at 43. To be treated like a million-dollar athlete — it was the greatest gift I’ve ever received in health care.”

If you or someone you care about is suffering from joint pain or disfunction and looking for exceptional care where you’ll be treated like you matter, contact GBO at 775.786.1600.