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New Hip, Care from Resurgens Orthopaedics

Well into her 60s, Barclay Smith still likes to climb mountains – the taller, the better.

The East Cobb resident has a summer home in Colorado, which has 52 mountains higher than 14,000 feet, and her goal has always been to try and climb as many of them as she could.

In recent years, her left hip proved a major obstacle towards that goal. A previous procedure by another practice on the joint left her with some negative side effects. She had a lot of pain and suffered from drop foot, which is a difficulty in lifting the front part of the foot.

The drop foot, which caused her to trip frequently, made it impossible for Smith to hike, to climb mountains or to engage in cycling, another favorite activity of hers.

As Smith attempted to rehabilitate the issues associated with her left hip, she suffered a series of other health setbacks. She was diagnosed in December 2011 with breast cancer, which she beat, and then she blew out her right hip.

This time, she went to Resurgens Orthopaedics, where her physician was Dr. Mark W. Hanna, who works out of the practice’s St. Joseph’s location. Coming off a hip replacement that left with her some unpleasant side effects, Smith was naturally apprehensive about a second one. She said Hanna did an excellent job of preparing her mentally for what lied ahead. Hanna told her to go home and think about it.

 “He is not only a wonderful surgeon but he has a wonderful bedside manner,” Smith said.

She realized that Dr. Hanna was right. He helped her to conquer the anxiety that she had.

“How wonderful of him was it to do that?” she said.

Smith had the procedure on Jan. 15, 2014, one day before her 69th birthday. Hanna performed the surgery using an anterior approach. She was upright that day. The next day when she was discharged, the physical therapist was at her home waiting. She said that helped to ease both her transition and her rehab.“I’m doing so well and I am so pleased,” she said.

Prior to suffering her hip woes, Smith would go on hikes of between four and seven miles. For about five years, she could not endure a distance of anywhere near that.

When Smith traveled to Vail at the outset of last summer, she set herself a goal. She wanted to build up her strength enough to be able to climb the kind of mountain that she would have in the past. It’s not just the hike, it’s also carrying a 10-pound pack of water and other supplies.

By the end of the summer,8 months after her right hip replacement, she had built up that strength and was ready to try it out on Galena Mountain, a summit of 12,983 feet. When she got within 200 feet of the summit on that fateful day, the trail ended. She had to bushwack – find her way through the thick undergrowth in her path and make her own way, so to speak.

Along that climb, she also encountered boulder fields. It proved a circuitous and dodgy route, especially for someone like her who is concerned about falling. Some summits are the kind that a climber can simply walk up -- but not Galena Mountain. Smith had to, in the climber’s lingo, “scramble” over the boulders.

She said that after the first procedure on her left hip, her surgeon had told her she would never be able to scramble again. With great determination, she pressed on. She dragged her bad left hip up the mountain, swinging it around as best she could.

When she finally reached the summit, she fell to her knees and cried out, “Thank you Mark Hanna!”

Smith said that the new right hip that Dr. Hanna gave her has “changed her life.” Galena Mountain might not have been 14,000 feet but she’s not done. She still hopes to climb one again.

Maybe this summer.


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