Alma Adams loves her job as a crossing guard in Annapolis, helping young students safely navigate the intersection of Woods Drive and Tyler Avenue.
“I just love kids. I’m a people person,” says Alma, 67.
When she’s not working, she also keeps busy by traveling and volunteering with her church to deliver meals to the homeless.
“I am constantly on the go,” she says.
But several years ago, a series of health problems began to make life a lot harder.
Alma was diagnosed with cancer in her skin, blood and bones. As she recovered, she began to suffer from knee pain.
“I didn’t want to walk – it was so bad that I couldn’t even sleep at night,” Alma says.
She visited orthopedic surgeon Paul King, MD, with Anne Arundel Medical Center Orthopedics, after hearing good things about him from family and friends. Dr. King, the medical director of AAMC’s Center for Joint Replacement, did X-rays to figure out the source of the pain.
“When he didn’t really see the pain that I was talking about, that’s when he went to the hips,” Alma says. “And he saw the problems that I was having.”
Dr. King said the chemotherapy medications she took led to avascular necrosis, or a death of bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply, in her hips.
“In some cases hip pain can refer to the knee, so patients with unexplained knee pain always have to be evaluated for a problem in the hip. Because diagnosis can be complex, people with these types of symptoms should always be evaluated by a physician,” Dr. King says.
Dr. King performed hip replacement surgery on both of Alma’s hips, using the direct anterior approach. This method uses a special operating table to perform a muscle-sparing hip replacement with the help of X-rays.
Alma admits she was reluctant to undergo the surgeries at first, fearing a long recovery time.
But that wasn’t the case. She spent four weeks recovering from her first hip surgery, and six weeks recovering from her second surgery.
“Recovery after hip replacement is based on patient motivation, preparation, and fitness—she was a very motivated patient,” Dr. King says.
He also credits the Center for Joint Replacement’s advances in rapid recovery protocols. Seventy percent of patients who undergo hip replacements leave the hospital in a day or less.
And now Alma is enjoying her life. She says she encourages anyone experiencing knee or hip pain to go to AAMC Orthopedics for treatment.
“I can drop it like it’s hot,” she says. “Without this surgery, I wouldn’t have felt like myself.”