Over the course of the last year, my neighbor and I walked our way into shape, covering more than 1,000 miles and getting faster and faster. In early March, I took a fall, landed mostly on my left knee, but continued walking that day…and the next until, 25 miles later, the left knee, steadily becoming more and more painful, gave out. My husband said it was time to quit fooling around (yes, I had been complaining and limping) and go to Prompt Care, the walk-in orthopaedic clinic at the ACC (Ambulatory Care Center) near UNC Hospital.
It was effortless to get to the ACC – no drive through campus, just an immediate turn off Old Columbia Road. Parking was a snap – my husband drove up to the curb closest to the entrance and put me in one of the many wheelchairs waiting for patients to use. We checked in and waited only about thirty minutes to see an orthopedist. Dr. Lang examined my knee, took a history, ordered x-rays (which were taken immediately in the ACC around the corner from the examining rooms) and sent me home with crutches, a brace and an appointment the following week. When I arrived the following week, I was taken in exactly on the scheduled time. The doctor was pleased with my progress and sent me to physical therapy – also located in the ACC.
When the knee improved to some degree, but the pain persisted and limited by ability to walk at all, I was given a referral to the sports knee specialist, Dr. Alex Creighton, who finally decided an MRI was in order. The MRI was also located at the ACC and it was done exactly (maybe even a little earlier) than scheduled.
The MRI showed a tear in the meniscus, so surgery was scheduled a week after I saw Dr. Creighton. The surgery couldn’t have been a more pleasant experience – each person, from the venipuncturist (I couldn’t even feel it when she started the IV!) to the nurse who put a warm blanket on me in the pre-op room, to the hilarious anesthesiologist, was totally caring and delightful. The surgery started exactly on time and I was home by noon. Had they let me, I would have stayed longer!!
As was the case with all the preceding appointments and procedures at the ACC, two days after surgery, I was taken in to see my surgeon at the scheduled time for my follow up appointment. Out came the two stitches and I was given clear and thorough instructions for continuing recovery.
For the following reasons, I cannot imagine going anywhere else than UNC for orthopaedic care. First, I received an extraordinarily high quality of medical care. Second, each person with whom I interacted, without exception, exuded kindness, warmth, and competence. Third, it was a pleasure to use the ACC facility – it is attractive, designed for patient convenience and ease of use and it succeeds admirably in accomplishing those goals.
As I write this, I am six days post-op, off crutches, and out of pain. The knee is stiff and still a bit swollen, but improves daily and I am delighted that soon I will be able to rejoin my neighbor for the next 1,000 miles. I owe UNC Orthopaedics a huge debt of gratitude.
Carly Rubinow, May 27, 2008