Pat McAfee recently had hip replacement surgery at Madison Hospital. We sat down with her to talk about the experience, and her reason for wanting to get healthy.
Pat McAfee turned her love of travel into a career as a flight attendant.
But a pocket of rough air nearly grounded her for good.
She was pouring a drink for a passenger when the plane hit unexpected turbulence over the Rockies, throwing her across the galley. The scary incident left Pat with multiple ruptured discs in her back. She later developed chronic pain in both hips.
“If I moved a certain way, it felt like being hit by a lightning bolt,” Pat said. “Sitting for long stretches was also uncomfortable, so that really made traveling difficult.”
After moving to Madison, Pat decided to stop living with pain. She had her left hip replaced first, then returned to Madison Hospital for minimally-invasive surgery on her right hip.
Pat’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Christopher Parks, was able to replace her bad hip through a small incision in the upper thigh. Joint patients tend to heal faster from this anterior approach because they spend less time under anesthesia and there’s less cutting of the muscles surrounding the hip.
Pat was able to get around her hospital room with a walker that same day. When Dr. Parks dropped in to see how she was doing, she gave him a big hug.
“I was grateful the surgery was over,” Pat said, “but I also felt like there was hope.”
Today, Pat is fully recovered and feeling great. She volunteers twice a week at Madison Hospital and is looking forward to hitting the road again, starting with Italy, Spain and Australia.
“It’s a big world out there,” Pat said, “and I’m ready to go see it.”