When 70-year-old Sharon Seekins scheduled her total knee replacement, having it done in TMC’s new Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower was part of the plan. However, she never knew she had scheduled it for the first day the tower was open. “I was a bit surprised to learn that I’d be one of the first patients being operated on,” she said. “But I was excited.”
Seekins’ surgery started bright and early Monday morning, May 6. After spending some time in recovery, she was transported to Orthopaedic Post-Surgical Care, where she received a warm welcome from staff, and settled into her private room – the first patient to arrive on the fourth floor. “At least I can say I was a celebrity for five minutes,” she laughed.
For Seekins, the surgery was a long time coming. She battled knee pain for years, and even underwent a total knee replacement on her other leg a few years ago. “When my son, Donnie, asked me to dance at an event last month, I couldn’t. That’s when I decided – that’s it. It’s time to get it done so that I can be more active and do the things I want to do again,” she said.
TMC Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Jay Katz performed Seekins’ surgery, one of the first surgeries in the new tower. “It was spectacular. The operating rooms are gorgeous. The technology is incredible,” he said. “The amount of work everyone did to make sure that every little detail worked perfectly for our opening day was amazing. It’s so exciting to be here and I think it’s a real step forward for patients.”
Seekins was greeted with red roses and a new bathrobe in her room, and said being able to recover in a private room made her feel more comfortable. “Just being able to watch what I want on television, or turn on the light without bothering anyone – is huge,” she said.
She described the remarkable view outside her window as “the next best thing to being outside,” which would really help during the healing process. “It was so neat watching a helicopter fly in. Everyone tells me the streets of Tucson are straight. To be able to look out there and see that yes, the streets really are straight – I was a bit surprised,” she said.
Both physician and patient felt honored to be a part of the first day—Seekins to be one of the first patients to be cared for in the tower, and Dr. Katz to go down in TMC history as one of the first surgeons to operate in it. “To be here since the inception and watch this building go up that we’ve been planning for five years – and then to finally be able to work in it is truly a blessing.”