Portrait of a Grateful Patient
Pati Malinowski has been a busy person raising three children and crisscrossing the country due to her husband’s employment. Originally from Rochester, New York, the family moved to Thousand Oaks in Southern California, to Colorado Springs, Colorado, back to New York, down to Phoenix, Arizona and is currently settled in the Sacramento region. Malinowski may be staying put for now, but thanks to treatment by UC Davis orthopaedic surgeons, she gets around better than ever.
When she was 16 years old, Malinowski had a bicycle accident and injured her right knee. She said it hurt quite a bit, but the pain went away – and she ignored the injury as all teenagers do. But when she reached her 40s the joint started bothering her again. Malinowski nursed it over the years and sought relief from chiropractors and steroid shots in the knee.
A quilter specializing in 1800s quilting by profession, Malinowski said things came to a head while attending a quilting show. She was pushing another individual in a wheelchair and at the end of the day she felt pain in her left knee; Malinowski knew it was from compensating for her right knee. When she visited her primary care doctor for the pain, he told her the right knee was bone-on-bone and needed to be replaced.
After doing her research, Malinowski decided UC Davis had the best possible care. “After being told I needed surgery, I chose UC Davis because of its unmatched reputation.” She chose to come to the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and specifically requested Dr. Paul Di Cesare, chair of orthopaedic surgery. “I found out later that he was the head if the department. I knew I couldn't be in better hands.”
While Dr. Di Cesare was ready to move forward with the surgery, Malinowski wanted to get through the holidays so she elected to go with “visco replacement” or viscosupplementation – an injection of a fluid to supplement or replace the natural synovial fluid in the knee joint capsule. The injection affords more lubrication and cushioning for the cartilage. The cushioning lasted through the holidays and then Malinowski scheduled her surgery with Dr. Di Cesare.
Unfortunately, in the meantime Malinoswski broke a bone in her right foot, which required surgery and time to recover. Between her foot and knee problems, Malinowski was “absolutely miserable” with pain – and more than ready for the knee replacement.
The surgery went “beautifully,” she says. “I had great post-operative care and wonderful in-home physical therapy.” Malinowski made sure to follow the doctor’s orders to the “T” in terms of recovery, physical therapy and exercise -- and now things are moving along smoothly. She recently took a trip to tour historic homes in Fredericksburg, VA and despite walking and being on her feet all day, says “It didn’t bother me one bit.”
“Life is different when you have mobility,” she says. “To get my ability of movement back gave me a normal life again. I don’t have to think about my knee anymore.”
When asked why she donated to UC Davis Health System’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Malinowski replied, “I decided to contribute because of the quality of care. I have had several surgeries, including hand surgery, and the outcome has been excellent. And with the newsletter I can sort of keep an eye on everything that goes on. I guess I'm a little ‘nosey’ and want to learn about what is new."
Next up on her agenda? “Training to do ‘Bay to Breakers,’” she says, with a big smile. I don’t dream of being a marathon runner but I think it would be fun to participate!”