No gaps in care for surgery patient at River’s Edge Hospital

A surgery patient’s feelings of apprehension were put to rest when she went to Joint Camp at River’s Edge Hospital in St. Peter, MN prior to successful knee surgery that helped her regain her mobility and independence.


No Gaps in Care for Surgery Patient at River’s Edge Hospital


Audrey Simonson isn’t used to sitting still. While raising their family, she and her husband were involved in many community organizations. They instilled in their children a love for camping and spending time outdoors. Friends and family frequently enjoy her company along with a good home-cooked meal. Audrey’s been a familiar figure in her North Mankato neighborhood for many years as she daily walked miles along its roadways and paths.

When this grandmother of 11 started to feel some pain in her knees, it slowed her down, but it didn’t stop her. Since her husband passed away 14 years ago, Audrey had been living independently and she would tell you that she has a high tolerance for pain. The last thing she wanted to do was to get her children worried about her when, in her mind, there might not be anything to worry about. Then she took a tumble in her home.

Her condition was worse than she thought

Audrey was able to get herself up and although she knew she was hurt, she didn’t say anything about the pain or the protruding bump on her shin. Two weeks later, when it was apparent that the pain wasn’t getting any better and walking became very difficult, she decided to mention the incident to her daughter who insisted that she see a doctor right away.

Audrey saw Dr. Jesse Botker at the Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic (OFC) in Mankato the next day. She was surprised that the staff whooshed her into a wheelchair as she walked through the door of the clinic. Looking back, she thinks they immediately recognized the source of the bump on her shin. It was her kneecap.

Dr. Jesse Botker

Even though she had two previous shoulder surgeries at a different clinic, it was Audrey’s decision to go to Dr. Botker at OFC. A recent conversation with friends about their experience with this young, vibrant doctor had instilled her with the confidence that this was definitely the right choice. Her first visit confirmed her feelings as Dr. Botker thoroughly explained what was going on with her body, and how he could help her regain her mobility and independence. Surgery was scheduled to take place at River’s Edge Hospital.

Feelings of apprehension put to rest at Joint Camp

As the surgery date approached, Audrey couldn’t help but feel apprehensive as she anticipated what surgery and recovery were going to be like. She had some unpleasant experiences after her previous shoulder surgeries when the staff who were supposed to help her did not follow through. Her memory of feeling abandoned at her most vulnerable time became fresh in her mind again. As she went into this surgery, she wanted to have the confidence that all her needs would be met. That’s when she was invited to Joint Camp.

Joint Camp is an orientation program at River’s Edge Hospital for surgery patients. The hospital staff understand that surgery is a major event, so they want to help people feel as prepared as they can be. During the two-hour session, they tour the facility and staff from different departments discuss what patients can expect as far as what will happen before and after surgery at the hospital; what they should do at home; how they will manage pain; how physical therapists will be working with them; and how their recovery may continue after they leave the hospital.

For Audrey, it was nice to see the facility, but meeting the staff members who would oversee her care made all the difference in the world to her outlook. Getting to know these people at the hospital and learning that they all had a role in caring for her made Audrey feel like there weren’t going to be any gaps that she would have to manage by herself.

“I felt very confident that I had professional people to help with any need that I had,” she said.

Independence regained after successful surgery and recovery

Audrey had bilateral surgery to repair both her knees. She describes her caregivers at River’s Edge as helpful, pleasant and kind. There was never a time when the help she needed was delayed and she said that the atmosphere was conducive to an optimistic attitude about recovery.

Audrey can be seen walking again in her North Mankato neighborhood. She may not walk as fast or as long as she did before, but she has her independence back.

She told her daughter, “I finally feel happy again. It’s a relief to be able to walk and to not have pain.”

And to the staff at Orthopaedic Fracture Clinic and River’s Edge Hospital she said, “I’ll see you again when I have my hips done!”