Gail Canning

Monmouth’s Total Joint Replacement Program Reopens the World for Little Silver Nurse

When Gail Canning, 63, of Little Silver, N.J., isn’t caring for the students of Red Bank Regional High School as the school’s nurse, she loves to travel with her husband, Tom. They had journeyed to countless places around the world and planned to continue their travels – until a problem with Gail’s hip stopped them in their tracks.

“I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but my hips just didn’t feel right. It felt like they weren’t equal, and then my back began bothering me. It limited my movement and what I could do,” said Gail.

Previously diagnosed with arthritis, Gail hoped that seeing a chiropractor would help, but instead her hip got progressively worse. Then Gail remembered a recent trip to Greece with her husband, saying “Steps were so daunting to me. I looked at them and said, ‘I can’t go up all these stairs.’”

“I realized my world was getting smaller – for example, instead of going to ShopRite, I would go to a smaller store so I could get around more easily. I didn’t want to live like that, and I definitely didn’t want my world to get smaller. I told myself I’d get my hip fixed so I could travel again,” she said.

After asking other nurses who they recommended, Gail was pointed in the direction of Mark Gesell, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon at Monmouth Medical Center and a member of Professional Orthopaedic Associates.

“The nurses all said Dr. Gesell was the best. They called him the ‘hip man,’” she said. After making an appointment with Dr. Gesell and getting X-rays, Gail was told that she had severe damage in her right hip caused by osteoarthritis. In January, she underwent a hip replacement with Dr. Gesell through Monmouth Medical Center’s Total Joint Program.

“Mrs. Canning was an excellent candidate for a total hip replacement. Her arthritis was very advanced and it was affecting her quality of life. In her particular case, I used a ceramic femoral head with a plastic polyethelene liner, which has a very low wear rate and will give her many years of pain-free motion,” said Dr. Gesell.

“Dr. Gesell is excellent. He listens to everything you have to say and addresses your concerns. I’m very pleased with how things went,” said Gail, who was also impressed with Dr. Gesell’s background. In addition to practicing medicine for four years as a Lieutenant Commander of the U.S. Navy, Dr. Gesell completed subspecialty training at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, which has been named the top orthopedic hospital in the country.

Gail, who prefers not to take medicine or painkillers, said she felt little to no discomfort after surgery and was able to stop taking pain medication shortly after surgery with help from physical therapy and the Total Joint Program’s pain management program. She checked into an inpatient rehabilitation center before returning home and participating in outpatient physical therapy, which she says is very important to a successful recovery. After recuperating for a total of six weeks, Gail boarded a plane with a friend and headed to Barbados. Once she returned from her trip, she went back to work – just eight weeks after surgery.

Since then, her travels have included trips to Paris and Hawaii with her husband and their family, including their two adult children. “Life is good,” said Gail. “It’s all about your health. You have to take care of yourself now so you can continue to enjoy the things you love to do. We’re looking forward to our next trip.”

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