Dr. Kevin Reagan of The Center for Bone and Joint Care and Moe Coderre of Putnam, CT.
Maurice “Moe” Coderre of Putnam, CT is feeling lucky and has a new spring in his step. He hasn’t won the lottery, though he may say it sometimes feels that way. But Coderre’s new lease on life is the result of something much more important – a great improvement in quality of life. And the cause for that great improvement may surprise you.
It all began many months ago when Coderre started having pain in his right hip.
“I would have pain in my hip while walking around and working, but I can tolerate pain so I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it,” Coderre says.
Perhaps that’s not surprising for a man as active and involved as he is. As the crematory operator at Gilman and Valade Funeral Home in Putnam, Coderre is well known and well-loved for the personal care and empathy he provides to local families as they say goodbye to loved ones.
He’s also been the unofficial voice of Putnam High School basketball for more than three decades, doubling as announcer and clock keeper and also sometimes delivering what is by all accounts a very impressive rendition of the national anthem.
Coderre is active in the community in many other ways as well, including as a member of American Legion Post 13 and a Eucharistic minister at St. Mary Church. He is a recipient of the Putnam Rotary Club’s Vocational Service Award for service above self, and also received the Putnam High Athletic Association Colonel Gilbert Woods, Sr. Special Recognition Award for dedication and loyal support to Putnam athletics.
Given his dedication to his job and many other roles within the community, Coderre says he was loath to slow down. But then the problem became too apparent to ignore.
“It was becoming difficult to even tie my own shoes because of the pain in my hip. I had to pull on my pant leg to get my right foot up. I have six grandchildren. A couple of them are involved in athletics and it was a lot more difficult for me to toss the ball with them; I would do it but boy it hurt like crazy. Then I started to adapt a limp. People would come up and say, ‘you know you’re limping?’ and I didn’t always know it. That’s when I knew I had to get it checked out,” Coderre recalls.
He made an appointment at The Center for Bone and Joint Care, a well-regarded orthopedics practice located in Putnam. An X-ray showed that the cartilage in Coderre’s hip joint was worn down to almost nothing.
“First we tried a cortisone shot,” Coderre says. “That helped for a little bit but then the pain became even more intense and it came to the point where they said it’s time for you to have a hip replacement. I kept thinking I don’t have time for this, it’s not the right time. But the pain crept up and got so much worse.”
“I knew that Dr. Reagan had an excellent reputation, I’d heard so many good stories about him, and when I actually met the man he made me feel very at ease. He’s witty and funny with a good personality. He’ll listen to you and take the time to talk with you, and I liked that about him. I just liked him as a person, and the whole staff too really, they’re very good people down there,” Coderre says.
With the surgery date booked, it was time for Coderre to prepare. He participated in a unique pre-surgical education program hosted for joint replacement patients by the Center for Bone and Joint Care and Day Kimball Hospital, called The Joint Academy of Northeast Connecticut.
“The Joint Academy was very interesting,” Coderre says. “I couldn’t believe how many people were there, or the number of people I knew. Some were there for the second or third time for different surgeries. The presenters were very detailed in what they told you and allowed you to have a hands-on feel for the parts that are going into your body. They explained how it worked and what the doctor would do. That a doctor can do a surgery like that with such a small cut is pretty amazing.”
After learning how to prepare for surgery at the Joint Academy, Coderre says he faithfully did the physical therapy exercises prescribed to help build up the muscles around his hip joint.
“I believe it helped tremendously [in ensuring the best possible outcome and speeding healing]. People should really follow their instructions,” he says.
Finally, the day of surgery arrived.
Unfortunately, Coderre had a bad reaction to one of the drugs used for anesthesia and the surgery had to be stopped. But he was back just a couple days later, this time with a different type of spinal anesthesia.
“They did the operation and everything went very well,” he says. “I actually knew one of the nurses that took care of me. She went to school with my son, and she said ‘everything’s going to be OK Mr. Coderre.’ That was very comforting. I feel so fortunate to have a hospital in my own town where I can go and get such great care.”
In fact, it was that combination of high quality care and the compassionate, small community atmosphere that Coderre says made the experience “perfect.”
“From being admitted to being checked out, everything was perfect,” Coderre says. “When I got into the room after the surgery I was feeling fine and was very well attended to. They got me up just hours after having the operation and I couldn’t believe that I didn’t have any pain. I walked more than they asked me to, because that’s just who I am, and for just having major surgery I felt pretty good.“
“I stayed overnight and Joseph Adiletta, who was chairman of the board of Day Kimball Healthcare at the time, stopped in to my room to see how I was doing. We’d worked together for many years at Pallflex and again it was so nice to see a familiar, caring face. You’re not just a number at Day Kimball. Sometimes you have to go to those big hospitals and facilities, but you feel like an account number there, they don’t really know anything about you and who you are. I just can’t speak highly enough about this hospital and how fortunate we are to have it in our community. They have all the same modern technologies but also that comforting, community feel,” Coderre says.
After just one night in the hospital Coderre was discharged and finished recovering at home with the help of physical therapy and follow-up visits to the Center for Bone and Joint Care.
Now, six months later, Coderre says he can’t believe the difference. And he’s got some advice for others struggling with joint pain.
“Don’t wait so long to have it looked at. Before the surgery you’re so sore and thinking you’ll never feel like you did before. But to the contrary I have to say I am feeling as good as, if not better, than before. I’ve experienced no pain since the operation. All those little things you take for granted… I wasn’t doing those for quite a while without a tremendous amount of pain. Now I just can’t believe what I can do.”
Surgical Care at Day Kimball Hospital
Surgical Care: Hip & Knee Replacement
Surgical Care: Orthopedic
Surgical Care: Spine Care & Surgery
Specialty Care: Pain Management
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: Physical Therapy