Beebe patient becomes part of the One Beebe family
By Amanda Neal
A few weeks ago, I participated in a local 5K, and at that race, I was introduced to Robert “RJ” Willoughby Jr. RJ looked like all the rest of us in his T-shirt, shorts and running shoes, but there was something special about RJ. He told me that this was his first race with his “new knees.”
Intrigued, I chatted with RJ after the race and learned that his career in restaurants and years of running, tennis, cycling, gymnastics and even country-western line dancing had taken a toll on his knees. His surgeon was Wilson C. Choy, MD.
RJ worked with Dr. Choy and his office for a few years prior to surgery, utilizing cortisone shots to keep him moving. But by the end of 2021, it was obvious that the time for a replacement had come. RJ admitted he was nervous about having surgery. He had not been in the hospital since first grade when he had his tonsils removed.
But, he said, Dr. Choy and those in his office were great. His surgery and rehabilitation were explained to him in detail, and that put him at ease. Because of his active lifestyle and overall great health profile, RJ was one of those unique people who qualified for a double (bilateral) knee replacement. He went into surgery at Beebe Healthcare’s Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus this past January and stayed there to do his post-surgery rehabilitation.
Since he was in the hospital for his rehab, RJ ate many meals there. He noticed that the food was consistently exceptional, and he checked to see if Beebe had any positions open in its Nutritional Services department. The answer was yes. After completing his rehabilitation, RJ applied for a nutritional assistant position and was hired. Beebe is now the lucky beneficiary of RJ’s years of experience in catering, baking, restaurants, and even in meat departments and as a pastry chef.
“Everyone in Dr. Choy’s office is exceptional,” RJ explained, “and my physical therapy with Holly Diehl was fantastic. I’m definitely a grateful patient, and I’ve noticed that my mental state has improved as well! I was feeling a little blue before surgery because I felt my body was limited, but now I’m in a great place emotionally.”
RJ went on to tell me he is also happy to be a part of Team Beebe. His co-workers in Nutritional Services are the best. “Everyone cross-trains,” RJ said with a smile, “and it’s truly an ‘all for one and one for all’ sense of teamwork.” RJ mainly works at Beebe’s new Specialty Surgical Hospital near Rehoboth, and he wanted to give a special shout-out to his team members – Wendy Evans, Michael Markantone, Sherry Derr and Jenny Knutsen – who work with him there.
“It’s nice to be a part of the Beebe family,” RJ said as we ended our conversation, “and my race time was one minute better than my last run with my old knees!”
I was thrilled to meet RJ and to learn that not only is he a fellow race participant, but also a fellow Beebe team member. Meeting RJ reminded me of how Beebe cares for and is such a big part of the community in so many ways. I’m grateful to be a Beebe team member, too!
As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of the community it serves. To make a gift to celebrate the excellent care you or a loved one has received, visit Beebe Medical Foundation at beebemedicalfoundation.org or call 302-644-2900. Want to share your story? Contact Amanda Neal at [email protected].