As we age, a few aches and pains are often par for the course. But when they get in the way of enjoying life, it’s time to do something about it. Consider the inspiring stories of Jim Leary and Dale Duhl. Their motivation, positive attitude, and results might just be the little push you need to take action.
Have new knees, will travel: At age 72,
staying home is simply not an
option for Jim Leary
At age 72, Jim Leary is as active as many men half his age. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and camping with his family—and then there are the trips to watch his grandchildren in marching band.
Leary’s energetic lifestyle faltered when arthritis pain in both his knees started to slow him down. "After a while, just climbing the stairs was quite a chore," he says. "It got really bad the last couple of years."
Leary wasn’t about to let arthritis change his lifestyle. When he learned he needed total joint replacements for both knees, he decided to have them both done before another camping season arrived. But when he consulted a surgeon near his home in Warren, it looked like that wouldn’t be possible.
"They wanted to do one knee at a time," Leary says. "It would have taken all summer and half the fall." That's when he turned to the Orthopedic Center of Excellence at Botsford Hospital, where surgeons were able to replace both knees at once, making the overall recovery time shorter.
With this type of procedure, two surgeons operate at the same time, one on each knee. Surgical time is not increased, but instead of going home in two or three days, as most people with a single knee replacement would, patients go right to inpatient rehab.
Bilateral total knee replacement isn’t possible for every patient, but it was right for Leary. "We try to accommodate each patient," says Homer Linard III, D.O., an orthopedic surgeon at Botsford. "Mr. Leary’s knees were equally bad, but he was in good health and was up for the work that rehab would require."
Leary has high praise for his surgeons, Dr. Linard and Jack Lennox, D.O. And although rehab was challenging, his dedication played a key role in his results. "I set a goal for myself to be mobile, and to be mobile fast," he says.
According to Dr. Linard, that kind of commitment is essential to a good surgical outcome. "The surgeon's job is very important, but the patient's job of rehabilitation is even more so," he says."Mr. Leary was a very motivated patient. He worked diligently with Botsford's physical therapist and earned a great outcome."
Delizioso! Dale Duhl is back on
his feet-- and his pizzeria's
customers are grateful for it.
Dale Duhl’s experience with Botsford started in March 2012 with a life-changing event. Duhl, age 61, was hit broadside by a car while riding his moped.“
It spun me up in the air, and I bounced off the car’s hood and then the windshield, and then the hood again, and then down to the ground,” Duhl says. He was taken to Botsford’s Trauma Center, where his injuries set in motion a sequence of interventions and care that, according to Duhl, was excellent from start to finish.
Coming from Duhl, the judgment of “excellent care” carries weight. He owns a gourmet pizzeria where, before his accident, he put in 90 hours a week making sure his customers got the highest-quality food and service. But for nearly a year, Duhl’s powerful work ethic focused on recovering from his injuries. That included a series of surgeries, starting with the placement of a rod to repair his femur.
Like Leary, he then went to inpatient rehabilitation at Botsford and dedicated himself to the healing process. Next was a total knee replacement and then more inpatient rehab. And by that time, the staff seemed like old friends. “It was a great experience; the therapists are all excellent,” Duhl says
His final surgery was an outpatient procedure to repair his shoulder. Following up with outpatient rehab, he attacked his regimen with the same enthusiasm he had with his inpatient experience. “Mr. Duhl had a very positive attitude,” says David Prieskorn, D.O., the orthopedic surgeon at Botsford who performed Duhl’s surgeries. “Research has proved that one of the biggest predictors of successful rehabilitation is the patient’s confidence in his or her ability to recover.”
Duhl stayed optimistic over the long process of healing—an inspiring achievement that seems to be typical of him. “Dr. Prieskorn was wonderful; he was very attentive and always took time to answer my questions," he says. "But I knew it was my responsibility to put myself back on the road.”
Making the move
If you’ve been living with joint pain, an active lifestyle may seem out of reach. Surgery can put you back on track—and the sooner you start the better. "People often come in after surgery and say they wish they hadn’t waited so long,” says Dr. Linard."They’re happy to be able to do things they couldn’t before."
For Leary, that means a summer full of camping—without being hindered by knee pain. And Duhl looks forward to riding his bicycle. “I want to ride from my home to Mackinaw," he says. "that’s about 300 miles."
Let us take care of it!
Search no further—make the Botsford Orthopedic Center of Excellence your one-stop go-to for healing. Our compassionate and highly qualified experts treat conditions such as:
Often the first step to recovery is finding a doctor you can trust. Botsford's physician referral line connects you to a friendly 1-877-477-Doc1 (3621) to get started.