So exactly one year ago today, Dr. Ritesh Shah and Brandon, MA, ATC, sat me down and told me I had two choices: a resurfacing or a full replacement. I remember first mentally getting over the fact that I wouldn’t be able to run like I once could, and then second, realizing the recovery that would eventually occur. As I walked (oh let’s be honest–limped) out of the office that day I knew I had to do the full replacement and I remember the laundry list of things I had to do before November 12.
I tell my students that in life–it’s all about listening to the right people. Morally, Medically, Financially, Educationally. Man, was IBJI the place for me. Not only did Dr. Kramer perform surgery that would allow my son to walk, run, and live a life of comfort after being born with two club feet, but now, IBJI gave me a second lease on life. In the last year, after having what turned out to be a deformed hip (and Dr. Shah just shrugged that off and did amazing work), here are the highlights:
- I got to dance the night away with my 6-year-old daughter at our first daddy daughter dance back in February, just three months after surgery.
- I’ve played basketball, baseball, and a family game called “Roof ball” with all four of my kids, without wincing once in pain.
- I ran 5 miles, and even ran past Joe’s (Nate’s physical therapist) house so he could see how his work got me to where I am.
- I walk without pain. I run without pain. I jog without pain. I don’t even think about it anymore.
The other part of this, beyond just the physical, was the mental part. Another part of teaching that often goes unseen is that we are essentially psychologists, helping the whole person instead of just the “student.”
In many ways, [the IBJI team is] dabbling in psychology, too.
Beyond just the physical part of this surgery and recovery, was the mental part.
You all were there. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.
I cannot emphasize this enough. My God, I called the voice mail because I knew that I physically couldn’t take a week of school yet (which was not easy for me to admit) and Brandon had the FMLA form back to my district within minutes. After Dr. Shah talked to me, Brandon calmly talked me through everything, what my next steps would be. And if I ever needed clarification, Brandon called right back, providing it.
The clarity that gives someone who is pretty clueless (ask Joe, he can vouch for this) is just immeasurable. I always knew you guys had my back. It made the recovery easier.
And when I needed it most–that second week of pain where I realized that the recovery would take a little longer, both Brandon and Dr. Shah assured me I would get through it, and provided that support, and sat there and just listened to me when that’s really all I needed. Just to be heard and reassured that I would be a new man once I was on the other side of it.
And a year later, it’s absolutely the truth.
Societally, we are bombarded with negativity on social media and every time I come to the office whether for my son or me, I’m always bemused by a new sign that warns people how unruly behavior won’t be accepted. I hope my words serve as a tonic to that negativity. There are many like me–who are so thankful for what you all do each day for us.
I just turned 40 and I couldn’t be more lucky for everything I have in my life. And what a way to start a brand new decade pain free.
To Brandon and Dr. Shah and everyone in the office, from the kind people in reception, to anyone else who had a hand in dealing with me during my pre and post – thank you for everything.
Ritesh Shah, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating hip and knee disorders. He offers advanced treatments including minimally invasive muscle sparing total hip replacements and hip resurfacing, hip arthroscopy for labrum repairs, minimally invasive customized patient specific total knee replacement, partial knee replacement and knee arthroscopy. As well, he performs revision hip and knee replacements.