Doug Green was having pain in his legs for seven to eight years before he learned that his hip joints had worn down from osteoarthritis.
“I worked my legs very hard for many years as a dragline operator, a piece of heavy equipment often used for large excavation projects,” Doug said. “I was in so much pain that I was living on Advil. For the last few months before my surgery, I had trouble walking the length of the plant where I work at American Peat Technologies in Aitkin.”
Doug came to Riverwood for orthopedic care and learned that he had to have two hip joint replacements with Dr. Erik Severson, orthopaedic surgeon. With the aid of the Rapid Recovery pain management program for joint surgeries, Doug was home the next day after both hip replacements. He used assistive devices, a walker and a cane, for a short period of time.
“For my first hip surgery, Helen Weimer, secretary in the surgery department, is my hero,” Doug explained. “She alerted me to an earlier opening in the surgery schedule, but my insurance plan was balking at approving payment for it. Helen got the medical documentation to them very promptly and ensured that I could get my surgery done earlier. I was hurting so bad at this point that it meant the world to me.”
“I found the joint replacement class before surgery to be very helpful. The Riverwood staff should be proud of what they do for patients; I’ve had nothing but a positive experience there.”
Doug cautions other joint replacement patients to not return to work too early. Follow the doctor’s orders.
“The joint replacement surgery process is a partnership between the patient and the medical staff. The patient needs to ask whatever detailed questions are necessary to thoroughly understand the healing process. It may be the medical staff that does the surgery, but it is the patient’s responsibility to heal and that healing process needs to be understood by the patient in order to achieve the best results possible. In my case, the weak link was me. I went back to work too early–within the first week after both surgeries. While I was mostly doing office-type work, I ended up on my feet more than I should have been. One project involved getting in and out of my pickup about 20 times in one day and that set me back a bit. You shouldn’t be doing any physical work right away; just focus on your recovery.”
Another positive outcome for Doug is that he can split wood again.
“I had to quit because of my leg pain, and I didn’t think I would be able to do it again. But several weeks ago I was able to pick up the splitting maul and had no trouble working on the wood pile.”
Read More Riverwood Stories»