“Dr. Dan is the man—miracle man that is"
When George Walther raves about an orthopedic surgeon, people might want to listen-up. That’s because Walther, 76, has had eight knee surgeries over the last 10 years. So, he ought to know.
The most recent procedure on his left knee—in October 2009--was done by Dr. Daniel Tomaszewski, an orthopedic surgeon at Door County Memorial Hospital/Ministry Health Care as part of the hospital’s new Total Mobility Care. Tomaszewski joined DCMH in July 2009.
It was an experience worthy of “bragging up,” Walther said.
He is thankful to his surgeon (who he nicknamed “Dr. Dan”) for helping him to regain mobility and continue activities like walking outdoors with his dog, Rusty.
“This last time was such an exceptional experience. It was Dr. Dan. He’s my miracle man I think. I can’t say enough about him. I’m really impressed,” said Walther of Sturgeon Bay. “And I was real pleased with the whole hospital experience,” he continued.
Following the procedure in DCMH/MHC’s Surgery Center, Walther spent 3 nights in hospital’s medical/surgical unit and, later, participated in the Rehab Services Department’s physical therapy program. His total knee replacement surgery essentially replaced worn components from a prior procedure on the left knee.
During surgery, the doctor positions new metal and plastic joint surfaces to restore the alignment and function of the knee, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Although implant designs and materials, as well as surgical techniques have been optimized, wear of the bearing surfaces or loosening of components may occur for some knee surgery patients, AAOS pointed out.
“I’m hoping I am done. I’m hoping my knees last me so I don’t have to have any more knee surgeries,” Walther said with a laugh. He had the last replacement of his right knee two years ago by a surgeon in Green Bay. Dr. Steven Davis, an orthopedic surgeon at DCMH, assisted during the procedure.
Walther plans to follow Dr. Tomaszewski’s advice to have his knees X-rayed and checked every two years. “Dr. Dan says he is going to keep an eye on them,” he said.
Physical rehabilitation is also important to recovering knee surgery patients, according to Bill Herbst, physical therapist and athletic trainer in DCMH/MHC’s Rehab Services Department. “Generally, the goals are to decrease pain and swelling. It’s not uncommon to have swelling in the knee and lower leg. We also look to increase range of motion to make sure they are walking correctly. Finally, we address strength,” Herbst said.
Patients in Rehab Services progress from activities like stretching and bending their knees to walking and standing with the parallel bars. The next step is to work on exercise machines such as the stationary bicycle. A home program is essential for recovering knee surgery patients, as well, Herbst said.
Walther recalled going to Rehab Services at DCMH/MHC’s Cherry Point Mall location 3 times a week for about 3 weeks. “I did what they told me, and it was a good experience, too. Rehab is good and you need it after knee surgery,” said Walther, adding that he is grateful for having access to quality health care in his backyard.
“I’m really pleased with the hospital here. I think, for a town this size, we are so fortunate to have a hospital like this. The people are always so pleasant—the nurses, everyone. And I can’t really say enough about Dr. Dan,” Walther said.
As spring approaches, Walther is on his feet and headed outdoors on his 20-acre parcel. He relishes trails, gardening and playing golf with family members on a six-hole course on the land. But most of all, he cherishes spending time outside with “Rusty”, his miniature poodle.
“He goes out there with me and just runs and runs. I go through the woods and trails, and he is running all over the place,” Walther said. “He’s a big part of my life.”
To make an appointment with Dr. Daniel Tomaszewski, call North Shore Medical Clinic, 920/746-0510 or 920/522-8919. More information on DCMH/MHC’s Total Mobility Care and Orthopedic Surgery is online at totalmobilitycare.org or call the hospital at 920/743-5566.