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A New Hip, A New Life



Roger Schumacher has big plans for his backyard this summer.

Stirring up the soil in his raised garden beds, the 61-year-old Sioux Falls man points out the places where he’ll grow tomatoes, peppers and zucchini. The avid gardener loves to experiment with different ways to raise the plants in his large corner lot.

His outlook was far different last spring, when pain in his knee, hip and groin made even basic yard clean-up a chore. He hobbled around, putting in the vegetables and flowers, but every movement hurt.

“I’d get out there and try to do the things I wanted to do, but I’d be in tears,” says the active grandfather, who works two jobs. “When it hurts like that, you’re just out there to get it done. It’s not something fun to do.”

A “miracle”

Hip replacement surgery in January has changed Roger’s gardening outlook and his life. Within hours of the procedure to replace his deteriorated hip with an artificial joint, he could tell life was going to be different.

“I don’t like to use the word, but it’s truly a miracle,” Roger said. “You get so used to the pain that it’s amazing when it is gone.”

Roger’s problems had started about a year earlier. He visited his primary care doctor, Dr. Douglas DeHaan, expecting the doctor to treat his aching right knee. After some diagnostic tests, including an x-ray, Roger got some surprising news.

“They told me there’s your right hip that looks good and then there’s the left,” he says, with a smile. “The arthritis had deteriorated it to the point where the cartilage was nearly gone.”

Considering his choices

Not wanting to opt for surgery too quickly, Roger tried to get by with pain medications. He found himself taking more and more over-the-counter pills to cope with the constant ache in his joints. After doing some online research into the surgery, he met with orthopedic surgeon, Dr. C. Dustin Bechtold, to talk about his options.

Roger had experienced an orthopedic surgery in the past and was concerned about how he would recover from a procedure to replace the damaged joint with a metal ball and socket. Instead of pushing him toward surgery, the joint replacement expert gave him an honest assessment of his situation and described the procedure in detail, he said.

“He knew I was in a lot of pain and he told me that it doesn’t have to always be like this,” Roger said. “When he told me that the pain would go away after the surgery, my first response was, ‘really.’ And then I said, ‘let’s do it.’”

Roger scheduled his total hip replacement surgery at Sanford, and became involved with the Center for Joint Success. He admits that he wasn’t very enthusiastic when he was told that he’d first have to attend a pre-surgical preparatory class.

But when he came to the seminar, carrying his own list of questions, the team of presenters, including certified orthopedic nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists and pharmacists, answered nearly every one. He left impressed and prepared, he said.

“They brought up things that I had never even thought of before,” Roger says, walking through his garden. “It was all laid out, exactly what I ought to expect.”

No more pain

On the day of his surgery, Roger woke up a little sore from the procedure, but the pain that had plagued him for months was gone. Within the day, he was walking around and his hip was functioning well.

He followed the plan for physical therapy and was shocked how well his new hip worked and felt. Soon he realized that he didn’t even need the one Tylenol a day that he had been taking post-surgery.

Poking around his yard on a warm spring day, Roger can’t wait to jump into his outside projects. He can’t wait to be able to play outside with his grandchildren and go camping.

“Everything you do is so much better without the pain,” he said. “It’s going to be a different kind of summer.

Posted Date: April 2012

A New Hip, A New Life

Digging in the garden is fun again for Roger Schumacher. After a year of pain that turned his hobby into a chore, total hip replacement has let this Sioux Falls man put his green thumb back to use.