Rose Buck is nothing short of a spit fire. Her presence is dynamic and when she walks into a room she is not only noticed she is heard. “If you were in the room, you knew I was there,” she laughed. “I could not creep up on anyone.” Rose wasn’t describing her outgoing personality and vibrant presence; she was describing the grinding, popping and squeaking in her hips when she walked.
For eight years, Rose lived with debilitating pain, “I couldn’t really walk more than a couple of steps without hanging on to something,” Rose explained.
Rose dealt with pain for so many years because 1.) she wanted nothing to do with an operating room and 2.) her religious beliefs. At age 66 Rose took the vows to become a Third Order Carmelite Nun and she believed that coping with pain was part of her way to give back to the world. “Everyone will suffer at some point in time, but how we deal with it is up to us,” Rose explained. “Good can come from suffering. That is one of the big reasons I held off [from surgery] as long as I did … that and I also have a stubborn streak,” she said with a smile.
Finally Rose’s daughter, Jeannemarie, persuaded her mother, at age 77, to see an orthopedic surgeon to discuss the possibility of cortisone injections … not surgery, just injections.
Prior to meeting Dr. Peter Wood during Rose’s scheduled appointment, Rose and Dr. Wood had a spontaneous interaction in the hall, “They [Rose and Dr. Wood] were silly together,” Jeannemarie explained. Later, when Dr. Wood came in to Rose’s exam room they discovered Rose was the patient and Dr. Wood was the doctor … there was an instant connection.
At the first appointment Dr. Wood offered Rose cortisone injections. “Injections are a great way to manage pain,” Dr. Wood said. “I gave her injections in the knee during her appointment and then I sent her to the surgery center for injections in her hip. When doing injections in the knee you can feel the landmarks with your hands, which means I can give knee injections in the office,” Dr. Wood explained. “However, when doing injections in the hip, you need electronic assistance to make sure the injection goes in to the proper location. Hips are complicated because they are covered with muscle and you can’t feel the boney structure. Therefore, to administer injections in the hip, we use either an ultrasound or a fluoroscopy in the surgery center.”
“You can manage pain with injections for years,” Dr. Wood continued. “However, you don’t want to have injections more than once every three months, because there is a greater risk of infection, not from the cortisone, but from the actual injection itself.”
For some patients, including Rose, eventually nonsurgical alternatives do not work any longer and the only option that remains is surgery. “I let patients tell me when they are ready for surgery,” Dr. Wood added.
After Rose’s first appointment with Dr. Wood, she felt comfortable with him as a surgeon; moreover that comfort gave her confidence to discuss surgery. “We were on our way out of the office when mom said. ‘I want him to do my surgery,’” recalls Jeannemarie. Jeannemarie was thrilled, and relieved, her mom was finally willing to discuss surgery. “Dr. Wood is wonderful,” Jeannemarie added. “You feel comfortable right away that you are with the right person.”
Without hesitation, Rose scheduled her first hip replacement surgery. Rose was scheduled for a Monday morning surgery.
The Friday before Rose’s operation, Jeannemarie was in a car accident. As the passenger, Jeannemarie was t-boned on her side of the vehicle by another car going 60 mph. “The car hit us at the dashboard. Had it hit at the door it probably would have killed me,” she said.
Jeannemarie slammed her head so hard during the accident she broke the seat belt retainer. “They cut me out of the car with the jaws of life,” she added. At the hospital, Jeannemarie was admitted for several days and diagnosed with a broken collarbone and broken ribs. “They sent me home on Tuesday, the day after mom’s [Rose] surgery.”
Meanwhile, Rose’s surgery went smoothly and without complications. “I, on the other hand, had difficulties at home, so I called Dr. Wood,” Jeannemarie said.
After an office consultation with Dr. Wood, Jeannemarie was scheduled for surgery so Dr. Wood could straighten her collarbone and allow it to heal properly. “We used to treat almost all broken collarbones nonoperatively,” Dr. Wood explained. “However, now we surgically fix most of them. The results are great. The biomechanics of your shoulder actually improve when you fix it.”
Following Jeannemarie’s collarbone surgery, the mother/daughter duo began their physical therapy. They both agreed that while therapy wasn’t the most fun activity, it was necessary for a full recovery.
Four months later Rose had her other hip replaced. Today she is without a walker or a cane. Moreover, now that Rose’s hips are pain free she is no longer having pain in her knees. You could say this once “non-bionic” nun is quickly becoming a testament to advanced and modern orthopedic medicine, meanwhile her daughter has a healed collarbone.