Medical Advances In Knees & Shoulders
“We can rebuild her. We have the technology. We can make her better than she was before: better, stronger, faster.” This is almost identical to the lead in for the Bionic Man, starring Lee Majors. The Bionic Woman, for my readers who were on the planet in 1976, starred Lindsey Wagner. She portrayed Jamie Somers, a tennis pro seriously injured in parachute accident.
All of us have “episodes” or in other words, chapters in our lives. Few of us get $500,000 per episode, which was newsworthy back in 1976 when actress Lindsey commanded a sum which was, that many years ago, unheard of in network TV.
Now, some who live in the rarefied circle of highly successful actors would not move so much as an eyelash for so paltry a sum.
If you do indeed remember 1975, you may be a bit on the bionic side of life. Medical advances such as artificial knees, hip replacements, shoulder and meniscus repairs invite Americans of a certain age to think that “You’ve come a long way baby!” (Memory check: Eve cigarettes?)
I know of one gentleman who jokes that shoulder surgery made his arm so much stronger, that he considers getting the left one done just for the hell of it. (It’s doubtful that his health insurer would pay for that one.)
One of our extended family quips that I have become the Bionic Woman. How I wish that were true! Last year, I had a meniscus repaired and a rotator cuff repaired under the expert care of Dr. Mark Troutmann-Peters. Despite his name, he hails from the mountainous interior of our floating patch of sand, Puerto Rico.
The meniscus of the knee is an important yet fragile section of cartilage in the center of the knee that provides a cushion between your thigh bone and shin bone. Many years ago, a neighbor in Pennsylvania was on crutches for months after meniscus surgery; I was off of my walker in the blink of an eyelash. All hail medical advancements!
On the night of a peculiar but fun holiday in Puerto Rico, La Noche de San Juan, I lost my balance on slippery tile not three weeks after my meniscus surgery. In the split second before my tumble, I lurched to the right to protect “Dr. Trautmann’s knee.” I saved the knee but had a small but complete tear of my rotary cuff, that all important piece of bodily machinery that governs range of motion. At least, I avoided shopping for a new surgeon.
Yesterday, I received another homework assignment from him, and being one of his better students, I shall follow it to the letter. Between muffled exam room walls, I catch some conversations where the student in the other room is being chastised for not doing an assignment. Perish the thought!
Dr.Troutmann’s practice revolves solely around shoulders and knees. He does all surgery via an arthroscope, which is minimally invasive, and employs a tiny incision and an arthroscope. An arthroscope is a miniature camera. This bit of science evokes memories of 1960’s James Bond movies or even the ancient Get Smart TV series.
He is a very tall man who speaks English and Spanish at warp speed. At first, I was doing my post-surgical exercises much too fast. I subconsciously model my speech and actions after him. I only discovered the error of my ways after attending six weeks of physical therapy. By some genetic joke, I spring back from any surgery at lightning speed, although I am well into my seventh decade of life.
My yoga teacher and muse, Señora Margarita Torres loves to tell me, “…surgery likes you!” The love is completely two sided. If your car needs a new battery, you do not take it to the car wash; you replace the battery, tire, etc. Why should your most important machine, your body be any different?
Buyer Beware—always check a doctor’s certifications and try to speak with other people who have used their services. On our tiny speck of sand known as Puerto Rico, Dr. Troutmann is well known and besides myself, has worked on two of my friends. It is extremely important to find out where the doctor has done his residency and fellowship. A fellow is a doctor who has completed medical school and a residency in their specialty and then upped the ante with more training. Dr. Troutmann had a fellowship at Baylor University in Texas, where he honed his craft in Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy. That was the cherry on top after medical school at the University of Puerto Rico and a surgical residency at the same institution.
Also, check other sites such as Health Grades. With my choice of Dr. Trautmann, I knew from friends and general networking that I was in very capable hands. If any doubt was in my mind, I would have interviewed him in exactly the same way that one interviews a future employee. Now there is a radical thought: They work for you and not the other way around.