Thank you for this opportunity to share my shoulder surgery with your patients and the HSS community.
As a veteran educator and coach of 23 years in a small upstate NY community, I felt that I pretty much had my professional and personal life under control. Another year of teaching middle school students was passing by uneventfully, and I had just agreed to take over the varsity girl’s lacrosse team that was considered to be one of the worst in section IV (Broome County, NY). As a matter of fact, during the first seven years of the team’s existence, they only managed to win four games against 84 losses. What could possibly go wrong? As the third day of practice for the 2012 season got underway, I picked up a wayward lacrosse ball and passed it back to one of my players. The pain that shot through my body as I released the ball from my stick was unlike anything I had ever felt before. Dropping to my knees with tears streaming down my face, I tried to cradle my arm to stop the intense pain from radiating out from my shoulder and right arm. I knew right away that what I had just done was serious and probably would not be corrected with ice and Advil.
A trip to the ER later that evening had confirmed what I already had surmised- it was my shoulder, or to be more exact, my rotator cuff. The orthopedic surgeon in Binghamton recommended 8-10 weeks of physical therapy first and then a reevaluation. I tried this route to no avail as the pain, while not throbbing anymore, was persistent and greatly impacted my quality of life. I was miserable! My daughter recommended that I make an appointment there to have a second opinion. Seeing as my options in Binghamton were somewhat limited, I called HSS and was put in touch with Dr. Scott Rodeo. I was extremely impressed with Dr. Rodeo from the first time I met him. His demeanor and professionalism put me right at ease, and he gave me hope that although the surgery was a little unique due to the nature of the tear, he felt confident that I could have the surgery and a full recovery without issue. And, he was right.
The surgery was held in November of 2013. What impressed me most about HSS throughout the whole process was the number of people on my “team” that I encountered during my two day stay. I had never seen so many professionals working so hard to ensure my safety, well-being, and comfort during my time in the hospital. Every precaution was taken, every need was met, and all questions and concerns that my family or I had, were met with a professional and courteous response. I could not have chosen a better place to have this procedure.
Fast forward to a year later and a full recovery. And the lacrosse team? Well, I was finally able to go out on the field again and rejoin my players during practices and games. It felt so good to be able to throw and catch the ball, cradle the stick, and move up and down the field free from any pain whatsoever. I felt like I did when I coached 10-15 years ago. And the results were exactly what I had dreamed about since taking over the program just three years prior. Through hard work, persistence, and determination, we were able to turn ourselves around and create a magical season that culminated in being crowned the 2015 NYS Section IV Class C Champions! Thank you, Dr. Rodeo, staff, and Hospital for Special Surgery.
Michael R. O’Hearn