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Published on May 04, 2015

Rock ‘n’ Roll Grandpa

Hip Replacement at Palos Lets a Frankfort Man Play Again

A few months ago, pain would
stop Tom Teare in his tracks.
But a hip replacement at Palos
got Tom back to all the things
he loves - music, bowling and
babysitting his grandchildren.

Just a few short months ago, Tom Teare’s back and leg pain would stop him in his tracks. “I’d have to take a deep breath and wait for the pain to subside.” It was becoming harder for the active 66-year-old Frankfort man to do the things he loves most – music, bowling and babysitting his grandchildren.

To set up for gigs with his South Side band, Tom regularly lifts 50-pound speakers and lugs equipment from the car to the stage and back, in addition to performing on stage as lead vocalist and bass guitarist. The band’s popularity has them playing several days in a row, sometimes twice in a day.

He is the proud babysitter for four of his grandchildren, including toddler twin boys. At the peak of his pain, Tom was watching the boys, then 3 months old, full-time, five days a week.

And he loves to bowl, a passion that’s continued to grow since he first picked up a ball as a child. He bowls with his league twice a week. “I’m very determined. I would still bowl, but between frames, I would actually have to push myself up from a table.” He even made adjustments to his bowling stance to shift his weight to alleviate his pain.

At the end of his incredibly busy days, he was exhausted. His pain was slowing him down, but he was determined to not let it stop him. His lack of mobility was to a point that to get in bed or his recliner, he would have to lift his leg by the pant leg to move it. His blood pressure was even increasing because of his pain level. “Everything was getting worse,” he explains. “The pain in my back was shooting down my knee, and I could just barely walk.”

An MRI showed two arthritic disks in his back. Two epidurals later, his pain returned and with it came the limping he was becoming more and more accustomed to doing.

When a family friend saw her beleaguered friend without his usual zest for life, she suggested he make an appointment with Orland Park Orthopaedic Surgeon David Butler, M.D. His first appointment was with Nurse Practitioner Brian Johnson, who told Tom he had absolutely no range of motion in his left hip. He was sent for X-rays and within 15 minutes they had a clearer picture of what was going on with his hip. Immediately following, Tom was given an ultrasound-guided hip joint injection, which helped relieve his discomfort and diagnose the direct cause of pain. It was recommended that Tom have a hip replacement.

Within a few weeks, he met Dr. Butler. “I was so blown away with his bedside manner,” Tom explains. “He introduced himself as Dave. He took down all the barriers of the patient/doctor relationship and put me completely at ease.”

Surgery was scheduled for March 28, 2014, at Palos Community Hospital, but Tom needed to know if he would be able to make a band commitment four weeks later. Dr. Butler told him he could play, but he wouldn’t be able to move equipment, and he would need to sit on a stool to play. “So that was my goal,” Tom says.

Dr. Butler used the anterior approach, which for some patients has several advantages including a quicker recovery time and reduced risk of dislocation. “Hip replacement is one of the most successful operations worldwide,” he explains. “This is an area of medicine that has had much innovation, abundant research and a huge growth in the implant company industry.”

Combining clinical excellence with a compassionate, patient-centered approach, Palos is focused on getting patients back in motion quickly, safely and seamlessly. From minimally invasive surgery, computer-aided prosthetic placement and advances in pain management, joint replacement surgery is helping people return to their maximum level of activity. More than 600 hip and knee replacements were performed at Palos last year.

The Road to Rehabilitation

Within hours of surgery, a Palos physical therapist visited Tom in his room. After he was able to sit up, he then stood and walked the length of his hospital room and back. “I was amazed I could do that just three hours after surgery,” Tom says. By starting physical therapy right after surgery, a patient can reduce the amount of scar tissue that may develop, limit pain and improve range of motion. Patients quickly and safely achieve their maximum range of motion, which may reduce the total amount of physical therapy required to reach those goals.

Over the next couple of days, the therapist continued to work with Tom, making sure he could tackle stairs once he went home. On the day he left the hospital, he received one physical therapy session in the morning and a second session at home later that afternoon as part of Palos Home Health’s Rapid Start Program. A Home Health nurse and physical therapist visited Tom at home to begin his rehabilitation program and help him return to an optimal level of function as quickly as possible.

Each time the physical therapist visited, Tom showed marked improvement. He completed his leg-lifting exercises using a resistance band. One week after coming home from surgery he could lift his left leg as high as his right. His next task was to walk to the neighbor’s house and back using a walker. He soon transitioned to walking with a cane. Three weeks after surgery, therapy was completed.

“My physical therapist said she had worked with rehab patients six weeks in who weren’t even doing what I was at three weeks,” he explains. “You measure yourself when going through something like this in little goofy ways, such as the ease of getting yourself dressed. I knew I had finally licked it when I could put my socks on by myself.”

Tom met and exceeded his goal. “On April 26, I went to my band job, and I stood the whole night and played.”

A New Lease on Life

Watching his grandchildren before surgery was difficult for Tom, but as they grow he’s now able to be more active with them. “Now everything I do is pretty much pain free. I can get down on the floor and wrestle with the twins and they jump all over me. I hope they can look back someday and think about all the time we spent together,” he says. “I’m looking forward to the years to come. I want to see my granddaughters get married. I want to see who these kids turn out to be.”

Tom has a piece of advice for anyone going through the pain he experienced. “Take care of it. Don’t be afraid to face surgery. Why go through the pain when it can be avoided?”

Is it time to Visit an Orthopaedic Surgeon?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, it may be time to consult an orthopaedic surgeon and medical staff at Palos to learn if you may benefit from a joint replacement.

  • Does joint pain limit your everyday activities, such as walking, bending, using chairs or stairs, reaching, or dressing?
  • Does joint pain continue, even when you are resting?
  • Does joint pain continue, even when you take normal dosages of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen?
  • Does joint pain continue, even after treatments such as cortisone injections, physical therapy or the use of a walking device?
  • Does stiffness limit your ability to move, lift or bend?
  • Does your knee bow in or out, or remain swollen or inflamed, even after rest and medication?
  • Do you experience loss of motion and/or weakness in your shoulder?
  • Do you experience harmful or unpleasant side effects from prescribed joint medications?
  • Are you unable to tolerate cortisone injections, physical therapy or the use of a walking device?
Need a Doctor? To find an Orthopaedic specialist affiliated with Palos Community Hospital who’ll help ease your joint pain, contact our Physician Referral Center.