Feeling Like an Olympian

The highly anticipated, action-packed Olympic games are here once again. For some of us we cannot wait to end our work day to get home and tune into the live events happening in Rio de Janeiro. I remember as a child, watching the women’s gymnastics, my eyes glued to the television, only peeling myself away long enough to say grace and shovel in my dinner before propping myself in front of the screen again. After the events were over, my sisters and I would head out to our front yard to set up our own four-event gymnastics station and embark on a sisterly competition to become the next Kerri Strug.

Fast forward 20 years and as an adult I find myself once again awaiting the nightly broadcast of Olympic events. Cheering proudly for Team USA and sitting on the edge of my seat at every twist, turn, and final 50 meters of an athlete’s swim. As an adult, however, the time spent watching the Olympics is different. Now, I am not thinking I will be the next Olympian competing for gold, but instead I am admiring the athletes for their agility, their unparalleled dedication, and the strength of their bodies. Six days a week an athlete such as Michael Phelps trains to become and remain the most decorated athlete of all time, beating out the previous record holder, who dates back to B.C. era.

I find myself relating this high caliber training to what I am seeing and hearing during a work day at Dr. Berger’s office. Every day, my routine consists of waking up, hitting snooze once, enjoying a healthy breakfast (more on that in a later blog post), speaking with local and international patients who deal with nearly paralyzing pain, ending my day with my own workout, and finally, winding down by witnessing herculean athletes compete at an elite level. Just hours apart, I hear about mobility at its worst, and see mobility at its best.

Every day I wake up, stretch my legs and arms, extend them over the edge of the bed to stand without even realizing that this task sometime seems impossible for the millions of people affected by arthritis. While they do not face the impossible task of beating a world record or competing in an event on the world’s stage, they strive to do what I do every day—get out of bed pain-free. Hip and knee replacement becomes the reality for over one million patients a year and this number is trending up.  

The highlights of working for Dr. Richard Berger are not only getting to help these individuals plagued by arthritis, but also witnessing the many milestones our patients hit after surgery.  Some compete in medal-winning activities like the Olympians, some are ecstatic to rejoin a YMCA fitness group and make it through an entire class, and others are able to see their dog’s wagging tail at the door and know that taking their beloved pet for a walk without pain is finally possible.

We have started a new trend in Dr. Berger’s office about capturing more stories from our patients on their journey with Dr. Berger and his dedicated team and I couldn’t be more thrilled about this. Although I find professional athletes exhilarating to watch, it is our patients every day that continue to inspire me to take control of my daily actions and make the most of each day. After surgery with Dr. Berger, many patients are overwhelmed with joy on regaining their quality of life. Just like an Olympian standing on the podium feeling deservedly proud, I feel proud to work for a practice that allows people to regain the quality of their lives. In the words of our patient Susan Lloyd, “I felt like my old self (before the pain started) just 22 days after surgery. Normal tasks that I couldn’t do before, like sitting on the ground with my students, were not an issue anymore.”

We want to hear your story.  Please contact Courtney Kelly at courtney.lyngen@rushortho.com to let others know how to regain quality of your life.

Outpatient Hip and Knee Replacement • www.outpatienthipandknee.com • 1611 W. Harrison St., Chicago, IL 60612 • 312-432-2557