For Christopher (Chris) Cline, being sidelined with back and leg pain just wasn’t an option that fit his busy lifestyle. A father of 16-year-old twins and a 9-year-old, Chris enjoys coaching his kids’ soccer, softball, and baseball teams. To him, it’s precious time with them that is non-negotiable.
Five years ago, Chris started having lower back pain and discomfort in the back of his legs. With a busy career, Chris at times was uncomfortable even just sitting a desk or driving. Chalking it up to a bad back, he saw a chiropractor for a while. His disappointment and frustration grew during a family vacation to Hilton Head, South Carolina last year.
“The kids were begging me to play golf but my back just couldn’t take it. Finally, the pain got so bad I couldn’t bend over to put my own socks on. That’s when I said enough — I’m 58 years old and shouldn’t need help getting dressed!”
After X-rays revealed it was not a back problem but one stemming from arthritis in his hip, Chris went to see Dr. David Prybyla of Orthopedic Surgical Associates in Chelmsford. Additional testing revealed the arthritis was too advanced to get any relief from medications and physical therapy.
On Thursday, November 12, Dr. Prybyla performed the two-hour surgery, and Chris’s care team at Lowell General Hospital’s Orthopedics Center had him walking early the next morning after surgery. That same day, Chris attended two group physical therapy classes and was able to go home on Saturday after another morning group therapy class.
"The new [Joint Replacement] program they have at Lowell General is great. It was extremely motivational, and I'm the first to admit that sometimes I'm just not that disciplined. But when you are in a group of 8-10 other people — it just pushes you that much farther."
The physical therapists and nurses made me understand how important the exercises were to my recovery and in preventing any complications. I met another guy in the class who had a great sense of humor — I never expected to be joking around after having surgery.”
Chris said one of the things that made his journey much easier was knowing what to expect.
“Another great part of the program was the preparation — before surgery you are required to take a seminar that goes over everything you need to know and do before, during, and after surgery. It really set my expectations in terms of pain and recovery time. I was even given homework while was at the hospital to make sure I was ready to go home.”
The excellent care didn’t stop when Chris left the hospital. His nurses, physical therapists and case manager, together with the staff at Circle Home ensured a smooth transition home and back to his daily activities. Visits by Circle Home nurses and physical therapists in the weeks following surgery helped make sure he didn’t overdo it and was healing well.
Chris is pleased with his progress. “I really didn’t need a walker for long; I pretty much went straight to crutches and was getting around with just a cane after a week. The program stresses that the more you move early and get up out of bed, the better you will do. I’m a testament to that.”