Thursday, September 21, 2017

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Orthopaedic Procedures Yield Comfort and Mobility
for Charlevoix Resident

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A shoulder injury suffered many years before continued to plague 85-year-old June Cross of Charlevoix. The shoulder joint would “catch,” and Cross would perform her own “yanking” adjustment to free the joint. “It was painful, and I could hardly move it,” says the matriarch of John Cross Fisheries. But, it was a fall that first introduced her to the skills of Orthopaedic Surgeon Dan Wilcox, MD.

Leaning over to look for an earring, Cross slipped from her chair and lay on the floor until her husband returned home and called EMS. She was taken to Charlevoix Area Hospital by ambulance where Dr. Wilcox was on call. The following day he performed surgery on her femur, which had fractured below the hip joint. “He explained the operation and told me that I would be just fine,” she says.

The positive experience led her to consider shoulder surgery, necessitated by a combination of dead bone (humeral avascular necrosis) and a rotator cuff that continued to limit her mobility and cause severe pain. “I told my family that I would rather have surgery than be in pain any longer,” Cross adds. At the suggestion of her family, who wanted her to see a specialist, she sought a second opinion. But when Dr. Wilcox told her that he, himself, was a specialist, she remained loyal.

In August, Wilcox performed Cross’ reverse total shoulder replacement surgery in which an artificial ball and socket are reversed to improve biomechanics and to provide more shoulder motion. “He did a great job,” she says. “He showed me pictures of my shoulder and the pieces of bone, and he explained in detail about the incision in my arm.” Cross wore a sling for a short amount of time, and continued with the rehabilitative exercises she had learned pre-surgery.

“It has been a pleasure taking care of Mrs. Cross after her broken hip and worn out shoulder,” explains Dr. Wilcox. “I frequently perform both operations at Charlevoix Area Hospital and McLaren Northern Michigan. She recovered very well thanks to the help of her family, nurses, and therapists.”

June Cross felt right at home at Charlevoix Area Hospital. She had worked there for 17 years as an x-ray technician, and, by her own admission, she had “no fear of doctors or surgery.” Her positive experience as an orthopaedic patient, however, was new, and has increased her confidence in local specialty care. “I would do it again,” she says. “We should be thankful for our local hospital, for what we have right here.”

Cross has also recommended shoulder surgery to a friend. Her advice to others: “Do what the doctor tells you, and you’ll be fine. And,” she emphasizes jokingly, “don’t forget the ice packs during recovery.”

Now, this grandmother of 19 is back to her normal activities. “I am doing very well,” she says, “though I overdid it making applesauce this past fall.”