Passion and dedication. 68-year-old Ralph Greene of Nanticoke, Maryland will tell you he has both. His golf game-at a 30 handicap-is equal parts dedication and frustration. His passion, however, is his Harley, which he’s ridden for 53 years and in all 50 states.
Just not recently.
“The pain was so severe it literally brought me to tears. I never left the house, canceled vacations, couldn’t drive couldn’t ride the bike…I didn’t want to take a shower it hurt so bad,,” said Ralph of the severe back, groin and leg pain that from October 2010 to May 2011 left him absolutely unable to do anything. “It was awful, I couldn’t stand it.”
It was most likely a fall a decade ago from a ladder and an awkward landing that caused the bulging disc that was now controlling and crippling Ralph’s life. When strong pain medications and injections failed, he turned to orthopaedic spine surgeon Dr. Scott McGovern, to discuss surgical options. “Surgery should always be the last option for treating spinal disorders,” added Dr. McGovern. “Our goal is to provide patients with the safest, best outcomes possible, and for Ralph surgery was not only the last option, it was the absolute best option.”
Dr. McGovern assured Ralph he was confident he could correct the problem and that he was a strong candidate for endoscopic spine surgery at Peninsula Regional Medical Center.
The surgery took about an hour. Ralph was awake the entire time under just a local anesthetic. Instead of an open, larger incision, Dr. McGovern inserted a specialized high resolution camera and customized surgical instruments through just one very small incision to repair Ralph’s disc problem. The camera allowed him to see inside the spine, and the instruments to fix the problem with much less stress on surrounding tissue and bone versus an open procedure. “Although certain patients will benefit more from a traditional surgery, minimally invasive and endoscopic surgery can replace most traditional open surgeries without being minimally effective,” said Dr. McGovern. “We’re fortunate at PRMC to be a forerunner in this technology.” For patients, that translates into less blood loss from a single, small incision, faster recovery, less pain and a safer surgery.
Just six hours after arriving PRMC, Ralph was on his way back home to Nanticoke, and pain free. “Dr. McGovern and this surgery have given me my life back, no question about it,” added Ralph. “I’m flabbergasted. I can’t believe this has been so successful. Even today I expect to wake up and find out this isn’t real.” Next mission, getting that handicap into the 20’s.