I have been a part/full time blacksmith for over 40 years. Lot of hammering, lifting anvils, vises, steel rods and bars, fences, railings, loading trucks, etc. No problem. But in the summer of my 75th year it caught up with me. I had finished loading my truck and trailer with anvils, vises, books, tools, iron bars and all kinds of heavy stuff that I wanted to sell. As I began driving the two hours to a blacksmithing convention a small pain started in my lower back. By the time I got to my destination and set up to sell the pain had become severe.
I stayed the next day and sold well but I mostly sat in a chair. By the next morning the pain had become intolerable. A group of my blacksmithing friends volunteered to load my truck and trailer and I headed for home and a doctor. My primary physician at a local hospital suggested I see the local pain management specialists who administered several painful injections in my spine but did not help at all. They sent me to a local independent neurosurgeon. Sciatica pain was identified and surgery suggested and performed at a local hospital. I was free of the fierce sciatica pain for two weeks and then it all came back. I have never been so depressed in my life. My surgeon expressed his regrets and began to outline his next level of surgery.
It was suggested I go elsewhere and it was farther suggested that I talk to Rothman Institute. An appointment was made for me with Jeffrey Rihn, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Rothman Institute. MRI's and x-rays were conducted. He told me my previous surgery did nothing to alleviate my pain and outlined his suggestions. My wife and I felt incredibly comfortable in his presence. We asked him to schedule the surgery as soon as possible. He said it would be at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. Going to Jefferson would be a fearsome experience in our lives but it became the best thing.
Dr. Rihn performed the surgery and put me in the hands of the staff and nurses at Jefferson. I have never been treated with that level of kindness and professionalism in my three quarters century of life. I absolutely fell in love with my two nurses. In three days I was released with no trace of pain.
Dr. Rihn and the Rothman Institute have kept track of me for the two years since the surgery. There have been occasional x-rays and consultations. All is well once more. I can hike California canyons and New Jersey beaches. I walk a rapid three miles every morning, do an occasional bit of blacksmithing and most any other physical effort that amuses me. I remain forever indebted to Dr. Rihn and Rothman Institute.