The point of my long story is that Dr. Roehr cared
Back in 2016 I fractured my hip and had to have a plate and screws put in. This was not done by Dr.Roehr. Long story short I didn’t have the greatest experience.
In December of 2018 I started having pain in my left hip (same hip from above mentioned surgery) I went to see the same doctor that I saw for the fracture but my family and I decided we wanted a different surgeon on my team.
I had my initial appointment with Dr. Roehr’s PA. Right away I liked her a lot. Her bed side manner was great. She reviewed my imaging that I had done and decided that in her opinion it looked like I needed a total left hip replacement. After explaining everything to me about my condition which was Avascular Necrosis of the hip. Which, in short, meant my hip wasn’t getting enough blood/oxygen and was starting to die. Based on the level of pain and limited mobility and condition the joint was in it was apparent that it was quickly getting worse. Then the PA brought Dr. Roehr in to talk with me.
I would like to give you a little view into my current health at this point. I was just about to turn 29 years old. I was a smoker, I have had 3 forms of arthritis since I was 16; rheumatoid, juvenile, and psoriatic. Along with that I have a tumor in my pituitary gland. With me having the arthritis which is an autoimmune disease I was on a lot of medicine that suppressed my immune system. Some I could manage to go without for short periods of time, others I could not or I would not be able to physically take care of myself. After a lengthy discussion on the risks and benefits it was decided that the doctor was willing to take on the complicated task of giving me a full hip replacement. I say complicated because I was high risk for infection for one and two, the Avascular Necrosis was progressing fast. I had to quit smoking for 8 weeks before they would put me on the surgery schedule. After quitting, I was put on the surgery schedule and I was scheduled for a pre-op appointment.
The day of the pre-op appointment came. This time I, again, saw his PA. However, upon examining me she noticed that I had 2 soars on my left knee. I told her that a few days ago my knee got really swollen and itched so I slightly itched it as little as possible but when I woke up I must have scratched it in my sleep because there were now what looked like 3 round scrape marks on my knee. The PA called Dr. Roehr’s partner in to look at me because Dr. Roehr wasn’t in the office and the PA was worried that the surgery might not be possible due to having an open wound especially with my high infection rate and being at risk for infection with my autoimmune disease.
His partner (bless his soul, though I can’t remember his name) he would be assisting the Dr. Roehr with my surgery. After he examined the area, he decided that as long as when I came in for surgery in 2.5 weeks the sores didn’t look worse and at least looked like they were healing some than we could still do surgery.
Surgery day came and Dr. Roehr came in to see me after I was pretty much prepped and ready to go in for surgery. Until he noticed the sores on my knee. He said, “We can’t do the surgery with you having open wounds.” I started crying and babbling about his partner telling me it would be OK. After calming me down the doctor took pictures of my sores and went to talk to his partner. He then came back and told me that we would move forward with the surgery due to the sores actually looking a lot better and at this point I could not walk at all due to my hip.
The surgery went great! I was up and moving hours after surgery. I was really ready to go home. See, I have 7 children at home and a fiance that rely on me and who I missed terribly. They were all the way in Battle Creek and I in Kalamazoo and at the time that felt worlds away. So the next morning when physical therapy came to assess me to see how long I needed to stay in the hospital the therapist said he was so impressed and had never met someone with such determination to get moving around to go home. I was released later that day. I felt great.
However, even though I felt great about a week after surgery I went in for a visit because the incision looked like it might be getting infected (my mom’s a nurse and had suspicions.) Indeed, after seeing me the team at Bronson Orthopedic & Joint Specialists – John St. thought it was best to start me on an oral antibiotic. A week later, actually to be specific it was my birthday. I called because the incision sight had gotten a lot worse and not at all better. Upon seeing me, Dr. Roehr decided that I needed to have debri surgery to clear the infection out and make sure that it had not reached the artificial joint.
I woke up to a wound vac on my hip. Which is a machine that keeps the incision sight all the way open so that the wound can heal from the inside out. Along with this I was hooked up to IV antibiotics. I ended up staying for almost a week. During the week, I was taught how to care for the area, and since I would need to be on antibiotics for possibly another 2 weeks we discussed my options. One of them being to have a pic line put in and to give myself the IV antibiotics with a visiting nurse coming in every 3 days to check on me as well as to change the wound vac.
During the week that I was admitted they were able to change the wound vac while I was asleep. I tell you what, when they did it the week after being discharged I was so incredibly grateful for the doctor doing it while I was asleep in the hospital. When I asked the visiting nurse that came to change it how long I would have to have the wound vac on she said most people they keep it on til its all the way healed so it could be 6 months or more. Oh how I cried and cried after she left.
I got a phone call from Dr. Roehr’s nurse a few hours later. She told me that she was going to schedule me for surgery to have it closed back up at the end of the week. Based on what the visiting nurse said that my wound looked like when she changed the vac, I was ready to have it closed up.
The whole point to my long long story is that Dr. Roehr cared. He cared so much about my quality of life that even though most doctors wouldn’t have wanted to do the surgery due to fear of infection with my auto immune disease. Dr. Roehr didn’t. He was confident in his skills as a doctor that he could get me through this difficult time. He did. God Bless him, he did. After the wound was closed it healed up all the way great.
It’s been over a year now, and I’ve found out I need a knee replacement. As well as a shoulder replacement. Dr. Roehr doesn’t do shoulders so I won’t be seeing him for that but I will be seeing a Bronson surgeon and I’m positive I will be in good hands.
Right now I am dealing with a laceration on my thigh that I have to have healed before I can get a knee replacement so I haven’t seen Dr. Roehr about my knee yet. However, now that the laceration is on the mend I will be scheduling an appointment to be evaluated by his team.
Dr. Roehr is amazing. Every step of the process he was right there to make sure I was comfortable and understood everything that was happening.
Thank you, thank you so much Dr. Roehr. I may not be able to walk right now due to my knee but before that happened I had 6 months that you gave me to walk and enjoy my life more than I have been able to since I was a kid. I felt so empowered because I had resigned myself to always being in a wheel chair until I met you and your staff.