Medical Updates

Probably a factor of age, but many of our senior tennis friends are recovering from – or getting ready for – something medically major.  Here is a batch of updates from Arnie Vance, Bob Dilworth, Fred Drilling, John Berry, and Larry Turville (in their own words and alpha by first name)…

Arnie Vance: Cataract Surgery

“Please thank all your readers for their help in making a decision on my cataract replacement lenses.  I received comments from about 30 tennis players and used them all to make my decision.

My doctor originally wanted me to go with single distance focal lenses which would require me to continue to use reading glasses.  It is the safe, no risk decision.  However, based on good comments I received I “pushed him” to go with a more aggressive approach.  On June 1 he replaced the lens in my left (dominate) eye with a TECNIS Symfony® Extended Range of Vision IOL.  The following morning I could see a tennis ball and one week later I was playing.  Still needed readers.

My sight was very clear and distinct.  I was shocked to find out I didn’t need sunglasses at all.  I don’t know why.  However the doctor said I should continue to wear sunglasses on the court to protect from impact.

After consultation with him, we decided to install a different lens in the right (non-dominate) eye.  It is what the manufacturer (Johnson & Johnson) recommends but not one of his patients had elected this approach.  I decided to roll the dice, so on Monday, July 6, my doctor installed a TECNIS® Multifocal IOL +3.25 Df in my right eye.  On Tuesday, I woke up and could read my phone without readers.  I had a post op with him that morning and he tested me at 20-20 vision.  I was stunned.

So, George thank all your readers for their help and maybe I can pay it forward with my experience.”

Bob Dilworth: Redo Hip Surgery

“We are still here in Naples; and hope to head north @ the end of July.

My original surgery date May 13 was cancelled along with pre-op tests 2 weeks before surgery which is still required plus a covid -19 test 48 hours before surgery.

The first group of surgeries beginning the week of June 8th were people under the age of 70 with no pre-existing conditions. I don’t have a new date but hope it will be in August?

If anyone wants to hit or needs a 4th for doubles let me know.”

Fred Drilling: Quadruple Bypass AND Knee Replacement

“Thanks in advance and obviously I’m doing quite well.  Doc this morning said I could start playing in about 5 weeks which will be 8 weeks since the operation but that’s when I would like to get the knee done.  This is all only because I need to get back out to the courts because I miss all you guys so much!!

My planned knee surgeon Dr. Biggs has covid (!) and has cancelled all July surgeries which puts me back at least a month.  I have an appt. on Monday with Dr. Harmon (in the same office) and Tuesday with Dr. Kapp.  Whoever can do me first, gets the nod.”  🙂

John Berry: Knee Replacement

“Well, after consulting with Larry Starr (Newk camp head trainer), who did not think a Mircofracture procedure was the way to go, I went up to Mayo and met with their top Sport Medicine Doctor and he was animate that it would not work.  My cartilage is damaged beyond repair.  He recommended a partial knee, like Mike Dahm had.

My Surgery is scheduled for 8/4. And recovery will be about 3 months or so.  There you have it.”

Larry Turville: Lung Cancer

“I have finished my tough chemo and now on to immunotherapy.  They have had good success but still a bit of crapshoot.   I am starting to play some tennis but long ways to go.   Taking it one day at time.

Hope you all are well. Thanks”

If we have missed anyone on this Senior Medical Hit Parade, please update us in the Comment section about how you are doing.

Know someone who should read this?  Send them a link and if you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at GeorgeWachtel@gmail.com

My Book: if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page to go to Amazon.com, look at the list of places under “My Book” on the bar above, or ask me what clubs are carrying it!


 [GW1]

13 thoughts on “Medical Updates

  1. George, Since this is the medical topic, I had a partial left knee replacement on May 7th by Dr. Adolph Lombardi in New Albany, OH (Marty Riessen’s old stomping ground). It has been great. As you know, running is my of my passions. So 10 weeks post surgery I am walking/jogging 7 miles yesterday and been hitting off the wall for the past 2 weeks. Except for some minimal fluid, I am pain-free with full range of motion. I will be playing some singles and doubles starting this week. Could not be more happy with the outcome. Good luck to all in their rehab and recovery.

    Larry, knowing you, one can only expect full commitment to the rehab process and a speedy recovery! thanks, george

  2. Hey George, you can add Mike Melnik to the list of the injured tennis players… on June 22 I had a three level laminectomy (Note: A laminectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a portion of the vertebral bone called the lamina, which is the roof of the spinal canal. It is a major spine operation with residual scar tissue and may result in postlaminectomy syndrome) and the pain was unbelievable. don’t recommend that for anyone however the nerves in my legs are gone and I’m on the road to recovery however I have been readmitted into the hospital because of some internal bleeding so I will keep you posted and hopefully everybody will be well at the same time. Mike M

  3. Ron Mishko: Total Knee Replacement
    Had total robotic knee replacement on left knee on February 18 with Dr. Biggs.
    Most surgeons today are doing robotic. After 5 months, doing my exercises religiously, walking a couple of miles every second day while bike riding the other day, playing a little tennis only once a week for now. The pain is gone. I do have a little swelling after exercising which should go away. Also have a clunking or clicking in the knee when I walk which may or may not go away. Hope to be playing competitively in the Fall.

    Ron, keep doing the rehab and get back on the courts! george

  4. Good Morning George and Senior Tennis Players…Nine months ago I started a process of donating a kidney to the 20 yr. old daughter of a good friend of mine from here in Naples. Three weeks ago it became a reality. Her auto-immune issue was killing her kidneys so I stepped up and decided to help, not knowing that we would actually be a perfect match. The Dr.’s opinion was “we don’t want to put a 62 yr. old kidney in a 20 yr. old body”. Luckily for everyone, for 62 I’m in great shape (plus a few extra pounds!) and my kidneys functioned at 350% of normal. Long story, short is that we are both doing extremely well in recovery. There was only 2 days of discomfort for me directly after surgery. I start hitting the balls again later this week.
    My reason for writing this is ask each of you reading to consider becoming a living donor for any part of your body that you can spare (kidney, liver, bone marrow, blood). We senior tennis players are typically in excellent shape compared to others at our age. It’s a scary thought to put yourself in that position of surgery and the “what if” I need it back later in life. I felt that it is even more scary to know that I could have helped someone, but chose not to do so because of my fear. Educate yourself, know the real stories of donor transplants. Most of you know someone who was a donor, or a recipient of a organ donor. I teach / coach tennis…I play competitive tennis, but nothing compares to knowing I helped another deserving person live a long, happy, healthy life. I hope that while you read this, you are grateful for your good health…for being able to play tennis. Step up and give someone else that chance to get back on the courts too!

    Mark, great story and great commitment! thanks for sharing. george

  5. Surgeries are no fun, and the necessary due diligence is important. Wishing all above good recoveries. And Mike, good thoughts your way for successful comeback.

  6. Underwent surgery on Feb. 25 for reverse shoulder replacement. Have been on a rigorous rehab since . Beginning to hit some now and hope to play some light competitive tennis soon . My goal is to back on the tournament trail ( 85s ) in Jan.

    Marv, i hear that is a tough one! be well and play well. PS played singles on Friday vs 86 year old Gordon Hammes, who can still run and play like someone 20 years younger! george

  7. Hey George,
    I guess I’ll add my situation to the list. I had a full shoulder replacement on March 12 and have been conscientiously rehabbing since. It’s been an up and down process characterized by optimism, plateaus during which nothing seems to be happening, setbacks which trigger an element of pessimism followed once again by improvement and a return of optimism. The surgeon, James Guerra of Collier Sports Medicine in Naples, assures me that it went very well, that I can start light hitting in August and should be in good shape when I return to Naples, hopefully in early October.
    Rick Wright

    Rick, we all look forward to seeing you back on the courts this fall! do well. george

  8. Arnie,

    I just saw your post about your cataract surgery and the lenses you chose. Sandi and I are very happy for your very successful outcome. The moral of the story seems to be that it pays to do your research when a medical procedure is necessary.

  9. Had three wrist bones removed in Feb. Extremely slow recovery. Was ready for tournament play after a couple of months after each of my knee replacements. Can now feed topspin forehands beautifully if I drop the ball low enough. Can’t do diddly with a forehand off a moving ball that is fed to me, no matter its height. Can sorta serve a little if I emphasize the “racquet drop” depth. Amazingly, can hit my old one handed, topspin backhand almost as well as I ever could. Just need some timing. Slice backhand seems to mostly still be there, too. Love what Mark has done. Best wishes for Larry T. and his recovery. Fascinating to hear about the cataract surgery result. Thanks for your blog, George!

    Kevin Bryant with wrist problems would be like a sniper with eye problems! Get well. george

  10. Kevin,

    I too have wrist problems and I have managed them with a two handed forehand as well as a two handed backhand. Having the extra hand on the racquet takes much pressure off the wrist, alleviating all of the pain.
    It takes some time to get used to the change, but it is worth the effort.

    Michael, and you do it well! george

  11. When my wrist finally got bad enough about a dozen years ago, Larry Turville worked with me, and that was one of his suggestions. Actually did finally learn a two handed backhand (sort of), but the forehand couldn’t be made to work. Still gotta find a way (in my opinion) to get the butt of the racquet facing forward in the back swing. Couldn’t do it. This is actually gonna eventually get me back to hitting any kind of shot I want. Eventually. . . 🙂 Thanks, Dr. Mike!

  12. Mark Vines!!!…..that’s one of the greatest “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:37) stories that I’ve ever heard. Thank you, …..and all injured/recovering tennis players, get well soon! Scoot

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