Medical Updates

A picture from “better times”

Maybe it is just as a friend says: “Just a matter of aging”.  But seems like there are a lot of top senior tennis players on the mend.  Here are some of their stories…

  • Bob Dilworth/Hip replacement (of a hip replacement): “So far very good results from the posterior surgery vs. DAP.  Problem pre -surgery has been fixed and I just finished multiple weeks of PT. We depart for Naples 11/19. Anxious to start hitting some tennis balls.”

  • Evert Jonsson/Double heart bypass:

“25 days after double bypass. 21 days after homecoming.

First 30 days you are only allowed walking and no more than 10lb lifting.I record daily vital signs (bp, temp, oxygen, pulse, weight, breathing) and Fitbit (steps, rest pulse, sleep score, sleep time) data recording.

You watch for sudden changes, such as weight gains that could be signs for liquid build up.  Then you need a doctor’s visit. For me, biggest issues have been sternum soreness and diminished lung capacity.

Step count has risen from 2,000 on second day at home to 11,000-12,000 steps/days now. Lung intake has improved from first morning at home 1300ml to today 2200ml. I think my intake before the operation was 2500ml. First days at home I got winded during easy walks.

Observations the first three weeks:

Lost weight, a lb. every 3 days. It has now stabilized. Fred Drilling had similar experience. Energy effort is different. A normal walk before operation was in Fitbit terms at fat burning mode. Now it is in cardio mode. 

Looking ahead….

Doctor’s visit 3rd December. Hope to be cleared for more activities. Arriving Naples 9th December, starting heart rehab.  Easy tennis against backboard and my wife.

January hope is to play easy dubs with you guys.”

  • Fred Drilling/Quadruple bypass + knee replacement + spinal surgery: He was spotted at Costco by a friend and told him: he feels great and hopes to be back on the court in January.

  • John Berry/Knee replacement: “I’m back playing and my knee is fine but my game needs a lot of work.  Biggest problem is getting my feet to move and work properly for tennis.  I couldn’t be happier with knee replacement decision.  I’ve been playing 4 times a week for about 3 weeks. We are up north for Turkey day then back down for the season.”

  • Mas Kimball/Pancreatic Cancer:  “I was diagnosed on November 3rd with a high degree of certainty of a cancerous tumor on the tail of my pancreas. That was about 4 weeks after I first felt the effects of lower abdominal pain. It was quite a process of getting an appointment with my PCP, then an appointment with a gastroenterologist, followed by a colonoscopy and the CT scan. It was the CT scan that showed the tumor. I’ll be going in for Endoscopic Ultra Sound the week of 11/10 which will take a closer look at the tumor and take a sample for biopsy. Hopefully, by the next week, the medical team will be able to prescribe a treatment regimen.”

  • George Wachtel/ Heart?? After following Evert’s lead and getting a CT Calcium scan test – which came back with a very high reading of 1,400 (0-400 being OK) – I went today for a series of heart tests to see what, if anything is wrong.

    They started first with and Echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart muscle.  I think the ones I have had before took about 10-15 minutes; but this one lasted 35-40 minutes.  Don’t know if this was their standard procedure; or if the tech saw something that concerned him.

    Then, it was off to the nuclear stress test….
    • Establishing an IV in my arm and injecting the nuclear stuff,
    • Shaving areas on my chest to attach the electrodes,
    • Waiting half hour for the stuff to circulate,
    • Sitting under a huge camera for seven minutes of heart pictures,
    • Hooking up the electrodes and getting a baseline heart rate (“Wow, he is only at 33 beats a minute!”),
    • Walking on the treadmill and trying to get to my “target maximum heartrate” of 121 (220- my age x 85%),
    • Not getting any higher than 103 (and me sucking wind pretty good at that point),
    • Going to Plan B and injecting chemicals to simulate the higher rate,
    • Sitting for another half hour,
    • And back for a final round of heart pictures!

And lastly (after 4.5 hours of poking and prodding), they fitted me for a heart monitor that I will wear for three days; and then mail to California (!) for them to read and send the results back to my cardiologist, who will meet with me December 8th to tell me what they have found.

Do YOU have any to add? Let’s hope we all — and all of YOU — stay healthy!

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6 thoughts on “Medical Updates

  1. So much for golden years! I am following your situation and Everts with great interest. I work hard, ( bike 100 miles a week, tennis x 2 and gym machine for strength x2 ) Did you have any clues beyond Evert’s experience? I get a little dizzy on occasion if I get up too quick- a little rapid heart beat on occasion but each time my regular Doc at my annual physical says I am the fittest guy on his roster.

    Peter, i think i am in excellent physical condition — and Evert is even better! And neither of us had any symptoms; but started testing because Fred Drilling had his own heart “surprise.” george

  2. George-
    Regarding you, did the docs recommend a cholesterol-lowering drug?

    John, not yet… my cholesterol numbers are good. george

  3. George, Thanks for the updates – glad to see that in most parts everyone is doing well. I knew all about John Berry’s knee replacement because he had called and recommended the replacement over “drilling the articular surface.” Obviously, he is glad he did the replacement. My partial knee replacement (May 7) is full go. Played 3 times a week in Florida with absolutely no problem. Not quite ready to go back to running but am walk/jogging 5-6 miles, 3 x week.
    Good luck with your follow-up and keep us informed. I will be seeing Steve next week in Cincy.

    Larry, glad to hear you are doing well. When my hip started going bad, i had to give up running (which, weirdo that i am, i really liked doing); and the hip doc says tennis is ok, but running is not. 🙁

  4. These medical updates are an appropriate reminder that we need to give thanks for each and every day, and say thanks for every time we are able to step on the court and play this great game. Scoot

    Scoot, Amen to that! george

  5. George, my sincere wishes to all for better health and good recoveries. It is helpful to understand the available testing procedures we have access to now. We are all at the age where nothing should be taken for granted………….nothing!
    Thank you for openly discussing some of the hidden issues we can be made aware of.

    Howie, “if we save just one life…” george

  6. Interesting timing George,
    I just got back from the hospital in the Philippines having broken my wrist last Sunday. it was my second time coming back after knee and right elbow problems kept me out 4 months, i played not well on sat but found myself playing well on my second day. My partner played back but very well. We were winning and no lobs yet and then came one I thought I could get. I tripped on this very hard court and hit as hard as I ever got hit in a rough Hockey League. I instantly could see my left wrist broken with lots of pain. I found the best “Bone Doctor here and he inserted a steel plate in and told me to kiss the tennis balls away for 6 months. I had made my smartest decision of my life before I flew here (besides not getting married) and got this Humana Medicare policy for free and I called them just for the heck of it from the hospital and found I was totally covered because it was an “accident”. I almost fainted but very happy especially since they covered me in a town they probably never heard. Now to figure out a replacement since I’m not smart enough for chess. Any suggestions? Good luck to the guys mending there.

    Dave, wow! Time to start walking the backroads of the Philippines! george

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