Brad Gusloff, a local woodcarver, shows his wares at a recent Art in the Park in Freeport.
When Brad Gusloff went to visit his eldest son in Colorado, he couldn't keep up with the rest of his family. That's when he knew he needed to do something to relieve his relentless knee pain.
"I was miserable," Brad explains. "I was practically eating pain killers, and I knew it wasn't good for me. I just couldn't stand it anymore."
Brad had recently retired from his job with the City of Freeport, running the street sweeper for 34 years. Climbing into his sweeper's cab and the limited movement within it exacerbated his condition. "It was to the point I was really feeling impaired," shares Brad. "I am a big man, and when I had an x-ray it was clear I didn't have any cartilage left whatsoever. My grandson started to imitate me by walking behind me and waddling. My legs were bowlegged and ready to collapse before I finally made my move."
Dr. Dammann and TruMatch® Highly Recommended
Brad first tried two rounds of injections for his pain at an outof- town facility, but to no avail. He started asking everybody he saw with a cane or a walker if they had knee surgery, and according to Brad, "Those that were happy had one thing in common: Dr. Greg Dammann. So I went for a consultation and was convinced that FHN was the right choice for me. We discussed the TruMatch® system and determined that its approach, which takes pictures of your body's anatomy and customizes the joint accordingly, would be the best plan of action for me. Plus, I was happy to be right here, at home." His first TruMatch knee replacement surgery was scheduled for January and his second one for March. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit our country, posing challenges for Brad's second surgery and his following physical therapy.
Coronavirus Causes Concerns
Brad's first surgery was a big success and his second knee surgery was scheduled for March 18 - one week after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak a pandemic. Brad says, "This was right when our country was fully realizing the impact of COVID-19, and I wasn't sure I would get to have my surgery. Keri Wall, the surgical nurse navigator, was in regular contact with me, and the day before I was scheduled to go in, all systems were still a go. That turned out to be the last day for elective surgery before everything was put on hold, due to Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines."
The surgery went pretty much as the first one did, except Dr. Dammann had a special treat for Brad's sedation: He played Grateful Dead's Truckin' as a pre-anesthesia lullaby. According to Brad, "That was pretty cool, and I was supposedly singing as I drifted off to sleep. He remembered that I was a fan and had that queued up on YouTube just for me." Brad's wife, Wendy, was there for the operation, and he was up and walking hours after his 7:30 a.m. procedure. However, Wendy was encouraged to leave the waiting room for social distancing purposes as soon as other people came in, and they were both home by 4:30 p.m.
Well-Prepared for the Pandemic
Just like after his first surgery, Brad had pain at his incision site for two weeks, but his joint pain was gone quickly. "We were amazed at how straight my legs were, after looking like I had been riding a horse for 20 years," he exclaimed. "My physical therapy at Burchard Hills went well, and I was so impressed with how well-prepared FHN was for the pandemic. I was truly blown away at how professionally and carefully they handled everything. I was whisked in to my appointments in a private treatment room with no waiting time. Social distancing was stressed, masks were on, and disinfectants were used on all the equipment after each use. They cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned, wiping stuff down constantly with a true sense of urgency.
I never saw more than two or three other patients in the huge therapy area and I was never hesitant to go — I knew they had my back. I can't say enough good things about my therapists, Cody Gallagher and Pamela Finley, along with the entire orthopaedics team. And Dr. Dammann? He's your guy. Now I am the one recommending him to other people!"
Brad is excited to enter into retirement with new knees. As a skilled woodworker and carver, he can now go on walks in the woods to forage for special pieces, and has already planted a garden with his nine-year-old grandson, Jaxon. He shares, "My muscles are still aligning and adjusting, but I am getting around better than I thought possible. This surgery? It changed my life."