On March 25, 2018, at only 49 years of age, I suffered a major heart attack that has forced me to reassess my career path. I run regularly and consider myself fit. I am a non smoker, I don't have high blood pressure and I was already taking a "statin" drug to lower my cholesterol.....but still I needed a stent placed to open a 95% narrowing in one of my coronary arteries. I was SHOCKED.
The realization for many of us in surgery is that the life of a surgeon is highly stressful and stress is the largest and most modifiable risk factor for heart disease in surgeons. In reassessing where my career is at, I have been soul searching for ways that I can still help patients while my cardiologist has told me I need to slow down. One of the things I have always loved in medicine is being able to ease a patient's worry by explaining their condition in simple, easy to understand terms and then laying out ALL of their options as we decide together, in a "shared-care" model, what is best for them in their current circumstances. The hope and the idea of this blog is to share that knowledge with a wider audience. I have always encouraged patients to use "Dr. Google" and get themselves informed.....it often leads to much healthier discussions together. And sometimes new ideas emerge that I had not even thought of.
My hope is to share answers to common questions about sports related hand and wrist injuries submitted by readers and patients. When is it safe to play and when is it NOT safe to play with certain injuries? What are the treatment options for various injuries? Does timing of treatment matter? What can I try first to try to AVOID surgery? These and other questions will be the focus and I hope to also share anecdotes and "pearls of wisdom" that I have learned over the years.
My first pearl of wisdom to share relates to my heart attack and my philosophy for any of life's challenges that are thrown at us. It is from the book "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. This pearl guides me in my own life and even when patients have a surgical complication: "Experience is what you get when you DIDN'T get what you wanted". Any athlete who is injured and can no longer compete while they recover will appreciate this! As hard as it is, we all get stronger though adversity. I gave an entire talk on YouTube on this topic, called "Failing to Succeed".
So what's concerning you with your hand or wrist problem?
I'm Dr. Rod French....lending a helping hand.