Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Surgery for Retired Engineer
Mike Wold, originally from Minnesota and now an Arizona resident, is a Vietnam Navy veteran with an interesting career path. After a long career in aerospace engineering, he started his own company in 1997 in leadership, executive leadership coaching and organizational development.
Not one to sit on his laurels in retirement, Mike has a robust volunteer life. He works with the Institute for Healing of Memories, an organization dedicated to using storytelling as a tool to help veterans recover from PTSD. As a volunteer, Mike coordinates five Arizona Institute for Healing and Memories workshops each year. To date, the group has worked with over 240 men and women veterans in Arizona since 2013. He also participates in two local choirs, one of which visits nursing homes to bring joy and music to the residents. Finally, he participates in a book club where military history books are read and discussed.
Mike is married with two grown children and five grandchildren. When Mike speaks about his family, he describes them with enthusiasm and detail, sharing information about their careers, interests, hobbies.
As you can imagine, when Mike injured his shoulder, he didn’t want it to take time away from his volunteer activities or time with his family. After working with a local chiropractor with minimal progress, he was assessed by David Carfagno, D.O., an internal medicine doctor and sports medicine specialist. Dr. Carfagno referred Mike to Brian Gruber, MD, board certified orthopedic physician.
Further testing with Dr. Gruber revealed a rotator cuff tear significant enough to require surgery. The size of the tear was too great to benefit much long-term from the more conservative treatments like cortisone shots and chiropractic work he had been receiving.
“My surgery was arthroscopic and went great,” said Mike. “I was so informed by Dr. Gruber and his team beforehand and knew exactly what to expect.”
Mike had his surgery at Honor Health Piper Surgery Center, which he describes as “like a Hilton hotel with everything so professional and clean.”
One of the things that Mike was especially appreciative of was a block he received prior to surgery from the anesthesiologists that blocked pain for about 18-hours post-surgery. “This meant I needed very little strong prescription pain medication post-surgery and was able to switch to standard over-the-counter pain medication quickly,” Mike shared.
After having such a great surgical experience with Dr. Gruber to repair his rotator cuff, Mike continued with Integrated Orthopedics’ physical therapy program, which is in the same building and just down the hall from its clinic.
“Todd Waterkotte, PT, MPT, director of physical therapy,’ who Mike refers to as “the quarterback” of the PT team, ‘and the entire team were fantastic,” said Mike. “They tailored the program for me, and when I was frustrated Todd would always raise me up and provide encouragement and humor.”
Mike added that as with his clinic and surgery experience with Dr. Gruber, the physical therapy team always gave him the facts and information about what to expect and how he was progressing. He said he felt informed all throughout the process and there were no surprises.
Mike is currently at 90% recovery and knows he will continue to see improvement over the next few months, with the last 1% typically coming at the 1-year post-surgery mark. “I can do anything I have to now for my volunteer work and around the house,” he said. “I am very happy with my recovery.”
“Dr. Gruber has set-up an organization with competent people with good morale who do good work,” he stated. “This is not easy to do. He’s created a fantastic culture that most medical practices can’t achieve due to the pressures of the healthcare business.”
Since his surgery, Mike shared that he has recommended Dr. Gruber and his team many times and will continue to do so.