65 year-old Jerry Fields has always been an athlete. A former corrections officer, he played sports during high school and college and is committed to working out, which helped him remain healthy over the years. However, all that activity resulted in a lot of wear and tear on his joints. “Running on pavement takes a big toll on your joints,” Jerry said. “My hip was totally shot ten years ago and I was in a lot of pain, but I had to keep going because my wife wasn’t well.” The couple had some very frank discussions about the future, and Jerry promised he would address his health issues when the time was right. In July of 2021, Jerry’s wife passed away, and soon after, he made an appointment with Orthopaedic Surgeon Troy Birk, M.D. of Jefferson Regional Orthopaedic and Spine.
“By the time I saw Dr. Birk, my attitude was, ‘If this doctor can’t give me a shot in my hip to make it stop hurting, then I’ll go find one that will.’ The doctor said, ‘Mr. Fields, I’ll do whatever you want, but from looking at this x-ray I don’t know where to inject you because you have something like 29 pieces of hip all over the place’. So I asked for his recommendation and he said, ‘You need a total hip replacement. The ball of your hip is gone – just isn’t there anymore. No wonder it’s been hurting so badly’. I’m not that old. I don’t want to be the guy who can’t do what he wants because he can’t walk. So I had the surgery in September of 2021, and I never hurt again. I was sore, but there’s a difference in pain and being sore. There was no more pain.”
Jerry’s recovery may have been easier than most because he was in such good physical condition, and he didn’t even require much pain medication. Then it was time to think about his knee. “That knee had been bone on bone for years,” Jerry said. “I had been getting steroid shots for five or six years, until it reached the point where there was no more cushion left to inject. So I was ready to fix that, too.”
In March of 2022, Jerry underwent a total knee replacement at Jefferson Regional, again performed by Dr. Birk. “He’s a rock star, and that’s what I call him!”, Jerry said with a grin. “We really hit it off, and he has my total respect. If I had done this years ago, I would still be working.” That respect also spills over to the employees at Jefferson Regional. “The staff in the hospital were totally cool; they really made sure I was well cared for. Everyone was so nice!”
Jerry is continuing to work out, which he considers a way of life, doing weight training, cardio and specific exercises for his knee. He says his other hip is starting to give him trouble and says Dr. Birk has already teased him about planning for that surgery, too. “I told him I was tired of rehabbing, I need to go fishing for a while.” But if Jerry ever decides to have the hip replaced, he plans to use Dr. Birk. “He made it possible for me to have this quality of life at this age.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Birk, call Jefferson Regional Orthopaedic and Spine at 870-534-3449.