Documented: February 2015
John Slauch is a no-nonsense type of man. The married father of two and grandfather of two says he's "relatively healthy, for an old guy." Still, a total hip replacement is no small matter, even for a healthy guy like John (who, at 60, is hardly old). And when it came time to have that surgery back in November, 2014, there was no question in his mind about who would perform the surgery or where it would take place: Dr. Christopher Lyons, Orthopaedic Surgeon at Chester County Hospital.
John has been a patient of Dr. Lyons for more than 20 years. "He's operated on my shoulder three times and on my Achilles in the past," John told us, shortly after his hip replacement. "My experience with him has been absolutely great for each one of those operations."
John is the Chief of Police for the Borough of Oxford, and has been in law enforcement for nearly 40 years, which take its toll on a body, he admits. "I started right out of college, working as a summer officer in Avalon, New Jersey," he says. He now lives in Quarryville, Lancaster County, where there are a couple of other hospitals located closer to both his home and his workplace, but for John, Chester County Hospital was really the only option. "I just trust it. I like that it's large and that it's affiliated with Penn."
The problem John had with his hip started several years ago and was getting progressively worse. He was having difficulty walking, standing and driving, which created a physical challenge in his law enforcement role. The pain was getting so bad, he recalls, that it was uncomfortable to bear the extra weight of his gun belt. "My hip pain affected my ability to be in uniform, which is an important part of my job," he explains.
Once it was evident that hip replacement surgery was needed, he consulted with Dr. Lyons who explained the different surgery choices available; they opted for the minimally invasive route. John says that Dr. Lyons explained that there was no cutting of muscle and that the recovery time would be quicker. Indeed, John was up and walking around the morning after surgery.
Recovery from the hip replacement was "remarkable and not really painful," John says. "Of course, when I woke up I was on pain medication, but I wasn't uncomfortable. The physical therapist helped me walk to the nurses' station, which was a couple doors down from my room," John said. "I felt so good; I walk around the whole wing."
Since the operation, the pain he was experiencing in his hip and his lower back are gone. And, he's grateful to Dr. Lyons for that.
"When you have to go through surgery to the extent of where they are replacing parts of your body, you have to have a lot of faith in the doctor who is doing the surgery, and I do have a lot of faith in Dr. Lyons. He wanted to make sure I was ready for the operation. I've followed his lead on all the joint pain issues that I've had. I trust him."
For John, being on the same page as his doctor is particularly important when it came to having major surgery. In fact, at the time of this testimonial, John was scheduled for yet another surgery with Dr. Lyons - a knee replacement. Having that connection with Dr. Lyons helped him decide on the timing to replace his arthritic knee. "I've been putting up with this knee for 10 years now," he said. "I appreciate that Dr. Lyons is conservative," he said. "He told me, 'Wait as long as you can with this knee, and then let me know when you are ready.' So, that's what I did." Among the many things he discussed with Dr. Lyons is that the knee surgery will require a bit more down-time than his hip did.
And when asked how he felt about that, John demurred for just a minute. "Well, it's tough. I'm the boss, and I'm used to being out there," he said. "I waited as long as I could because Dr. Lyons told me that it will be a couple of months before I can get back on the job. But, he knows me well enough to know that we'll negotiate on that a bit. As soon as I can bend my knee, I'll be back to work."
By Kate Chadwick