Lying on the pavement, barely conscious, all John Bogart could see through the slits of his eyes was the awkward position of his foot. It was completely sideways.
It wasn’t until he was fully alert in the emergency department that spring afternoon in 1991 that he realized the extent of his injuries, the result of a devastating motorcycle accident on the back roads of Derby. “The doctors told me I was lucky to be alive,” John says.
At the time, doctors mended his open fracture by setting the broken bones in his foot and ankle. John spent three weeks in bed recovering from the accident. Over time, his cuts and bruises healed, but his ankle was never the same.
Every day for nearly 20 years, John, president of Integro, an electrical manufacturing company in New Britain, endured excruciating pain that felt like a knife jabbing through his ankle and foot. “I would wake up hopeful that the day would be different,” he remembers. “In the morning, I had some flexibility, but by the afternoon I walked with a heavy limp. And by dinner time, I couldn’t walk at all.” His driveway seemed like Mount Everest, he says, as walking the incline from the house to the mailbox was completely impossible. He took up to six over-the-counter pain killers a day for years in an attempt to mask the pain. It barely did the trick. The medication eventually thinned out his blood so much that he developed regular nosebleeds.
The low point came in 2009. It was a beautiful summer day and his children, Kendra and John Jr., then ages 2 and 5, were kicking a soccer ball around the yard of the family’s Oxford home. “They called me over and asked me to play with them,” says John. “But there was no way I could. The pain was too intense to take one step. So there I was on the sidelines, sitting in a chair. I was miserable. I knew this was no way to live my life.”
What is Post-Traumatic Arthritis?
Post-traumatic arthritis can develop after an injury around a joint, such as a fracture or severe damage to a ligament. Symptoms, which can occur months to years after the injury, may include pain, tenderness, stiffness, swelling and difficulty walking. “When a joint wears out, the cartilage between the bones disintegrates,” says Dr. Cimino. “Bone rubbing against bone causes a great deal of pain.”
He never could have predicted what happened next.
While picking up a few items at the supermarket that week, John ran into an old friend who was surprised to see him limping with a cane. The friend recommended John see Orthopedic Surgeon William Cimino, MD.
John took his advice and made an appointment. “Dr. Cimino examined my ankle and foot and asked me many detailed questions about my injury and the symptoms I experienced over the years,” John remembers. “He really listened to me and understood my pain. I knew from the get-go I was in good hands.”
“John was experiencing post-traumatic arthritis,” explains Dr. Cimino. (See above: What is Post-Traumatic Arthritis?) “One way people with post-traumatic arthritis get through the pain is to take anti-inflammatory medication. But medication was no longer helping John, so we discussed surgical options,” he says. “There are generally two procedures for patients who have this type of condition. One is artificial joint replacement which is only indicated in some patients, depending on their physical demands. The other is an arthrodesis, or fusion,” he says. “John was not a candidate for a replacement due to his age and his desire to be very active. A fusion, which joins the two main bones in the ankle using special surgical screws, was a better alternative both to restore John’s quality of life and provide him with a longerlasting solution.” Dr. Cimino described the complex surgery, which he would conduct with the dedicated team at Bridgeport Hospital’s SurgEase outpatient surgical center.
“When Dr. Cimino recommended surgery, I was worried at first,” expresses John. “I didn’t know much about fusions, but he assured me I would have range of motion and, most importantly, the pain would be gone. That’s just what I wanted to hear. When I found out he was an expert in this type of surgery—having successfully done many of these procedures—my fear turned to relief.”
The day of the surgery, John’s wife, Tami, drove John to Bridgeport Hospital. A team of doctors and nurses prepared John for the procedure and talked to the couple about what to expect after surgery and during the healing process.
Due to the complexity of the procedure, John was given general anesthesia and monitored during the surgery by Bridgeport Hospital’s anesthesia team while Dr. Cimino worked to repair the ankle. Using advanced techniques and going through John’s previous incision, the two sides of the ankle joint were prepared as required by the fusion procedure, and then reattached with metal screws so that the bones could grow together over time and become one functional, fused bone. Two hours later, the surgery was complete, and John was on his way to beginning a new chapter in his life. Tami brought John home that afternoon.
Recovering at home, John rested and practiced getting around with his crutches. “The team at Bridgeport Hospital was outstanding,” John says. “They explained everything that was to come. They called me that evening and the next day to see how I was doing. We really appreciated that extra attention and care.”
A week later, John was back at work. Eight weeks later, his cast was off, and he gradually incorporated the daily strengthening exercises into his routine, as recommended by Dr. Cimino and the post-surgical team, to build up his leg muscles. He was jogging about six weeks later and playing golf in Florida in just two months.
Today, the 42-year-old executive has a new outlook on his future. “This surgery completely changed my life,” John exclaims. “Being in pain every day was no way for me to live. Now, I have no pain at all! I don’t take any medication and I feel great. I’m back to exercising, I coach wrestling and I can play golf—pain free. I’ve lost 25 pounds since the surgery simply because I’m more active. At last check, my blood pressure was down to 119/73. Before the surgery, it was as high as 142/89! Best of all, I can play soccer in the yard with my wife and children. Thanks to Dr. Cimino and his recommendation to have this procedure with the team at Bridgeport Hospital, my overall health has improved— and I have my life back!”
When choosing an orthopedic surgeon, be sure to select a specialist affiliated with Bridgeport Hospital:
|John Awad, MD
Henry Backe, Jr., MD
David Bindelglass, MD
Dante Brittis, MD
David Brown, MD
William Cimino, MD
Robert Dawe, MD
||A. Gregory Geiger, MD
Herbert Hermele, MD
Eric Katz, MD
Patrick Kwok, MD
Rolf Langeland, MD
Joel Malin, MD
John Mangieri, MD
||Murray Morrison, MD
Jerold Perlman, MD
Thomas Rago, MD
Ross Richer, MD
Allen Schlein, MD
Robert Stanton, MD
Edward Staub, MD
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