Note: This is a guest blog by Bonnie Siegel, an endurance athlete and former patient of Dr. Silverman.
Most people win sponsorships by way of impressive podium finishes, amazing splits, and breaking course records. Me? I fall and crash.
It was a beautiful day for a run. I carefully maneuvered down the steep trail, dodging rocks and leaves beckoning me to test their stability. Suddenly I heard a crack, and the next moment I was hopping on one foot as my other ankle mushroomed over the top of my running shoe.
Enter Dr. Lance Silverman. Mad ankle and foot witch doctor.
After surgery to fix two destroyed tendons and a ligament in my left ankle, he had the audacity to put me (an endurance athlete) into a cast for four weeks!
The cast lasted as long as I could take it – one week. After seven days I crept into my bedroom and locked the door. Using a kitchen knife and some scissors, I cut the cast off.
When All Else Fails, Listen to the Patient
A week later I confessed my sins to Dr. Silverman. He begged me to listen to reason and promptly sent someone to my house to put me into a walking cast. I hung up on him.
After some aggressive research on cadavers and case studies in Europe regarding the early removal of casts, Dr. Silverman changed his tune and repeated the truism: “When all else fails, listen to the patient.” He pledged from that point forward that all of his patients would have early cast removal. What defined “early” was the true question.
Now that I had a wonderfully repaired ankle, I hoped never to see his smiling face again. Alas, I tore the ligaments in my other ankle the very next year. Once again I entered into the surgical room with Dr. Silverman uttering some sort of threat about early cast removal as I went under the anesthesia tide. The last thing I heard him say was, “We made this one extra sturdy just for you. Let’s see you try to get this bad boy off!”
I certainly tried. A perfectly good pair of scissors, and the brand new hedge cutters I had were no match for Dr. Silverman’s armor. And so I endured my cast for the newest recommendation of two whole weeks. Dr. Silverman said compromise is good for the soul and I humbly admitted that two weeks wasn’t all that bad.
I was elated when they removed the beast. Of course they noted the multiple attempts to remove the cursed thing as most of the bottom had been hacked off, and a large portion of the cast stuffing was missing.
Dr. Silverman was kind enough to forgive me of my cast violence and also show his support for health and fitness. He became my triathlon sponsor.
And I secretly dig my scars.
Lance Silverman, MD
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