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Orthopedic Joint Center Gives Patient a Pain-Free Perspective

Patient Stories


Date: January 11, 2011

Contact: Kristen Meadows,
Marketing Specialist
Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital

Just because he retired, Rich Paulsen didn't stop doing construction. In fact, retirement just meant more time to work on projects, as far as he was concerned. That is, if he wasn't busy skiing or sailing or doing any number of other activities. Five minutes with the man, and you know he probably doesn't sit idle unless forced to do so. When the pain in his shoulder started interfering with his active lifestyle, he decided to go to Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital (HMH) to get it checked out.

"The doctor told me to get an MRI to see if I needed surgery. Turns out the pain was from a rotator cuff injury made worse by bone spurs, not the kind of thing that physical therapy could fix," Paulsen said. The doctor determined that Paulsen needed to have the bone spurs removed and holes drilled into the shoulder bone to reattach his ligaments, if his shoulder were to work again properly. While not thrilled at the prospect of surgery, Paulsen was no stranger to it. He had experienced spine surgery and heart surgery with good outcomes, so he thought he knew what to expect.

"My attitude was, 'Let's go in, get it corrected, then go back to having an active life,'" he said. What he didn't expect was that he would come away using words like "pleasurable" and "relaxing" to describe his experience. "I've had a lot of surgery, but this was the best experience I've ever had. The staff was organized, caring and they put patients first. I knew what to expect and best of all, I rolled into post op with NO pain," he said.

The anesthesia numbed the pain for several days after the procedure and when he did feel discomfort, he rated it a two out of ten (with ten being the most pain). After he began to heal, he started physical therapy to regain range of motion. "I couldn't have expected it to be any better. It was phenomenal," he concluded.

"It's a four to six month recovery and if you want to fully heal you have to listen to your doctor and physical therapist and don't overdo it too soon," Paulsen said.

His progress has been so good that he's planning to take his wife on a cruise in January. "I've never been on a cruise. I don't plan to do any rock climbing," he said with a sheepish grin, "But I'm really looking forward to the other activities."

Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital is a member of Adventist Health's Northern California Network, which provides innovative community, specialty, and destination health care. Other members of the network include Ukiah Valley Medical Center and the St. Helena Region of hospitals. Together we serve our local communities in Mendocino, Solano, Lake, and Napa counties, as well as patients who travel to us for care.

Adventist Health is a faith-based, not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system with nearly 20,000 employees serving communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist health values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 17 hospitals, more than 130 clinics (rural health and physician clinics), 14 home care agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. We invite you to visit for more information.