In the fall of 2018, my girlfriend Meg and I had just moved into our first place together. We were enjoying life, I was an avid bowler, played softball, and golfed. We hung out with friends, had plans every weekend, and in December we adopted my grandfather’s yellow lab Toby.
On Saturday February 2, 2019, I was at a friend’s house helping him with some home projects. I left my friend’s house at about 10:50 PM, and while traveling down route 30 a drunk driver struck me. I do not remember the month and a half that followed.
The first responders arrived on the scene and immediately started living saving measures. They extricated me out of my car in 11 minutes, and I was rushed to Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet in under 25 minutes. Upon arrival at the emergency room, I was evaluated and treated by Dr. Adnan Hussian. I sustained a brain injury, my spleen was obliterated, and 3 fractured ribs, a left orbital fracture along with sinus injuries. My left knee was also severely damaged.
Dr. Peter Mihalakakos performed my splenectomy while simultaneously Dr. Tamir Hersonskey performed a craniotomy, in order to release the swelling on the left side of my brain. I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, and later a cranioplasty to replace my left bone flap.
While undergoing months of intense rehab, the pain in my knee kept becoming an issue. After further evaluation, we were referred to make an appointment with knee surgeon Dr. Jorge Chahla at “Midwest Orthopedics at Rush”. We did a couple rounds of initial x-rays and he stated that my PCL was torn and that my meniscus also had some damage. I was informed that they would be using donor ligaments to repair my PCL. Dr. Chahla answered all of our questions, and prepared us for the surgery, along with post op instructions, and how physical therapy would look for the next 6-8 months. Surgery was then scheduled for December 3, 2019 as an outpatient. Surgery went very well, it took longer than expected because the damage to my knee was more extensive than anyone could have foreseen. During the surgery my family was given updates every hour. After surgery Dr. Chahla came out to speak with my family, and provided them with a full explanation of his findings, and expectations in going forward. In recovery Dr. Chahla explained to me that I had more damage than just my PCL being torn. The root of my meniscus was torn, there was loose cartilage that needed to be screwed into place, one side of my knee also needed to be repaired, along with new tunnels that needed to be created.
Around 1030 pm I was transferred to and woke up in the hospital, I spent the next week at Rush Medical Center. I had to wear a brace that would supply support to my knee, as I would be non-weight bearing for 6 weeks. During that week, Dr. Chahla checked in with my family every couple of hours, either in person, or by phone. We even Face Timed quite a few times. I started physical therapy while in the hospital a couple days after surgery. Once released, I continued my PT at Athletico with Jeremy. I was using crutches and a walker to help me maintain my balance, and then began the hard work of bending my knee towards the 90-degree mark. I also had to straighten my leg down as far as I could. After reaching the 6-week mark, I was able to use one crutch and started putting weight on my knee. As the weeks went by more exercises and activities were incorporated into my physical therapy routine. I saw Dr. Chahla for follow up visits and then started to walk normally without crutches. Using the stationary bike, doing my at-home exercises, and continuing my PT, gave me the ability to strengthen my quadriceps, hamstring, the glutes and my knee itself. Walking up and down stairs, doing squats, lunges, lateral lunges, seated leg presses and many other exercises for 9 months, I graduated therapy on October 22, 2020. I did want to thank Jeremy and the entire Athletico team. I saw Dr. Chahla for one last visit, and he was pleased with my progress, in fact I even started to bowl and golf again as soon as I received clearance. He said for me to keep moving forward, and to make sure that I progress slowly but keep going. As of today I have been bowling every 2 weeks and I golfed a few times this past summer. Thanks to Dr. Chahla I know I will be back playing sports at 100% of my ability.
Thank you, Dr. Chahla for doing my surgery, you are truly an amazing doctor. You treated my family and myself with patience, consideration, and respect during the whole process. Dr. Chahla you have been in my corner since day one, and you have been one of my biggest supporters.