You haven’t read much from me in a while, and there’s a good reason for my silence. On April 9, I had my right hip replaced at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree. Each day since has been a great ride on the road to recovery.
My orthopedic specialist, Ed Szuszczewicz (Dr. Ed, for short), has been putting me back together for years. In 2010, he replaced my left knee. My quality of life dramatically improved with that surgery, as well as double-fusion spine surgery in 2014. I truly am “The Six Million Dollar Man.”
Some of you know my journey over the last 15 months. I will give a recap of some of the events leading up to my hip replacement. But before I forget, the staff at Sky Ridge was awesome. The three days I spent there allowed me to receive the instruction and planning needed to care for myself at home.
Prior to Feb. 17, 2018, I had never had any hip problems. But a wicked one-car accident (I was the driver and lone passenger) changed all that when I hit a traffic pole off Centennial Boulevard in northwest Colorado Springs. I have no recollection of hitting the pole. My last memory was making a right turn onto Centennial from Garden of the Gods Road, heading to my home about one-half mile away.
I woke up in the emergency room at Penrose Hospital at about 2 a.m. A team of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel surrounded me. As I screamed out in pain, they told me I had sustained several injuries, including a badly smashed right pelvis, a broken left wrist, five broken ribs and numerous lacerations and contusions.
Dr. Jonathan Barnwell, a hip reconstruction specialist, did emergency surgery to stabilize my pelvis. The following day, he reconstructed my hip during a seven-hour surgery. He told me I would not walk for 90 days.
I remained in the hospital for 18 days. It was a tough time. Since I was not able to put any weight on my broken wrist (a permanent plate was inserted in my arm to keep my wrist stabilized) for six weeks, I had to hop around on a modified walker. Life was definitely different for a while.
At the end of three months, Dr. Barnwell released me back in to the wild. It was then I began an intense physical therapy rehabilitation program.
While the surgery to repair my right hip was successful, I never got back the full use of that important body part. By October, I was down to about 50 percent use and getting steroid injections to give me relief from the pain. By February of this year, I was relegated to a cane to get around. The months leading up to my hip replacement were brutal as I was in a constant high-level pain.
I can’t begin to tell you how much better my life is now. I have a long road back to recovery, but I hope to be playing golf in the coming weeks and making my way up the Manitou Incline by the end of June. Dr. Ed and my physical therapist Steven Nash believe I will be able to hike Pikes Peak again by October.
There is obviously much more to my story. The support and love I’ve received from my mother, friends, neighbors, coaches, school administrators, athletes, co-workers, readers, and more has been humbling. I am a blessed man.
Danny Summers has been covering sports at all levels in the Pikes Peak region since 2001. Send your story ideas and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.