Bob's Spine Surgery Story

Jun 6, 2019

Bob Carnegie, a retired human resources consultant from Upton, had always been in excellent health. He’d never once in his 67 years been in a hospital. Bob and his wife, Patty, are antique dealers who enjoy an active lifestyle, spending time on the road and outdoors at antique shows. Even being diagnosed with arthritis a few years ago didn’t slow down Bob. Then in May 2015, things began to change. Bob experienced something he’d never felt before: pain in his left leg and foot. It was a pain so intense he couldn’t walk more than 100 yards without sitting down to rest. Bob visited an doctor who promptly referred him to orthopedic surgeon Symeon V. Zannikos, M.D., at Leonard Morse Hospital.

An MRI revealed that Bob had two compressed discs and a compressed nerve in his lower back. Bob suspects his pain was the result of years of prolonged standing and repetitive movements. “It seemed as if my 30 years of doing HR workshops, spending 10 hours a day, several days a week, on my feet had finally taken its toll,” Bob says.

An Easy Decision

Dr. Zannikos reviewed the MRI results with Bob, and together they came up with a treatment plan. “He left it up to me to decide, but gave me all the information I needed to make an informed choice.” Bob says his decision to have surgery was an easy one, and he trusted Dr. Zannikos completely. “Dr. Zannikos was confident, up-to-date on the latest technologies and treatments, and I just really liked his style,” he says. “I knew I didn’t want medication or cortisone shots. I wanted to have surgery right away and get on with my summer.”

While Bob was confident in his decision to have surgery, he still had a slew of questions — all of which, Bob says, the staff at Leonard Morse Hospital was more than happy to answer. “Everything was made very clear to me,” he says. “I was told exactly what to expect so I felt really prepared.”

After undergoing a successful laminectomy to relieve the compression on his spine, Bob spent the night at Leonard Morse Hospital for observation. Yet he says he was up and walking around just a couple hours into his recovery. “The surgery went exactly like I expected it to, and I was very pleased. Dr. Zannikos said I’d have some pain around my scar and he was right on the money. After a few days, I felt better. After five weeks, I felt better than I had in years.”

Loving life again

Bob says he was impressed not only with his treatment, but also with the care and attention he and his family received from nurses and other hospital staff.

“My recovery room experience was wonderful,” he says. “Everyone went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable. My wife, daughter and grandkids were all welcomed in the room. I just couldn’t have been happier.”

Bob has since had two additional surgeries at Leonard Morse Hospital to treat a torn ligament and carpal tunnel, both of which, he says, were positive experiences. He’s now back to enjoying antique dealing with his wife and another beautiful, pain-free summer.