One day in mid-August, Pauline Gausman was working out and felt her left knee pop. The pain that followed gave her mobility problems, especially when she would walk up and down stairs. She knew something had to be done, so she called Dr. Ted Eshbach, an orthopaedic surgeon at Elk Regional.
“I’m not the type of person that runs to the doctor for every little thing,” Ms. Gausman said. “I’m more likely to wait and see if an injury gets better on its own. I’m one of those people that would rather take care of other people than have other people take care of me. I’m always last on my own list. But I’ve known Dr. Eshbach for a long time. Our children were in high school together; so I knew him and felt comfortable with him.”
During an appointment at the end of August, Dr. Eshbach ordered x-rays and an MRI of Ms. Gausman’s knee. At a follow up appointment the next week, he told her that she had three options – give the injury some time to heal, have a steroid injection in her knee, or undergo surgery.
“He told me that he felt surgery was the best option,” Ms. Gausman said. “And at that point, I knew I had to have surgery. My injury had become a quality of life issue. I couldn’t walk up the stairs anymore or do the things I had normally done. It was time.”
Ms. Gausman underwent surgery for the repair of her meniscus, a small “C” shaped piece of cartilage that acts as a cushion inside the knee joint. Ms. Gausman needed surgery on her lateral meniscus, which is on the outside of the knee, and her medial meniscus, which is on the inside of the knee.
Dr. Eshbach performed the surgery arthroscopically in the surgical suite at Elk Regional. Ms. Gausman was only off work for a week.
Ms. Gausman had specific reasons for choosing a local doctor.
“Over the years, I’ve heard about people going to see him for an initial visit, getting an MRI, and then going outside of the community for their surgery,” Ms. Gausman said. “I wanted to show people that we have a good hospital here. We have excellent doctors who can do these surgeries right here at home. These specialists can do the same things as the specialists in State College, Pittsburgh and Erie. There is no reason to travel away from home.
“I wasn’t honestly that nervous. I’ve known Dr. Eshbach for a long time and I know he’s a good doctor. This was an easy choice for me – I knew exactly who I’d go to for the surgery and where it would be done. I have the utmost faith in him and was satisfied with how the surgery turned out. My knee will never be 100 percent again, but thanks to Dr. Eshbach, it’s as good as it could be. Everything worked out perfectly.”