Quad Cities, IL/IA

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A Revenant Experience


By Jeffrey Bassman, MD, Center for Headaches, Sleep and TMJ Disorders

What is the definition of revenant, made famous by the name of the Oscar nominated movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, THE REVENANT? Revenant means: “Anyone who comes back after being gone for a long time…”

I am writing this article to explain my own PERSONAL REVENANT experience and to praise the strength, willpower, and persistence that can become ingrained in anyone who has been running and into fitness for a short time or decades.  I have been running since 1972 (44+ years,) have run 30 marathons, one 50 mile ultra-marathon, one Boston Marathon, and tons of Bix 7’s, miles, and races throughout the years. I have been and am the Volunteer Chairman for the BIX 7 for 35 years and was on the board of the Cornbelt Running Club years ago. As you can tell, I am and have been quite invested in running and the running community for years. I am almost 65 years old (Medicare…UGH), and up until the fateful day, October 5th, 2015, was still running twice a day outside, no matter what the weather, temperatures, or conditions. On that day, I was running as I always do over my lunch hour, in my neighborhood, and was running downhill near the Lutheran Towers in Davenport. A car was traveling quite fast out of their parking lot, and to avoid getting hit by the car, I stopped abruptly. What happened next became what could have been my greatest nightmare (which at that time, I seriously believed so). I was not hit by the car, but by stopping so abruptly, I proceeded to tear, not one, but my quad muscles, ligaments, and tendons in both legs. I went down, could notplace any pressure on either leg and crawled to the side of the curb.

A Cornbelt member, Bobbi Dakota (thanks so much Bobbi,) tried to get me in her car, but was not able to. I did finally receive a ride back to my home and waited for my dental assistant, Pam Lewandowski, and receptionist, Dawn Edwards, (my guardian angels) to come take me to the emergency department at Trinity Bettendorf. I ended up having a surgical repair of my left leg the next day, October 6th and the right leg two weeks later, October 20th by Dr. Tuvi Mendel, Jason and their wonderful surgical assistants, nurses and staff with Orthopaedic Specialists. I cannot say enough about Dr. Mendel’s expertise and skills. Unfortunately, based upon the type of injury and repair, I was forced to be bedridden (I had to place a hospital bed in my living room), and was not able to conquer the stairs in my home and had to wear heavy leg braces which kept me from bending either leg. As a super active runner and exercise freak (OK, I have been accused of that and am proud of it—it’s not obsession, just super motivation), bringing my life to a complete halt could have been quite traumatic for me mentally and for those who helped me. I remained quite sane, amazingly, but to go from constant activity to basically none, could have overwhelmed me. I had to construct and remodel my main floor bathroom with a shower, etc. and put a wheelchair ramp outside my home, thanks to Jake Hayward and Brion Hosch, couldn’t drive, and had to be slid into the back of cars to be transported. Thank goodness for upper body strength! I was not allowed to get out of bed, and became less independent and more demanding. I could have just felt sorry for myself and let the recovery process slowly take it’s course. But my Inner Runner would not allow that to happen! I started physical therapy 2 weeks later with Plaza Physical Therapy, under the guidance of Kevin Swanson, Tim Block, and all their wonderful staff, and received constant support and motivation from my office staff, Dr. Matt Anderson/staff/family, Pam Mally/family, Dr. JD Moon/family, Home Helpers, Missy Andrews, Melissa Blough, all my running/Bix 7/Cornbelt Running Club friends and countless others.

The time frame for recovery was expressed, but being fit already and applying my runner’s mental toughness and drive, I have managed a faster than normal recovery, to the surprise of many (no, not quite running yet). Adhering to a rigorous physical therapy program at PT and at home, I quickly managed progressing from a wheel chair, to a walker, to a cane, and now am becoming quite stable and moving well. The moral of this story is that like the song The Boxer, by Simon and Garfunkel, the boxer was finished, but the fighter still remained. The runner in me was placed on hold, but the fighter within me remains and I treat my rehab like training for a race. Persistence, commitment, and presence of mind have taught me valuable lessons in life. My PR, my Personal Reverent experience, has allowed me to “come back!” My years of running, which toughened me both mentally and physically, have allowed me to do so.

Dr. Jeffrey Bassman has been practicing dentistry in the Quad Cities since 1977, and TMJ and dental sleep medicine since 1985. He limits his practice to only these two specialties. For more information or a FREE consultation, please contact Dr. Bassman at: 563-391-1525, email: jbassmantmj@earthlink.net or website: www.jbassmantmj.com.

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