Recovery stemmed from joint effort

Craig & Erika, ortho patients, Delray Medical Center

When Craig Sachs was first introduced to his wife Erika Munante in 2010, the pair had an undeniable connection. They had both been living on the beautiful island of Bermuda for a few years after moving from Delray Beach and Peru, respectively. Despite not being able to speak the same language, they didn’t let that stop them from finding happiness together. The couple communicated through a computer translation program, while Craig worked on teaching Erika English. 

“Before we went to bed every night, I would have her read a first grade reading book,” Craig says. “That’s how she learned to speak English.” 

After two years of marriage, everything seemed to be going wonderfully, until both of them began suffering from orthopaedic problems. First, Craig started noticing something was wrong with his arm. Whenever he extended it, he would hear a clicking sound, followed by pain for about five to ten minutes. 

He went to a doctor he was friends with on the island who said he probably had a foreign body inside his elbow joint. Sure enough, after a CAT scan, the doctor discovered two to three calcified particles in Craig’s elbow joint. He recommended surgery as the best course of action and referred him to an orthopaedic surgeon on the medical staff at Delray Medical Center. Dr. Steve Meadows subspecializes in shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand problems.

Craig used to work at Delray Medical Center part-time for nearly two years as a transporter in radiology, so he was familiar with the hospital and knew the kind the high quality care he would receive there. Together, he and Erika made the journey from Bermuda to Delray Beach.

“Dr. Meadows found four to five calcified parts of the bone, even more than the X-ray initially showed,” Craig recalls. “I had the surgery, which was pretty routine, and was in and out of the hospital that same day.”

It’s been almost two years since the procedure and Craig is now pain-free. 

“My elbow feels great,” he says. “I can move it any way without clicking or pain. I just started playing tennis again.”

Shortly after Craig’s surgery, Erika developed a bad case of arthritis between two bones in her foot. She endured the pain for about a year, but it eventually felt so excruciating to the point where she had to go to the emergency room every other week. Erika decided she couldn’t avoid surgery any longer. There were no specialists in Bermuda, so the couple returned to Delray Medical Center to see Dr. Brian E. Coleman, an orthopaedic surgeon on the hospital’s medical staff with experience in foot and ankle surgery. 

Dr. Coleman performed a procedure on Erika’s foot called arthrodesis that involved fusing the two bones into one, thereby eliminating the joint itself.

The surgery went well, and Erika was discharged the following day. 

“I was treated like a queen,” says Erika. “Tenet International even arranged for transportation to take us back to the airport. When I got home, the International team and the staff at Delray called to see if I needed anything. It was a very positive experience.”

Dr. Coleman told Erika that it takes about six months to a year to fully recover from the type of surgery she had, so she knew she had a long road ahead of her. It took her about three months before she was able to walk again with the assistance of a walker and a boot. 

Only five months after the surgery, Erika says she is still healing, but her life is pretty much back to normal. 

“I’m able to dance again, something I’ve always enjoyed doing,” she says. “I can’t wear high heels yet, but I will.” 

She and Craig also enjoy walking on the beach together and exploring all the beauty that Bermuda has to offer.

“I just want to thank everyone again for taking such great care of us,” Erika says. “Whatever we needed, the physicians and staff at Tenet and Delray Medical Center were always there for us.”