FARIBAULT, Minn. —The physical demands of being a product engineer might seem less than some other professions but in some cases, engineers spend all day on their feet, commonly walking a 5K or much farther during one shift. Unfortunately, engineers usually aren't provided with masseuses or yoga instructors, so pounding the pavement for 50 hours per week adds up to serious stress on the joints over time.
Robert Bishop, 64, is a product engineer in Faribault. He knows firsthand the damage extended daily walking at work can do. Bishop has worked as an engineer across the country, and the daily treks to check different workstations across the plant started catching up with him in spring 2018.
"I usually walk 2 to 4 miles per day at my job," says Bishop. "I started to have some joint pain, and I just thought something was out of place. But when I went to the chiropractor, he told me I might have something going on with my hip."
Bishop saw Travis Roethler, a physician assistant at Mayo Clinic Health System in Faribault, who recommended an X-ray and pointed out that both Bishop's hips were in bad shape, with the right being the worst. Roethler referred Bishop to John Sauer, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon, who told Bishop that if he got to the point when conservative care, medications and injections were not working anymore to alleviate the pain, he should come in to discuss surgery.
"In the meantime, lots of people were telling me about their orthopedic surgeries and saying they wish they had done it sooner," Bishop explains.
After the diagnosis, he traveled to Sitka, Alaska, to visit his sister. Although he received a cortisone shot in his hip before the trip, he says it didn't help. And he couldn't do the things he wanted, such as hike or fish. "I was walking with a limp," he says. "And walking like that started blowing out my knee, as well."
Bishop and his family took another trip over the holidays to visit his children in Virginia. Once again, his lack of mobility kept him from doing the things he enjoys. He loves skiing, but he was unable to do it on that trip. "When we came back from vacation, I made the decision to have the surgery," he says.
Never look back
After dealing with joint complications for nearly a year, on Feb. 6, Bishop underwent a total replacement of his right hip, and the ball-and-socket joint of his femur and pelvis were replaced with prosthetic implants. He quickly began the road back to mobility.
"The surgery went fine, and the providers were wonderful," he says. "The care team had me up and walking the afternoon of the surgery, and I was discharged around noon the next day. I used a walker for one day, a cane for several days, and I was shoveling snow a few days after that."
Bishop says the most trouble he had during recovery was putting on his socks and shoes, as Dr. Sauer had warned him about bending certain ways and popping out the new hip joint. Not only are things back to normal now, it's almost as if he never had joint problems at all.
"During recovery, I went to physical therapy a few times and exercised at the recreation center where my wife works," he says. "I was back to work on March 4, and it's like the joint problems and surgery never happened."
Although Bishop was prescribed exercises to complete after surgery, he says he moves around so much for work that he gets plenty of exercise.
Now that the surgery is over and done with?
"I will go back to enjoying walking the dogs, riding my bike. And this coming winter, I will be doing cross-country and downhill skiing."
Press ContactKristy Jacobson