Smyrna, TN — When the institute opened its doors a couple years ago, the goal was to create a program where the focus was on achieving results by creating a positive and educational environment different from anywhere else.
In fact, the environment felt much more like home to Derry Lomax, a sergeant of the U.S. Army who experienced the program first hand last year. Lorax now enjoys a life free of nerve pain and filled with mobility and productivity.
It all started when he met Dr. James Fish, D.O. orthopedic spine surgeon at TriStar StoneCrest after a referral from the American Family Doctors. Coincidentally, he and his wife’s children had both been more at StoneCrest — and both were very positive experiences. Upon meeting Dr. Fish he knew he was in the right place.
“I knew I was in good hands,” said Lorax, who was experiencing severe nerve pain as a result of long-term stress on his back brought on by three deployments overseas. “We tried a lot of things before we knew I needed surgery. We tried the cortisone shot, which did absolutely nothing. We had tried physical therapy and that didn’t work. I heard about Dr. Fish all the way in Murfreesboro and everyone just said, ‘You’re in good hands.’ He took his time with me and it was clear to me he was honest and knew what he was doing.”
Ultimately, the spine surgery was needed, but Lorax said the faith and trust he’d developed in Dr. Fish and the staff made the experience positive from day one.
His life has changed dramatically since his surgery.
“I don’t have nerve pain is the biggest thing that has changed,” he said. “If you’ve ever been tased with a taser gun that is how nerve pain feels. I don’t have that anymore. My mobility is also much better. I have to stay active and work out because of my military duty, and I’m now able to do that.”
Lorax said leading up to the surgery he worried about paralysis. “Going into surgery is scary for anybody,” he said. “You’re being put to sleep and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a comfortable process.”
He admitted he had researched back surgery online and had even watched videos on YouTube.
“Being a soldier we cope with things a little differently,” he said. “You learn to just deal with being scared. I know most people wouldn’t watch that type of video but I wanted to see.”
It was pretty scary, he admitted, even for a soldier. Dr. Fish and the staff at StoneCrest settled his fears from the beginning until the end through their seamless and coordinated care. Lorax said his appreciation for his experience also comes from him seeing other places in the country and world where the attention to quality and detail in healthcare is not the case.
Details include: Fellowship-trained spine surgeons, dedicated staff, equipment, and a deliberate design to encourage healing and support from fellow patients (for example, walking from patient room to snack or activity area is both physical therapy by walking down the hall and support from fellow spine surgery patients who may be in the same common area. It is an environment, like Lorax said, that felt more like home than a hospital.
“I’ve seen other places where they don’t stress the importance of the details,” he said. “It’s the opposite at StoneCrest, and that’s what I appreciated about them so much … Good healthcare means a lot to me. I have a friend of mine right now who has been having back issues and I’ve already recommend Dr. Fish to him, as well as several other men I know from the Army.”
Not only did Lorax receive the desired outcome from the surgery, but he said he’s pain free, active, and perhaps healthier than he’s ever been, thanks to Dr. Fish and his supporting team at TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center.