Despite Back Surgery, a Great Patient Experience

A herniated disc won’t stop Elliott Josi

Elliott Josi celebrated Father’s Day 2023 with messages of love and gratitude from his kids. Later that afternoon, he felt an excruciating pain in his back. The 76-year-old tried to address the pain and saw his doctor the next day.

“I have always been very active during my life and enjoy a variety of physical activities, so it was the first time anything like that had ever happened to me,” he said. “After doing some tests, my doctor told me I had a herniated disc.” Elliott Josi standing in front of a mountain

Josi and his doctor initially decided on a conservative care plan to manage the pain and injury. “In addition to physical therapy, I received an epidural injection of steroids, but the pain was persistent,” he said. “I was hoping to avoid surgery, but the conservative option wasn’t going to be enough to relieve my pain.”

Preparing for surgery

Neurosurgeon Rima S. Rindler, MD, met with Josi and began the preparations for his lumbar laminectomy procedure. “Before the laminectomy, I had only ever had my tonsils out and treatment for glaucoma,” said Josi.

“It was a new experience for me at 76 years old to have to prepare for my first major surgery.” Josi arrived at Sierra Medical Center, the region’s newest hospital, and he was immediately greeted by a volunteer. “I was touched that the volunteer reached out to me and was very personable,” he said. “The structure and design of the hospital was very impressive as well.” In the surgical waiting area, Josi met with a staff member who explained what to expect during and after his surgery. “My son and I were well-informed and we also learned about how to care for me once I got home,” said Josi. “They took their time with us, and I felt more at ease heading into the surgery.”

Back to living

Josi’s surgery was a success, he followed his home care plan and continues to progress in his recovery. Three months after surgery, Josi went back to his work as an executive in the technology, banking and consumer products industry. He is walking comfortably and will soon finish physical therapy. He hopes to eventually return to his various hobbies, including skiing, hiking and pickleball. Josi recalls how the staff at SMC made his surgery a positive experience. “I cannot emphasize enough the friendliness and helpfulness of the people I interacted with before, during and after my surgery,” he said. “My son and I spent quite a bit of time with the radiology and nursing teams, and they really stood out to me. They were friendly, professional and efficient, and really set SMC apart from other facilities.”

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