Mako technology champion, Robert Waestman, wanted best technology, best doctors, for best outcomes • Long Beach Post

Robert Waestman, 85, has accomplished many things in life – he is an attorney, a successful businessman, sits on multiple boards and has gotten his fair share of birdies on the golf course. But that all pales in comparison to that of his most important role in life: grandpa.


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Robert is grandpa to both Jack and Noah Furlow, 11 year-old-twin boys, who were born at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. He didn’t earn his “grandpa” title lightly either, his daughter struggled to get pregnant. When it finally happened, his grandsons ended up spending a few months in the NICU after they were born.

Robert was determined that he would do everything in his power to be in his grandsons’ lives for as long as possible. This is why when Robert had debilitating knee pain he sought the help he needed when it started affecting his quality of life.

“It got to the point where I struggled with the pain, it hurt when I moved my leg, but I told myself to just get over it,” said Robert. “But next, it was hard to drive my car, or I couldn’t play golf. But once it started impacting watching my grandsons play Friday Night Lights flag football, I knew I needed to get help.”

Robert had received his first knee surgery in 2002, when the technology wasn’t as advanced. He had more pain, the recovery was long, and he had to have a therapist in his home. When he experienced pain again in April 2018 his orthopedist referred him to Andrew Wassef, MD, medical director, MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center, Long Beach Medical Center.

Dr. Wassef determined he would need a revision of the left knee; and then a total Mako hip replacement of his left hip. Dr. Wassef talked to Robert about the benefits of Mako technology, a robotic-arm surgeon assisted technology that brings a new level of precision to his patients. Mako technology provides a 3-D model of each individual’s unique anatomy to assist him in pre-planning and precise placement of knee and hip implants.

“I had read about it [Mako technology],” said Robert. “I knew I wanted the best technology, with the best doctors, so I could have the best outcomes. I wanted to get back to my life and grandsons as quickly as possible.”

Mako technology is offered for partial knee resurfacing, total knee and total hip replacements. Because he chose Mako, Robert reduced his chance of incidence dislocations and ensured accurate leg length. In addition, Robert was able to walk the next day after his surgery and was home just one day after that. His recovery was much easier than in 2002.

Robert can’t say enough about the thorough education that the joint care coordinator and the pre-op class did to prepare him for surgery. Robert felt like he had more experience than some of the other patients around him, but he said the class always made them feel very relieved.

“The class and the guidebook, help take away the unknown,” says Robert. “You could tell that some people at the beginning of the class didn’t know what to expect, and they seemed relieved after.”

The education also put his wife, Jan’s mind at ease, since she served as his coach. The MemorialCare Joint Replacement Program at Long Beach Medical Center allows you to select a coach to help you learn, hear and support you throughout your hip or knee replacement journey.

Today, Robert is walking without a cane and can get up the stairs in his house without pain. He also was able to get back into his lower sports car and has a family Alaskan cruise planned. He hasn’t quite made it back to his golf game, but he knows he will get there in time. And as for his grandsons, well after his surgeries the boys now call him, ‘Cyborg without the weapons’ – since he can move around so quickly.

“In my lifetime and career, I’ve been called a lot of things,” says Robert with a sheepish grin. “But that is definitely my favorite.”

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