Retired Firefighter’s Orthopedic Care Journey with Dr. Eric Novack
Jim with his wife and daughter, enjoying family time together.
Jim Sebert is a retired firefighter – starting his 38-year career with the Sun City Fire Service as a firefighter and ending it as fire chief. Jim is married and has one daughter. He and his wife enjoy traveling, especially to tropical locations and trying new foods, both locally and during their travels.
Jim initially came to see Eric Novack, MD, board certified orthopedic surgeon over a decade ago for knee pain. “Dr. Novack asked me a lot of questions about my life, including my work, home environment and lifestyle. He really wanted to understand the type of pain I was having and took time with me,” said Jim. He added that he recalled thinking after that first visit, “This doctor really seems to care.”
Dr. Novack recommended starting with conservative treatment for Jim’s knee pain. They did two rounds of steroid injections over a two-year period along with physical therapy to strengthen Jim’s knee. During that time, the injections worked and Jim had little pain. Unfortunately, after about two years, the pain returned.
“I knew it wasn’t a good idea to keep doing the steroid injections indefinitely,” said Jim. “But no one wants surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary.” At this time, Dr. Novack ordered an MRI which indicated enough damage to the knee to consider surgery.
“I trusted Dr. Novack’s recommendation for knee surgery, feeling we’d exhausted the conservative route. And, it was a bit challenging to get my insurance to clear me for surgery – being able to show that we’d tried conservative measures for two years first was important for getting me cleared for surgery with insurance,” said Jim.
Jim had his surgery at Honor Health Deer Valley Hospital and said he had a great experience from check-in to pre-op to post-op. “Dr. Novack came in before surgery and really put me at ease – he has a great bedside manner,” said Jim.
Since it was an outpatient surgery, Jim went home the same day and said he felt very educated and prepared going home by both Dr. Novack and the staff at Honor Health. He took pain medications for three days and didn’t need anything after that besides over-the-counter pain medications.
“For rehab, Dr. Novack knew I lived in a house with three flights of stairs and said that would be the best rehab,” shared Jim. “He was right – I recovered very quicklyl and my knee has been 100 percent ever since.”
A few years later, Jim had some shoulder pain and went through a similar process that he went through with his knee. “We started conservatively and I got some relief. I did end up having shoulder surgery to repair damage to my rotator cuff,” said Jim. “Again, I had a great surgical experience with Dr. Novack and my shoulder has been perfect ever since.”
Family Orthopedic Care
Jim has recommended Dr. Novack and his team to many people, including his own daughter. He was recently with his daughter at her appointment with Dr. Novack and for some reason he asked Dr. Novack for a cardiologist recommendation.
“I had no idea why I thought to ask him that – just an intuition,” Jim said. “Dr. Novack recommended Tri Nguyen, MD.
A few week later Jim experienced chest pain and was rushed to the hospital. Guess who the cardiologist on call was? Dr. Nygun. “I couldn’t believe it,” Jim shared.
Jim had three blocked arteries and required a triple bypass surgery. Dr. Nygun has continued to be his cardiologist and he’s very pleased with his care with him. Jim has made a strong recovery from his heart surgery and is doing well. “I’m almost ready to mow the lawn,” he noted.
The Novack Team
“The entire orthopedic team at Dr. Novack’s office is friendly and professional – from Becky whose been with Dr. Novack for many years to the front office team,” said Jim.
“As a specialist, Dr. Novack is just a rare kind of doctor – I wish every specialist were like him,” noted Jim. He added that “Dr. Novack comes in in cowboy boots, jeans and a dress shirt and sport coat and just immediately puts you at ease and takes away any fear and apprehension – he’s a special guy.”