West Linn teachers return from surgeries; recoveries are reassuring

Rumors were spread around about three WL teachers who received surgeries. Truth is: they did. Ward Lewis, Monica Emerick and Sue Raivio were all hospitalized to have surgeries performed.

Ward Lewis, English teacher, had surgery on his knee on Nov. 7, 2011 at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center. He received a full knee replacement. Due to a skiing accident 20 years ago, his doctor told him to try and keep his regular body parts intact as long as possible.

Though Lewis’ surgery was not required immediately, he went ahead and received the surgery in advance. “I waited for the crappiest weather,” Lewis said.  During his hospitalization, he received excellent care and visits from his wife and the pastor of a church.

Lewis was absent for three weeks (including Thanksgiving break) while he was out recovering through physical therapy. Mrs. Druse, a previous English teacher at WL, came in and substituted for Lewis during his two weeks of school absence.

Lewis is back making a fast recovery, trying to return to good shape.

“I’m doing pretty good. It’s been 23 days,” Lewis said. “Although sleeping is tough, I expect to be back to normal by 2012.”

Not only did one English teacher receive surgery, but two. Sue Raivio had her surgery on Nov. 9 at the Oregon Sports Medicine Outpatient Hospital, due to a hole in her meniscus. 

Though she did not stay in the hospital after surgery, her husband was with her during the surgery. Every one of her students came to her house to bring her gifts, including expensive flowers, chocolate, and even a puppy.

Raivio has been making a successful, rapid recovery via physical therapy and working out at home. She is happy with the aftermath of being 85% active—she is able to walk about a mile and a half already.

“I’ll be running a marathon even though I’ve never run in one before,” Raivio said. “This surgery did wonders.”

Though her students went through “serious depression” without their teacher, Raivio is back in the game and catching up with the days she missed.

Monica Emerick, social studies teacher, received her surgery on Nov. 7 at Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital.

A removal of the majority of her interior meniscus was performed, as it had torn along the interior and was flipping into the wrong area inside her knee.  The final tearing happened the week before school started. Surgery was imminent as further waiting would cause more damage.

This surgery was not her first. Emerick had knee surgery seven years ago that involved stitching the same damaged area. The stitch had broken down over time and the remaining area was too damaged  to repair.  

“My initial injury happened over some really bad falls,” Emerick said. “Which is why I now say ‘no’ to kickboxing and soccer.”

Emerick was absent for two weeks, during which Mr. Welch substituted for her classroom. After she had returned, it took her longer to catch up with grading as she assumed she could have started grading by the second day on her return.

“My brain was really slow to get dialed back in,” Emerick said.”My energy levels were a lot lower than I had anticipated.”

Despite the delays, Emerick has been making a good recovery. She has been biking and exercising to rebuild her strength and endurance.