Pain makes way for a painting passion
October 10, 2022
A few of Pam Heath’s greatest joys in life come from tending her menagerie of backyard plants and painting beautiful western and horse scenes. “I started drawing horses when I was a little girl; they were the first thing I drew. I love horses,” Pam said.
So, when those activities became painful and she began noticing popping and grinding in her shoulder while repositioning planters, her passion for painting unfortunately had to be put on hold.
After physical therapy couldn’t resolve her issues, in 2018 Pam underwent reverse total shoulder replacement with Robert Schwartz, MD, Board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon. The reshaping procedure relies on the patient’s deltoid muscle, instead of their rotator cuff, to power and position their arm.
A combination of the surgery and Pam’s determination with her recovery exercises means she has since enjoyed a full range of motion with her right arm, despite missing several muscles. When asked today if there’s anything she can’t do, the 80-year-old is proudly quick to flex, reach her arm around her back and imitate a forehand tennis swing.
Forever grateful for the work of Dr. Schwartz and the quality care she received at Memorial, Pam painted a horse on a tile as a gift for the surgeon, Physician Assistant Michael Evett and the rest of the team. She wanted to provide Dr. Schwartz with a tangible example of an outcome and the lasting impact of a successful procedure. “And this has a had a great impact on my life. It has allowed me to paint again,” she said.
That artwork is still proudly displayed in the hallways of Dr. Schwartz’s clinic, Memorial Bone + Joint Center.
As we head into October’s observance of Bone and Joint Health Awareness Month, Pam encourages her fellow Southern New Mexicans to think about what they can do to improve their mobility and abilities to pursue their passions. Should that involve a surgical procedure, Pam encourages people to look to Memorial to receive the quality care that she did.
If you are looking for relief from joint pain, answer a few questions to see if you should speak with a provider about finding the right treatment. You can also request an appointment by calling 800.424.DOCS or visiting mmclc.org/schedule.