GEORG* EARLEY NEVER THOUGHT GETTING OFF A BACKHOE TO MOVE A “LITTLE
ROCK” IN JANUARY 2017, WOULD CHANGE HIS LIFE.
But for the next year and a half, the 53-year-old heavy equipment operator,
whose trade centered on his health, had back pain so bad, he could barely
sleep or predict when he would go from walking to kneeling in pain.
“My legs would just give out and I would go to my knees – in
the front yard or in the grocery store. It was embarrassing. I looked
like a 90-year-old man,” Georg said. “I would sneeze and sometimes
it felt like I broke my back.”
Hospital visits dulled the pain and got Georg to his feet, but the pain
made it hard to work, sleep, and play. Enjoying life was important to
Georg and his wife Christine. Known for their active life, the two were
nicknamed world travelers by family and friends.
After a visit to Kaweah Delta’s Emergency Department, Georg was referred
to a specialist in Visalia for multiple herniated discs. He had a visit
with neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Liu at Kaweah Delta’s Neurosciences
Center where Dr. Liu suggested spine surgery.
Georg was not quick to bite. He went home and decided to wait a month.
He considered going elsewhere for surgery, Santa Barbara or Stanford,
however, it was Dr. Liu’s talent, knowledge, and expertise –
won Georg over. Dr. Liu is a Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
at the University of Southern California and Director of USC’s Neurorestoration
Center which develops strategies for the restoration of an injured or
diseased nervous system.
“Two weeks later, I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ I thank
God we did,” Georg said.
After surgery, Georg immediately felt a difference.
“When I woke up the first thing I noticed was that I immediately
had sensastion in my foot again and was pain free. It was wonderful,” he said.
That day changed Georg’s life. He returned to work and play. Over
the summer, he and his wife celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary
with a trip to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Georg not only drove the 18-20
hours there, which he could not have done prior to surgery, but he did
a backflip off a boat into the lake. Christine said it wasn’t her
who Georg wanted to kiss after all that.
“He said, ‘If Dr. Liu was here, I would kiss him,” Christine
Georg said he is thankful to Dr. Liu and Kaweah Delta for bringing qualified
neurosurgeons to his own backyard. “We got our life back,”
he said. “It was just a miracle how everything worked out.”
* German spelling of George.