Tom started working in the shop of his father’s business, Tom Ottery Milk Transit, when he was about 14 years old. He always had an interest in how things worked, taking them apart and putting them back together. Being a diesel mechanic quickly became his passion.
“I worked full time in the shop in the summers and on the weekends. It wasn’t long after graduation that I took over running the shop and being responsible for the trucks’ maintenance.”
Over the years working on concrete floors, crawling around under 18 wheelers and long hours on his feet took a toll on his knees. After his 60th birthday the pain was more than he could stand. Never one to slow down he pushed forward right up until the spring of 2017 when Tom decided to go to the Kennedy Center. Dr. McLaughlin showed him the X rays of his knees which showed bone on bone arthritis in both knees. At the time, however, only the right one was giving him extreme pain. In April of 2017, Tom had a total knee replacement at Ascension Mercy Hospital with Dr. McLaughlin.
The challenges of having muscle tone from being in great shape gave him some issues with muscle spasms, but he dedicated himself to the exercises and therapy to be sure it was all worth it. After surgery the right leg was now longer than the left, requiring a lift in his left shoe, but the pain in the left knee became intense. So on September 18th, Tom had a second knee replacement at the Kennedy Center.
“I was so pleased with the first one that there was really no choice in doing the other one. Like the first surgery the spasms have been intense at times and it took a little bit to figure out the right medicines for me to sleep, but with ice, exercises and therapy things are going well.”
“There has been some humor in it all. One night, when I still walked with the walker, I had a simple fix of a truck broke down on the Interstate at 5 in the morning. With the help of my wife as my driver I managed to gather supplies from the shop and go fix the truck. My recovery is interrupted by trucks. Sometimes I can’t help myself and have to get on the creeper and diagnose an issue underneath them. The hardest part for me is missing out on some of the family activities. With five daughters and ten grandchildren there is an endless list of those. Although some couldn’t be helped, missing our granddaughter being crowned homecoming queen was not one of them. My wife drove me and with my cane I proudly was a part of the festivities.”
“I look forward to golfing in the Spring and thanks to Dr. McLaughlin, the staff at Mercy and the amazing therapy I received from Billie Jo at the Sport and Spine clinic I will be ready. A lot of projects went on hold, but without that intense pain anymore I am now back to work part-time in the shop and at home.”