Brian’s Story: “Why Live With Pain if You Don’t Have To?”

During the past year, Dayton-area realtor Brian Sharp suffered such excruciating back pain he found it nearly impossible to work or to pursue his passion for community theater.

“One time I was standing in the basement, and suddenly I lost all feeling in my legs,” he recalled. “I had to crawl up the stairs on my hands and knees.”

Luckily, Sharp found help very close to home. His surgeon performed successful spinal fusion surgery in January at Miami Valley Hospital North, only a few miles from his Butler Township residence. “I love the ease of the facility, and people are so warm and friendly,” Sharp said. “It was a very positive experience.”

The Premier Health spine team wasn’t daunted by Sharp’s complicated medical history, which included four previous back surgeries and a history of strokes and heart issues. “I’m not an easy patient, but I had superb care,” he said. 

Sharp immediately sensed a family atmosphere at the hospital campus when he was greeted by a volunteer he knew from his mother’s past hospitalizations. “It was great to see that familiar face, and she was so helpful,” he said. An added benefit was that the hospital was only a five-minute drive from home for Sharp and his husband, Mark. “That was a tremendous help,” Sharp said.

A pre-operative MRI produced a shock: instead of suffering from spinal stenosis, as his physicians suspected, Sharp recently had broken his back. “I don’t know how it happened,” Sharp said. “With my numb legs, it was almost like I had multiple sclerosis.” He felt reassured by the way the Miami Valley Hospital North staff kept him informed every step of the way, including detailed and safety-focused pre- and post-operative instructions.

After a two-night hospital stay, Sharp was sent home with a brace to stabilize his spine. Nurses and occupational therapists from Fidelity Health Care visited him frequently during his recovery period, checking his wound and wound vacuum device and making sure he was up and moving. His pain level was controlled by a pain ball, a small disposable pump that continuously delivers pain medication near the site of the procedure. “The pain ball was tremendous,” Sharp said. “I felt minimal pain.”

At 57, Sharp now feels better than he has in many years. Only a few months after the surgery, he was back to working full-time as a Berkshire Hathaway real estate agent. He also directed the Dayton Playhouse’s recent production of “Hello, Dolly!”

“The Playhouse has been a piece of my life for many years,” he said. “I have missed the camaraderie so much. Theater people are incredible; they accept you just as you are. We were so excited to be back on that stage and performing for an audience.”

Sharp also felt buoyed by the outpouring of support from friends and family. “My husband put together a food train, and people rallied around me,” he said. “They gave me the time to heal my soul and to heal my spirit.”

;Despite his initial concerns, Sharp is thankful he decided to undergo the spinal fusion surgery. “I feel like my life is completely back to normal,” he said. “Why live with pain if you don’t have to? We have a marvelous pool of professionals in this community at Premier Health who can help you. I can’t say thank you enough to them.”


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