By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: September 2011
Tony Jacklyn, 94, practices his golf swing weeks after a minimally invasive alternative to back surgery was performed by Dr. Webb.
While most people in February couldn’t shift their focus from ice and snow, Tony Jacklyn was sharply focused on his golf game. He wasn’t playing at that time, but he was preparing to play by undergoing a new medical procedure for his bad back.
It all began in January of 1936. On that bitter cold day, 18-year-old Tony was working at a hotel in Indianapolis. He was talking with the hotel clerk when he heard the elevator coming. Tony backed into it while still talking, but the elevator was gone! His extra-heavy overcoat and hat probably saved his life when he landed at the bottom of the shaft. But the pain from his spinal injury has been a constant presence throughout his 94 years.
At the time of the accident, not much could be done for a fractured vertebra. Rest and pain medication was the medical protocol. Military service was out of the question, and Tony’s education in automotive engineering at Purdue was delayed for two years.
A long career in Washington, D.C. placed Tony among top government officials, including a Touchdown Club roast for then-President Harry Truman. In 1973, he chose the Tulsa area to relocate. “I came here to play golf – Tulsa has more good golf courses than any other city in the world.”
Tony recalls every detail of one fateful summer day in 1975. His back hadn’t really bothered him much; he could play all the golf he wanted. Then on the fifth hole, he had to ask his partner to pick up the ball. The pain in his back wouldn’t allow him to bend over. From then on, it was more and more medications and numerous chiropractic adjustments. They all helped for a little while, but not nearly long enough.
It was his passion for playing golf that finally brought Tony together with Dr. James Webb. Fast forward the calendar to 2010, when he read an article about the minimally invasive spinal procedures that Dr. Webb was offering as an alternative to conventional back surgery. Tony liked the fact that Dr. Webb is a fellowship-trained spine fracture specialist who holds the honor of being the only pain physician in Tulsa that is board certified to read imaging studies.
“I figured if Dr. Webb can see to it that injured TU football players get back in next week’s game,” explains Tony, “maybe he could get me back to playing golf the way I wanted.”
A consultation, exam and two extensive MRIs all cleared the way for Tony’s procedure on February 16, 2011. The endoscopic outpatient surgery involved two small incisions, where a gel-like substance was injected into his spine. When the substance hardens, it provides a solid form that melds the fracture. The procedure was done within minutes and Tony was on his way home.
After a few days of taking it easy, a golf club was all he could think of. In only a couple of weeks, Tony was driving himself to practice every Thursday. He wanted to be on his “A” game for when he competed in his favorite charity golf tournament in the spring.
So how does Tony feel now? “Good – real good. And I have Dr. Webb to thank.”
Other people who are dealing with pain but want an alternative to back surgery may also find relief and improve their quality of life by calling Dr. Webb. Timely attention to patients – appointments are promptly scheduled – is one of the hallmarks of his practice.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.