September 1, 2012
“I am writing this to let people know how my situation is progressing. I had surgery done at the University of Utah by a first rate surgeon on May 18th. This is the same date that Mount St. Helens erupted thirty two years ago which I felt would happen to me if I didn’t do something about the pain in my hip. I can now say that the surgery was a success. Most of the necessary damage, where they dislocate your hip and cut the head of your femur off to replace it with a ceramic one not to mention how they modify the pelvis to attach the nylon cup, is now mending very well. The biggest challenge to date is to not re-dislocate the hip since the ligaments and tendons have been stretched and they are what holds the whole program together.
I have been diligently going through my rehab exercises and I recently saw my surgeon for a follow up exam August 9th. He took X rays and was very pleased with his work as well as myself. He told me that I am cleared to start training within reason but that it takes 6 months to a year for all the soft tissue to fully heal. Naturally I have already experienced a couple of minor tendon strains in my knee. I am still working on trying to be reasonable. I tend to push it, when a reasonable person would listen to their body. My healing however is progressing very well and I have been swimming, biking, and even a little hiking.
It feels as though I have been in yet another storm of a life time but it looks like the weather is clearing and I will be able to get the expedition moving in the right direction again. I truly appreciate all the help and support. I am working hard to make a full recovery to get back to the mountains.”
First and foremost, many thanks to those who have offered, contributed, and/or donated to the Robert Link Trust already. The last few weeks have been somewhat of a rollercoaster or as Robert put it, “It seems to me like the world started spinning faster.” Robert’s hip was getting progressively worse by the day, so some friends got together and decided to try to change this path, creating the Robert Link Trust. Then, in mid-April, Robert and his family moved to a new location in Bend, Oregon and on May 7, his mother, Jane Elizabeth Link, passed away.
The SlingFund fundraising email blast went out and Robert’s friends and family quickly rose to the occasion. Generous offers and donations, small and large, started coming in. Coincidentally during this time, John Cumming, a very close friend of Robert’s, contacted him on a whim while flying over Rainier to see how he was doing. Robert and John had guided together on Rainier for many years. Robert told him about his hip and “(John Cumming) invited me to come to Utah where he lives and to see an orthopedic surgeon from the University of Utah where I could get cutting edge surgery on my hip. Due to the early positive response from the donations to SlingFund I took him up on the offer.”
Robert made travel plans to see Dr. Pelt and then fly to Bozeman to visit family and attend his mother’s service. “I expected to be assessed by the doctor and then get an appointment for surgery in the next couple of months due to his extremely busy schedule.” While at the assessment Robert was informed that there had been a cancelation for surgery the following week and was asked if he would like to fill the spot. Robert noted, “I must admit it put me in tears, the reality of everything washed over me, there was a light at the end of the tunnel and it was no longer an oncoming train.” When Robert flew to Bozeman for his mother’s service, his brother in-law Jim noted (regarding his good fortune with the doctor) that his mom “must have gotten upstairs and started kicking ass.”
Robert was scheduled to be the first surgery of the day. “They gave me something to relax me at 6:30 a.m. in my room. I dozed off what I thought was for a few moments. I woke up and said this doesn’t look like the operating room and the nurse informed me that no it wasn’t and I was in the recovery room the operation was done. All I could say was WOW.” He was also told that his hip had deteriorated where bone had ground on bone, so much so that they had to add an inch of length to his leg when they put the hip in.
Robert stated, “In my opinion the University of Utah Hospital is first rate. They had me up and taking a short chaperoned walk five hours after the procedure. Their staff is very upbeat and knowledgeable, but not aloof. Their fine work has really helped me with the progress in my recovery. Now the real work begins for me. I need to work hard on the rehab and training but not overdo it and make a mistake. I feel very fortunate to have all the support I have received and I want to make this right (and) pay it forward. The funds are all going towards the expenses related to this event. My goal is to support my family and rehabilitate myself to get back in to top guide shape in the next six to eight months. This will allow me to return to the mountains that I know and love.”
We really need to continue this fundraising process and reach our $30,000 goal and hopefully beyond because getting the surgery was just the beginning. There are still months and months of physical therapy treatment and future medical visits, as well as the continued growing pile of medical bills, but we are off to a great start. Robert has already begun the physical therapy process and is at home in Bend, rehabilitating at a local facility. If you have not donated yet, please think about doing so now. We could really use your help. The response so far has been truly inspirational. Thanks to everyone for your time, energy, consideration and generous contributions. Please help continue the momentum through your offers and donations and by spreading the word of this fundraising effort.
The SlingFin Crew
“Thank you so much for helping my brother.”
“More than happy to help out my long time friend. He deserves it and has earned it.”
“I understand that many athletes like Robert have been able to resume their careers after this surgery. Tell him I love him (but tell him not to get mushy on me) and my best wishes are with him.”
“Good Luck + Get Well Soon!”
“Check’s in the mail. Give my regards to Robert, and let him know that he’s always welcome if he finds himself near Boston.”
“Knowing Robert, he will recover in no time, so, to all of those summits around the world, be ready because he is coming back !!”
“Get Robert back on the mountain getting more climbers to the summits.”
“Go for it Robert!”
“Hope you are well soon.”
“My thoughts are with you and hoping to join you again for a great adventure somewhere. You have many people who love you!”
“We need you back on your feet! Speedy recovery”
“My best to you as you get this done with the same battle attitude that got you up so many great peaks. I look forward to having a beer with you. Take care”
“Best of luck and fortitude in your recovery Robo. Thanks for your inspiration over the years.”
“Hope your surgery goes well and you can get back on the mountains.”
“Keep on climbing. Thanks for everything. I am assuming this is all going to pay off a massive bar tab, so have one for me.”
“He was an amazing mentor on some of my first climbs as a guide. Hope he heals well!”
The “Nocoats” are thinking about you. Good Luck on your recovery. Hope to join you on another adventure!!
So happy you were finally able to get your hip replacement! Look forward to more “Robo tales” in the future. We would love to see you in the Adirondacks! 🙂
Just heard about the fund and will send $$ asap. Forget the climbing with you, I had plenty already … how much for a day at The Bird with Me and P. Whitaker? I figured we could rent a dump at the bottom of the Canyon again and pretend that you two are still on Snow Safety – you in?