IU Health Bedford Hospital

Pivotal Play: Bedford Basketball Coach Makes Right Call

Patient Story

Robert “Jeffrey” Allen loves to watch “his kids” compete. It takes him back to the days when he would run the court with fellow Blue Demons at DePaul University, playing for renowned head coach Ray Meyer.

DePaul went 26-2 during the 1981-82 basketball season, Allen’s first year at the popular Chicago university. “Those were some of our winningest years,” says Allen, who now serves as Bedford North Lawrence High School varsity girls’ basketball head coach.

Since his college years, he has been dedicated to going to the gym to lift weights, cross train and practice martial arts. As a lifelong athlete, Allen, now 55, never thought he would have a day when performing a simple task was a major feat.

But that day came.

“The pain level went from an occasional pain to a constant pain, and some days were better than others,” says Allen, who had total hip replacement surgery in August 2016 with IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians. He saw the signs develop gradually over time but put off the inevitable for two years before agreeing to surgery.

“Before surgery, I had trouble with workouts and doing regular, everyday tasks around the house,” Allen says. “Just walking some days was a chore because I was in so much pain. My quality of life was not the same. I’d always been an active person and couldn’t do the things I wanted to do.”

Allen says the pain became so much to bear that it started affecting his overall attitude and outlook on life.

“When you don’t feel good, it affects your attitude,” says Allen, father of four and husband to Linda for 29 years. “I’m so busy with where I’m at in my life that everything was a struggle for me.”

When it came to choosing the physician qualified to do the job, Jeff turned to the provider he knew and trusted most – Bloomington orthopedic surgeon Jonathan Surdam, MD.

“I’ve known him for a long time,” says Allen of Surdam, who performed total joint replacement surgery on Jeff’s parents years before. “His bedside manner is first class. I trust his judgment, and he’s always been straight forward.”

Surdam was straight with Jeff when he told him years before that hip replacement was in his future. “I told him I was too young,” Allen explains. “He said to let him know when I was ready.”

Allen did just that.

“When Jeff came to see me, he had a moderately degenerative hip,” says Surdam, who is board certified in orthopedic surgery and fellowship trained in joint replacement. During that visit, Surdam and Allen talked about the primary indicators for surgery, such as a reduction in quality of life and night pain that prevents a good night’s sleep.

“It was affecting his coaching and his ability to travel to see his kids play sports,” Surdam says. “He was ready for surgery.”

Because of the partnership between IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians and IU Health Bloomington Hospital, Allen had an unmatched level of care and accelerated rehabilitation program. He rebounded from surgery rather quickly.

“Jeff stayed overnight, went home the next morning and participated in outpatient physical therapy,” Surdam says, explaining that people who are otherwise healthy can be good candidates for joint replacement
surgery on an outpatient basis.

Allen was back to work as chief financial officer for In-Fab, a metal fabrication company in Bedford, within one week of his surgery. He used a walker and a cane for a few weeks before regaining his normal range of motion.

“I can’t believe how easy the whole process was, both from the surgery to the pain level to the rehab,” Jeff says. “I’m an athlete and I know how to train hard, but to be pain free and have such an easy process was something I didn’t expect. I was amazed that I thought about waiting."

Featured IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians provider seeing patients for orthopedic issues and total joint replacement.
Jonathan Surdam, MD
812.353.DOCS (3627)

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