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Jim Houser: Ultrasound-guided Cortisone Injections Patient Story

Going the Extra Miles for Personalized Care

Jim Houser | UPMCRetired and now living in Palmyra, Jim Houser still makes the 70-mile drive to Muncy several times a year to see Edward Gusick, DO. The two men have a great relationship, says Jim.

“I trust him and I like him.”

Muncy once was “home” for Jim and Rebecca Houser. It’s where they lived, worked, and raised their family. But after retiring, the couple decided to move to an independent living community in Palmyra, about 90 miles away. With such deep roots in Lycoming County, leaving Muncy in late 2019 was difficult.

”But we wanted to be closer to our grandchildren while they were still young and wanted to spend time with us,” says Jim with a chuckle. “We moved to Palmyra just before COVID closed everything down.”

Despite the pandemic, the couple did manage weekly, socially-distanced outings with their grandchildren. And they made sure to transition their health care to UPMC providers in the Palmyra area — with one exception: Jim makes the 2-hour drive back to Muncy a few times each year to see Edward Gusick, DO, a UPMC sports medicine specialist in Williamsport.

”I’m old fashioned in the sense that I want a doctor who knows me and cares about me. And Dr. Gusick models all of those characteristics,” says Jim. For Dr. Gusick, patient care is always personal. “I think it’s important to learn about who they are and what’s important to them,” says Dr. Gusick. “When a patient comes to see me, our visit is all about them. Getting to know them, giving them options, and including them in care decisions builds trust and confidence.”

For most of his life, Jim was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting, hiking, and kayaking.

“Our home in Muncy was about 20 minutes away from my hunting club,” he says.

But in 2017, a painful hip limited what he could do physically. Jim knew it was time to see to a doctor.

After their first meeting, Jim knew Dr. Gusick was “the ideal doctor for me. We have a lot in common. He’s a down-to-earth guy and he has a genuine interest in caring for me.”

After diagnosing osteoarthritis in both hips, Dr. Gusick suggested several treatment options. Jim was eager to get back to work — he’d taken a post-retirement job to get health insurance — and determined to avoid surgery. So he chose to have periodic ultrasound-guided cortisone injections to relieve the pain. With ultrasound, Dr. Gusick can “see” the target area in real time and deliver the medicine with pinpoint accuracy.

“It’s pretty painless, and gives me the relief I need,” says Jim.

Dr. Gusick says the two have a warm relationship that’s built on trust.

“I’m humbled and honored that Jim has such confidence in my abilities that he’s willing to make this trip,” he says.

Jim says he also appreciates the support he gets from Dr. Gusick’s staff.

“They are kind, helpful, and personable. I call Dr. Gusick on an as-needed basis — before the pain gets too bad — and I like that that they’re always able to schedule me quickly.”

And Jim doesn’t mind the 90-mile drive back to Muncy at all.

“It’s well worth it to me because I know that I’m getting the best treatment,” he says.

The comprehensive orthopaedic care at UPMC in north central Pa. covers sprains and complex fractures to sports injuries and total joint replacement. If lingering joint pain is keeping you from doing the things you love, visit UPMC.com/SportsMedicineNCPA.