Professor Chilson

Dr. Rigamonti –

As a marathon runner who had the unfortunate experience of a skull fracture resulting in an eventual shunt, it was paramount to me to find the “best guy” around.  I had three opinions, from the west coast to the east coast however, when I first met with Dr. Rigamonti, it became obvious to me that Dr. Rigamonti was “the guy.”   Being a university professor, I have a tendency to look “behind the scenes” regarding expertise, continuing education/research and of course experience.

I had been familiar with Johns Hopkins, but it seemed exclusive and mysterious to me.  My neighbor, a nurse anesthetist at Johns Hopkins, suggested I speak with the neurology department; specifically Dr. Rigamonti.  I sent a rather lengthy email regarding my dilemma; full of non-medical and unprofessional questions and concerns: “Do I need a shunt….can’t you just drain the excess fluid….will I be able to run marathons again…”    Within 24 hours, I had a phone call and an email from Dr. Rigamonti, “Professor Chilson, I would be happy to meet with you.”

Throughout our many face-to-face meetings, a spinal tap, and now a ventricular peritoneal shunt, Dr. Rigamonti has been the consummate professional and the ever-patient physician as I continue to hound him with expectations and questions.  Not one question or email has ever gone unanswered or unacknowledged.

One need only look at his on-line resume to corroborate that he takes his profession and subsequent responsibilities very seriously and with a tremendous amount of pride.  And as important, Dr. Rigamonti has a pleasant and humanitarian demeanor when dealing with his patients; especially an anxious, impatient and fearful “professor.”

The day of our first face-to-face meeting, I was driving in from Northern Virginia and had underestimated the traffic and time it would take to make the drive.  To compound the delay, I was stopped by a police officer in downtown Baltimore.  Arriving frazzled and almost an hour late for my MRI, I decided to go straight to Dr. Rigamonti’s office for my appointment, which was to have followed my MRI. Dr. Rigamonti patiently and calmly said, “Go back downstairs and get your MRI; I will wait for you.”

I’m running again, spending time gardening, and continuing my work as a university professor.  It has become very apparent how fortunate I am to have Dr. Rigamonti as my neurosurgeon.

Sidney Richardson

I am a 63 year old poultry and grain farmer.  I always have a physical every year.  When I turned 60 I went to have my physical, I told the doctor I felt like an old man I was suddenly shuffling and walking slower than I used to.  I was also having to go to the bathroom several times a night and had to go a lot during the day.  He sent me for a CT then an MRI.  I had those done and was sent to a neurosurgeon. They could see what looked like more fluid in the ventricles of my brain. This was my first encounter with knowing what Hydrocephalus was.  The suggestion was to go where it was treated more often.  We made an appointment with Dr. Moghekar’s office.  They gave me several test, then we went to John Hopkins for a drainage test.  This test required I be in the hospital for 5 days.  After completing that I felt better, but didn’t see a big improvement in walking.  When I was having these test one of the nurses said I was faster at walking than most patients normally are.  After this the doctors did not think I would improve enough to be satisfied.

In the spring of 2011 is when I started to notice a definite decline in my balance and walking.  By the fall I was starting to fall and needed a cane for balance.  Urinary incontinence and frequency got worse.  Sexual activity was very rare even with the use of medication. 

By the time we were able to schedule an appointment with Dr. Moghekar’s office it was December at which time my condition was quite obvious.  I was scheduled for another drainage test in January. The drainage test was set up differently this time.  More fluid was drained at a time.  I could tell a lot of difference that time. I made an appointment with Dr. Daniele Rigamonti.  Surgery was scheduled for February, by that time I was desperate to have something done. 

Immediately after the surgery I was apprehensive the first couple of days.  My surgery was on a Friday afternoon and on Monday when I was released we stopped for lunch at a restaurant on the way home.  I have felt the best since my surgery than I have in the last 3 years or more. 

My walking improved immediately, I was no longer scuffing and my balance was much better.  I used a walker and then a cane for no more than a week or two. I went to physical therapy to learn to walk again.  My urgency to go to the bathroom has improved and most nights I only get up to go once. It’s much better sleeping now that I don’t have to get up so much. Also my sex life has been improved greatly (no more pills).

It has been 4 months since my surgery. My shunt has been adjusted two times.  Both times only slightly but I have seen improvement each time.  I exercise everyday either on a stationery bike or an elliptical.  I’ve been doing strength exercises as well as I had lost a tremendous amount of muscle. I work every day now.  I’m up early and can work late.

We like to go to the Boardwalk in Ocean City and walk in the off season.  In October of 2011 we decided to go, but I could only make it a few blocks I was stumbling and my balance was off  I had to have help. This spring after surgery I went down to the Ocean City car show.  I walked 20 streets to the downtown parking lot to see the cars and walked 20 streets back with no problem.

My thanks to Dr. Rigamonti.

 

Sidney Richardson

 

Mr Maher

For approximately two years prior to January 2011, I could hardly walk, except for very short distances, otherwise I needed a wheelchair. It started a number of years before that with weakness in my left leg which gradually worsened over a period of several years, and eventually affected both legs. One of the symptoms was walking with a shuffle and dragging my feet. Other symptoms included a worsening of memory, lack of appetite, excessive sleeping, feeling cold, soft gravely voice, poor handwriting, and urinary and occasional bowel incontinence, which at the time I believed was unrelated to the leg problem.