Adventures in Hip Replacements (the uncut version)


Image above from Creative Commons (open source).

Just when the blog momentum gets going, I have to stop.  Temporarily.

I will soon be getting my hip “fixed.”  Right now, it interferes with almost all activities (sleeping, walking, playing with the dogs, moving stuff, bending over, sitting down, watering plants, picking stuff up from the ground, getting out of bed, re-potting plants, and so forth).  Grrr!!!!

Unfortunately, “the fix” will limit my blogging ability.  I doubt I’ll be able to go outside to take photos for a while.  Not sure how able I’ll be to sit on a low-to-the-ground desk chair and blog.  And of course, this blog is NOT about how to recover from a hip replacement so gardening material will be scarce to none if I can’t garden or putter around outside for a while.

My request to you as I go “off-blog” is: please don’t abandon me as a reader because I fully intend to be back as soon as I’m able.  I love to write.  I love to garden.  I have a camera (even though admittedly I’m not a great photographer).  What better combo. is there for blog-fodder?  Plus, I’m having fun doing it.

I intentionally picked this time of year for hip surgery because it interferes least with my gardening activities.  In winter, I water and plant far less than any other time of the year.  I also don’t need to mow or weed.  Plus, I was told if I wait much longer for the “hip fix,” I won’t be able to walk.  No choice!

I’ve known about this issue for awhile, but the VERY sudden physical decline and necessity of fixing it NOW caught me off guard.  One day, I’m limping a bit and the next, I’m literally crawling up the deck stairs because of the pain.

The fact that I must rely on others to help me after this surgery isn’t easy to accept either.  I’m pretty independent.  For example, two years ago I had knee surgery for a torn ligament and cartilage, and it never slowed me down.  This is different.

Probably Too Much Information BUT:  I feel pissed.  I don’t want to stop my life for this.

Feedback from other hip replacement folks is mixed:  Some hip replacements were a breeze and others had implants that were defective and/or were recalled.

If you’re interested in a little more personal info. about hip replacements, read on.

The plumbing receptionist I spoke with only yesterday said her mother’s hip replacement didn’t work out. It had to be replaced because it was defective.  That scares me.  In contrast, one of my former bosses had both hips replaced, and it was no big deal.

Interestingly, last year I read a library book (title I can’t remember) about being your own advocate in today’s medical care industry.

This book recounted a story of an orthopedist who needed a hip replacement.  He opted for what he thought was the best implant on the market at the time—one that was made entirely of metal.  Soon after the replacement, this orthopedist began to experience problems.  Overall, he felt terrible, had low energy, became deeply depressed and experienced memory loss.  His orthopedic colleagues poo-pooed his symptoms implying it was all in his head.

However, because he was an orthopedist he could order his own blood-work and did so.   Turns out his blood was filled with cobalt ions that came off the implant.

Now, if physicians won’t believe each other, how likely is it they will take an everyday individual’s complaint seriously?  (I’m doing my worrying in advance and publicly.)

And just on a side note, using Cigna PPO insurance to rent a hospital bed will cost $140.00.  However, if I rent a bed and pay for it OUT OF POCKET, the cost is only $98.00.  Cigna also told me they won’t pay for rehab.  Huh?  No rehab., Cigna?  Really?  (Doctor’s office is working on this.)

BUT on the positive side, my implant will be made of ceramic or plastic and (I think) titanium.  My orthopedist performs between 400 and 600 hip replacements per year, and he did his orthopedic training at the Mayo Clinic.  In addition, I know a surgical technician and a parking valet who work with him periodically, and they both give him a “thumbs up”.  The technician’s off the cuff report was, “He’s extremely efficient and good.”  This is an instance where I’ll have to rely on faith and cool my heels (figuratively & literally) to eventually WALK to the end of this adventure.

So adios for what I hope will be only a few weeks to a month.  Thanks for reading!

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