I had been delaying dealing with a painful left hip for a couple of years. While running a small business without a lot of backup if I was out of the office, it seems there was never a good opportunity to take off the time I imagined replacing a hip would take. But now I was going to retire. Maybe now I could set aside some time to deal with the troublesome hip. The real impetus for my decision to deal with it came from my lovely wife. Her comment was “To protect that hip you are stooping over when you walk. You look like an old man. I want my 6 foot hunk back.”
Huh. I didn’t realize I was stooping over. So I went through a few days at work trying to walk upright and straight. Yep, that hurt! So I was bending forward to ease the pain a bit. Wait. What? I’m a hunk?? That came from my wife of well over 30 years? Huh. A HUNK! Yeah, well technically she was saying I used to be a hunk. Not now. I look like an old man? So that’s what caused the change. I have always measured an even 6 feet in height. About 9 months ago when checking in at my primary care doctor’s office the nurse declared I was five feet 11 and a half inches. I simply figured I was starting to shrink with advancing age. But now I realized I was ‘stooping’ as well. So in order to deal with the pain and reclaim my status as A Hunk, I decided to get the hip repaired. Working in a somewhat retail environment, several of my customers noticed I was moving slowly, limping and in a bit of pain. I heard several suggestions for hip surgeons but one name was mentioned far more than any other. There were other practices closer to where we live, but so many recommended this same doctor, in May I decided to set up an appointment. I waited three weeks for the appointment and popped in to see the surgeon. Because of Covid, we were all masked and practicing hand washing and social distancing. The nurse collected my vitals and sent me down the hall for a set of x-rays. The x-ray technician was helpful and professional, but since I was going to have a hip replaced one of the x-rays had to be from the front and showing both hips in the same image for comparison. Imagine where the x-ray ‘gun’ was aimed to accomplish that image. Guys just aren’t comfortable having anything aimed there. Also, in previous x-rays the technicians took great care to cover that area with a lead apron to avoid damage to future offspring. Yeah, I guess at my age there is little need to protect that area from damaging x-rays, but still…
In any case the images were taken and I was escorted to an exam room to wait for the the next part of the discussion. A nurse practitioner knocked, came in and explained how this particular practice operates, described the hip replacement in a fair amount of detail with some harsh looking visual aids and has me “hop up on the table so we can check out this hip”. He flexed and moved my leg, sometimes in directions it hasn’t moved in quite some time. He apologized, and was professional, caring and compassionate with a sense of humor. I decided I was going to like this guy. Then he told me about the regimen of heavy doses of aspirin, ibuprofen and extra strength Tylenol to be taken 5 days prior to surgery. Wait. Whoa, whoa! They are going to replace my hip while relying on aspirin and Tylenol for pain control???
The next post will cover meeting the surgeon and the surgery experience.