A New Right Hip?


So far I’ve learned a dozen things such as…


(1)  It’s serious major surgery.  Saws, drills, and reamers made by Black & Decker do some serious cutting inside your body.


For more use the DOOR.




     First, please remember that my doctorate is not in body mechanics, so this is layman’s commentary–at no charge. Also I’m still in the pipeline–getting knocked around in my PT treatment. Here are some things that the “booklet” didn’t include, or didn’t put in the clearest language for a neophyte like me. I’ll add some boldnessI and color to help you skim. So far I’m very impressed with every aspect of my receiving a new right hip.


(Continuing my observations and tips…)

(2)  Why go to the doctor? Obviously something wasn’t quite right with my leg.  I thought persistent sharp agonizing pain was the signal to go see an orthopedist.  Not necessarily so. Sharp pain did not occur before, nor has it occurred after my surgery and–so far–during and after my PT (physical therapy). I’ve not had pain greater than, I now say, “5”—on a 0 to 10 scale—at any time.  There were other reasons.

(3)  First, I had to realize occasional general “soreness,” “ache,” or “muscular uncertainty” was considered pain to most people.  But it wasn’t to me.  I figured it was age, so I had to rethink definitions (embarrassing for an English teacher…).

(4)  And what were legitimate “other reasons”? For me it was  (a) a sense of weakness in the leg that made me stop doing familiar things such as taking a long walk, or avoiding all uneven ground; or (b) thinking there might be a knee problem when X-rays said, “No”; or (c) backing away from a favorite sport or activity because it required unwelcome “twisting and turning.” (d) Also, I thought that the two screws in my right femur from an early childhood injury somehow might be at fault and, (e) the final straw: “John, why are you limping again today?” coming from too many voices.

(5)  Still confused? I was, so I sought a one medical opinion, then a second one–which I recommend. The two doctors agreed on my need. They differed, for several reasons on the procedure to fix things.

(6)  Now here’s the biggie: I’ve learned that there’s two basic procedures for hip replacement work: “posterior” and “anterior.” A person anticipating surgery, should be aware of both. The first is older, more widely practiced, but has a longer recovery and requires much more extensive PT. In short, the posterior method cuts through muscles to get your new hip in. The anterior method “slips in between muscles” and requires an incision of only about 4 to 5 inches. I chose the anterior procedure. This approach, which encouraged a quicker “return to what you love,” seemed the best way to move ahead.

(7)  I, who used to lead karate warm-ups, became quickly convinced that professional physical therapy is a must. This is not do-it-yourself get-betterism.  And it may be recommended for longer than you think necessary.  Do what the doctor says.

(8)  One needs to line up a great home-care companion to supervise a lot of stuff.  (I was fortunate. My loving wife got the job.)

(9)  Since I’m hardly a pill-popper, and took hardly took any medication before “limping” into the doctor’s office, I listened to everything he said.  He correctly said to regularly take this and that, and I did. Taking prescribed pain meds is a must, taking them before therapy enable you to do the needed exercises you can’t do without them.

(10)  If you haven’t been in a hospital for a couple of decades or so, be prepared to be blown away. Be prepared for better food, better attention, all kinds of electric monitoring, no more outside stitches, outer dressings that are “glued on,” and encouragement to get up and walk the same day of your surgery.

(11)  Be aware there’s loads of information on the Internet. But check what you see! As I would expect you would check adozenseconds.com for things you read here that could significantly affect your life.

(12)  And, of course, don’t drive until you’re “cleared. For some of us that’s really the hard one.


     And what’s happened to me so far? I walked (with a walker) the evening of my surgery. I did at least 8 laps around the long oval hallway by the end of Day 2. I went home on Day 3. I walked from the passenger side of car to the front door and inside the house. After lots of solid therapy and practice on my own, my glued-on patch is gone, my 4-inch scar has healed, on Day 11 I have been given freedom, and have been able, to walk everywhere inside without a cane or any other aid.

     And without pain. Of course, some things I’ve omitted : ), and some PT still lies ahead.

     Am I kidding myself again?


    ADDENDUM!  Today (Apr. 12, 2014), 19 days after my surgery, I can walk anywhere inside and out without a cane. (But, yes, I keep one handy nearby.) I–as of 5 days ago–have taken no pain meds except 2 Tylenol once. I’m still pushing ahead in my PT. I drive a golf cart everywhere.

    But dang, I haven’t got the OK yet to drive a car…