Hip, Again

There have been so many kind inquires about my hip replacement operation, I thought I’d update everyone. It was an incredible success, beyond anything I could have imagined. I’m very happy with my titanium hip.

The first question is always, “where did you have it done?” Dartmouth Hitchcock. Why? Because after shopping around on the web, I was attracted to the fact they had a hip clinic with excellent pre-operative education and support, but most of all they offered hip specialists. After all, I specialize in my business for good reasons and I wanted a specialist for this.

The procedure I opted for (again after web research) was anterior. That means they cut from the front of the hip, rather than the back or side. It is the least intrusive approach and no muscles are cut, but you have to have a surgeon who specializes in this surgery as it is harder to do because the incision is smaller.

The operation was on the 3rd of February and I was home 30 hours later. Before being released, I had to walk a hundred feet, go up and down a flight of stairs, and be off intravenous pain relievers. All this was easy as I had no pain. Yes, I was chock full of pain killers, but that was for the surgery. At my hip, I was pain-free. After months of hip pain, it felt kind of weird having none.

Having support at home was crucial. A physical therapist came twice a week to check on how I was doing and give me exercises and stretches to do. My wife took care of the rest.

The first week was mostly bedrest with lots of watching movies on my computer. Because of the pain meds, I couldn’t read much and didn’t feel like reading anyway. After a couple weeks, I was off the pain meds. The third week, I felt so good I took a mile-long walk. This was too much too fast and back to bed with pain meds I went. A week later, I was up again, off the meds and feeling great, but didn’t have much stamina. I’d get into the office by 11 (I work out of my home) and be back in bed for a 2 hour nap by 1. Then back up and puttering about until I collapsed, exhausted, into bed around 8.

Doing the stretching and exercises helped a lot. Frequent massage kept me more comfortable and moving better. Progress was quick and steady. Soon, I was switched to physical therapy at the out-patient center and was discharged from that a week later. After six weeks, I was cleared to drive and was back at work full time. I am also able to exercise on the elliptical (something I had never done before) and do my daily one-mile walks. I no longer need naps and I’m walking without a limp.

Does this mean I am fully recovered? No. There is considerable swelling in my right thigh. It feels sort of numb on good days and like a ham on bad days. I spent a week in New York City, walking 4 to 5 miles most days. It felt great. However, by the time I got home, I was with sore and limping — no elliptical for a week. Full recovery will take a year to 18 months.

What are my take-aways from this? First of all, do your homework; don’t just let the doctors tell you what to do and where to go. Second, if you have a health problem take care of it early, the sooner the better. Things only get worse and we only get older.

Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident and sometimes it requires spare parts.

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About the author

Scott Funk has specialized in Home Equity Conversion Mortgage reverse mortgages for over a decade. He is a recognized Aging in Place advocate in his home state of Vermont. His monthly newspaper column Aging in Place has run for 7 years in 24 papers around the state. Scott is brings a lighthearted approach to his talks on Boomers, retirement and aging on purpose.