Hip, Hip Away!

by Bob Sparrow

breath

I thought it was a Hookah Pipe

My research has turned up the fact that the very first successful hip replacement surgery was performed in 1960 and today, just in the United States, over 300,00 of them are done each year and there are over twice as many knee replacement surgeries. So a good number of my friends have had hip or knee replacements in the last few years and they have welcomed me into the ‘replacement club’; brother Jack has had both hips replaced. Others have asked me about my recent experience with my surgery because they see themselves as ‘replacement club’ candidates in the not-too-distant future. So I thought since the only place I’ll be visiting in the next month or two is my own house, on a walker, I don’t have a lot to write about other than my initiation into the ‘replacement club’.

At the pre-surgery meeting with my surgeon, Dr. Patel, I was told to have a restful weekend and be ready for surgery Monday morning. My snappy rejoinder was that I’d probably be sleeping through the whole process and suggested that he was the one who needed to have a restful weekend.  He wasn’t amused. Dr. Jay Patel received his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He then went on to earn both a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and his Medical Doctorate from Stanford University. So I was naturally concerned that my surgeon was a slacker.

drill

Black & Decker

I arrived at Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine at 5:30 Monday morning; my pre-op routine included Dr. Patel scribbling his initials on my right hip with a Sharpie to insure they don’t replace the wrong one, which has happened, more than once!   Mine would be the first of 6 hip replacement surgeries that Dr. Patel would perform that day; each surgery taking about 60-90 minutes. I barely remember meeting the anesthesiologist and the next thing I knew I was waking up in post-op.  I did take the opportunity, or make the mistake, of watching a YouTube video on hip replacement. It looked like a construction site, with people wielding crowbars, ball pein hammers, jigsaws and power drills (Black & Decker I believe); I was surprised that everyone wasn’t wearing hard hats. The video is not for the squeamish.

After the surgery Dr. Patel came in to let me know that everything had gone very well and I asked him if I could see the piece of hip that he took out. He said that it had lots of bone spurs on it and he threw it in the ‘bone yard’. My request came from a suggestion from a friend and fellow golfer, Tom Metz, who has a great sense of humor and suggested I ask for a ‘doggie bag’ and bring the bone home for my dog to gnaw on. Yeah, he’s a little sick too.

butt

Margaritaville: “No, Mr. Sparrow you can’t go home that way!”

I must say that the staff at Hoag was unbelievable; not just professional, but I really got the sense that they enjoyed their work and did whatever it took to make my one-night stay there as comfortable as possible. They always had a smile on their face and enjoyed a good laugh. For example, I asked one of the attending nurses, Margarita Avalos (I called her ‘Margaritaville’ for ‘short’) when my catheter would be taken out. She looked at me with a very serious face and said, “Oh, it not so much when it will come out as how.” I asked what she meant, she said, “We take the end of the catheter and tie it to the door, then just slam the door.” Ouch!!!

Unlike the operation itself, I don’t get to sleep through the rehab, which is the not-so-fun part. Managing the pain is important along with doing the exercises prescribed by the physical therapist. The hardest part of rehab may be not drinking while on pain medication – and here I thought drinking was pain medication.

As part of my ‘exit interview’ they asked me when I get released was I going back to an abusive home. I didn’t think this was the time to bring up Linda’s and my heated discussion about who should take out the garbage. I will happily do it . . . now without a limp.

 

 

30 comments on “Hip, Hip Away!

  1. Congrats Bobby! Glad all went as planned,no surprises,you’ll do fine.
    I’m available to grease the walker wheels,or whatever else nobody wants to do!
    Be strong!!!!! An be nice to Linda
    Love Ya

    • Thanks Steve, great to hear from you. Hip is doing great, Linda already has me taking out the garbage! Hope all is well with the Taylors.

  2. Only you could make surgery funny…I bet the staff loved it…I can only imagine what Jack put his crew through…so glad you are doing well!!! As always Liz

    • Always so good to hear from you Liz, thank you for the kind words and I hope all is well in your world. Best to you.

  3. Hi Bob. Sorry to hear of the new club you joined. Loved that “bootie” shot. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Not real sure about t6he alternate pain meds. Love you guys.

  4. Take care of yourself, Robert. Don’t push too hard. I just backed out of the “knee” replacement, because I’m a coward. Perhaps I’ll hire you as my “jester” whenever I either get the nerve to do it, or it just quits working all together! I will have a drink for you. Hope that helps a little! 😉

    • Thanks Billy D. Everyone that has it done says, “Why didn’t I do this earlier?!” Go for it – I’ll come up and get the nurses laughing. Thanks for having a drink for me!

  5. Welcome to the Club. I joined in 2010 and its been a great ride! Dr. Stephan Kreutzer here in Houston (originally from Netherlands) was my doc…he sees in a threeD style and has a noninvasive surgery which he helped to invent. I wish I had asked for my bone just to horrify neighbors and family if nothing else. Don’t forget physical therapy if
    you need it . They had me strong and able within weeks and I loved all of them. Best of luck to you and take the pain pills too if needed. I lost weight and felt like new…almost. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your new hip!!

  6. Oh, Bob – sorry you had to go through all of that!
    The hospital staff having a sense of humor had to help. Speedy recovery!

  7. Thanks for the Bootie Shot U Bob! Wishing you a speedy recovery! I DO recommend drinking on pain meds though! B~

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