Friday, January 1, 2016

Hips and Hearts

When you go into a best buy, or store of that ilk, and purchase a new television or sound system, the salesperson spends time identifying the wonderful attributes of the product.  It is, according to his narrative, the cat's meow. When you decide to purchase the item and have signed on whatever form makes the purchase official, the salesperson makes a 180 degree turn and begins to identify all the ways the product can deteriorate in an attempt to sell you a warranty for the item.

For a couple of years I had been limping about. After serving a tennis ball one day in December 2013,  I felt a searing pain in my groin which I assumed was a muscle pull.  I have had these before, so tried to play through it. Even in doubles though, it became apparent that I could no longer move laterally without a jolt.  I thought it might be a hernia.  I went to a doc and she thought it was not a hernia but could be a groin pull.  Rest was prescribed.  It did not go away. Went to my doc, who took an ex-ray.  Seems as if I was bone on bone around my hip.

I went to a couple of orthopedic specialists, did some homework on their pedigree, checked out an alternative procedure to hip replacements, tried a cortisone shot in an attempt to put off surgery and eventually met with a surgeon who was going to do the deed. He explained the process to me and what I could expect. In November I went to a class where the nurse running the class again explained what to expect, and passed around a piece of metal that looked like it should be under my sink. This was going to be my new hip.  In about two months after the surgery I ought to be better.  In two weeks--out of the woods in terms of pain.

So, in early December I got knocked out by an anesthesiologist, and carved up by a surgeon. The first night I was fine, higher than anyone had ever been in the sixties.  But after that I found that I was in a good deal of pain.  It did not help that the 78 year old man who was my roommate, was two days after hip surgery and he was remarking that he was in no pain at all.  When the doctor's colleague came by to ask how I was, I said I was in a good deal of pain and was, also, running a fever.  Well, she said--as if she had sold televisions in a former life at Best Buy--"what did you expect, we took a knife, we carved you up, we had to chop away at the bone on bone which you did nothing to address in two years, we had to move things around, put in a pipe or two, and your body has taken one major blow. Of course you are in pain and running a fever."  This post surgery explanation of what occurred was less muted than the pre surgery description in my class.

And that is a good thing. Otherwise I might not have had the surgery and would still be looking like Walter Brennan in the old tv show, the Real McCoys.

Four weeks and two days later, I am feeling okay.  I no longer limp particularly in the afternoon. I have been a good boy following the physical therapists' directions.  A post op visit to a physician's assistant included him oohing and aahing at the incision, which to me looks like an angry burglar took a knife to my side when I revealed I was penniless, but to the doctor looked "beautiful."  According to him, but he may say that to all the patients, I am way ahead of the game in terms of walking because I guess many people who go through this operation are older and are carrying around more weight.

So, it looks like it will heal.

Hips and, I have heard, knees, and all sorts of body parts can heal.  Modern medicine and surgery will keep us alive for years after our parents succumbed. The heart, however, is a different piece of equipment. There is no pipe in the wizard's bag of tricks to make the heart adjust to a blow.  Donna stayed a little longer this year before visiting her clan in Virginia for the holiday to make sure that I was able to function. And then we arranged for my brother to come up for a few days to again ensure that nothing problematic would happen. And then as soon as he left, my buddy Kenny came up to stay for a few days. And then my friends Ken and Margie kept checking up on me. I got phone calls from people I had not heard from in years wishing me well.  My colleagues at work checked in on me.  Old colleagues from Fredonia sent me notes and called up.

Hips can be cured with pipes.  Hearts can be soothed by love.

When Kenny came up he brought a picture of us in 78.  And here is me post operation at the end of 2015. Happy New Year.

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