Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Hip Chronicles, Part X: Was it worth it?

In my series, the RA Diaries, I’ve tried to write about the weird, the painful and even the comical parts of having a chronic illness. Very recently, I had what for many RA patients is a rite of passage: my first joint replacement. My new right hip, with its festive combination of titanium, cobalt and plastic polymer, is worth five times more than my car. And it will surely be a great source of amusement to TSA scanners worldwide, because on x-rays it looks like I’m packing some major heat.

Now, kind reader, let me tell you exactly how I went about getting my new hip. But be warned. It’s gonna get gross. And graphic. And, maybe once in a while, somewhat amusing. I hope you get something out of it. I’m certainly hoping I will.

This entry will be the last in the Hip Chronicles. It’s not that I’ve run out of things to say. Or maybe I have. I just worry that I’m starting to repeat myself, and, God forbid, starting to whine. And whiny deja vus have never been my thing.

Anyway, Friday marks the six-week anniversary of my hip replacement surgery. At this very time on Nov. 19, I was likely having a scope shoved down my throat because the anesthesiologist couldn’t find my narrow trachea. Luckily, I can’t remember a thing about that.
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The Hip Chronicles, Part IX: In therapy

In my series, the RA Diaries, I’ve tried to write about the weird, the painful and even the comical parts of having a chronic illness. Very recently, I had what for many RA patients is a rite of passage: my first joint replacement. My new right hip, with its festive combination of titanium, cobalt and plastic polymer, is worth five times more than my car. And it will surely be a great source of amusement to TSA scanners worldwide, because on x-rays it looks like I’m packing some major heat.

Now, kind reader, let me tell you exactly how I went about getting my new hip. But be warned. It’s gonna get gross. And graphic. And, maybe once in a while, somewhat amusing. I hope you get something out of it. I’m certainly hoping I will.

“Your left leg doesn’t trust your right leg.”

I’m standing in my dining room, just a few feet from the Christmas tree. My physical therapist, Gaby, has been teaching me some balancing exercises. In this newest one, I’m supposed to put weight on my operated leg, then bend my left knee and move to the side, slowly. It’s a move half-way between ballet and tai chi.

But the left leg refuses to budge. I try to make it, using some Kreskin vibes and my best “Bitch, please” stare. No dice.

“You know, Gaby? You’re absolutely right.”

Not that I blame my left leg in the least. After all, it’s been taking up the slack for several years, and been let down repeatedly. Then, to add insult to injury, it got used as a pincushion by a gaggle of anesthesiologists. The bruises have only just cleared up. At this point, it would sooner trust Bernie Madoff with its 401 K (for all I know, my left leg may have a 401 K — it’s always been business savvy). Or agree to help that Nigerian prince who keeps e-mailing about his inheritance.
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The Hip Chronicles, Part VIII: Mysteries in marriage

In my series, the RA Diaries, I’ve tried to write about the weird, the painful and even the comical parts of having a chronic illness. Very recently, I had what for many RA patients is a rite of passage: my first joint replacement. My new right hip, with its festive combination of titanium, cobalt and plastic polymer, is worth five times more than my car. And it will surely be a great source of amusement to TSA scanners worldwide, because on x-rays it looks like I’m packing some major heat.

Now, kind reader, let me tell you exactly how I went about getting my new hip. But be warned. It’s gonna get gross. And graphic. And, maybe once in a while, somewhat amusing. I hope you get something out of it. I’m certainly hoping I will.

Before I went into the hospital for my surgery, the plan was for me to come home after I was released. Since I would be released Thanksgiving week, my husband could get away with taking time off work to take care of me. Then in the next few weeks, my parents and my mother-in-law would come babysit three days a week (my husband would telecommute the other two days).

But by the second full day in hospital, I realized that my plan just wasn’t feasible. I needed far more help than I’d thought. Getting out of bed was difficult. Sitting up was difficult. Walking was difficult.
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The Hip Chronicles, Part VII: On my back

In my series, the RA Diaries, I’ve tried to write about the weird, the painful and even the comical parts of having a chronic illness. Very recently, I had what for many RA patients is a rite of passage: my first joint replacement. My new right hip, with its festive combination of titanium, cobalt and plastic polymer, is worth five times more than my car. And it will surely be a great source of amusement to TSA scanners worldwide, because on x-rays it looks like I’m packing some major heat.

Now, kind reader, let me tell you exactly how I went about getting my new hip. But be warned. It’s gonna get gross. And graphic. And, maybe once in a while, somewhat amusing. I hope you get something out of it. I’m certainly hoping I will.

Since getting my hip replaced, I’ve had to get used to a number of things. Like not bending down. And not crossing my legs. And walking with a walker, then a cane.

Then, there’s having one leg feel longer than the other. And making sure I don’t sit in such a way that my hip is less than 90 degrees in relation to my torso. Or not sitting down on any low surfaces (this includes in the bathroom).

All these restrictions have been challenging, but the toughest one has been the one regarding sleeping: I’m not allowed to sleep in any position except on my back.
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The Hip Chronicles, Part VI: Mountain cows

In my series, the RA Diaries, I’ve tried to write about the weird, the painful and even the comical parts of having a chronic illness. Very recently, I had what for many RA patients is a rite of passage: my first joint replacement. My new right hip, with its festive combination of titanium, cobalt and plastic polymer, is worth five times more than my car. And it will surely be a great source of amusement to TSA scanners worldwide, because on x-rays it looks like I’m packing some major heat.

Now, kind reader, let me tell you exactly how I went about getting my new hip. But be warned. It’s gonna get gross. And graphic. And, maybe once in a while, somewhat amusing. I hope you get something out of it. I’m certainly hoping I will.

Many years ago, my parents had dinner with another couple. This couple were old friends, and at the time, they spent lots of time with my parents, because the two couples had a lot in common, including children of the same age, geographic location, ethnicity and work experience.

Normally, they all got along quite well, but on that fateful evening, they almost came to blows. Why?

Because of mountain cows.
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The Hip Chronicles, Part V: I’m a big girl now

In my series, the RA Diaries, I’ve tried to write about the weird, the painful and even the comical parts of having a chronic illness. Very recently, I had what for many RA patients is a rite of passage: my first joint replacement. My new right hip, with its festive combination of titanium, cobalt and plastic polymer, is worth five times more than my car. And it will surely be a great source of amusement to TSA scanners worldwide, because on x-rays it looks like I’m packing some major heat.

Now, kind reader, let me tell you exactly how I went about getting my new hip. But be warned. It’s gonna get gross. And graphic. And, maybe once in a while, somewhat amusing. I hope you get something out of it. I’m certainly hoping I will.

While I was preparing emotionally for my surgery, I figured there would be pain. And blood. And needles. And uncomfortable robes and bland food and people constantly prodding me and poking me and asking intimate questions and interrupting me when I tried to sleep. After all, I had seen a number of my loved ones go through surgery, and these were the things they complained about most.

But I didn’t quite expect how much, once my surgery was over, I would regress to an earlier version of myself, a version I had never expected to be again.
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The Hip Chronicles, Part IV: The worst part is waking up

In my series, the RA Diaries, I’ve tried to write about the weird, the painful and even the comical parts of having a chronic illness. Very recently, I had what for many RA patients is a rite of passage: my first joint replacement. My new right hip, with its festive combination of titanium, cobalt and plastic polymer, is worth five times more than my car. And it will surely be a great source of amusement to TSA scanners worldwide, because on x-rays it looks like I’m packing some major heat.

Now, kind reader, let me tell you exactly how I went about getting my new hip. But be warned. It’s gonna get gross. And graphic. And, maybe once in a while, somewhat amusing. I hope you get something out of it. I’m certainly hoping I will.

“Well, hello! You just got a brand new hip!”

I couldn’t see where the voice was coming from, but I could tell it was female. And annoyingly chipper.

I tried to answer her — okay, to say something snarky, like “but I thought I was having a knee replaced!” — but all I could do was groan. My throat felt like I had swallowed crushed glass.
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The Hip Chronicles, Part III: Assistive devices

In my series, the RA Diaries, I’ve tried to write about the weird, the painful and even the comical parts of having a chronic illness. Very recently, I had what for many RA patients is a rite of passage: my first joint replacement. My new right hip, with its festive combination of titanium, cobalt and plastic polymer, is worth five times more than my car. And it will surely be a great source of amusement to TSA scanners worldwide, because on x-rays it looks like I’m packing some major heat.

Now, kind reader, let me tell you exactly how I went about getting my new hip. But be warned. It’s gonna get gross. And graphic. And, maybe once in a while, somewhat amusing. I hope you get something out of it. I’m certainly hoping I will.

It was the Friday after Thanksgiving. I was lying in bed, resting from my last bout with the walker, sipping some ice water. Then the phone rang. It was my husband.

“Did you get it?”
“I don’t know. Isn’t it supposed to arrive tomorrow?”
“According to Fedex, it was dropped on your porch at 2:30 p.m.”

Since it was almost 3:30, I sent my dad out to look. He soon came back with a box.

“It’s here! Hold on, let me open it.”

I managed to get inside the box with some assistance, and pulled out my prize.
“How is it?”
“It’s … perfect. It’s wonderful. Thanks so much for getting it for me. I love you!”
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The Hip Chronicles, Part II: I wanna be sedated

In my series, the RA Diaries, I’ve tried to write about the weird, the painful and even the comical parts of having a chronic illness. Very recently, I had what for many RA patients is a rite of passage: my first joint replacement. My new right hip, with its festive combination of titanium, cobalt and plastic polymer, is worth five times more than my car. And it will surely be a great source of amusement to TSA scanners worldwide, because on x-rays it looks like I’m packing some major heat.

Now, kind reader, let me tell you exactly how I went about getting my new hip. But be warned. It’s gonna get gross. And graphic. And, maybe once in a while, somewhat amusing. I hope you get something out of it. I’m certainly hoping I will.

As I lay on my back on the narrow hospital cot, clad only in a backless cotton robe and paper socks, two thoughts kept chasing each other in my mind like squirrels in a tree: “Please let this be over soon, because all I want is to see my husband before they take me in to surgery,” and “Who the hell would have thought I was so difficult to knock out?”

A nurse sat at a computer to the left of my head. As she typed, her elbow made the curtain surrounding the pre-op cubicle billow. She was asking question after question, mostly about address and date of birth, but I was having a really hard time focusing.
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