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March 6, 2012 > ...On Becoming Bionic (chapter 2)

...On Becoming Bionic (chapter 2)

By Margaret Thornberry

I'm still scheduled for hip replacement surgery March 5th, though that date seemed in jeopardy for a few days. While almost everything that needs to be scheduled is well coordinated through the surgeon's office, the Center for Joint Replacement (CJR) and Washington Hospital, it's up to the patient to arrange for a comprehensive pre-op physical. Unfortunately my primary care physician was not available in time to get this done for me before the planned surgery date.

But I was able to arrange an appointment with an excellent alternative doctor at Palo Alto Medical Facility in Fremont; possibly too excellent, as she found a number of things, some small, and some possibly significant, that might delay surgery. Soooo... tomorrow I will be working up a lather, doing a cardiac stress test on a treadmill across the Bay in Palo Alto, a bit of a challenge with a bad hip. Imagine Chester in 'Gunsmoke' trying to make speed down the boardwalk in Dodge City to warn Marshall Dillon the bad guys are bothering Miss Kitty... you get the idea.

While I think of myself as a brave pioneer of leading edge medical procedure, it really isn't so... one of the volunteers over at the local Center for Joint Replacement (CJR) at Washington Hospital has had both hips AND both knees replaced! Now that's bionic!

It turns out that practically everyone I know has a 'fake' hip! It's a great conversation starter, in almost any gathering - if the people you are with don't have personal experience, they have a member of the family or a close friend who have had the surgery along with a wealth of anecdotes.

I've heard of one instance where the anesthesiologist was so outstandingly good looking that the rather conservative female patient, under the influence of twilight sleep, said a few things she wished she hadn't. I'm trying to find out who he was, so I can ask for him as well. "What is said in the OR, stays in the OR" is my motto. I will keep you posted.

The staff at the CJR do great work coordinating with the people at Washington Hospital to provide almost everything, including the sizeable and comprehensive Hip Binder - no, not a special dressing for the incision, but an actual 3-hole binder filled with tabs, pages and inserts. I'm expected to review it thoroughly, and carry it to all medical visits. It holds a wealth of information on the procedure itself, exercises to do for strength in advance of surgery as well as after, how to set up the home for safety and convenience, all while avoiding movement that might dislodge the hip before it has settled in place. I am amused, though, by the advice to "Clean, do the laundry and put it away...cut the grass and do other yard work..." before surgery. C'mon, if I could manage all that, why would I need hip surgery?

My friend Bob and daughter Tessa attended the familiarization class with me today, and I'm happy to say that, aside from re-arranging some furniture and getting a shower seat for the old claw foot tub, we are pretty well prepared for the 6-week recovery period.

Next step...my pre-op hospital visit!

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