Grandchildren: Words and Cooking
Start of Dec. 4 Column. More or Less Continuous News Service since 1998

One Hip Dude

I will soon be one hip dude (although I have always thought of myself that way) when my right hip is replaced by a titanium and ceramic concoction they tell me will eliminate most, if not all, of my physical pain. (I’ve developed lower back pain too, likely as a result of trying to compensate for the hip pain)

On a scale of 1-10, my pain while standing or walking has reached a level of 6 or 7 all waking day, every day. I need a walker or a cane to move for more than a few feet or few minutes. The slide into geezerhood was rather more rapid than I expected.

Yes, I did try pain shots and physical therapy, but that was increasingly not doing the trick, as the amount of separation between the bones my hip gradually vanished. I can still walk upstairs, with a cane, but I can’t take the garbage cans down the hill.

The regular question was, “does the pain restrict your daily activities.” “Yes, I can no longer walk an hour every day with my wife and that has been true for six months.”

“Maybe a hip replacement, which comes with the usual risks of surgery, is extreme if that’s your need.”

Then, a month ago, my answer became, “No. I have trouble sleeping with the pain, and I try to stand up and move only when necessary.”

Because of my heart meds, I can’t take aspirin, and acetaminophen seems to be getting gradually less effective. My GP just prescribed a muscle relaxant, which has a list of side effects only slightly less frightening than the Saw movies, including hallucinations. If it works (I can stand minor side effects like nausea, blurred vision, runny nose and constipation, and painful urination), I’m on it like white on rice. Better some pain at the toilet then constant pain while awake.

Of course if it doesn’t work, I’m off it like George Santos off a seat in the house and I won’t need no 2/3 majority.


Clark Smith

Though I haven't had it myself, I was astonished at how easy RuthE's hip surgery went. She reckomends anterior. She went under the knife for 45 minutes at 10:30 AM (Oakland Kaiser) and I swear she was prancing down the aisle at TJ's at 2PM. Problem- and pain-free ever since. This was six years ago. Fully recovered in 2 weeks. Go for it.

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