Local Commentary

Our Man in Arlington

It has been at least six weeks since an Our Man in Arlington column has appeared, and you deserve an explanation.

It is simple. During the afternoon of December 26, 2006, I had my hip replaced with a state-of-the-art titanium and plastic ball and socket.

It all started in August, when I began a more aggressive exercise program in my brand new weight loss program – a do or die proposition, according to my doctor.

My hip began to ache, and as I progressed it hurt even more. I went to an orthopedist, who told me as soon as he glanced at the X-ray that I needed my hip replaced – now! My left hip was already 19 millimeters out of the socket. I was incredulous. Things don’t happen that fast. The doctor said that obviously they did, and told me bluntly that it would never get better, only worse.

I hesitated, and decided to wait several months to make a decision. Many friends who had the operation encouraged me to do it as quickly as possible. One told me that she had suffered in increasing agony for fifteen years before she finally had the replacement. “Recovery was so complete and so quick that I can’t understand to this day why I hesitated so long.”

In addition to all of this advice, my hip got progressively worse. Finally, I decided somewhere around Thanksgiving to schedule a replacement, the only requirement being that it be done after Christmas, since we had many family and friends coming in for the holiday, and to celebrate the christening of a brand new granddaughter.

It seemed to be done very quickly. I went under a general anesthetic at about 2:30 p.m. and came out of it only seconds later, at least that is how it felt (it was actually around three hours later). I really didn’t feel much pain, and discovered only later that that was because of a remarkable group of pain killers.

For the next week to ten days, I took of combination of Oxcycontin, Celebrex, and Percocet. That whole period is something of a blur to me. I would look at my wife during a conversation and say “just what is it that we are talking about?” I immediately gained some sympathy for Rush Limbaugh – though that went away fairly quickly.

I weaned myself from these drugs with no problem, began an aggressive physical therapy program, and now, five weeks later, am moving about with a fair amount of mobility, and am getting better every day.

Some lessons learned: 1. When your doctor says “get it done”, do it right away. It is never going to get better, and you will be surprised at how quickly you return to normal after the operation. 2. Take the drugs, but be careful. If possible, wean yourself off of them quickly. They are scary in how euphoric they make you feel!  3. Be aggressive about doing the right exercises. That’s the only way you are going to get better – which you will do, much to your surprise and delight.

So now I can get around better to cover the key events in Arlington. Watch out!