Monday, January 30, 2017

Deciding to Have a Hip Relacement

At age 50, I went to an orthopedic surgeon to have my left hip examined. I had been limping for a few years, and people were commenting on it daily. A man on the bus had yelled at me, (as I was hobbling towards the door,) "Hey, you really ought to get that hip replaced." I hardly even knew him. I had done extensive  research about my symptoms on the Internet, and the results had scared me. According to what I'd read, it sounded like I was in the advanced stage of osteoarthritis. The only cure, to my dismay, was a hip replacement. I had been trying all sorts of alternative methods, to no avail. I spent $1000.00 on acupuncture treatments, took fish oil, did Pilates, practiced yoga, and tried various supplements, including glucosamine. Nothing worked. Three years into the pain I could no longer do yoga, Pilates, or dance. It was getting more and more difficult to complete my daily tasks and household chores.  Because I was terrified of surgery, I had been avoiding the issue. When a friend of mine, (who was a conductor with a new Broadway show,) approached me about auditioning for his latest project, I worked up the courage to finally see a hip specialist. While attending a reunion for a European Tour of a Broadway show that I had done, I had visited my conductor friend  for a vocal coaching session. He had a beautiful white carpet. As I was struggling to remove my high heels, he suggested that I sit in a chair. While walking uptown to the lesson, the crowd had parted on Eight Avenue to make room for me. I was shocked. I didn't realize that I looked that bad.  The conductor  told me that he thought I could heal it with physical therapy. Hoping that he was correct, I made an appointment with the famous director of The Hip and Pelvic Institute in Santa Monica, Dr. Matta. I found him by studying which hip surgeons across America had the best reviews. His name consistently came up, not only as a surgeon, and also as a teacher to the other top hip surgeons with five star reviews. To my excitement, I found out that he was located only 25 miles from my cottage! I was overjoyed with the coincidence. I made an appointment to see him, and drove out to his office the following week.. His assistant studied my gait carefully when I walked into the examination room. I was wearing a sun dress to cover the fact that both of my legs had become very bowed. They actually looked deformed. I was very self conscious. I was also waddling, the way my grandmother had, before she had both of her knees replaced. His assistant placed my x-rays on the tray and commented, "Wow. Bad hips, huh?" I didn't say anything. I didn't like him commenting on the x-ray, I wanted to hear the assessment from Dr. Matta. I also noticed that he had used the plural term "hips". I had thought that my right hip was okay. It was the left one that really bothered me. Dr. Matta came in and I liked him immediately. He was quiet, highly intelligent, and direct. "Your hips are BOTH really bad," he explained. They're bone on bone. His voice rose as he said "bone on bone". He recommended replacing them together, as soon as possible. I was in shock, but agreed to have it done.