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How A Hip Replacement Changed My Life

© 2019 Brenda Dineen | Reprinting permission with credit to author

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Life brings us many gifts.  Some of these are small and may be expected. Others come along and scoop you up and take you to a new place in life.  I got a gift like this a year ago.  I got a total hip replacement and it changed my life.

Let me tell you a bit about how this came about.  I endured three years of chronic pain, mostly in my right knee.  I tried many remedies and treatments to deal with this: physiotherapy, massage, chiropractic, exercise, and topical creams. You know, the ones on TV that claim to completely eradicate pain.  I tried all of these, and still no pain relief. I felt discouraged.  I don’t like to be a complainer, so often I held back from even talking about it.

We tend to tell ourselves stories about what is going on with our health.  I had a story that I had a bad knee.  Maybe I would learn to live with it.  I knew I had arthritis and looked to find ways to manage it.  I went to a series of educational classes about arthritis at the OASIS clinic.  There were many practical tips given to manage all aspects of arthritis. At a session with a physiotherapist, I was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon who specialized in hips.  

I waited about four months for my appointment, and showed up at the doctor’s office on a cold, grey day in November.  I was feeling skeptical.  I had been enduring severe pain in my knee for a long time. I had days when I could not walk. The degree of pain was often a 8 or 9. I was not sure this doctor could do much for me.  

He looked at the fresh X-rays of my right hip and told me: “Brenda you are down to bone on bone in your hip. You need a total hip replacement.”

This was actually the good news.  Now I was finding out what was going on in my body.  Not only that:  this doctor offered me a solution.

This was a turning point. The surgeon told me the pain in my knee would go away once I had the surgery.  I doubted what he was saying; however, I readily signed the consent form that day.

As you may know, there is a big process in getting ready for a joint replacement.  Classes at the hospital.  A list of needed equipment for my house.  A support system of people to take care of me, bring me meals, and drive me places.  

I waited another four months for the surgery, and spent only one night recovering in the hospital.

After I came home, I felt confident in my new hip. I was committed to doing all the exercises which are strongly recommended.  And yes, the pain in my knee did go away.  Which amazed me!

We are so fortunate to live in a time when the medical system has perfected these hip replacements, which are usually highly successful. Imagine this: I now have finely crafted pieces of ceramic and titanium in my hip that function just like my old hip – and it all works perfectly!  

A benefit I got from this journey is the great compassion I feel for anyone suffering with chronic pain. I understand, because I have gone through it.  Chronic pain can affect your entire life: your mood, your mobility, your thinking processes, your memory and your energy. Having support and empathic friends certainly help a lot. Now that I have gone through the hip replacement process myself, I would be happy to help another person go through their journey. 

I received an unexpected gift after I got home from the hospital. Since I was not able to drive my car for an entire month, I stayed home, mostly lying on the couch.  But this gave me precious time to reflect on my life.  Being able to reflect on your life and see things in a new way is a wonderful blessing.

As I was lying on my couch, I said to myself: I am in a new stage of life (I had turned 70 two weeks before the surgery), and I have fewer years in front of me than behind me. What do I want these years to be like?  The answer came clearly:  I no longer need to tolerate any forms of negativity.  I can let go of people who drag me down or are not there for me.  This was a watershed time for me.  It seemed like my life was opening up, and letting go of negativity was like the shedding of an old skin that I no longer needed.

I remember the day I was able to walk with my walker across the street, sit in the park and enjoy the flowers, and people walking their dogs.  I felt liberated.  Welcome to my new life!

My new hip realigned my body.  My new insights realigned my life.

It is important to be discerning about the people in your life. Let go if they don’t make you feel good about yourself. Set boundaries that support you and find ways to build a support system that nurtures you.

Life is quite amazing.  Sometimes it delivers challenges that become big gifts for you.  When it does, it’s important to be grateful for recognizing all the gifts. I give thanks to the wonderful doctors and nurses at the hospital. Thank you so much to the many friends who pitched in and supported me. Thank you Life, for the opportunity to sit back, reflect, and see with fresh eyes.

And you, dear reader: have you received a major gift in life, maybe something unexpected?   Have you suffered with something but also received new insights or blessings?

I would be happy to hear from you.

Warm wishes,

Brenda