November 11th, 2015:

NEW HIPS FOR ME, the Bionic Woman

In 1976-78 there was an entertaining TV adventure series called The Bionic Woman, which starred Lindsay Wagner. It was the female counterpart to The Six Million-Dollar Man. In the plot, she was rescued from a nearly fatal accident and given bionic surgical implants to save her life and turn her into an exciting heroine.


I seldom watched this popular series, but the title is quite appropriate for modern medicine with its artificial replacements for deteriorated natural human parts, like hips. I will be getting my own bionic parts early next year when I get new hip joints. Welcome to the senior years when hips and other body parts wear out. My research claimed there were 175,000 hip replacements performed annually in the U.S., some for those as young as their 40s! The new joint, according to my doctor, would be a combination of metals: I think titanium is one of them. The Internet confirmed its popularity.

I won’t join the ranks of heroines with my new flexible and strong joints, but if it will allow me to walk with ease again, I can’t wait for the surgery and the mobility it promises. Kaiser Permanente, which is my medical group, must do quite a few hip replacements, and they intend to prepare you well. Before anything happens, I will attend a 3-hour seminar full of information weeks before the actual operation. In the meantime, my chiropractor gave me some exercises to strengthen my legs and back to help with the recovery.

The Hip

The Internet offered advice about the gentle treatment of the new hip, like using a toilet seat riser so you won’t overstrain the new hip. I’ve got that covered–I saved the device from the time I injured my kneecap ten years ago. Kaiser will supply a basic walker–the kind without wheels that requires tennis  balls to keep it moving easily! I’ve been told my hospital stay will be brief — one or two nights at most and then it’s home for about six weeks of recovery. I’m glad I live in a small apartment with lots of areas and furniture to lean against or hold onto. Being on the second floor means I’ll be confined for a while, but there’s a wrap-around balcony when I can practice walking. Since my hands aren’t affected, I can continue my editing business, writing my blog and keeping up with friends on Facebook.

Why did it take so long to discover what was slowing me down? I’ve experienced over 15 years of slow deterioration in movement. Everybody has a different journey and various challenges along the way. Looking back doesn’t help, for the most part, but I needed to make peace with what had happened. I believe it had been a combination of having and not having health care. I never gave up and learned how to improve my mobility for walkin and succeeded, but then I slammed my knees onto a sidewalk, recovered after medical care, and then realized that I couldn’t walk for long distances as before. When I walked anywhere, I was on a constant search for a place to sit for a few minutes before continuing. Eventually, I bought a walker. I had a couple of MRIs, which indicated spinal stenosis. The neurologist quit before he could advise me what to do next, and I didn’t pursue it. It took a wonderful chiropractor who had also been a physical therapist to tell me he thought I had arthritis in the hips and I needed some extensive X-rays to prove it. I’ve finally reached the “fix it” stage and it all looks very positive, even though it won’t be a fast solution. Recovery is about six weeks for each hip.

My 2016 aspirations, to quote Fats Domino, “I’m walkin’, yes indeed!” and Kenny Loggins, “I gotta cut loose, footloose…”

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