A decision on replacing the left side of my ass
Any one old enough to remember the Hinny Youngman line, “Now take my wife—please,” shouldn’t be considering hip replacement surgery. But here I am, a 74-year-old diabetic about ready to have it done.
The other day my wife of nearly 50 years asked if I were scared? I immediately transposed the question to one of asking about my general state of “nervousness.” Do men, let alone fathers and grandfathers, really get scared? It happens to me all the time, but it is not something I often admit to. So if you don’t mind….
Scared and nervous aren’t quite the right words. Let’s call it a mild form of “anxiety.” There, that’s better. My man hood is intact, and I am no more of a phony than I was before.
The truth is that I am more afraid than I would like others to know. That’s why when I had my right hip replaced about 10 years ago, I opted for an epidural rather than more general anesthesia. I still remember the doctors asking, “Did you feel that?”
The idea of losing blood (I lost a lot of it during that surgery) and responding to questions half-awake no longer appeals. So this time, it’s the full Monte.
It is now T-minus-7 days. From now until then many thoughts and emotions will go through my mind. My thought is to share them with you, mainly because it helps me. But a side benefit might be that you may decide to get a new hip or knee in the near future. It will be helpful to know that you are not alone in the emotions encountered. You might also learn how to be of more comfort to others as they are forced to make similar decisions.
The actual decision to replace the other side of my ass happened quite some time ago. But now is a good time to share. It seems as if everyone I speak to either has had a joint replacement; thinking of doing it or knows someone who has already. Exactly how does that work? How does one decide to go under the knife?
Here is how it happens (and it is as universal a truth as I have found): Nearly all patients want the surgeon to make the decision for them. And doctors steadfastly refuse. Here is how the conversation goes:
Patient: “Say, Doc, is this something you think I should do? And if so, when is the best time to have it done?”
Surgeon: “You will tell me. I won’t have to tell you.”
Every medical professional has the same answer. The pain the patient feels eventually overcomes the anxiety and inconvenience of the surgery. The first time around, it happened to me while on a cruise to Alaska with my immediate family and father-in-law. When we returned, I called the doctors office and left a message about my willingness to move forward with surgery—immediately!
This time, I got out in front of the pain and made the decision about a month before I had to use a walking cane to get around.
That’s all for DAY ONE: More emotions, struggles and decisions coming DAY TWO and beyond.