At first I thought I had pulled a muscle. Right on the inside of my thigh, it hurt especially when I tried to swing my leg up, over a farm fence, or a saddle, or a bicycle seat. So I went in to the University Health Clinic, and they gave me a bunch of stretching exercises to do. That was in September, By the beginning of December I was in agony, and able to walk only with a cane. Follow-up x-rays showed complete cartilage degeneration in both hips, and I was advised to schedule hip replacement surgery immediately.

But quelle suprise! My health insurance was predicated on my employment at the University and I was told in no uncertain terms that if I took off time to have the surgeries during Spring semester, I wouldn’t have insurance to pay for it!

So from January through May, my hips degenerated to the point where I had to move downstairs in my house, because I couldn’t manage the stairs. I couldn’t walk at all without a walker, I couldn’t drive my car, and the pain made it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
As soon as summer term began, I scheduled the surgeries. They were hard. The physical therapy was hard. It seemed impossible to limp on both legs at the same time. But gradually, over that summer, I learned to walk again, and when school started up again in the fall, I was beginning to wean myself from my cane.

The next year, I had papers accepted at History conferences in Bucharest, Cambridge and Edinburgh, and I made a grand tour of Europe in between delivering my academic papers. I walked the ancient streets of Istanbul, savoring fragrances from the spice markets. I hiked the foothills of the Alps, and explored the canals of Amsterdam in a leg-powered paddleboat. I visited Budapest, Milan, Paris, and London, but my favorite day came when I climbed to Arthur’s Seat on a hill above Edinburgh. I felt strong, and capable and ready to embrace my life again.

I will never be as strong and agile as I was when I was young and pre-arthritic. But thanks to Orthopaedic Surgery, I can function again, and have fun again!

My treatment and recovery

The first surgery , I lost a lot of blood, and the leg had some nerve damage. Less than 3 weeks after the first procedure, they replaced the other hip. I am NOT a good patient, and I took out my pain and frustration on the nursing staff, for which I am still very sorry! But the physical therapists got me up and moving, and within 8 weeks I could get back to work on a cane.
In a year, I was traveling the world.


Do not be afraid. Do not put it off.
And try to get someone else to deal with all the complicated insurance stuff, while you concentrate on recovery!

My Second First

Because of my Orthopaedic Surgery, I...
travel and hike.
work on my farm.
plant extensive gardens.
speed-walk competitively with my Border Collie.
can climb stairs, and even climb some"mountains"-not Everest, butmountainsall the same!


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