Richard, 62 “For My Grandchildren”

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Richard, 62, has been married for 38 years and before he retired he was an engineer. Richard, when he first started having knee issues was told by a doctor to wait to have any surgery. He was able through exercise to put it off successfully. Later, Richard saw another doctor who told him that all of his joints—hips and knees—were not in good shape but it was actually the left hip, which was in this worse condition-totally bone on bone. A doctor guaranteed him that he was going to need a hip replacement but Richard put it off. Finally, after he had trouble playing with his grandchildren, Richard decided to have the surgery.

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Richard, 62, has been married for 38 years and before he retired he was an engineer. Richard, when he first started having knee issues was told by a doctor to wait to have any surgery. He was able through exercise to put it off successfully. Later, Richard saw another doctor who told him that all of his joints—hips and knees—were not in good shape but it was actually the left hip, which was in this worse condition-totally bone on bone. A doctor guaranteed him that he was going to need a hip replacement but Richard put it off. Finally, after he had trouble playing with his grandchildren, Richard decided to have the surgery.

RICHARD: My name is uh, Richard. And I am 62 years old. And I’m married uh, for 38 years. Before I retired I was engineer. I’d been leading a very active life. I jogged everyday uh, two to five miles.

RICHARD: About 20 years ago I picked up a tennis and I guess you know the two doesn’t really uh, match you know because jogging is forward motion you know for the knee. Tennis is lateral.

RICHARD: Uh, I have a knee problem and-and I went to see the doctor. And at that time the doctor was reluctant to perform any operation on me. Because he said you know maybe exercise can help. Sure enough he showed me some exercise that I can do; really simple stuff you know and after a couple weeks the knee pain is gone.

RICHARD: The body is a very interesting thing because it tends to compensate each other. See it started with my left knee and you know so I start to lean more on my right knee. And before I knowed it go up to my uh, left hip at the end. You know the left hip is the worst. The doctor you know told me all my joints are bad; both knees and both hip. The lucky thing is you know what she told me is your hip is the worst. So-so that kind of eye-opening you know because I always that you know my knee is the-causing all of those problem that I cannot sit in the car.

RICHARD: The biggest things is my sleep condition is-is really bad you know because I-I cannot sleep on my side. You know so that’s why I kind of noticed that you know it’s not the knee that give me problem it’s the hip; you know when I sleep on my side it hurts.

RICHARD: Uh, when she look at the x-ray and she told me I guarantee you in your lifetime you will have uh, hip surgery. So I said to myself um, that’s-it’s just too drastic. As the condition worsened you know my more and more I cannot go to sleep and things like I hard time tying my shoes lace you know and stuff like that. What really flipped me to okay I decided to-to have my hip done is a series of event. Is one funny thing is uh, a couple of years ago I went to Japan; that’s no problem sightseeing is no problem. You know but when we get to some Japanese restaurant you know and they have tatami everybody was sitting there cros-crossing the feet you know sitting down you know eating and uh, I have so much trouble you know sitting down. And when I sitting down I cannot cross my leg. And my leg has to be up and that doesn’t let me sit for too long you know.

RICHARD: I have uh, grandkids and-and they become a factor in-in my decision uh, uh in doing the surgery. As the gran-grankid grow older you know and I hold him and almost the-the moment that I hold him I want to put him down because of the weight you know it put on my hip. And I cannot sit on the floor to play with him. You know so it’s all those factors uh, led me to okay now you know I need to go and see a-a surgeon.

RICHARD: The surgeon showed me the x-ray, you know all the cartiledge it’s all grind out, you know it’s bone to bone and the right-the right is condition is-is pretty bad. You know so I said well you can postpone it, you can delayed it you know but you cannot avoid it. So I have uh, the surgery appointment uh, all fixed up. I want to do both hips at-at the same time you know but it was not recommended by the-the surgeon. You know because uh, the reason why I-I wanted both done is both uh, is bad. You know so uh, the hip where the left is a little bit worse you know so-so but uh, the right hip is-is a matter of time. But at the-the-the surgeons suggestion I decided to do my left hip first and then the right hip but at a relatively short time.

RICHARD: 11 o’clock I got pushed into the uh, operating room and there was a few people there you know assisting the-the surgeon, the anesthesia physician was there, you know and a couple injection and I’m-I’m sleeping. Uh, by the time that I woke up you know I already in the recovery uh, room and they have already uh, got me prepared. Because uh, I think they are making sure you know there’s movement uh, for the sur-surgery leg. So they put some kind of uh, air pressure just like massage you know to-to-to keep the-my leg uh, circulate.

RICHARD: I was feeling pretty good. You know I-I-I don’t remember uh, the pain bother me that much. It might be because the-the anesthesia is still in effect for-for a day. Uh so but they-they kept on feeding me uh, a pain killer anyway. The first night you know because after-after the recovery it was kind of late. According to the doctor you know they-they wanted me to stand up right away you know after maybe two-two or three hours. But because of the delay of my waking up by the time I get to my room you know it’s too late for a physical therapist to come. So I didn’t get to stand up until the next day.

RICHARD: I was really amazed you know that I can stand up. It’s not a simple surgery. They cut you open, they cut your femur; you know the ball part of-of the hip out and they replace it with a-a cup. All through my stay in the hospital it’s-it’s like six you know the-the-the pain level. If I try to tough it out you know I don’t need the pain killer. You know it’s that level.

RICHARD: So I went home, you know I-I live with my wife you know so she will be my uh, uh, caretaker. And I-I really thank God for her. Although I think if I try to tough it out you know I can-I can do it myself. You know but I think uh, with-with her help you know uh, life is much, much better.

RICHARD: Uh, my biggest concern you know when-when they discharge me is the wound. I don’t have to do anything you know because they cover it with bandage, you know waterproof bandage. Uh, but I cannot uh, take shower which I am dying for. You know after three days you know of a sponge bath I-I’m longing for a shower. But I kind of hold it back. You know although the doctor said well yeah you can take quick baths you know and but make-making sure you’re-you’re drying yourself well you know particularly the wound. So-so the part that scares me the most is I don’t want an infection.

RICHARD: Not until the-the nurse came the second time that they replaced the bandage. When I first go home I need uh, a walker you know to-to walk. After a couple days you know a week or so I don’t really feel like I need it you know so I switched to a-a cane. After two weeks you know I-I go to the doctor without any aid, walking aid.

RICHARD: Everybody tell you know you have to work hard at your therap-therapy you know so that you can heal better. You know so but later on I find out you know I’m-I’m doing it the wrong way. You know I’m really literally working it hard. You know so that-that uh, caused the wound you know to not-not be able to heal. My leg is like swollen like a elephant leg. You know so-so I complained to the phys-physical therapist and then she find out you know that I-I’m really working myself too hard. You know and uh, the leg was-was swollen anyway you know after the-the-the surgery. But it-it should be subside within a week.

RICHARD: I bought of uh, those cold pack, you know the ice pack. It really work-worked magic. I can sleep with it you know so that’s fine I say. You know I’m sleeping with a refrigerator on my leg you know. Um, so that’s how I kept uh, the swollen down. In two weeks uh, I myself took myself out of uh, pain killer.

RICHARD: After the first surgery you know I noticed that my left leg is-is longer. I can stand straighter you know on my-on my left side. If I do uh, the right side you know my body will be-will be straight. The first surgery was so successful. I mean I answer my doctor you know with your permission I want to do my right hip too you know because I have such a-a good success on my-on-on my left. You know because I cannot imagine you know I can drive, I can do so called normal things uh, within two weeks. And within a-a month when I see him again just normal you know yeah so. I asked him and then hey look at the situation is; yeah fine you know we can-we can do it.

RICHARD: Yeah I did my first hip uh, on the October 15th around that time. And-and then for my second one I did it on um, January uh, fifth. So it is about three months apart. The second surgery is same smooth, very smooth. After I-I got discharged from uh, the hospital for a week I still have big pain. And leading up to the second week uh, the pain is still unbearable and I have to take medication. Uh, compared to the work one uh, I already off the medication.

RICHARD: When I went back to the doctor for removing the stitches uh, I told him uh, so he kind of said well yeah it’s only two weeks, just give it a little bit more time. My-my leg is kind of numb, you know which that feeling I don’t have it on my first surgery.

RICHARD: And then of course you know now a days you-you go online to find out what exactly wrong right? I think I got all the symptom of a bad cord which is bad and that will make your leg numb and uh, the hurt is still there. So I’m very afraid of that so I called the-the doctor. They look at the-the picture and also I have uh, uh, the vein on my feet is kind of raised. It’s all the symptom of a bad cord. And so I sent uh, send them using email you know the picture and-and the doctor look at it you know and said it’s still normal. You know so make-making sure you use a lot of ice pack. So I went and buy myself more ice packs so I can-I can be like 24 hours you know replacing it every fi-every 20 minutes or something like that.

RICHARD: Uh, walking is fine. You know actually I feel better walking than-than sitting around. The numbness go kind of subside when I-when I walk. You know so I do a lot of walking. I don’t want to sit down for long you know because, uh, the recommendation is you should not sit down for a long time. That’s why they advise not to go travel because sitting on the plane for like going-going to Japan or going to Australia it might take 16 hours sitting.

RICHARD: For people who do hip surgery everyone is different. And even for the same people you know the one hip surgery is different than the other surgery. So you just have to have faith in the doctor and God of course yeah to-to-to making sure the doctor do all the right things and hopefully everything will come out fine. And I’m looking forward to uh, my active future life. Uh, so that I can do more exercise, do-do more things you know that I love to do. And um, uh, I will just leave it at that.

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