Seven years ago today.

When I was turning one year old, I was spending the time in the hospital with an infection in my left hip joint. This infection had become so serious that it required surgical intervention to remove from the affected areas.

Surgery in 1983 was not what it is today. Because of this fact, I received one of my first scars. For the rest of my life, I’d have a pocket sized incision across my left butt cheek. It’s part of the reason I have always been able to laugh at myself.

Throughout my lifetime up until my 30s, I did my best to work around my injury. As 2015 came along, it became clear to me that it was time to think about getting my hip fixed. At the age of 32, I made the decision to have total hip replacement. The pain in my hip joint had become a daily occurrence and was debilitating. I was losing sleep, and I was becoming irritable, borderline volatile at times. I’ve always believed that pain transforms a person into an unrecognizable monster and I had become such a monster.

In the months leading up to meeting with my surgeon and at last replacing the hip, I ramped up the over the counter pain meds to several every day. In the last month before my surgery, I was able to acquire more serious pain medication and dragged my limping ass to the finish line. I knew this was no way to live.

The x-ray image did my condition no justice but it went a long way to explain my pronounced limp:

One of these things is not like the other.

The disparity in length between my two legs had grown (shrank?) to 2.5 inches. Since the ball of my left femur was essentially missing, it wasn’t hard to imagine this figure. It still seems insane to this day, though.

On August 10, 2015, I was on my way to surgery. I remember the day almost entirely, save for the several hours of blissful ignorance in the operating room. There really aren’t enough good things to say about modern anesthesia. 10/10 would recommend. I was and have never been afraid of going under. It’s always been hard for me to understand why people are so terrified of it. If I died while I was under, I’d have never known anyway.

As the world came rushing back into focus in the recovery area, the room was filled with a team. This is the surgical staff, attending to my various needs. Just as I notice these people, one of them notices me shaking. “Are you cold? You’re shaking.” I managed to muster enough energy to say “Ten.” She knew I was conveying my pain level and the next time I woke up, I was in my room. After the fact I understand that this was the pain of the surgery itself. All of the associated “digging around” and the removal of bone will push a person to their threshold.

I understood that the recovery would be a potentially long and winding road. The pain I had come to know as part of me was now gone, and I wasn’t afraid of any road. All of the pain I had grown accustomed to over 30 years was now the past.

If you’re a candidate for total hip replacement and have any second thoughts whatsoever please allow my story to serve as confirmation that you should do it. I have seldom known the joy I experienced when I knew I would never experience that pain again. I’m here to tell you that miracles are real and they are the product of modern science.

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