I Am a Titanium Hippie
the thrill of the chase
there is life with a THR
Most people think about THP or Total Hip Replacement as the end of the line. I view it as the beginning. Because I look at things through Rose Colored Glasses, I generally see the world as a “what good can come of this” proposition. Thus, when my hip doctor told me it was time to become bionic, I was afraid, but still filled with hope.
How can one describe the total hip experience? It may help to begin with BH (before hip) and AH (after hip). I had been a marathon runner and motorcycle rider for a number of years. I am very proud to say that I owned three Harleys, the first Road King being one of them. As things happen I had an oopsy on my second Sportster. The result was nothing more than some road rash and a few bumps and bruises.
Over the years, I noticed that I had begun to live with bee stings in my left hip. The problem was that these were the kind of stings that never go away. If you have ever experienced a piece of food caught under your gum and the pinch that comes from too tight boots, you get the idea. As a marathoner, I figured that was part of the cost of running too many miles over too many asphalt licorice ribbons. Thirteen marathons completed and 37 to go before I could say that I had run in every state of the union. The 26 mile rambles had taught that me nothing is impossible.
The 2011 Fox Cities Marathon was to be my last. The bee stings were with me the entire time. Instead of jelly, my left leg felt like honey as the hipbees kept playing with my comfort. The dreaded, “This can’t be happening to me” feeling was my companion over twenty six miles and two hundred and ten minutes of agony. The hip pain was actually comforting in the sense that I knew I was alive.
2012 came and another Chicago Marathon flyer was delivered to me. This may have been the 25th time I received the flyer. Hip or not, I was going the distance. Along the way, my training progressed from complaining about the pain in my hip to praying about the pain in my hip, to crying about the pain in my hip, to finally waking up at 1:30 AM with the pain in my hip.
Instead of doing a six miler, I visited Dr. Franknstine. Wonderful man! Jesus and the good doctor are my savior in many ways. In his droll manner, he announced the good news and the bad news. Good news “You didn’t get this from running”. Bad news? “Your marathon days are over” BULL SHIT! Anyone who knows a marathoner understands the vehemence in the last comment better than Hemmingway could describe a bullfight.
I was to become bionic. I did all the things you do when you get ready to die…will, no revive orders, donate my organs to whoever, and go to confession. I felt a little better when Frankie told me my hip would be good for 75 years. That meant that I would be running marathons at 125 years old!
Now if you are still with me, you may be asking the “How does any of this relate to me?” question. Here goes. Yes, Total Hip Replacement is serious business. Yes it hurts for a little while. Yes you are incapacitated. Catheter Cathy was my nurse girlfriend for a three days. But, Yes! You can recover and you can live and you can thrive after THR! In fact if being dead is anything like being under general anesthesia, bring it on!
I began my recovery with a nurse who could have worked in the ward at One Flew Over The Cuckcoo’s Nest. Without her, I might have ended up using the same wheel chair that my momma used after not working on her own recovery. Can you say “Get up and walk you lazy son of a so and so.” My mantra while walking and RUNNING is still “Up with the good, down with the bad”. Only hippies can understand the significance of those eight words. Of all the good wishes I received, the most delightful came from the state in the form of a handicapped parking sticker! No more walks in the winter rain to the mall for this short haired hippie.
In all sincerity, I took my recovery to heart. Walking in the pool at the YMCA became my full time job. Begging forgiveness from the golfers on the fairway became my elevator pitch. It was all worth the effort. It is all worth the effort.
While I still wrestle my black belt Karate son and camp with the Boy Scouts, I am careful about what I do. I am a little slower, but I am a little older as well.
The doctor was right about marathon running. At my last follow up I announced my entrance to the Fox Cities Half Marathon. After shaking my hand he smiled and said “I’ll meet you at the finish line”.
you are never too old
rose colored glasses
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