Four years ago, I estimated three to five years. I might have been slightly pessimistic, but it may turn out to have been pretty accurate. Anyway, I wanted to get an idea of how long it might be before my second hip replacement. So I phoned for an X-ray and consultation and that took place today.
I knew I wouldn’t get a straight answer, though that didn’t stop me. My surgeon remembered me, I wasn’t surprised to learn, though I was a bit embarrassed. He said – he’s a polite man – that it’s the patients who stand out from the others who are most interesting. One worked in a slaughterhouse and so was interested in the anatomy of the operation. Another was an engineer and he wanted to know all about the replacement joint itself. I asked a lot of searching questions and was really quite stroppy about it. I’d been told about hip resurfacing, he was dead against it and it wasn’t that I argued, but I wanted to know exactly why he was against it, to the extent of asking him how many operations he’d carried out. This was a matter of a week or two before news broke about how risky metal-on-metal hip replacements are, which he already knew of course.
I liked him because I asked forthright questions, he answered straightforwardly and I ended up convinced by his answers. I’m not especially opinionated and don’t insist on having my own way unless in exceptional circumstances and I don’t have a lot of time for those who do argue every case, just for the sake of it. I’ve known parties ruined that way. I’ve got a friend who admits to cringing every time his wife gets into a discussion in a social setting because she prides herself on out-arguing everyone – which convinces no one that she’s right, of course, they’re all just more polite than she is and bored into submission. On the way home, she says “why didn’t you stop me?” Then, when by arrangement he nudged her under the table, she said loudly “why are you touching me under the table?” It’s pretty funny, unless it’s your party being killed.
I mentioned that I have one regret about my own operation, which is that I’d have liked to see and handle a joint of the type I have. So he said he’ll bring one in, next time I see him.
No news about when that’ll be, though. He scored my answers on how much it hurt, on a scale of 1-21, at 6. He said that he’d be willing to operate privately on 12 and one is NHS eligible at 15. Some people hang on until 18. I suspect that I did last time, or potentially even more, as one question was whether I needed painkillers and I said that last time I found that they didn’t really touch the pain so I didn’t bother. Another was whether I could walk a mile, and then I didn’t willingly walk ten yards – I mean that literally, I got on my bike to go down the drive and, if I left something upstairs in the morning, I managed without it until I went up to bed.
He wouldn’t be drawn on how long I’ll be before I need an operation. Might be three months, it might never hurt enough for me to come back (that isn’t going to happen). I have the feeling that I might be going back to him next winter but it’s just a feeling.
Tonight, I’m over with Weeza and co. They’re off to London tomorrow and I’m a lucky granny, I will have Zerlina and Gus for the weekend.