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Monday, August 8, 2011

New hip, same old hippie: The boss' impending surgery

By Steve Siciliano

For the past twenty years or so I’ve dreaded getting physicals. If you’re a man over forty and are seeing your primary care physician on a somewhat regular basis I’m sure you understand why. My most recent physical was in May. After Dr. Bodley went over my blood work he listened to my heart and lungs, he looked into my ears with a hand held device and tapped with a small rubber hammer on my knees and ankles. He had me lay on my back on the examination table and proceeded to poke away at my stomach. He told me to stand, told me to cough, cough again, then instructed me to bend over and place my forehead on the examination table.

“Geez, Doc,” I said. “Haven’t they come up with a better way of doing this?”

“Afraid not.”

A minute later I was sitting again, gingerly. The doctor assured me that, with regard to my prostate, everything was fine.

“Is there anything else you want to talk about? You know, a man your age…”

“No, Doc, I think I’m good.”

“You’re sure?”

“Well.” I paused for a second. “I guess there is something.”

“Yes?”

“It’s my legs, Doc. My upper thighs. They’re always hurting.”

Dr. Bodley asked a few question then ordered x-rays. Two days later his nurse called with the results.

“You have severe osteoarthritis in both your hips,” the nurse informed me.

“Severe?”

“Yes. Doctor is referring you to a specialist.”

So there it was. Zero cartilage in the hip joints, bone grinding against bone was the source of the constant pain and was the reason I had begun waddling like a drunken sailor. Over the past year or so before I had the physical, as the pain was growing steadily worse, I kept coming up with some possible explanations. Maybe it was because I was working out too much—lactic acid buildup in the thigh muscles. One of the customers suggested herbal supplements and that I drink black tea. Maybe, I thought, it was navigating our congested, maze-like store which was resulting in chronically overworked tendons and ligaments (this was before the expansion). I scoured the internet for home remedies. Maybe it was nothing more than tight muscles. I began stretching those muscles more frequently. I know now that the reason I refused to consider that whatever was wrong could possibly be more serious was the same reason I kept tossing the AARP junk mail applications in the trash. I didn’t want to admit that I was getting old, that perhaps my body was wearing down. There comes a time when we are forced to come to terms with that.

The specialist went over my options. Cortisone shots? Those joints are too far gone for that. Arthritis meds? Probably wouldn’t do any good either. I left with a prescription for a heavy duty pain killer and was advised to begin thinking about replacements.

It wasn’t long before I was forced into making a decision. We were in the midst of the expansion. There were long days of deconstruction, rearranging and heavy lifting. At night I could barely move. It was time.

One of my hips will be replaced on Tuesday, August 9. The tentative plan is to have the other done in November. Everyone tells me that I’ll be laid up for a while.

I’m thinking otherwise.

The Buzz editorial staff joins all Siciliano's employees in wishing the boss a quick recovery. Good luck, Steve, we'll be thinking of you!

3 comments:

  1. A few years ago my dad missed Deer Camp becasue of hip replacement surgery. So he stayed home, shot a ten point in his back yard, and had my mom drag it out for him.
    Be extra nice to your wife and staff. They'll be tying your shoes for you for a while!

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