First, I would like to say how grateful I am for Pat Walter and Vicky Marlow for
maintaining the website that led me to hip resurfacing and Dr. Ure in Mt.
My journey began by surfing the internet for any information that would help me
better understand what a total hip replacement meant. I was diagnosed about six
years earlier with osteoarthritis. It wasn’t too bad in the beginning of course,
but as time progressed so did my pain. I eventually was on six to eight
ibuprofen daily and sometimes I needed vicoden as well. Without the medicine it
became extremely painful to walk. I favored the right hip more even though both
hips were bone on bone.
I spent hours reading information on the internet, but the most informative site
was Surface Hippy. I emailed Pat Walter and thanked her for providing so much
valuable information. She emailed me back and told me that Vicky Marlow in
California could better help me find a doctor since Vicky new more about the
doctors in our area.
I began an email correspondence with Vicky and told her I planned to see Dr.
Schmalzried in Los Angeles. She warned me that Dr. Schmalzried isn’t receptive
to females over 55 years old. (I’m 59 years old.) Despite her warning, I made
the visit to his office at St. Vincent’s Hospital in December 2007. After
examining me, he echoed just what Vicky had warned me about. I was too old and
not active enough for hip resurfacing. I felt devastated.
My husband and I were home by late afternoon. Vicky had told me to call her if I
ever needed to talk with someone. I paced around the house a few times debating
if I should infringe on her time. I finally dialed her number. She immediately
was sympathetic to my situation and told me not to give up. She explained that
each doctor was different and that I should contact Dr. Ure in Mt. Shasta. She
said that she had heard only positive things about him and that I should get in
touch with him right away.
I was on the phone the next day talking to Denise, Dr. Ure’s assistant. She gave
me his email address so that I could forward my x-rays to him. After ten days of
anticipation, Dr. Ure called and said that he would be happy to do the surgery.
I was on cloud nine – you would have thought that I had just won the lotto. We
scheduled my surgery for January 30, which was about seven weeks in advance. It
gave me plenty of time to prepare.
I met with Dr. Ure the day before my surgery. He was just as I thought he would
be – a kind, gentle doctor, receptive to my questions. I knew that I had made
the right decision to drive all the way to Mt. Shasta. His staff reflected his
personality as well.
I checked into the hospital at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 30. The prep
nurses were wonderful and took great care to make me comfortable. They made sure
that I understood everything that was going on. My surgery took over three
hours. I was back in my room by 4:30 p.m. As much as I would like to say that
there wasn’t much pain, I would be lying. My entire leg was double the size and
extremely sensitive to even the slightest touch. (So as not to scare anyone away
from the surgery, the extreme muscle pain was gone in about nine days. Besides,
that’s what pain pills are for.) I checked out of the hospital on Saturday,
February 2. Even though the nurses were exceptional and the food fantastic, I
was ready to go home. Thankfully the physical therapist at the hospital had
ordered a walker for me. The crutches that I had brought with me from home would
never have worked.
My husband and I spent one more night in the hotel before heading home the next
day. Sunday morning was a real challenge for my husband. He had to pack all of
our belongings, trudge through the blizzard to load the truck, and then shovel
all the snow away from the truck before we could leave. He had the step stool in
place and lots of pillows and a silky sleeping bag in the back seat. (We had
practiced at home how I would ride in the truck for the long trip home. The
silky sleeping bag helped me to slide in and out of the truck. We have a four
door truck and chose the back seat so I could keep my leg elevated) We stopped
several times on the way as Dr. Ure had suggested.
I didn’t do much the first week at home. I kept my leg iced down and did the few
exercises that the PT had shown me. Two weeks after surgery the swelling was
gone so I switched to crutches. A couple of days later, I was down to one
It has now been four weeks since my surgery. I have tried to walk without my
crutch, but I move way too slow. I finally drove for the first time (since it
was my right hip, Dr. Ure said to wait for a month). I also began swimming
again. I live in a new retirement community that has wonderful facilities
including a heated swimming pool. I hear it’s the best therapy for hip surgery
I am scheduled to have x-rays on my hip next week. Dr. Ure said that as long as
I get those x-rays mailed to him, I don’t have to travel to Mt. Shasta for a
post-op visit. I feel confident that all is going well. Each day is better than
the last and I feel that my recovery is on target.
Unfortunately, I need to do this all over again on my left hip. But fortunately
I have a wonderful doctor that knows how to do it. Dr. Ure is a very talented
and skilled surgeon who is making a difference in the lives of many. I am very
grateful to him for not discounting me because of my age and gender and for
looking at me as an individual. It only makes since to save the precious femur
bone instead of cutting it off. A quick analogy: I had laser surgery on my eyes
a few years ago. The same doctor who performed my laser surgery is now
advertising that you should save your precious corneas and have lens implants
So those of you anticipating hip surgery – save your precious femur and find out
if you are a candidate for hip resurfacing. And don’t just get one doctor’s
opinion, get several if you have to. Trust me, it’s worth it.
PS: My husband said I would be remiss if I didn’t tout the wonderful hospitality
that we received at the Best Western Tree House Motor Inn during our stay at Mt.
Shasta. They gave us a substantial discount on our room rate (thanks to their
partnership with the hospital) and were receptive to our every need. They put us
in a room that had easy access to handicap parking and allowed us to take food
from the free breakfast buffet back to our room. They were always friendly and
courteous. I would definitely recommend this hotel for any type of stay at Mt.