I don’t mean to brag, but I am a world-class procrastinator. For months I debated whether I was in enough pain to need resurfacing. It seemed like everyone on surfacehippy had much more pain before their operations.My life was full. I work full time, and could limit my pain by giving up most significant physical activities. No running or jumping, just walking slowly, and my pain was only intermittent and usually mild to moderate. Occasionally, if I had to, I could walk for a couple of miles at once, with little pain after. My wife and I danced once in a while. The day before my operation I climbed 5 flights of stairs. Of course, if I took long walks, danced, or climbed stairs for two or three days in a row I would have lots of pain, 24/7, for a couple of weeks. Even swimming hurt. With this lifestyle my weight kept going up, and my blood pressure. Then came back pain, and some benign but annoying heart problems. I also missed sports like crazy, and was turning into a giant marshmallow. So after months of going back and forth, getting conflicting advice from friends and relatives, I almost chickened out. Thank God I didn’t! Thursday was my surgery with Dr. Su. Before the operation he asked me to sign a consent for right hip resurfacing / total hip replacement. Dr. Su told me that he had performed over 300 resurfacings and so far had never had to convert any to a total hip. Well, it turned out that if my hip was just a little bit worse I might have been number one. The morning after Dr. Su showed me an intra operative photo of a large “hole” in my femoral head caused by a cyst that was not even suspected preoperatively. If I’d waited just a few more months resurfacing would not have been possible. An operation was inevitable. My hip was deteriorating rapidly. There was dramatic worsening in my hip x-rays, from September 2006 to March 2007. I undoubtedly would have soon been in severe pain, and required a total hip. I left the hospital 41 hours after the operation. Now, three and a half days post-op, pain is much less than I expected, and recovery much faster. Best of all, I didn’t need a total hip. I’ll write later about my operation. That may be of some interest for people who are considering using Dr. Su. For now I’ll just say he was great, and the hospital wonderful. This post is for people out there who are on the fence (and especially for my friend Brian). I am so glad that I didn’t delay my resurfacing any longer. Roger Woodstock, NY Su RBHR 4/5/07 (New surfacehippy)
When I first tried to get an appointment with Dr. Su, by luck that they had a “cancellation” appointment available in only six weeks. At that November 28 appointment Dr. Su agreed to do my surgery. The earliest date they could give me was in early April.A week and a half before the operation you have you come for a “pre-op day.” That includes a physical exam with one of their internists who will be responsible for you during the hospital stay. There is also blood drawing, x-rays, registration, and a pre-op class. I was by far the youngest person is to my class, and the only resurfacer. Everyone else was a total hip . They spent a long time reviewing hip precautions. But the instructor was careful to point out that these precautions did not apply to me. They gave us each a detailed notebook. Toward the end of the book they showed two pages of sexual positions that could and could not be used with these precautions. My goodness! I never even imagined some of these positions. Couldn’t help thinking of “Meet The Fockers.” I guess “HSS” stands for “Hospital for Super Sex.” But I digress. My surgery was Thursday night, April 5. And there I was, 47 years old, 6’0″, 260 pounds, and ready to rock. When I first registered a gentleman who already had all my information asked me my first and last name, address, date of birth, type of surgery, and which hip. Later, when they called me into the pre-op area each tech, nurse, aide, and even the anesthesiologist each asked the same five questions. Dr. Su came by and confirmed it was my right hip and that I wanted a resurfacing and then signed his initials on my hip. Then he asked me to sign a form consenting to total hip replacement / resurfacing. He explained that in over 300 resurfacings he never had to convert one to a total hip yet but wanted me to understand it was a possibility. As I mentioned in a previous post (“Glad I didn’t wait”) it turned out there was a huge cyst in my femoral head that almost made resurfacing impossible. The anesthesia that they prefer is a hybrid spinal/epidural with some oral medication. I remember my first two minutes in the operating room, and then waking up in the PACU. Apparently I kept babbling during the operation, asking the same questions over and over, never remembering their answers. At least that’s what they tell me. I remember none of it. They also do an interesting technique called “controlled hypotension”. They lowered my blood pressure to approximately 80/50 during the operation to reduce blood loss and speed recovery. (I think there were other advantages that I just don’t remember.) Dr. Su spoke to my family after the surgery. He visited me both days in the hospital. That’s what blew me away: I was discharged at 41 hours post-op. They did not force me out. Dr. Su and my nurse both asked me twice “Are you comfortable going home this soon?” But I felt fine. Apparently HSS has the lowest infection rate of any hospital in the United States. I am not surprised. They were very impressive, and I am not easily impressed. But the worst part of HSS was having to drive home through those damn NYC streets. Cramped up in the back of my minivan with my wife driving it seemed like she was aiming for every giant pothole. But I know that wasn’t true. The potholes were actually jumping out of the street and attacking my hip with little hammers. But after I got back to Woodstock, lay down and took a couple of Percocets the pain went away and I could fall asleep. My recovery since has been incredibly smooth. I was walking slowly on a treadmill and with very little pain until day #5. Then I got cocky and really over did it, (and proved to myself what an idiot I can be. I didn’t realize too many hours sitting up at the computer, especially after too much walking, could be so destructive. Now it’s day #7 and I’m back on track; no pain meds in two days. Overall, I can’t believe how fast and relatively pain-free has been my whole experience. Please forgive the long post. I hope someone will find it useful.
Roger Woodstock, NY Dr. Su RBHR 4/5/07