I am the proud recipient of a new Cormet device compliments of Dr. Daniel Snyder and Newton Wellesley Hospital as of 12/14/09. Before telling my story, I wish to express my thanks to all of you hippies who have contributed to this site. Had it not been for you, I would likely be walking around without a right femoral head and dreading what would happen when my THR wore out about the time I retired and wished to play golf and chase grandchildren. I still depend on all of your posts as I recover and go about my PT. So….thank you and God bless you and may your recoveries be speedy!
I had been in the deciding mode since October 2007 when I first had a consult with Dr Burke at MGH. In November 2008 after seeing a friend progress well after a ceramic on ceramic THR, and having a consult with a highly respected retired orthopedic surgeon neighbor of a good friend (also from the renown New England Baptist Hospital – since he was no longer performing surgery I thought he would be objective – he said resurfacing was “cocktail party talk” and recommended ceramic on ceramic THR) I actually scheduled surgery for April 2009 with his surgeon. In March, I spent a couple days on this site and concluded that I was not ready to give up my femoral head and never run again. I cancelled my THR surgery and decided to limp along bone on bone on my one pre-medicated run per week in my beloved Walden Woods. By fall, I was practically dragging my bad leg up the hills – it was time to make a decision.
I visited Dr. Burke again who does some resurfacing but when asked how many he had done – told me “he didn’t keep track” – and would only commit to do what he thought was best once he got into surgery. He said choose a doctor you trust – not the procedure. I decided I couldn’t trust a doctor who wasn’t good at counting.
I then spent hours and hours on this website and a few others (by the way, by my humble opinion, this is by far the best single source of info) – trying to find the best doctor. I concluded that I would stay in the US and Dr. Su was my first choice. But he didn’t accept my insurance plan and I am a cheap bastard! so I decided on my (close) second choice – Dr. Mont in Baltimore (where I have a sister who would feed my chicken soup after the surgery). I made an appointment to see him in Early December. I was convinced after more research (and watching his videos) that he was the right guy to do the job. This site has always preached going with a very experienced resurfacer – and I believe that makes total sense!
I did have one other appointment scheduled with a local doc who had come recommended by my chiropractor / running partner. I did, however, have difficulty finding out much about him. There was very little data about him on this site – or others. I actually went into the appointment hoping I wouldn’t like him – because I had convinced myself that Dr. Mont was the man. But Dr. Snyder spent almost an hour with me – and patiently answered every question I asked (and here is another plug for this website: your questionnaire for prospective surgeons was awesome). He didn’t blow smoke up my butt and much to my surprise had done between 450 – 500 resurfacings after studying with Dr. McMinn. He said that of the roughly 20 hips he does each month about half are resurfacings. I liked the idea of staying close to home and have my doc and PT folks on the same page. I asked when I could schedule surgery – he said he just saw his scheduling nurse in the hall who told him of a cancellation on 12/14. I said “I’ll take it!”
My pre-op orientation did nothing to disuade me from my decision. All five of the people in the orientation (and this was an orientation scheduled for all hip surgeons and procedures – THR and resurfacings) were patients of Dr. Snyder and having resurfacings. After listening to the orientation I polled each of my fellow patients to ask why they chose Dr. Snyder. Three of the five had friends who were doctors at the hospital who recommended his as the most skilled (and who they would have operate on them). The other had a friend who was playing competitive basketball after a Snyder resurfacing.
My hospital experience was tremendous. From pre-op to admitting, it was structured and flawless. I then woke up in recovery in pretty intense pain. The percocets didn’t cut it – so they asked if there was something that I knew of which might work better. As a two time kidney stone sufferer, I knew Dilaudid to do the trick so that’s what I asked for. They obliged and by the time that wore off, I was fine and off to my own room.
And what a room! The new orthopedic wing at Newton Wellesley is amazing. It is like a four star hotel. The rooms are private and huge (about 15 x15) with 2 flat screen tvs (one for a spouse if she chooses to use the fold down bed to sleep over). Since the rooms are so large, there are fewer on the wing and that means it is much quieter! Going for walks in the nice wide hallways (which I did on my second day there) were pleasant and filled with very beautiful artwork. The nurses were very attentive and the PTs and OTs were super. Let me conclude by saying that rarely would I stay in hotel that was this nice!
As for my recovery….day one my quad and the incision area were sore but the oxydodone kept the pain quite tolerable. The PT tried to get me up for a walk but my blood pressure kept crashing (it is low to begin with and he said the anesthesia and pain killers might be causes). I was determined that I was going to walk on the day of surgery – so I talked my nurse (a great guy named Chris) into dragging me out of bed that eve and getting me to power up the walker and make it to the door and back. Success!!!
The next two days in the hospital were uneventful. I probably could have gone home at day 2 but my wife wasn’t ready for her pain-in-the butt husband and the extra work. There was considerable swelling in my quad – most likely due to gravity of fluid from the wound. Other than that, no problems. I was having no problem navigating on the crutches.
I was pretty much off the pain killers by the end of the first week – and walking perfectly with one crutch. The swelling in the quad subsided and except for inability to lift my leg, I felt pretty good about my progress.
I am now 3.5 weeks out and am still on one crutch. I can walk without pain – but with a considerable limp. It is weird not to be able to will myself to walk without a limp. I have been taking PT twice per week at Healthpoint with Nate (who is awesome!) and am riding a recumbent exercise bike daily now since day 14 – I am up to over 30 minutes per day. I tied my shoe for the first time yesterday – major triumph. I am disappointed in my right quad and hamstring size, my inability to walk without a limp, and my inability to lift my leg up onto a bench to stretch the hammy. But I guess, after reading all of your post op posts, that everyone is different and I shouldn’t fret.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress. And let me end again by saying how much I appreciate all of your input. I can’t tell you how much your stories and questions and encouragement have meant to me. I hope to see you on the trails in Walden Woods in 22.5 weeks (when Dr. Snyder says I can run again!)