Author Topic: Bilateral returning to work at 5 months  (Read 2498 times)

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Bilateral returning to work at 5 months
« on: October 22, 2010, 03:46:12 AM »
I am currently in the hospital one day after having a BHR on my left hip. Three months ago I had the same procedure on my right hip. Hopefully I am now on my way to recovering some of the life I have lost.

Less than five years ago I was playing professional basketball and getting ready to make the transition to my new career as a fire fighter. I was completely pain free, had no indications of any pending health challenges and was excited to start another job where my physical conditioning was an asset. However, not long after starting this new career I began to notice tightness in my hip flexors and began to have a hard time squatting down. A trip to the doctor confirmed pretty narrow joint spaces and some large osteophytes forming. Surprisingly quickly I went from being able to go full out on the court and in the weight room six days a week, to struggling to pick a paper up off the floor or tie up my shoe.

Not only was I forced to dramatically change my sporting and health habits, I found myself having a harder time to do my job properly. Attacking the problem in the same way I did any deficiencies in my basketball game, I figured I just need to find the right treatment or health practitioner to solve my problem. I was told that hip resurfacing/replacement was a last resort and that I had to live with things as long as I could. I spent thousands of dollars going to different physiotherapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, acupuncture, active release technique, traditional Chinese medicine, not to mention the yoga, stretching and specific strength training I tried. Although many of these things provided temporary relief, none really changed the long-term course of hip degradation I was on. By the beginning of this year my X-rays indicated moderately severe and severe arthritis on my two hips and any day I was off the pain killers did much to confirmed this.

Having access to the community of people who have gone through similar issues on Surface Hippy really helped me make the decision I had been trying to avoid. Instead of constantly feeling "what is wrong with me" or "it can't be arthritis, I am too young", I started to get connected with the idea that this just happens to some people and the solution is pretty good. There is light on the other side of the tunnel. Mostly, the site gave me information based on first hand accounts that I could use to evaluate what different doctors were telling me.

I had more than one surgeon tell me that I should really go for a hip replacement and it would irresponsible to have a hip resurfacing. They told me the technology is still unproven, that there are too many unknowns about metal on metal issues and that there isn't any proof that patients are able to be any more active post resurfacing than they are post replacement.

Although this advice may turn out to be true if I am one of the small percentage that has any reaction to the metal ions, I am grateful to be able to hear real stories of people being very active after resurfacings. The chance I have to carry on an active lifestyle at best, or just preserve more of my femur at least, seemed to me to be worth any risks that these surgeons saw with resurfacing.

I had my right hip resurfaced in January 2010 and am happy with the results so far. Now 3 1/2 months later I am just out of my second operation and am optimistic about being fully on the road to recovery.

« Last Edit: October 22, 2010, 03:55:23 AM by eb7 »


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Re: Bilateral returning to work
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2010, 03:54:43 AM »
I am now almost 6 months post-op on my second BHR and feeling great.  After spending the last 5 months rehabing my hips, I recently returned to work on regular fire fighting duties.  I have more flexibility and strength than before the operation and my pain is gone.  I was able to pass all the back to work tests I needed to go through and am now back to my regular pre-surgery duties.  It feels great to be able to do my job without pain and I feel very grateful to all the people who helped me get back to this stage. 

I have not yet gotten back to playing full court basketball, mostly because I am being cautious don't want to risk any other injury right now.   However, when I do play around on a hoop, taking some shots or some light one on one, I am already feeling way better than I did before. 

Pat Walter

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Re: Bilateral returning to work at 5 months
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 10:23:18 AM »

Congratulations on both new hips.  I am glad things have gone well for you and you are back to work. Many firefighters, military or police want to know if they will be able to return to duty. 

I will post your story on the regular website, but would like to know who your surgeon was.  I categorize the stories by surgeon name.  I hope things contiue to go well for you.  You are an inspiration!

Good Luck.

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3/15/06 LBHR De Smet


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Re: Bilateral returning to work at 5 months
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2010, 01:08:34 AM »
Hi Pat
Thanks for the words of encouragement.  Dr Arno Smit did both of my surgeries.  I feel so much less pain than I did before the surgeries that for me, returning to work was not only possible but much easier than before.  It has taken lots of rehab to get to this point but there isn't anything for my job that I am not capable of doing.


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