Author Topic: We Should All Count Our Blessings.. An Historical Perspective for Hippys  (Read 1283 times)

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  Today as I was getting ready to leave the health-club after my self-guided workout, I noticed an older gentleman in a wheel chair sitting at a table near the fitness floor.  I almost didn't stop, but he noticed me gimping by with one forearm crutch.  He called me over and introduced himself, and I ended up having a nice chat with him.  He was confined to the chair because of MS, which explained the large body "rubber-band" he had wrapped around his trunk to keep him upright, and I explained my condition was due to having the BHR.  He explained he was currently working as a PT and personal trainer at this same health-club, which I found amazing for his condition (exposing a surprising personal "bias" towards the disabled of mine I never knew I had, I thought to myself).   But it was his previous career which I found more interesting. Turned out he was a retired PT from Mayo Clinic here in town that happened to work with some of the earliest THR patients.  An amazing coincidence, I thought.   I'm not sure it's historically accurate, but he told me the first THR had been done at Mayo Clinic in 1969, and that he started there as an intern PT in THR recovery in 1970. Incidentally,  he was also extremely knowledgeable about blot-clots, what they feel like, how they manifest and impact the cardiovascular system, etc. and I am feeling better about wearing the TED stockings now LOL! 
  After I explained my BHR experience post-op, getting up and moving the same day as surgery, doing laps around the nurses station the next day after surgery, and the whole week-long, highly physical "on your feet, soldier" rehab in Madison, he started telling stories about his past experience with rehabbing THR's.  It seems that for more than 15 years, as late as the mid-80s, the THR patients of that era were kept in bed for an entire week, and if that's not enough, they put them in TRACTION for that week!  I was flabbergasted.  But, of course, being a new procedure in those days, the doctors had no track record of how fast patients could get back on their feet and rebound.  He described it almost like how new mothers would spend a week in the hospital in the 40s, 50s and early 60s, as compared to nowadays, practically getting kicked out the same day as delivery!  His job was to get these new THR recipients up and going.  The process was this. After their week in traction, he moved them to a gravity table that, at last, brought them to an upright, vertical position for the first time. From here, they were able to start using a set of parallel bars to start taking a few baby steps.  Often times, he explained, they didn't even get that far. When they were vertical for the first time in a week, all the blood rushed out of their heads, and sometimes their eyes rolled back in their sockets, and they passed out and he had to be ready to catch them.  Some unlucky ones crashed so quick and hard, they ended up dislocating their new THR, and the process had to start all over again, being recycled thru another week of traction in bed!  What a total, freaking nightmare, I thought. What is this? The Spanish Inquisition?  After they eventually made it through their 2 weeks of rehab, they were sent home with numerous, very intrusive restrictions.  No crossing your legs...ever, no horseback riding, no bicycles, no motorcycles, no golf, and certainly no high impact stuff like jogging or basketball, etc.    I must say, it was certainly an illuminating conversation from an historical point of view, and we should all count our lucky stars that we don't live in the "dark ages" of hip resurfacing and replacement anymore!

Jake said it
RBHR - Feb. 2012 - Dr. Rogerson - Madison, WI

Tin Soldier

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Interesting and thanks for posting.  I bet the surgical procedures have improved/changed a lot since then, which might be part of the reason the early recovery was so restrictive. 

Just think what we'll be saying to the young guy walking out of the gym 30 years from now. 

"when I was your age and had my HR surgery, the surgery took a whole hour, I was in the hosptil for a day and half, and they had to cut a 6-inch long incision in my butt, and they didn't let me tie my own shoes for 6 weeks, and I had a 6-foot long cathetar and it took 20 minutes to get the damn thing out,..."   :o
LBHR 2/22/11, RBHR 8/23/11 - Pritchett.


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"...and they used titanium implants instead of transparent aluminum, and we had to wait 6 months before we could do jiu-jitsu, moto-cross, snowboarding, or bull-riding, instead of only 3 days, like nowadays..."
RBHR - Feb. 2012 - Dr. Rogerson - Madison, WI


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I'm greatful for modern medicine.
Left BHR 1/9/12 Dr. Schmitt


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No doubt, msl !   Maybe that's where the use of the "body belt" came from, so when those patients passed out, at least they didn't fall on their new hips.  What a waste of rehab that would have been.
RBHR - Feb. 2012 - Dr. Rogerson - Madison, WI



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