Arx Hereticus

Welcome to the ramblings of a merry heretic, an ex-pat (Tex-pat?) American living in Maryland after having spent six years in Germany. Arx Hereticus is part travelogue, part cooking, part budo, part socio-political commentary and mostly just me BSing.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Doc says I'll have to have a tuneup in about 20 years, but by then, we may be regrowing the whole joint (his words).

Thanks for the good wishes and tips, folks. The phys. therapy angle is dead on. I'll get an intensive, pretty much 8 hrs a day rehab the first 2-3 weeks following the surgery and another couple weeks with 3 hrs a day as an outpatient.

I'm really, really looking forward to hiking again. There's a lovely castle ruin atop a ridgeline near here, Weisenstein. Our favorite path up to it is about a kilometer up a goat trail-ish path that zigs and zags and requires the occasional all-fours scramble. Atop the ridgeline, the ruin give a good chance to cath breath and rest a bit before taking one of several trails in the forest.

About 4 km from the castle ruin is a lookout point with a tall observation platform, allegedly the highest point in the Oberpfalz. Beautiful if the weather's clear.

Yeshi: Thanks for the good thoughts and the prayers. I'll be getting sliced up on the 18th. Don't know the exact time, but it'll be sometime after 8 am and before noon.

Airports: HW says I have to wear a kilt when flying from now on, so when they question me about the metal thing, I can flash 'em.

Had my pre-op exam yesterday. Blood work (six freaking vials! I felt like I ought to have felt dizzy from blood loss), EKG and stress test because of a minor (and ultimately) harmless anomaly, pulmonary function test, etc.

All normal to high-normal. Surgery is a 'go' at this station.

Discussion with the family doc (great guy with a wicked sense of humor -- he instructed me to watch Fred Astaire's "Singing in the Rain" when I came back to see him post-op, so we could dance) about the surgery. Very reassuring and supportive of HW.

Also started a little more aggressive 'pre-hab' fitness training Monday. While HW taught the sword class, I spent 15 min each on a couple of cardio-trainers in the gym. I'm not getting on the mat again until after the operation and rehab, so she and our student Miguel are handling the beginners an working with each other on the intermediate stuff.

We're hoping to put together a mini-seminar in Regensburg in October, featuring a good friend and fellow sword-swinger (and long-time judoka) who'll be visiting form the US. I should be mostly functional at that time for sword work, but the matwork will probably have to wait a bit still.

Ah well, gotta get ready for work, although I'd prefer a longer lazy morning with breakfast on the patio with HW, but I still have to go to work this week.
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HR surgery seems to be growing in the US and Europe, mainly - I think - because as we 'Boomers' are getting older, we're not settling down as much as or as early. We're still hiking, biking, playing judo, whatever. More wear and tear on the system.

HW kids me about getting the world's weirdest German souvenier. I'm planning to get the schematic of the implant tattooed on the hip, wreathed in flames with the doc's signature and a tiny "made in Germany" line.

Hippy resources

Several sites for info about hip replacement surgery:

http://hipsterclub.com/support.html

http://www.biomet.com/patients/hip_replacement.cfm

http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/hip/hiprepqa.htm

http://www.mhrrc.org/kopacs_corner/i..._hip_repl.html

More to come ... feel free to add.

Hippy hippy shake

I'm slated to go into the hospital next week for replacement of my right hip due to degenerative arthritis.

I'm 50, in reasonably good shape and health and my wife is a bodywork professional (she's a European Rolfing Association certified Rolfer, if anyone's interested). I am more flexible than average and have been fairly active (martial arts 2-3 times a week, hiking or biking almost every weekend, 1-2 times a week in the gym as well) until this past year when the hip has really gone gimpy; steadily increasing pain and occasional failure to operate properly. I'm on daily pain meds (Metamizol 3 times a day) now and walking with a cane.

The doc will take off the head of the femur and remove the socket of my pelvis. Then the surgery will replace the head with a titanium allow ball, set on a shaft that will extend into the thighbone itself. The new acetabulum(?) will socket into a stainless steel cup attached to my pelvis.

I'll be in the hospital for about a 7-10 days (physical therapy starts the first day post-op), followed up with 2-3 weeks of in-patient rehab and 2 more of outpatient rehab.

The surgeon is highly recommended, probably one of the top 10 in Europe according to my GP) and the clinic (at Bad Abbach) if affiliated with the University of Regensburg and is supposed to be one of the best around.

I'm not particularly anxious about the surgery (it'll be my third major operation in 20-some-odd years), but my wife is very, very stressed. She's never had to deal with anything quite like this before (we've been together about 7 years).

I AM looking forward to not having the pain anymore and being able to get back on with my life.

I should have 'puter access at the hospital and rehab clinic and I'll post updates from time to time.