Hip Injury Aftermath

 Posted by on 6 September 2011 at 7:00 am  Dr. Gimpy, Health, Health Care, Personal
Sep 062011

After my earlier left hip fracture, I underwent successful surgery to repair the broken femur head. The surgeon was able to get a good repair, and here’s a post-op image:

For comparison, here’s a matching pre-operative CT image:

For the record, those were definitely the three most expensive titanium screws I have ever purchased! But of course, I wasn’t just paying for the screws but for the highly customized, personalized, urgent delivery method as well.

I’m now home for a few days of Medical Leave before I return to work. Fortunately, I should still be able function pretty well at my job at a computer work-station, although I won’t be able to perform invasive procedures (or anything that involves prolonged standing) for a little while.

I do have a few observations in this immediate post-operative period:

1) American medical care is really really good. My care at all steps from the ambulance to the ER to the pre-op to surgery to the surgical aftercare was superb. Again, I want to give my kudos to the Level 1 Trauma Center where I was treated.

2) It’s very easy to think that this superb medical care “just happens” and grows magically on trees. But knowing how bad care can be in other countries with socialized medical systems, I appreciate the current semi-free American system even more than ever. And I want to continue to fight to keep it as free as possible.

3) Some of the various personnel at the hospital knew I was a physician on staff there, but many did not. For those who didn’t, I deliberately didn’t mention the fact that I was a doctor just to see how they treated a “regular” patient. They were consistently competent, courteous, and professional — and that makes me feel much prouder about where I work.

4) It’s amazing how much one’s life changes when one has restricted mobility on a single hip. Even simple ADLs (activities of daily living) such as sitting in chair, taking a shower, going to the bathroom, etc., become much more challenging. Fortunately, part of my patient education included some extremely helpful training sessions with the Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy teams to prepare me for functioning at home.

5) The first shower at home after surgery feels really, really nice!

6) Some of the postop physical therapy exercises are a real b*tch!

7) Having an iPad was a huge boon throughout the entire process, staring in the ER, then at home prior to surgery, then in the hospital immediately postop, and now at home. Being able to reply to e-mails, keep up on the news, interact with friends via Twitter/Facebook, look up medical literature, read my Kindle books, etc., was an enormous morale boost. A laptop would not have been as convenient or portable for someone like me with limited physical mobility.

Finally, Diana has been a tremendous help during this challenge. She’s been unfailingly cheerful despite now having to do twice as much work around the house as before. Certainly, if you value her work on NoodleFood or the Rationally Selfish webcasts, please feel free to be extra-generous with the tip jars!

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