Hilton Head Hip

Note: I am republishing selected posts from my former site, 1HeckOfAGuy.com here on AllanShowalter.com. This entry was originally posted July 30, 2007.

After two or three weeks of Physical Therapy for a vacation injury initially diagnosed as an adductor strain (aka groin pull), treatment with which DrHGuy was, of course, fully compliant, brought about no symptomatic improvement, a second appointment with the primary physician seemed prudent.

That clinical visit occasioned an X-ray – because the orthopedic/sports specialist to whom I was to be referred was the nitpicky kind of guy who was a stickler for ruling out such unlikely possibilities as a hip fracture.

It required, however, only one glance at the completed X-ray (even a solitary glance from a psychiatrist like DrHGuy) to transform the rule-out into a confirmed diagnosis of hip fracture.

The Treatment aka “A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure”

A few minutes after the X-ray viewing, Max, my younger son aka the Mesomorph, was chauffeuring DrHGuy to the hospital with a referral to an orthopedic surgeon. Quick as a wink,1 DrHGuy was domiciled in a room, ownership of impressive quantities of his bodily fluids having been transferred to a variety of laboratories, and his signature having been affixed to multiple pieces of paper which must have been read by someone someplace sometime.

Most significantly, the surgeon completed a physical examination of and diagnostic interview with DrHGuy along with a review of pertinent labs and radiological reports. These procedures were notable for featuring the surgeon’s refrain, “And you continued X’ing (where X=walking, exercising, riding a stationary bike…) on that leg with the broken hip for how many weeks?” as a Greek chorus. Numerous staff seized upon the subsequent opportunity to offer comments to DrHGuy along the lines of “Well, I’ve never seen an order for ‘Strict Bed Rest’ with 17 underlines and 8 exclamation marks. See that, where the Dr’s pen has ripped through all 3 layers of the paper?”

In any case, the expected clinical intervention, surgery to pin the fractured bones, was indeed recommended, and DrHGuy awaited his fate, as ordered, abed.

DrHGuy’s Hospital Wish List

In reconnoitering the scene from his semi-recumbent position, DrHGuy discovered that while the hospital was, in many respects, a fine and dandy place, Internet access is not one of their patient services.

DrHGuy, being email-dependent, was bummed.

Said hospital could also have used a spin doctor among its medical specialties. DrHGuy’s first regular meal was this no doubt nutritious nursing home cliché.

Yep, stewed prunes, green gelatin, soggy spinach, stuffing, generic tea, and the other white meat.


DrHGuy’s Op and Post-Op Report

Thanks to random changes to the O.R. schedule, DrHGuy’s hip pinning became a Friday morning matinée rather than a special Thursday midnight feature.

The Operation
After a couple of whiffs from a mask, DrHGuy found himself gazing at the walls of a recovery room cubicle, his hip well on the road to recovery.

The Post-Op Hospital Stay
The remainder of Friday was a trip to the spa. From that point on, for example, no knives violated DrHGuy’s integumentary integrity, no metallic rods were hammered into the shafts of any of his bones, and no paralyzing chemicals were were introduced into his central nervous system.

And, the dinner delivered that evening not only corresponded to the dinner ordered (roasted chicken) but was both aesthetically pleasing and tasty.

Nor were luxuries withheld. DrHGuy was not, for example, required to make that annoying jaunt to the bathroom; instead, such bodily necessities were executed without leaving the bed with implements proffered and emptied by a grateful and worshipful staff.

Why? Because

The day after the operation, DrHGuy passed along the news to his mother, who had undergone a similar procedure a few years previous. Her question had to do with why the hip fracture occurred, a fine query given that there was no traumatic event, and DrHGuy is far, far younger than the modal hip fracture patient.

Well, none of the possible reasons were happy ones. The smart money (i.e., the surgeon’s) was on a lifetime of hypothyroidism leading to osteoporosis, but that was only a guess. That diagnostic conundrum was to be DrHGuy’s next medical adventure.

Although DrHGuy’s preference was focusing his worries on long-term, catastrophic problems, just then he was most concerned about how he was going to take a shower with his walker and the lump of dough into which he would transform since he was restricted from exercising for an indeterminate period.

Given that DrHGuy was forbidden to exercise – and he asked about every option in every way until the folks in charge began giving signals of being miffed – becoming a lump of dough became a given. Diet remained, at least theoretically, under DrHGuy’s control so just how huge a lump of dough he was to become was then unknown.

Regardless, determination of the underlying disease had to wait a bit until DrHGuy was able to free up enough energy to properly address it.

The Final Discharge Criterion

The final step to discharge was the requirement that DrHGuy demonstrate to the Physical Therapy representative2 that he was capable of locomotion without re-injuring the fracture.

And thus it was that yet another narcissistic defense bit the dust when the young, vivacious Physical Therapist stuck with Saturday inpatient duty suggested that a walker might prove easier to use and more efficient than crutches.

Being of the manly-man persuasion, DrHGuy informed the young lady that he would indeed keep an open mind toward both methodologies but frankly saw himself more the injured jock on crutches than the crazy old codger with the walker adorned with a macramé pouch dangling from the crossbar.

That notion persisted for perhaps 7 nanoseconds, which is coincidentally the length of time required to make the preparatory move preceding the preferred swing-through crutch maneuver.

DrHGuy is now aiming toward a less athletic, more dignified man of a certain age image – think Maurice Chevalier with a limp – and a walker. ‘

Thus, “Walking on Sunshine”



Credit Due Department: X-ray atop this post by Booyabazooka – This is a photograph of an x-ray; the photo was taken by me., CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia.

  1. FYI, 1 Healthcare System Wink = 8.5 Earth Hours []
  2. Astute readers will note the ironic symmetry PT provides for this tale []