Scalpel, hammer and saw will create Bruce 2.0



What will you be doing on May 11? It’s a Monday. For me, chances are it will be a life-changing day.

That’s when I go in for hip replacement surgery.

I’ve been working at losing weight and tried the cortisone shot. That worked back in October, alleviating a lot of my discomfort, but it has long-since worn off.

Now, I can barely shovel the driveway. Doing about 20 minutes of housework has me limping considerably and aching for a while afterwards. Thank God for shopping carts to lean on or I’d have a rougher time at the grocery store.

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And on days when I’ve shopped for food and shovelled the driveway, I’ve been useless for anything else afterwards.

This column used to be about some of the great events in Chatham-Kent our family experienced. With my hip, it has become very focused around the home, specifically the barbecue, as I just can’t wander through Tecumseh Park, or trudge up and down the toboggan hill in the middle of Kingston Park, or walk the boulevard in Erieau (I can, however, enjoy a brew on a patio, except that right now it’s winter, and I’ve given up beer until after the surgery as a part of my weight loss efforts). Walking from even a prime parking spot to take part in celebrity cherry pit spitting would be a killer too.

I’m not whining, but I was ignoring the reality of my predicament. Back in September, my orthopedic surgeon asked me what I wanted to do, and I thought I’d try the cortisone route, putting off the surgery for as long as possible. After all, I’m just 50 years of age. I’ll likely need to have the hip replaced again at a later date, as they last about 20 years, maximum.

But my quality of life took a beating.

No more delays. On May 11, they’ll slice open my hip, clean out my hip joint and install a metal socket with a plastic cap, saw off the ball at the top of my right femur, hammer a metal replacement down into my femur, put everything back together, and staple me up.

Sounds painful. Gerry Wolting from the municipality advised me I am in for about “two weeks of hell,” followed by rapid improvement. The doc said I’d be off work for three to six weeks, although with a laptop, I can write from almost anywhere, so working from home while recovering is part of my plan.

The interesting part is if I go through a Hunter S. Thompson-like experience as I write while on painkillers.

Meanwhile, I’ll be using a walker at first to get around the house. Then I get to graduate to a cane.

We have a bench on our front porch. I have a feeling I’ll spend a bit of time out there, as there’s only a slight step down to get there, and aren’t front porches where folks who use canes or walkers hang out in neighbourhoods? I can yell at kids to stay off the lawn, call people “whippersnappers,” and preach about how things were different when I was young.

OK, I’m giving into some serious stereotypes, but my wife always joked I’d become a grumpy old man. Perhaps that day is coming earlier than expected, albeit briefly (I hope).

Rehab on the hip should be interesting. Ditto for just being comfortable in the first couple of weeks after surgery.

But by mid-June, things should be much better. I’ll be in fine shape for the prime of barbecue season.

But that will be a concern in the short term. How will my Big Green Egg survive without my TLC? Those three steps to get down to the patio may look daunting for a time.

I may have to hand the spatula over to my wife briefly.

By later in the summer, I plan on being back out and about, fully enjoying the many great summer events and places Chatham-Kent has to offer, with the family.

May 11 cannot arrive quickly enough.


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