Ralph’s Story: Preparing for Surgery

Looking back, I think the most frustrating thing was that everyone kept saying, “Well, you have to deal with the idea that you are getting old”.
I knew that I was pushing 60, but I wasn’t quite ready to just kick back and accept that the way I was feeling was entirely normal.

Ever since I was a teenager, back pain had always been an issue for me, but it seemed to be getting worse with more frequent bouts and longer recovery times. The back pain had really started to impact my working life as a quality assurance professional, my passion for playing music, and my quality of life in general.

Since 2007, I had seen doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, and physiotherapists. I had X-rays, MRIs, a bone density test, and ultrasounds – all of which failed to yield any significantly solid conclusions.

In the summer of 2013, a new doctor recommended that I see a Sports Specialty Orthopaedic Surgeon. After another round of X-rays, he determined that I needed a hip replacement.

A hip replacement was something that had been in the back of my mind but not something I wanted to think about because in 1995 my dad had a hip replacement on a Monday and passed away of a heart attack on Wednesday. While I knew our situations were altogether different, I couldn’t help but be haunted by the association.

I could have had the surgery the next month but, after further consideration, I decided to postpone until the New Year. This would give me the opportunity to shed some pounds, build up some upper body strength and generally get myself prepared for what was about to come.
After some pre-operative blood testing, it was determined that I was iron deficient. My iron was very low but my hemoglobin was pretty good. It was explained to me that the quality of my blood would have a significant impact on my recovery time. I was put on iron supplements and recommended for a couple of rounds IV iron.

My surgery was scheduled for January 9, 2014. As I went into surgery, I was thinking that I had prepared myself the best that I could: I had lost 20 lbs, exercised as much as I could, and was prepared to look at this as a really positive adventure.
The operation was a success. The recovery time was as expected, with physiotherapy both at home and in a clinic. I returned to work on the scheduled date of April 9, 2014. So all in all, a happy ending.

My experience as a quality assurance professional tells me that the more work placed in the front end of a project, the better the outcome. This was true with my hip surgery experience. I personally feel that the effort put into testing and evaluating my blood at the front end certainly contributed to a positive surgical outcome and shorter recovery time.

Today, I haven’t felt this good in years…I’m not getting old……I think I am aging nicely and becoming more well-seasoned.




Content and advice provided on The Iron Maiden is for information purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for a licensed health care provider, who is knowledgeable about an individual’s unique health care needs. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual authors and does not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency or employer.

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