Thanks a great deal to my parents, the US Army and even to medical issues, I traveled a great deal. I have not been to New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine in the US. I haven’t been to Nunavut, Noviscocia or New Brunswick in Canada. I visited Mexico, Jamacia, and the Cayman Islands. The Army sent me to New Foundland and Germany. While in Germany, visited France, and Luxemburg.
Probably the most interesting trip was for my left hip operation I had eleven years ago in India. I needed a hip replacement. You need to understand that I have a substantial fear of needles and knives. I was just over fifty, and I was very active. I had been training with the idea of running the Marine Corps Marathon at the time my hip went out. Two years of therapy and treatments like cortisone injections while I fought to have hip resurfacing done here in the USA failed, so I scheduled surgery with Doctor Vijay Bose in Chennai India for a metal on metal large ball diameter Birmingham Hip Resurfacing.
My thinking at the time was that a standard hip replacement would have been very limiting. Running would have been out and heavy labor also. Worst of all was the idea that likely the new full hip replacement would wear out in about seven years maybe sooner and that a significant portion of total hip replacements needed revision surgery before that.
Doctor Bose indicated that I would likely get fifteen years of heavy unrestricted use from the BHR and that, at that time, he had performed over four-hundred BHR implants with zero revision surgeries. Remember knives and needles were a big issue. He also said that if I was not a competitive skier or runner that it would probably last the rest of my life. Bingo! Sold, where do I sign up. My wife and I flew to London, and that was my first stop there. From England to Chennai, India, and the Parks Hotel. I highly recommend the Hotel, great food, great service and a rooftop pool with glass walls around the outside of the roof allowing for endless entertainment watching the traffic.
We checked into the Hospital the next evening for morning surgery. The next day was a bit of a blur, I remember surgery prep and the next thing I remember was waking up in my room, and it was dark. I had four more days in the hospital while I got PT, made sure my bodily functions were functioning, and I had learned to navigate with arm crutches up and down stairs.
Rehab was a week long stay at Fisherman’s Cove Resort on the Bay of Bengal. I didn’t see any tigers but did see some monkeys, some international tourist, and at least a dozen or more recovering surgery patients. Most patients were joint replacements from many of the countries with free government heath care only you were likely to die before you got a replacement if you were over sixty, so they went on vacation to India and got it done right away. My best friend while I was there were a contractor and Yoga instructor, Walter Zaugg from Kanoloops Alberta Canada.
He had the same surgery two days before mine and was my early warning system telling me what to expect in recovery. We walked miles and miles on the beach. Our wives enjoyed the pool and the massage therapists, and we all enjoyed the food at the restaurants available at the resorts.
We had to make one run back to the hospital for progress checkup before being cleared to fly. The traffic from the top of the hotel was entertaining, but in a cab on street level, it was everything from humorous to downright heart-stopping. I know most of you are familiar with the sixty CC motorcycle. Small, right? Imagine five lanes of traffic one way with buses, trucks, cars, little portable photo booths on wheels where up to two people sat in the photo booth while a guy riding what looked like a moped drove you around in that mess.
There are horns beeping continuously and is used by drivers like sonar because no one pays any attention to the traffic lanes. The heat even in the evening is oppressive just from what the motor vehicles produce. Now you have the scene set in your mind. Traffic is moving slightly slower than a guy on the sidewalk that looked to be older than ninety and had a walker. It is a one-way street.
You look ahead, and traffic is parting down the middle of the road, and the pace of horn beeps has quickened to match my heart beat when you see a man on a small motorcycle. He isn’t alone, his three-year-old son is on the handlebars, his wife is on the seat behind him sitting sidesaddle, and she is holding a months old baby. Not one of them has on a helmet, and the wife has both hands on the baby!
Here is the kicker, they were traveling the wrong way! I am sure that you could imagine such a thing in DC, LA, Seattle or Chicago ending in a blood bath as motorists ripped the guy from his bike and pulverized him and the bike. In Chennai, they just toot toot on their horn and vehicles part like the Red Sea for Moses and drivers wave and smile what a cute family. I had to ask our driver, as I occupied the front seat next to him, why someone would do that? His reply, “Probably he only needed to go a short ways and in this traffic going around the block would take too long.”
I have to tell you if you go to see Dr. Bose and have your hip resurfaced plan on two weeks at the resort. The trip back was very uncomfortable. Being able to walk around made it doable but had we experienced bad weather the 12 hours on the plane two hours at the London Airport could have caused blood clots. A week later I would have been fine.
I have another hip to do but at sixty-three and much less dynamic than eleven years ago the newer model full hip replacement should last my lifetime. I still don’t like knives or needles.