Hip Surgery Lessons & Amaryllis

A Message from the Patient

It has been quite an experience for me to be on the other side of a doctor-patient relationship after 40 years of being the physician. I hope that most caregivers and observers would consider me a good patient, although they usually follow that with the modification of, “for a doctor.”

My elective hip operation was a long time coming. I had sustained no specific injury that I’m aware of except that for the past five years or so, getting in and out of my car was uncomfortable and was becoming difficult. The fact of the matter is getting in and out of the golf cart was uncomfortable too.

I figured that if I was going to become the world class golfer I always dreamed of being, my hips, knees, back, neck, and shoulders all have to be in tip-top shape. The repair was necessary, and it would have been impossible to rehab from surgery while I worked 50-60 hours a week.

Just Like Elite Athletes!

After consulting with several physicians, it was my best friend and colleague Jim who made the most accurate diagnosis. He relied on his years of working as a physician for the Toronto Blue Jays. His insight recognized that as a sixty-six-year-old athlete, I suffered from a condition known to occur in elite athletes.

The diagnosis was a CAM deformity of my left femur, which caused or coincided with damage to the labrum. In other words, there was an extra piece of bone near my hip that was shearing the inner lining of the hip socket. Untreated, this condition would have hastened the development of arthritis in my hip and a need for a hip replacement.

Great Location, Wrong Season

For a multitude of reasons, I had the surgery performed in Chicago, in the middle of winter (not smart). I needed to have it done and, as I have mentioned previously, I have people to see and places to go in retirement. Having children and grandchildren in Chicago was part of the motivation.

While my wife Melissa and I feel we are very self-reliant, having family backup was an additional motivation, and we had to lean on them heavily post-op. Sparing many details, I then returned home and started my rehab in the comfort of our home.

Rehab & Flowers

hip surgery & gardening

My daily routine for my hip surgery recovery includes two hours of stationary bicycling (giving me time to listen to many outstanding books and podcasts) and at least 30 minutes of leg exercises. We live in a two-story home, so every day I am up and down at least five times, including one trip daily to walk among the flowers in our garden.

I am anxiously awaiting the blooming of my 75 amaryllis flowers. I have been propagating these flowers since my mother gave me a single bulb in 2010. Spending time in one’s garden and with nature is one of the best activities we can do for our mental and physical health. It is part of my healing routine.

Hip Surgery Recovery & Life Lessons

Here are strategies that I learned on my journey through life that were very beneficial in the recovery process.

  1. Take care of your health
    If something is broken, get it fixed or develop a plan to fix it yourself. There is always one thing or another in the Power of 5 formula that can be used to maintain your health. Getting MORE Sleep, Sweat and Socialization. Having LESS Stress and Sweets.
  2. Attitude is important
    Remain positive through the healing process.
  3. Express gratitude to those around you
    Appreciate them for their help and compassion.
  4. Display acts of kindness
    Acts of kindness toward others helps your healing process.
  5. Set goals
    Goalsetting and tracking your recovery and rehab progress is exceptionally helpful.
  6. Spend time with nature
    Get outdoors if possible. Doing so has unbelievable healing properties.
  7. Companionship
    Recognize you are not alone. Continue to nurture and be grateful for your relationships.

The Power of 5 strategies have served me well during my hip surgery recovery. Tap into your Power of 5, applying strategies for your continued health and wellness.

To a Long and Healthy Life,

David Bernstein, MD

P.S. My surgery had been just a temporary interruption to my writing, and I am now back at my computer with many new and exciting projects I can’t wait to share with you.

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