Tag Archives: hospitalization

My Story

After surgery

Politics, economics, and finance remain topics of interest for me. In all fairness and honesty to myself and you, the readers, the subject of “me” should have been discussed years ago. I have often read posts that dealt with personal struggles and triumphs. I admired the courage of the authors in sharing their experiences. Often, I wondered why they would want to share their personal lives. I should have been asking why I did not have their courage to do the same.

Sherry Hamby Ph.D in a post that appeared in Psychology Today and titled “Resilience and 4 benefits to Sharing your Story” discussed why it is important to share your story. She wrote in part the following:

Everyone can get better at creating and sustaining resilience. Almost all of us will experience some kind of adversity—most of us will go through some pretty tough times at some point in our lives. Humans have a remarkable capacity to bounce back after problems. Even more impressively, we all have the potential to get even better at resilience

I scoured the Internet for information on the benefits of storytelling. Many posts and videos relied heavily on psychologists’ jargon. Regardless the information was interesting and valuable. Yet, I wanted an analysis that was simple to digest. Melissa Kiss kept her post simple and writes in plain English. In “Why you should share your life story publicly,” she highlights four principal benefits of sharing your story:

  1. You can digest what happened. You can reflect on the incident and give yourself an opportunity to move forward.  
  2. You can empower others to tell their story.
  3. You are probably opening a conversation that other people shy away from. (me)
  4. You empower others to tell their story.

Given all the reasons for telling “your story” (there are almost no rational reasons not to), why has it taken me so long to tell mine? I have pondered this question for months. I was afraid to do so. It is that simple.

Hip Surgery

On June 28, 2021, I limped into New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. Surgeons scheduled my hip replacement surgery for that morning. After taking care of some paperwork, I went up to the surgical wing floor. There I said goodbye to my friend and entered the surgery unit for preop procedures. The attending staff soon wheeled me into an operating room. The orthopedic doctors and nurses greeted me. So far, so good!

Why didn’t I have the surgery years (I mean years) earlier? This question I can answer. Hubris had infected me.

Before my hip surgery, I had never been in a hospital for medical reasons. Rarely did I get sick, not even a cold. In high school, college, and law school, I participated in sports. Track and field was my passion. I was a runner. After graduating from Michigan in 1978, I continued running. My feet pounded New York City’s pavement almost every day for 30 years. I was physically fit.

The benefits of running are many. Depending on the surface you run on, the benefits can be outweighed by the harm done to your body. Most doctors and sports scientists caution against running on concrete or hard services, which exerts more upward stress on the body’s joints. Rarely did I alternate running services. Most sports doctors recommend using only the best shock-absorbing running shoes. Unfortunately, this advice also did not register with me. Simply put, I could have taken better care of my body. 

When your body tells you something is wrong, pay attention and react appropriately. Years ago, upon the onset of osteoarthritis in my right hip, I should have sought professional medical advice. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons’ website discusses symptoms of osteoarthritis in part at follows:

The most common symptom of hip osteoarthritis is pain. This hip pain develops slowly and worsens over time, although sudden onset is also possible. Pain and stiffness may be worse in the morning, or after sitting or resting for a while. Over time, painful symptoms may occur more frequently, including during rest or at night. Additional symptoms may include:

  • Pain in your groin or thigh that radiates to your buttocks or your knee
  • Pain that flares up with vigorous activity
  • Stiffness in the hip joint that makes it difficult to walk or bend
  • “Locking” or “sticking” of the joint, and a grinding noise (crepitus) during movement caused by loose fragments of cartilage and other tissue interfering with the smooth motion of the hip
  • Decreased range of motion in the hip that affects the ability to walk and may cause a limp
  • Increased joint pain with rainy weather

These symptoms I know too well.

I prepared for the operation in all aspects. Once it became medically clear that surgery was necessary, I came out of my shell. My friends and coworkers who expressed a willingness to listen, I told them my story. Their reactions surprised me. They expressed empathy for me. Much to my surprise, many shared their experiences with their hip surgeries or other medical problems. I received advice on how to organize my affairs to weather the changes in my life. Perhaps the best advice that I received was how to deal with my medical insurance company. This information saved me thousands of dollars in medical bills.

The entire surgical experience was made easier because I shared my story and received feedback. I can not personally thank all of the people who offered me a hand.

An eye-opening event

The coronavirus pandemic has caused hardships on every level. The effects of being forced out of our routines causes debilitating physical and mental stress. How many of you have experienced a chronic lack of concentration? The pandemic spurred me to take action. It is a shame that so much death and pain pushed me to act. To survive and thrive during the pandemic, I had to rethink things. It was a logical extension of this decision that my hip problem needed a solution.

Healthcare-related expenses have risen precipitously. Medical debt is now a major problem for Americans. The pandemic has only made matters worst. Almost 140 million Americans struggle with medically related debt. I knew that any medical procedure to repair my hip would cost a substantial sum of money. I spent more than a year organizing and understanding insurance coverage.

My friend invited me to accompany her to a medical appointment. It was early December 2020. This visit to the clinic was the event that propelled me into overdrive to take the concrete steps to deal with my problem. While waiting for my friend I submitted to a coronavirus test. The clinic staff asked me if I would like a primary doctor. I thought for a moment and said “sure.”

Fortune shined on me that day. My primary doctor has turned out to be a gem. On December 15, 2020, I consulted with her over the phone. We physically met on January 4, 2021. On that day, we discussed my health goals. We focused on the problem of my hip. Things took off from there. If you do not have a good relationship with your primary physician, repair it or find another doctor. Don’t be afraid to change directions.

The problem of obesity

Are you carrying around too much weight? If you are then you should bring your weight down to a healthy level. The thing you will lose if you don’t lose weight is your well being.

The CDC reported that America’s obesity prevalence was 42% in 2017-2018. It is safe to conclude that now this number is higher. The New York State Department of Health reported that the state’s obesity rate increased from 42% in 1997 to a whopping 63% in 2019. A walk through the streets of New York City will convince you that obesity is a real problem. 

No one will dispute the fact that obesity often leads to severe medical problems. Extra weight makes it difficult to recover from illnesses and reduces immunological defenses. The proclamation of some women that “big is beautiful” deceives no one. Men who pat their protruding gut as a display of pride are broadcasting that they lack of concern for their own health.. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is not within the norm, it is time to shed some pounds. I announced to all my doctors that losing weight was one of my primary goals. And guys, you cannot lose weight without periodically weighing yourself on a scale. There should be no guessing. You can control your weight. 

I am shredding weight as fast as possible.