Jim’s Story

49 at time of Hip Replacement

I was hit by a van in 1999 while cycling. I had a fractured right hip, broken nose and broken left wrist. My nose was “set” as well as my wrist and now you can’t tell anything happened to either. I even got full mobility back in my wrist again. However, the femoral neck of my hip was badly broken – kind of jagged etc. I lost about 3\4 of an inch in leg length in the repair of the femoral neck.

By 2001, Avascular Necrosis had developed in the femoral head. The femoral head began to die and became irregular in shape and the cartilage began wearing away causing bone to bone contact. The pain was constant with nothing that would really relieve it. Sleeping was very difficult due to the pain and I was waking up frequently because of the discomfort. It was very hard to find any position that was comfortable for any length of time. I had to wear full foot orthotics to compensate for the loss of leg length. Walking without them was quite uncomfortable and walking with the kids at the pool barefoot was most unpleasant. During all of this, I cycled at least 50 – 70 miles per week. However, my hip would be in pain after each ride. Still, I was told that it was the best exercise for the hip by my original surgeon.

By late winter of 2002, the pain was acute and my lifestyle was being affected big time. It was time to do something. That’s when I found the Totally Hip website and Pauline. It was
she who led me to Dr. Swanson. I had done much research and knew a ceramic on
ceramic hip replacement was the way I needed to go because I was young and athletic
and I needed the durability ceramic bearings offered.

I had all of my x-rays sent to Dr. Swanson and after he reviewed them, he called me and told me that I was indeed a candidate for a ceramic on ceramic hip replacement. I scheduled a consultation with Dr Swanson in Las Vegas for June 15th and scheduled surgery for June 25th. I began working out like crazy on my abductors to build them up as much as possible before the surgery and biked as much as time would allow.

A family friend and I drove to Las Vegas on June 14th from Grand Junction, Colorado. We left at 4 pm and arrived at 10:30 pm Las Vegas time. The next day Dr Swanson took x-rays which showed the AVN had caused my femoral head to collapse in several places and the socket had been “chewed up” due to that. During my consultation, Dr. Swanson answered all of my questions, most before I got a chance to ask them. He put me at total ease and assured
me that I would do just fine. I felt as if I was in good hands at last. My friend and I headed back to Colorado right after the consultation. It was 513 miles each way.

I went home and began to prepare for my upcoming surgery. I took off two weeks from work and then headed to Las Vegas with my wife and two kids to stay at the Wellesley Inn from June 22nd through July 3rd. We saw lots of the town before the surgery and the kids we’re having a blast at the pool.

On the 24th, I went to the hospital for preadmission and was done in about one hour. On the 25th, I checked into the Hospital at 11 am, they started the IV and got me ready and then it was on to the holding room I went. I ended up being about an hour late getting into the operating room, so at about 2 pm, I scooted over onto the operating table and woke up about 3:30 pm in the recovery room. I was still kind of “loopy” from the anesthesia, but other than a slightly sore throat, I felt no discomfort. They indicated I was in surgery about 50 min. I am still in awe of that.

During the hospital stay, I think I may have used the pain button ten times in two days. Of course, the Marcaine pump going into the hip capsule was surely doing it’s job. The day after surgery, the physical therapist came in and I said, “OK, lets go walking and try this thing out.” Here is where I began to be truly amazed. I walked the hall full weight bearing with the crutches with no pain. I could have cried from the relief. It was just so unbelievable. I started doing the exercises in bed and walked the hall again that afternoon. That evening, my wife and kids came to see me and we went for a walk, and this time I just used one crutch ……..JUST ONE DAY AFTER THE SURGERY!!

On the 27th, just two days after surgery, I was discharged from the hospital. I moved to the Wellesley Inn where I stayed with my family. I did my exercises in the room, I walked the hallways, and on Friday, I had Rhonda (my wife) get me a cane. Friday night we went to see the fountains at the Bellagio with the kids, just three days after my surgery. I kept up with my daily exercise routine, my walking, and began climbing stairs at the hotel. My hip continued to improve. I only had two nights of bad muscle pain. I don’t like pain medication, but I broke down and took the Lortabs and finally got sleep. That was the last pain medication I took other than Alleve.

I went to see Dr. Swanson on the following Wednesday barely using my cane. He told me there were no stitches or staples to take out – he had used subcutaneous stitches and the stitches would dissolve away. I can’t believe he got the old hip out and got the new hip in with such a small incision. We viewed the x-rays and it all looked fantastic. In fact, my legs are now the same length! (Gee, I really hate to give up those full foot inserts….NOT!) Dr Swanson cleared me to do light resistance workouts on my lower body and to use my normal weights on the upper body as long as I was sitting or lying on a bench. He also cleared me to spin on my bike with light resistance on my trainer. At three weeks post-op, I was walking only occasionally with the cane, when I was really worn out. In all, I am in total awe of Dr Swanson’s talent.

At four months post-op, I couldn’t have been happier. I was back to cycling about 100 miles per week. I had no more pain, I slept through the night, and had absolutely no limp! It’s so great to be free of pain and to have my mobility back. All without metal ions flooding my system.

It has now been just a few weeks past the 1 year anniversary of my THR. I continue to work out 3 times per week for upper and lower body training and I cycle 100-150 miles or more per week with no hip pain whatsoever. I am training for a 100 mile tour ride later this summer. I anticipate finishing in 6 hours. I am pain free, sleep with no problems, and have my lifestyle back. I throw baseball with my son, hike with my family, cycle, and do all the things I have always enjoyed doing. No more orthotics and walking barefoot is great. By the way, I will turn 50 years young later in the summer.

The 2 year anniversary of my hip replacement is mid June. Last year was a very good year for me cycling. I got in a little over 3000 miles and did two – 100 mile day rides for charity. No pain whatsoever after any ride. My goal for this year is 5000 miles (weather permitting). I have 4 – 100 mile day rides for charity on tap for this year, the 1st starting June 6th. I try to average 125 to 150 miles per week.

I am totally satisfied with my hip replacement and feel so fortunate to have been led to Dr. Swanson. Even with all the pain before the operation, it was probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make, but in “my gut” I knew it was right for me.

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