Hip, Hip Hooray!

It was two weeks ago today that I was scheduled to try a stem cell injection to relieve my hip pain; but listened to the strong message from blog readers “to get it replaced sooner than later” and asked for hip replacement surgery instead.  Since then? 

A Medical Run-Around

  • Wednesday, March 28 – Met with Dr. Bertram and decided to have replacement surgery instead of stem cell injection; but need to be “tested and approved” before surgery.
  • Thursday – Go to my regular doctor to have FIVE blood tests done; and have an EKG to check my heart.
  • I alert the Physician’s Assistant doing the test that I have a “funny EKG,” which I carry in my wallet (just in case).  She does the test and says it is the same as the one in my wallet; so, pending the blood results, she will “approve me” for surgery.
  • Tuesday, April 3rd – After having to do two additional blood tests that the surgeon’s office insisted on (Vitamin D level??), all results go to their office.
  • Wednesday (on my way out the door to play tennis at the Strand) – The surgeon calls and says he is concerned about my “funny EKG” and wants to talk with my cardiologist.
  • Thursday – Hearing nothing back, I call the surgeon’s office to be told “he is operating today and off on Friday”
  • Friday – I get a call from my cardiologist’s office to come in to see them.  I go right in and they want to do ANOTHER EKG.  I tell this PA the same thing and show her my wallet EKG.
  • They do the EKG and see it is the same as the one in my wallet… BUT, they would like me to wear electrodes with a heart monitor for 24 hours, which I do until Saturday.
  • Monday – I bring the monitor in first thing (8:30 am) to be read by the staff.  Hearing nothing by late afternoon, I call their office and am told someone will call back.
  • I also call my surgeon’s office and ask if they got results/approval from the cardiologist’s office and am told they will call back.  Of course, nobody from either office calls me back.
  • Tuesday – I again call the cardiologist’s office (against DeDe’s advice “not to be a pest”) and am told someone will call back.
  • Later Tuesday –  Phone message on my cell… “They just did review my results and they are the same as they have been before; so they will fax my ‘approval’ to the surgeon’s office by the end of the day.”
  • Wednesday (now two full weeks later) – I called the surgeon’s office to see if, in fact, they had received the “heart OK”.  After four hours of waiting, they just called back to say YES … and I am scheduled for surgery on May 10th!  (And should be OK to drive north to New Hampshire a month later).


Searching online, I found a set of hip replacement pre-op exercises to do – and have been doing for about a week now.  And I plan to punish my friends and play doubles with them until May 10th.

So when surgery comes, I should be in reasonable shape to start the rehab process.

Thanks to all who have given advice.

Know someone who should read this?  Send them a link and if you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at GeorgeWachtel@gmail.com

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7 thoughts on “Hip, Hip Hooray!

  1. Good luck with the surgery, George. I am still in a Denver hospital after having my right knee explode while attending the Miami Open. Was flown from Miami to Denver the next day for surgery to remove my right knee replacement which had gotten infected with Streptococcus B bacteria. So am on a 42 day IV antibiotics regimen to kill the bacteria. Maybe get new knee replacement in late May. So you and I will be rehabilitating together. So no Tennis Fantasies for me in 2018.

    Tom, wow! I am hoping/planning to be at camp in October. george

  2. Good luck George! I know you’ll be fine and I look forward to seeing you at camp! Sounds like your health care providers need to work on their “customer service” models.

    Jim, i plan to be at camp and playing! Yes, communications is not one of their skill sets. thanks, george

  3. Ever since I had started getting regular EKG’s as part of my physical at work in the early 80’s, I found out that I too have a “funny” EKG and have been carrying an example in my wallet for 35 years! Must be a tennis player thing.

    Jack, “Great minds…” george

  4. George, So sorry to hear about the various “lack of returned calls” and other obstacles you have to endure to set up the hip surgery. This gives the healthcare profession a bad name. However, very glad to hear you have started some pre-op strengthening exercises. The research is very good that the more fit and stronger you are prior to hip or knee replacement, the better chance of having a successful recovery. If I can help, please let me know. Good luck and see you at Newks. Larry

    Larry, i am shooting to be in his Top 10% of Pre-op prepared patients! thanks, george

  5. Also, sorry to hear about Tom Sansonetti. I hope he has a good recovery from the infection and his replacement goes well.

    Larry, yes, Tom has had a run of bad stuff happen. george

  6. Glad to see you are continuing to update us on your experience. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new book for tennis players who need a hip replacement, I looked all over for one when I had mine done! Best Wishes!

    Thomas, there’s an idea! thanks, george

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