Hip surgery provides important reminders

I am 55 and the owner of a new titanium hip as of seven days ago.

After a long-time colleague – a former Marine with close to 20 years on me – wrote, “Wow, you’re young for that!” I started to think about the experience.

I am reminded that childhood scars can often times be the deepest.

Photo of Paul's mother
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Paul’s mother, Lois, the day her manufactured home was delivered to Freedom Village Cooperative in 2016.

As a toddler, I was climbing a dresser that tipped over on me.  My mother told me, “They said you bruised your hip; but I first noticed you limping when you started to play basketball in 5th grade.”

I am reminded how important it is to protect children – and I am in no way suggesting my mother was not caring.  She was and still is an amazing woman.  Kids climbing things is natural, and straps of today were simply not a thing in the ’60s.

I reminded how important family, friends and colleagues are, their outreach and well wishes and visits all matter.  My wife has been the most amazing.  I teared up when she told me she cried as they wheeled me into the operating room.  We will celebrate our 30th anniversary this summer and I can’t imagine life without her.  I am reminded that being in her arms is the most comfortable place in the world.

I learned that my daughters and my niece are great care-givers – something I have not had an opportunity to witness first hand in such a circumstance – and am reminded that their humor is one very bright part of my life.  Doing this during my daughters’ school breaks has been a great because they’re home and we’re together, and that is the best.

I reminded that even as an adult, it’s still great to have a parent and be a parent.  My mother has visited daily, and been a stand-in care-giver.  Now that work and school have resumed, she comes for lunch and helps me walk with confidence down the street and back.  She’s become my personal trainer.

While sure, I have experienced some of the downsides of medicine in the modern era – and sure, like all organizations of people and systems, there are frustrations – I’ve also experienced great care and support.  Day surgery amounted to a full day – 8 total hours in the center – for a complete hip replacement.  I am reminded that dedicated professionals are performing with great outcomes on a routine basis.

And, there’s no question, I am reminded of the importance of health insurance.  I am certain I would have been in for continued and worsening hip pain – and the loss of activities I love – were it not for my health insurance. I can attest that pain to the point of it affecting one’s sleep does impact productivity and mood.

I am reminded that life throws everyone curve balls over which we have little or no control other than our own actions and our own dedication to a path forward.  Remembering that my path is full of loving and supportive people is the first gift my new hip is giving me.  To each of you, thank you.  I will remember you always.

Paul Bradley and family
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Paul Bradley and his family at his Cooperative Hall of Fame induction in 2018.