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