So yeah. Saw the surgeon today. Nice young man, really liked him. He agrees that my hip joint needs full replacement. There's a slight possibility that reshaping & resurfacing the femur head might be best - still major surgery, but not a full joint replacement. But really, the writing is on the wall, there is moderate osteoarthritis in the joint, and it needs to be replaced.
The problem with a joint replacement is that once it's done, that's it - if (when) it fails, you have to have more surgery to replace it. And the life of a replacement is finite. 10-15 years, at a guess. 20 years if you're lucky. So once I have this done, I have to KEEP having it done. The average age for this sort of surgery is the mid-70s - I'm 30 years below that, and looking at repeat surgeries.
He was very sympathetic, and said it was hardly surprising that I had PTSD. He said the anaesthetist can help there, and make sure I'm doped out well before leaving my room for surgery, and sedated / calmed as I require.
(Me in the Royal Canberra Hospital with a pretty nurse and a pile of new toys - this photo was in The Canberra Times newspaper; I think it was to illustrate a story on the newly opened Children's Ward. May 1966?).
The unexpected thing is that since Dr Smith (really his name!) is only just back in Australia after working in the UK, his list is short, and basically, there's practically no wait 0_o . So once I make a decision, it's all on. Erk. I was expecting a 1-2 year waiting list...
The ball is entirely in my court now, no pressure at all. I have some scary stuff to read, about what happens before, during and after the surgery, and all the associated medical risks of such an operation, and the lengthy rehab afterwards. I want to talk with my other doctors / physio / family too.
It's basically a decision about quality of life. How much more pain, weakness, and restricted movement do I want to put up with? I'm used to the weakness and restricted movement - I've had those life long, but the pain is becoming pretty constant, despite my medications and physio. Offset that with the risks of surgery. At least there's no cost - thank goodness for Medicare!
Well, I'll (eventually) have an excuse to never ever go jogging or play high impact sports - some of the things you can't do with an artificial hip. Not that I do them anyway, but, y'know ... nice to have an excuse ... And I can make all the security screeny thingies go beep.