So - as you may know, I had a severe congenital dislocated hip, that was picked up really late (I was 20 months old). Between the ages of 2 and 7 I had an osteotomy and 3 open reductions on it, the final one (ie the only one that worked) was experimental surgery by Dr Southwick (a pioneer in the field) at Yale University Hospital.
That last sentence in no way sums up the utter horror of what I experienced as a small child, mostly while in hospital. True physical torture, carried out by strangers who - while they were helping me - were terrifying to a young child. In the late 60s your parents weren't allowed to stay with you overnight. When I refused to eat (as one way I could control what was happening to me when I was 3 or so), the nurses pinned me on the floor and force fed me. Suffocating black rubber oxygen masks were forcibly held down over my face on the various operating tables (they didn't give pre-op meds to kids in those bad old days). I nearly bled to death. I won't go on.
I have PTSD as a result; I can't watch medical shows, the smell of black rubber makes me ill, and I can barely talk about this stuff without crying.
I developed arthiritis in the joint about 15 years ago, as was expected; the repaired joint has lasted longer than anyone thought possible... after I'd had my 2 kids, my Mum remembered that the surgeon had said he thought the joint might collapse during pregnancy (and yup, it was painful enough both times!). My leg is also twisted and short.
So to the present day. My physio thinks I should have the joint replaced while I'm still young (for this type of surgery). Just back from seeing my specialist sports physician this morning, and he agrees. I now need yet more hip x-rays, and need to see an orthopedic surgeon to get 'an opinion' on hip replacement. Next Wednesday.
While I intellectually know that the whole thing - once I have it done, whenever that may be - will go smoothly, and it's a very successful surgery, and I won't be tortured, and hospitals are much nicer places than they were 40 years ago, and they can even fix my leg length difference, and the pain won't be too bad (and it's not the pain I'm worried about, really), and I should get a huge improvement in my quality of life .. despite all this, on a deep emotional level I am still a petrified 2 year old.
Not quite sure how I'm going to cope with it all ... one hour at a time, or even one minute at a time if needs be, I suppose, and with my Jon Kabat-Zinn Mindfulness sessions on my iPod, and all my dear friends and family, and yarn ... but MAN I wish they could just knock me out at home, and I could wake up in hospital with the whole damn thing done.