I felt he had offered me a chance to be free of the debilitating pain that I had experienced for 23 years and the start to a new and exciting period in my life.Lynsey
My earliest memory of searing pain in my left hip was when I was carried off the hockey pitch, aged 15 and told that I had pulled a muscle, and, with a couple of days’ rest the pain would subside. It did, but it was to return off and on throughout my late teens and twenties, only to be told that there was nothing that could be done other than to take very strong painkillers until I was deemed old enough for a total hip replacement.
My condition gradually got worse until the spells without pain became less and less, and my ability to take part in any sort of sporting activity was virtually impossible. Even swimming became a painful experience.
After the birth of my two children, in my early thirties, I began to realise that if I wanted to be able to play a game of cricket/rounders on the beach with my two girls, or run after them (should the need arise), or even go on a girlie shopping spree when they were older without having to firstly, plan a route that would allow me to sit in numerous coffee shops along the way and, secondly, to know that my husband would be able to bring the car to the nearest exit so that I didn’t have to walk further than necessary, then I needed to look further afield than a total hip replacement, which was still the only option available to me in the area I lived.
I found out about the ‘Birmingham Orthopaedic Hospital’ quite by chance when I bumped into an old school friend who had recently undergone a hip resurfacing, and spoke very highly of both the surgeon and the outcome of his operation.
I made an appointment to see Mr O’Hara in February 2000 along with my sister, who was also experiencing a lot of pain in her right hip.
Mr O’Hara explained in great detail what the problem was and that there was another option available to me, other than a total hip replacement. He told me exactly what the operation involved and what I would be capable of doing when I had fully recovered. He did explain that the recovery would take a long time and that I would need both crutches and, later on, a walking stick to enable me to get around and that it would take up to a year to fully appreciate the benefits of the operation.
I was given the name and telephone number of a gentleman who had undergone a triple pelvic osteotomy some months earlier and I found this especially reassuring to speak to someone who had already gone through the experience.
The day of my “Hip Hop” (as my four year old daughter called it) arrived at the beginning of July and apart from feeling very nervous I was very optimistic. The operation was carried out on a Monday evening and my only recollection is of a very, very long night, with extremely attentive nurses taking my blood pressure every time I tried to fall asleep (or so it seemed).
I spent five days in hospital with the knowledge that I would not be allowed home until I had mastered the art of getting up and down the stairs using my crutches.
Once home, I started on physiotherapy/hydrotherapy once a week and went back to see Mr O’Hara on a regular basis.
The recovery period is long and slow, but it didn’t bother me in the least, because for the first time in over 25 years I was free from pain.
After the crutches came the walking stick, which at the beginning I was totally dependent on. As the months went by though I found myself leaving a room unaided and only the fact that I was still walking with a slight limp would remind me to go back to pick it up.
Around the middle of January 2001, I left my walking stick in the back of my car, and only used it if I was particularly tired and limping instead of walking straight.
Since having the operation my life has been transformed. I no longer have to think about where we can go for a family day out and I can play a game of cricket/rounders on the beach if the girls want to. I swim twice a week, as well as taking part in an exercise class, and a bike ride with the family is now a reality, not a dream.
If I have one regret, it is that I didn’t find out about Mr O’Hara and the operations years earlier, since I am now fitter and healthier than I have ever been in my life.