Sounds a little preposterous, that too for a 90 year old frail woman with a small frame, yet fully alert and fit. The lady happens to be my own grandmother….. interesting isn’t it …. a true story about her hip replacement procedure that I share here.
One fine morning at the crack of dawn my grandmother found herself unable to get up from bed. Writhing in pain she called out for help and somehow managed to wobble up to the bathroom and complete her morning routine. Bewildered as everyone was at the sudden pain and immobility without any fall or injury. What could have triggered or caused it? We searched for answers, could find none.
Being a small sleepy village, the family doctor was called in. Initial look at her and the “doctor sahib” concluded an X-ray had to be done at the earliest possible. As feared, she had fractured her bone near the hip joint rendering her completely immobile. Suddenly a pall of gloom descended upon the entire family as if a death knell had been sounded. In a couple of days almost the entire family descended on the village to meet up with her, fearing it was the last they would see of her. My parents rushed to meet her too. Difficult as it was to see her laying listless and immobile in bed, my father decided to send across the reports to me , to be shown to our friends – the much experienced city bred orthopaedic doctors.
One look at the X-rays and my dear friend concluded “all she needs is a surgery”. I looked at him bewildered and questioningly – “surgery at her age?” Patting my shoulders he went on to say that she had all the symptoms for hip replacement surgery . If we were to opt out of the procedure – the pain would subside after a few days of medication, but it would render her immobile for life. “Were we willing to accept that?” was a question which kept ringing in my ears. Yet if we chose to get the suggested Hip Replacement surgery done, we would enhance the quality of her life. Sounded logical yet too good to be true. Other questions such as complications, her age, thin frame, risk factors were quickly laid to rest by the young doc.
There and then I decided it was worth the chance and called up my father and handed over the phone to the doc. After the initial exchange of pleasantries, within a few minutes my father was convinced the hip replacement exercise had to be done. Facing opposition from almost the entire family, but unconditional support from us, nothing could now change the decision. To further boost our confidence we consulted a couple of very senior and experienced orthopaedics who seconded the opinion.
Next was the uphill task of bringing her to Delhi from a small village more than a thousand miles away. Flight was not an option as the closest airport was more than 200 miles away and she would not be able to undertake the tedious, bumpy road journey. The closest rail head too was a few miles away yet the only option. Booked in first class accompanied by a nurse, paramedic in addition to three senior family members, she was finally aboard the train, a journey which was to change her life.
An ambulance was kept ready at the New Delhi railway station to take her directly to hospital and admitted straight away. Moving swiftly the hospital staff completed the formalities and diagnostics began almost immediately. The reports were ready by evening and after that began the consultations with the team of doctors. Numerous decisions had to be taken as to what type of surgery – partial Hip Replacement or Total Hip replacement, which type of implant was most suitable for her, how to reduce or minimise complications if any. The good thing was that she had no other problems such as diabetes or blood pressure which normally afflict people of her age.
Surgery was scheduled for the day after her admission. One day was allowed in between for her to rest after the arduous journey and stabilise her mentally and physically. The designated day arrived and she was taken for surgery. Couple of hours later the doc emerged from the operation theatre still in his OT scrubs, with a jubilant smile on his face indicating that the surgery had been successful. A couple of hours spent in the hip surgery recovery room and she was shifted to the private ward. Showered with love, affection and care by the family as also the nursing staff – she was soon smiling and a week later wheeled out of hospital on a wheel chair – ready to be taken home.
A month of physiotherapy and a healthy diet, the grand old lady was back on her feet walking, laughing, joking with us. It seemed she had got a new lease of life…..a good quality of life , bringing her better mobility than before. This was the end of her painful journey and marked the beginning of a new journey.
We have many more true stories like these to share which we will be doing over the next few weeks and months. However we would like to hear from you too. Which topic would you like to read about and know more – do let us know. Do leave a comment below if the story has touched you in any way.