Ross Moldoff – Hip Story
I was diagnosed with arthritis in my right hip in 2002 at age 44. I thought I had a bad muscle strain or groin pull but x-rays confirmed it was arthritis. I stopped rigorous athletic activities like basketball and running, and I was not bothered much. In the summer of 2007, I completed about a half dozen mountain day hikes without much difficulty. I took ibuprofen afterwards to control minor pain. In the winter of 2007/2008, I noticed more pain during daily walks with my dog. I also noticed that my right foot was shifting out when I walked. In the spring of 2008, I noticed more pain during yard work and other minor activities. I could usually eliminate the pain after talking anti-inflammatory pills (Lodine-Etodolac), but it was coming more frequently and having more of an impact on my daily activities. A friend who had a double hip resurfacing operation at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, MA, suggested I see Dr. Snyder there.I saw Dr. Snyder, who took x-rays and told me that I was an excellent candidate for resurfacing.. I wanted a second opinion so I spoke with a surgeon at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston (who did not do resurfacings and was opposed to them) and another surgeon at a local orthopedic practice (who also did not do resurfacings). They both recommended full hip replacements. I decided to get one last opinion from a doctor who did both full replacements and resurfacings. I met with Dr. Henrik Malchau at Mass General Hospital in Boston in November 2008. He recommended a resurfacing and I decided to have him do the operation. I liked him and I liked Mass General. My operation was completed on March 10, 2009. I was 51 years old. I came home after 3 days in the hospital.
I worried for months about the surgery but, ironically, the surgery was the easiest part of the process. They wheeled me into the operating room and pretty soon I was in the recovery room. No pain. I had spinal anesthesia so I was coherent as soon as I woke up.
Recovering at home was the difficult part for me. I was frustrated by not being able to use my right leg much. At first, it was hard to get into or out of bed by myself, dress or bathe myself or prepare meals or do my normal daily activities around the house. I was fortunate to have a wife who helped me through this. It was also helpful to have family and friends visit and call, but it still very frustrating. I eventually learned that it just takes time for the body to heal and there is nothing I could do but accept this reality. I had a good visiting nurse and in-house physical therapist who both came 2-3 times a week and they helped me tremendously. I felt good enough to go back to work part-time about 3 weeks after surgery. At first, I could only work a few hours a day. I had no stamina and got tired easily. I would work for a few hours and then come home to take a nap. I built up to full-time at work about 5 or 6 weeks after surgery.
I was able to drive at 4 weeks post-surgery. I was walking with one crutch at about 4 weeks and with a cane at about 6 weeks. By 8 weeks I was walking without a cane. I started out-patient physical therapy at about 5 weeks post-surgery. I went to 2 sessions a week and, after a few weeks, added a session of water therapy in an indoor pool. One of the best things I did for myself was weekly sessions of therapeutic massage, in addition to the physical therapy. That helped sooth my muscles and made my hip feel great. I really think the massage helped me heal faster. I should also note that I went to 8 weekly sessions of pre-surgery physical therapy. This taught me exercises to strengthen and stretch my leg muscles and hip joint. I believe this also helped my recovery go smoother.