Having posted just once or twice before my BHR with Dr. Bala in India April 7, may I introduce myself to my fellow surface hippies. My story in a concise paragraph or two: car accident in ’95, then with the skills and experience of a long-time Outward Bound instructor and professional yoga teacher I maintained and got by for years. My life has always been active, athletic, outdoors. Along the way I tried almost every bodywork therapy. Intensive Oriental medical TX including acupuncture, herbs, bodywork, Qi gong and diet convinced me the problem was resolved. So I enrolled in acupuncture school! Within a few months of 23-hours a week classes and clinics piled on by 30-40 hours of study I’d lost all the benefits I’d gained as a patient. The rigors of the education opposed the benefits of the TX and lifestyle. I limped along with the spavins and the heaves for 3 more years, trying prolotherapy and more bodywork. I hit two nadirs of despair, the last one Christmas 2005. Then out of a clear blue sky my bodyworker said, “Have you heard about hip resurfacing?” catapulting me into intense research, a few contacts with surface hippies in Santa Fe and Wyoming (especially Gregg Dean) and email contact with Dr. Bala right after Tibetan New Year February 28.
Yes indeed I prayed to find a way out of pain and the loss of my active life. My limp was so bad I looked like a drunken sailor reeling down the deck. Within five swift weeks I was being prepped for BHR on my right hip at Sri Rama- krishna Hospital in Coimbatore, India. I borrowed the money, a dear friend with frequent flyer miles bought my ticket, and this utterly dragged down, despairing, broke and on the verge 63-year old, once- famous singlehanded ocean racing sailor was re-hipped and reborn under the skilled hands of Dr. Bala and his crew. Wonderful, compassionate nurses, physical therapists, the anestheseologist, Pravin my guide for all things outside the hospital — I shall never be able to thank them sufficiently. They all get a five star rating from this surface hippy!It was not an easy passage. Waking from surgery, finding myself wholly alive and thrilled I jumped on the laptop and spent hours informing friends and supporters. I got two bedsores out of that, and their healing has considerably slowed my otherwise steady and amazing recovery. So here’s the caveat: those with fair, thin white Nordic skin must be especially, especially careful about these wicked things medically called decubitous ulcers. They can develop in as little as two hours. A few basic precautions will prevent them. Go into surgery lean. I’d gained 17 pounds since Christmas. Do your breathing exercises. I was still a little congested from the plane trip. Turn and turn and get in and out of bed in the first days post op. I glued myself to a computer screen — too long in one position. There are of course hospital things such as a sheepskin mattress pad or an “egg crate” foam mattress that provide a little air space between bed and skin, but mainly it’s the moving and shifting about so circulation isn’t impeded. Home in Santa Fe I hiked an hour and a half five weeks post op. I’m walking or hiking every day and soon will get back in the pool for laps and water workouts. Then Pilates for core strength, and my bet with myself is by June 30 I’ll be running and cycling. August 12th I have a date on a schooner on the coast of Maine to climb the rigging. THAT’s the moment that will tell me whether I’ve finally, truly come home … to the sea. Please don’t hesitate to contact me concerning Dr. Bala or Sri Ramakrishna Hospital or my experience of traveling to and from India. With heartfelt gratitude, Judith Lawson Santa Fe, NM