Why do I do this?

I have noticed something about myself, and I wonder if this will sound familiar to anyone else. I have bone-on-bone OA in my left hip. I thank goodness that this is the only spot giving me problems right now, one reason being that I know I could have THR and very probably feel a whole lot better. I have seen encouraging stories here, and both of my sisters have had their hips done and keep telling me to go for it. I had a rough time over the holidays, trying to do too much on one hand, but also feeling that I was limiting the activities of friends & family because I physically could not take part. I have tried medications, steroid shots & physical therapy, but my doctors have yet to get serious about surgery--one told me that American insurance companies won't approve it unless all other options have been tried. I feel like I have jumped through every hoop, and have an appointment this month during which I intend to push, push, push for the operation.

As that time gets closer, I find that I keep trying to convince myself that maybe I don't need hip replacement. I focus on the times when the pain is NOT actually making me scream. I tell myself that using a cane really does help a lot and maybe I can limp (literally) along with just that. I figure, why fix the hip when it's more than likely that some other problem will crop up. I scare myself with the thought of the pain during recovery. . . and the list of excuses goes on.

I have only had minor medical procedures up to now, but enough to know that I am a huge baby about it & end up feeling very sorry for myself, so I guess it is natural to try and talk myself out of a big operation. I am just so good at it that I have been close to cancelling my appointment at times. Does anyone else play these internal mind games? Have you noticed the phenomenon of feeling better the closer the doctor visit gets? The mind is a powerful (and weird) thing, isn't it!


  • Keef
    Keef Member Posts: 595

    Human nature, simple as that.

    THR is a big thing to go through, it’s a routine op, but still a big event in anyone’s life. Trepidation is completely normal before any op. You will try and talk yourself out of it.

    If you can’t keep up with family activities, I definitely can’t, and the op would change that then I would tentatively suggest that you look ahead to after the procedure when you are recovered and back to leading the family rather than trailing behind them.

    All the best and good luck.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,733
    edited 6. Jan 2023, 16:54

    Two things are certain. If you don’t have hip replacement surgery things are only going to get even worse. And there’s a possibility that other bits of you, which are taking the load that your left hip no longer does, will also play up.

    The other is that after surgery, things will get better. You can resume many of your former activities (you might want to pass the pogo stick to someone else) and the grinding 24 hour pain is gone.

    yes, it’s a big (if routine) op. But When you’re in that much constant pain frankly the prospect of the op pales into insignificance against the desire to be pain free. I went into a state of complete denial about what the op involved, a policy that served me well. I went from the anaesthetists’ table to recovery seemingly in one breath. I didn’t need to know the in between bit, thankfully the surgeons did!

    I have heard of folk who “seem to improve” as the date for the op approaches, someone cleverer than me could probably tell us the psychology behind that, but a friend in this position went ahead anyway and was immensely grateful that she had.

  • Deeryx
    Deeryx Member Posts: 7

    That sounds very familiar to me. After a fall I developed arthritis in my left hip - but as you probably know they won't operate on the basis of an x-ray or MRI but rather on the basis of your experience. I have been booked provisionally for THR on two occasions and have deferred both times. Part of my problem was that I had no point of reference for levels of pain, 'impact on life' etc. I obsess about it constantly which probably makes it feel worse- but I;m generallya hypochondriac. I have never been in hospital so am a complete coward and nearly freaked out when I heard they would not give a general anaesthetic for the op, but an epidural and something to tranquilise. So I have dithered for three years and am still not at the point of going for it.

    Bottom line seems to me that if you are in a good bit of pain everyday then having the operation tips the balance firmly in favour of THR. I can still walk 5k, play golf (albeit with an NSAID) and would describe it as discomfort and sometimes pain rather than full pain. When I am in enough pain I will be straight in. My wife who bears the brunt of my grumbling had many years ago an illness and had to have an immediate operation - she says to me 'submit yourself to surgery when you absolutely have to and not before' and that is the advice I am taking.

    The mind can be trickier than the bad hip so I would suggest weigh up the pros and cons, make the decision, and if that decision is that you are not ready yet mentally or physically, then you can always go back. MY physio said to me last week is that as you are being wheeled into the theatre you do not want to be thinking 'am I doing teh right thing here?'. So mental clarity on the decision is important. Best wishes

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,599

    One sentence stands out to me here. You say "one doctor told me that American insurance companies won't approve it unless all other options have been tried." Do you live in the USA? If you don't I don't see the relevance of this. If you do then why not consult your insurance company to simply ask them what their conditions would be for funding , or partially funding, a THR? I'm assuming you do have medical insurance. It's just that, if the doc was right, then it would seem there's no point in agonising over the question of having it now or later. For me, itlwould be a matter of finding out the facts and thèn planning accordingly.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • TLee
    TLee Member Posts: 80

    I do live in the US, and it is getting harder and harder to deal with insurance companies. I need a CPAP machine for sleep apnea. I had one years ago, hated it, sent it back to the supplier. Now I want to try again, but insurance shows I've still got one & won't approve until I produce proof of return. The supplier has dropped my account information entirely, so insurance says I will have to wait 5 years (3 years from now)--see what I mean? As for my hip, I am on track now to change my primary care doctor for one who may know how to get me the operation sooner.

    However, on the other hand...I am still doing the avoidance thing. In fact, this morning when my dog walk was not nearly as painful as it could have been, I was completely convinced that I can cancel doctors' appointments and go on as usual. The phone was almost in my hand, and I'm still on the verge of reaching for it. "Why cause myself more pain?", I say. Or, "I'm getting too old to bother--once that heals something else will go bad." Also, "I could see improvement through diet and exercise, I just need to stick to it."

    I did see the comments that said I should stop thinking about it and soldier on through surgery and recover, and that I will be glad I did. Thank you for those. All I can say right now is that I really wish I could!

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,599

    My elder son is now a U.S. citizen so I do understand how medical problems there are different from ours.

    I really don't know if this will help but just in case...

    My husband has never asked about sleep apnoea but has snored for years to the point of not breathing then waking himself up with a huge, loud breath. He has always been sporty and, even up to his two THRs and no longer able to play golf or go for long walks, he bought himself an exercise bike to keep fit. From time to time, over many years, he has announced (correctly) that he needed to lose weight and, to the great amusement of of our sons (and his wife!) said "I must exercise more." "No, Dad, you must eat less."

    About 15 months ago he was diagnosed with heart failure. He's doing brilliantly on the meds. Still very active BUT now he eats, and drinks, more sensibly and - what I think is the big thing - after a glass of wine with his evening meal, he never eats (or drinks) more than an apple or orange after 7pm. He now never wakes himself up breathless and, what's more, he doesn't even snore.

    Worth a try, especially if you can't access a CPAP machine? 

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • TLee
    TLee Member Posts: 80

    Just now I've pretty much given up on fighting for my medical wants/needs. I feel like I just need some peace & time away from doctors--want to feel like a "normal" person! I saw my cardiologist this week & got a very good report on that front, so I guess I won't be dying anytime soon. I decided to put off my pulmonologist visit indefinitely (I know she'll want to know about the CPAP, and that's not happening, so...). AND I cancelled the primary care appointment where I was so determined to get a referral for surgery. This was probably not the wisest thing, as the pain and limited movement is so bad, but what can I say? I am a big coward, and I figure, better the pain I know than some new hell! I tell myself that I'm really doing fine, just need to get in the habit of using my cane more. I even ordered myself a cute new one-- has a chrome handle that can be engraved. I requested "F_ Old Age".