Hip Hip Hooray!

On October 20, 2012, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

On The Silly Side by Jimmy Del Ponte

(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)

As I mentioned in a previous column, I will be having a full hip replacement soon. I felt the need to discuss it here in this forum for medicinal (mental) purposes. I think it will make me feel better to talk about it since I am pretty nervous about the whole thing.

First, I wanted to try to figure out why my hip basically quit working. It could have been a number of things such as age, heredity, or carrying too much weight. I think it is all of the above.

I am right handed so the bum hip is on my dominant side. Growing up in Somerville in the 60’s and 70’s meant running from the cops now and then. That’s probably why none of us were overweight in the old days!  My friends and I were always hopping fences, diving into bushes and scaling walls.

I was also one of those nuts you’d see out in the street running. I got the jogging bug back in the early 80’s. Me and my pal were definitely addicted to it. For about three years we had to run every single day. We would run in the streets or go to Fresh Pond and do a few laps around the water. We went in the rain, snow and even when it was way below zero. So maybe all that running wore down the hip, I don’t know.

I also jumped off a few stages in my band days. Me and the same friend also got into some real crazy weight lifting for about a year and a half. We overdid it because the results were so unbelievable. I was bulging out all over for a while there. I have always worked out with weights anyway, but it’s hard to say if that contributed to my hip giving out.

When I was in college I liked to shock my fraternity brothers by doing lots of crazy things. I would jump off walls and climb up trees and leap back to the ground. Anything for a laugh. Who’s laughing now? When I was around 20 or so, the J Geils Band was playing up at Tufts University. Why we would buy tickets when we could sneak in? I actually climbed up the side of the building they were performing in on some sort of chain covered by ivy. I made it almost up to the third story when I fell to the ground. I messed up my right hand and had to have it in a splint for a while. My poor friend tried climbing the same way and actually had some of his hair ripped out when he fell back to earth. Maybe that incident hurt the hip?

Another time we were sledding someplace in Stoneham on a toboggan. We went over a bump, became airborne, and smashed back onto the ground. One kid that was on the same toboggan ended up in the hospital with dislocated something or another. I had nerve damage in both my arms for quite some time. I may have goofed up the hip then also.

Over the years I had back problems but never any trouble with either hip. I am guessing it really is just an old age issue. Although it could have something to do with my parenting methods. I have had to “put my foot down” quite a lot in raising three kids. I was also in the passenger side of a 1959 Ford that was broadsided at the intersection of McGrath Highway and Pearl Street many years ago.

I have been turning my home into a hospital room in anticipation of my surgery and recovery. It was a great excuse to do some serious cleaning. I will bring one of my kid’s twin beds down from their old bedroom. I have had all my pre-admission screenings and tests and meetings with the anesthesiologist, physical therapist, pharmacists, etc. I have lost a good amount of weight also which will help in my recovery. My daughter is in the health care field so she is getting me free crutches (I’m so cheap!), and my cousin and aunt gave me some other sick room items.

My girlfriend has been by my side the whole time helping me to prepare for the big day. We sat through a two-hour “hip class” at the New England Baptist Hospital last week. They have everything down to a science when it comes to preparation for surgery. She actually had to “speak” with me last week. I mentioned that the night before surgery I would go to my kid’s house to say “goodbye.” She told me to stop being pessimistic about the operation. I always prepare for the worst. It’s just the way I am. She has been very supportive during all this surgery prep business. She and my daughter will be waiting for me when I come out of surgery.

When we were at the “hip” class at New England Baptist last week and they actually passed around a new hip, with the ball and socket and everything. It was pretty cool.

I would like to thank all my friends, especially the ones who have had this surgery, for all their encouraging words. I hope to be back at work and at the gym very soon. Thanks to my friend and my attack Pug for staying at my house while I am in the hospital.

In closing, I must add that throughout my entire life I have been dancing like a fool, jumping around like a nut, hopping fences, climbing up back porches when I forgot my key, and basically always willing to abuse my body to entertain others or to get a silly task accomplished. Now it’s payback time, and I’m ready.

In the meantime, this will be the last new article I will submit until I start feeling better. I have picked out a few past articles to reprint and I hope you enjoy them. Wish me luck!


16 Responses to “Hip Hip Hooray!”

  1. A Moore says:

    You will be back doing those crazy things in no time. All the stuff you were doing probably helped or you would have been putting one in sooner. My father had 2 put in. One at New England Baptist and one at Cambridge. Glad you picked New England Bapist. My friend a mail carrier also got one and was back to work a little over a month. So I expect your writing hand can keep busy with that book while mending.

  2. j. connelly says:

    Ah a subject I have some expertise in. Having both bad hips n knees suffering from all that jumping, climbing ladders, etc. while in the fire service plus a few years on the law side of Public Safety…all of the things you mentioned have caught up to you now. The jogging probably added and put in the final punch.

    I had stomach surgery, shortly after that I had my left hip replaced as I could no longer bear the pain. The “shortly” was a bad decision, having 2 operations within a short period of time…complications.

    {A} Never let them do both hips at once.
    {B} Never let the therapist come into your hospital room and have you do exercises in the bed (The therapist was lazy) Thus I did not get the correct therapy.
    You have to get up and move around as soon as you can.
    {C} Remember to place one hand underneath your knee to help you lift your leg on/off to the bed, it eases the pain.
    When you get home
    {D} Practice going up n down the stairs a lot.
    {E} I had my brother tie a rope to the frame underneath the bed to assist me pulling myself up to get out of the bed.
    {F} Don’t bend to pick anything up.
    {G} They’ll get you a walker, but that is temporary…Get a good cane
    it will serve a double purpose…(1) help you walk (2) You can use it in your Sunsetter Act.
    {H} Very Important! Have James Sokolove on standby just in case.
    (Some of those replacement hips are subject to recall).
    {I} Dont go near anything with strong magnets, like junkyards with those magnetic cranes or those MRI machines at medical facilities, you’ll go on a trip you really dont want too.

    I had the one hip done, holding off as the 2nd one is not as bad…yet.
    Still get pain in the 1 operated on at times…sometimes on rainy days & sometimes on sunny days…they say it has something to do with barometric pressure.

    Think of the fun it will be at airports.
    Or you can do as I do with my grandkids when they said they were sick,
    “Take 2 M&Ms and call me in the morning!”

  3. Steve Keenan says:

    All the best to you Jimmy on your hip replacement. Have faith in yourself, modern medicine, and God. You will be fine my friend.

  4. gloria says:

    boy do i remember those days in the 60s and early 70s running from the cops it was great growwing up in somerville i cant tell you how many times we ditch cops hopping fences crossing small street never got caught braged to our friends i lived down by foss park when to northeastern jr high now its a condo what a shame somerville change a lot i was there 5 years ago when my mother passed away i cant belive how much it change i now live in san diego but i like to follow the somerville news thanks for time to tell my story hope you will write back

  5. Courtney O'Keefe says:

    The best of luck to you, Jimmy!

  6. Boston Kate says:

    Jimmy – I don’t know you personally, but from your writings, I’d bet that you are going to be the best patient. You seem to have a great attitude toward life. You’ll probably recover quicker than the doctors/nurses/ rehab staff could have expected. I’m glad to hear that you have a significant other; there’s nothing like having someone you love by your side when recovering from an operation. Good Luck – we’ll all be think of you.

  7. JB says:

    Good luck Jimmy! Advice-wise I would strongly suggest using whatever pain medication is available to you. Pain management is the key to getting up and around quickly to speed healing. Many patients are fearful to use pain medication effectively and it delays progress. If they provide a PCA pump, use it right before starting therapy. If you are provided pain medications in pill form, take at least 45 minutes prior to starting therapy….and don’t worry about an MRI and magnets…different story if you have a pacemaker though….again,good luck!

  8. Leopold Sage says:

    Oh, Jimmy, don’t be a crybaby! You are right, you bummed around all your life, trashing your body, and that is what you get now! 😉 Just take it as a man, my friend, it’s only gonna be downhill from here on…

  9. frankie d says:

    jimmy, good luck, im sure everything will go great. oh check all the hiding places around the house you might find a few dobees they will help with the recovery vote yes on question #3

  10. gary m. says:

    Hey Jimmy,
    Hang tough— You’ll be back before you know it!


  11. Randy says:

    Jimmy I had my rt hip replaced 10/22/2012 @ 8am .It took my surgeon all of 23 mins. To do it in Calif. I was in my own room by 9:40 am awake . The physical therpy guy was in my room to get me up to walk just 15 mins after I had laid in my bed. I was shocked it was that soon. But they know what they are doing. I walked with a walker better than I had in 2 whole years with out the pain. So good luck with yours.

  12. Jimmy DelPonte says:

    Thanks to all you awesome people. I am walking up and downstairs and even with no crutches. Pain is dwindling and I am 12 days with the new hip. Everyday is easier. I am going out with my girlfriend today for the first time. Physical therapist at the hospital was a witch. They loaded me up with Oxys until I finally said…NO MORE ! They got me all doped up and then expected me to try to stand on my feet and walk. As soon as I got home I started walking like crazy. Every day is better. Thanks for all the great support ! Somerville ROCKS !!

  13. A. Moore says:

    Yeah, the hipster is back!

  14. Tina Romando says:

    Jimmy, Best of Luck with this – did you have the surgery by now? I’m laughing out loud reading all this crazy stuff you did. I loved you at “Blanch”, so i can only imagine what your life was like before that!

    Miss working with you buddy, – but love reading your FB, it makes me smile…..

    Stay happy and healthy!

  15. Ray Spitzer says:

    Long live the hipster! :)

  16. Somerbreeze says:

    Hey Jimmy, I bet that witchy PT you got at NEB was the same one I got subjected to there back in May–what a maroon!

    Just in time for Halloween, right?

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