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!


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