After Double Hip Surgery, I Have Mobility Again

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It has been an honor to be an artist for the last 30 years. I work mostly in oils, but also use ink and watercolor for architectural and railroad subjects. I have a few musical hobbies: I sing in a choir with my wife at Bellevue Presbyterian, and I also play bagpipes in a Celtic group on Bainbridge Island.

I had been having back pain for several years, and thought it could be taken care of with chiropractic care or acupuncture, or other alternative methods. It was actually at choir rehearsal that I noticed how much pain I was in. I have a high tolerance for pain, but could hardly stand for very long. When standing for long rehearsals became exceedingly prohibitive, I went to see my primary care doctor.

My doctor ordered X-rays and an MRI, and when he reviewed the results, he didn’t recommend back surgery. He referred me to Dr. Jonah Hulst, an orthopedic surgeon with Proliance at Overlake. I live in the Newport Hills neighborhood of Bellevue, so it’s a big plus to have Overlake so close.

Dr. Hulst is a caring physician and very approachable. He diagnosed me with arthritis in my hips and recommended total hip replacement for both hips. He thought my lower back pain would dissipate once I had both surgeries.

When going into the first surgery, I had expectations that it would make a difference. I had known friends who had the surgery, and every one of them was successful. In 2017, I went into the surgery with hope; it took two hours, and I was home the next day with no pain, just a little medication. I had a quick recovery. In fact, I was shocked at how quickly I recovered. I asked myself, “Why on earth did I wait so long to have this done?” I did the other hip the following year. I went into surgery with no worries at all – my first having been so successful. I used a walker at first for a week, then a cane for a week, and then was walking freely. I had mobility again.   

I’ve been a runner nearly all my life. In recent years, I was running 2 to 5 kilometers a day, but I had to give that up due to the pain. Now that I’ve had my surgeries, I’m sticking to long walks and riding my stationary exercise bike.

Everyone at Overlake was wonderful—my care team had an easy bedside manner. They provide excellent care and a high level of professionalism. My back pain has dissipated, as Dr. Hulst predicted, and I feel much better. Because of this experience and my successful surgeries, I can stand for an hour and walk without discomfort. I couldn’t do that before my surgeries.

Recently, I had several art commissions in honor of the sesquicentennial of the driving of the golden spike that tied together the nation's railways. My whole family joined me in Ogden, Utah, where I had a display booth for the three days of celebration and sold copies of my art. It was a real highlight of my career. Certainly those new hips made it possible to stand so long and greet so many people!

Contributed by J. Craig Thorpe.

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