It is a problem that has caused her pain and discomfort for many years, but which has become much more so in the last twelve months and more. The decision to replace it could not be put off any longer.
We saw the first consultant in July, the week before the start of London 2012. He preferred to re-refer her case to one of his senior colleagues who we met not long after the Olympics had ended. The choice of hip was made, a date was set and we arrived at the hospital at 7:30 yesterday morning.
Mrs P was apprehensive as you would expect. I certainly would be since the procedure was to be carried out with an epidural rather than a general anaesthetic, but then I’ve always hated the sight of blood, especially my own.
I’ll bypass the gory details, but she went down to theatre around lunchtime and back in her room in time for us to visit in the evening. It was perhaps too soon as she was still suffering post-operative pain, treated with generous doses of oxygen and heavy-duty pain killers.
Putting personal gratitude aside, it makes you realise how precious social health care provision actually is, particularly when compared with other so-called civilised countries.
When Mrs P decided to proceed with the treatment without having to worry about whether we could afford it, or if her employer offered the right sort of health insurance policy. There was no question of selling the house or pawning our kids’ future lack of inheritance. This was universal care provided free at the point of need.
That doesn’t mean it came free of charge. Like everyone else, we have paid into this national insurance scheme and though you can argue whether we pay enough or if ‘universal’ is affordable, the plain fact is that there is access to health care regardless of personal wealth or circumstance.
And it’s why I fret for those of our friends and allies in the US who would even contemplate electing someone who would undo the baby steps that Obama has taken towards hauling his country into something approximating universal health care.
Or is that a luxury that Romney and Ryan want to preserve for their precious 53 percent and everyone else go hang?