Hip Op

Blog writing and reading has taken a back-seat this week for various reasons, the most important of which is that Mrs P went into hospital yesterday for a long postponed hip replacement operation.

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?

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

10 comments… Add yours
  • rhymeswithplague 18th October 2012

    Well, that description of the operation made me cringe. Hip replacement under an epidural? Really? You do sound as though you are serious. As our own Patrick Henry once said, “Give me general anaesthesia, or give me death.”

    Anything to save the government a little of your hard-earned money, I suppose. You pays it in, they fills their pockets with their fair share, and they gives a portion of it back to you in services. Way to go.

  • rhymeswithplague 18th October 2012

    There is universal access to health care here in the former colonies too. Emergency rooms are prohibited by law from turning patients away regardless of their ability to pay.

  • National Health Pudding 18th October 2012

    I hope that Mrs Parrots heals well and that the long recuperation period brings her to painfree mobility in a few months. In the meantime, you will need to purchase yourself a frilly pinny as you undertake all the housework and cooking duties, topping up her sherry glass whenever she asks. On YouTube you will find video clips that teach you how to iron clothes properly. There’s also one on vaccuming. THREE CHEERS FOR THE NHS!!!

  • Jennyta 18th October 2012

    Couldn’t agree more, SP. I really can’t understand why some Americans are so opposed to these proposals. Hope Mrs P will make a speedy recovery.

  • gerald 18th October 2012

    Having had an epidural last year I’d say it’s best choice if offered – if she does as she’s told she’ll make an excellent recovery – I know a few people who have had it done and they all made an excellent recovery. The NHS has its faults as we all know but the financial implications of the US model are too horrible to contemplate.

  • rhymeswithplague 18th October 2012

    Here in the USA at the moment we are in the middle of a scare involving 14,000 doses of an epidural medication that was contaminated in some way that has resulted in some patients contracting fungial meningitis. So far 19 persons have died in several states. Mrs. RWP, a retired RN, says there will probably be a great many lawsuits before it is over.

  • Mr Parrot 19th October 2012

    Thanks for the comments. On the subject of the use of epidural anaesthesia, this is considered best practice as it is safer than a general, avoids the unpleasant after effects and speeds recovery. The questionable bit is being awake during the procedure, although the epidural also includes sedation.

    As I understand it, the fungal meningitis issue in the US has been caused by contamination of the steroid medication rather than the way it is administered. No doubt it will bankrupt the New England Compounding Center company.

  • rhymeswithplague 19th October 2012

    Ian, you are right — I should have said steroid medication. Epidural refers to the technique, the method, by which the medication reaches its target.

    I still would not want to be awake during major surgery.

  • Jay from The Depp Effect 22nd October 2012

    Yikes! An epidural! Mrs P is a brave woman. I do hope her pain goes away soon and her recovery goes well.

    Hip replacement has come a long, long way since my Mother in Law had her first one back in the sixties. A friend of mine had one done a few years back. She was horribly apprehensive before the procedure, but most surprised afterwards by the lack of pain and the ease with which life returned to … well, not ‘normal’, better than normal! After the initial post op period, of course.

  • Francisca 22nd October 2012

    I’ve already read your next post, so I am sorry to hear of the complications caused by Ms P’s medications… but I concur with Jay, hip replacement is considered one of the most successful medical procedures these days. Both my mother and brother have undergone hip replacements, and it’s quite possible I may face that fate myself one day, especially if I persist in playing single tennis and/or sitting in front of my computer all hours of the day. Both of them were treated under public health plans… one in Canada, the other in Austria. Those screaming against Obamacare are woefully ignorant. But the obvious flip-flop and intellectual dishonesty by Romney on this issue is foreboding.


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