It's fifteen months since my new hip and I went for a check-up to the consultant. It was a friendly reunion, he is a very nice man. He immediately (well, first he greeted me and asked how I and the hip am*) asked if I'm aware of the problems with and recalls of a lot of metal-on-metal hips. Thanks to Pamela's Hip Headlines, I do indeed. Several styles are now not used after failures, sometimes quite soon after insertion and they don't use them at all in Norwich, and hadn't done even before the problems were confirmed nationally and internationally.
His next question was whether I had any problems with my other hip and I said I suspect that I'm in the early stage of arthritis there too. As the x-ray, although of my right side, would show both, he would look at it.
The passageway to the x-ray place is down a slope - I suspect it was originally built with stairs - and I remembered back to when it was so difficult to walk down when I was there in January 2010. This time, I trotted down speedily and hopped on the bed with agility. When I went back to see the consultant, he said that the new hip is perfect, and I could see that it was. Text book stuff. It looks fine, though I have to say, it's weird to think of that long porcelain spike inside my femur. I suppose it's that long to add stability.
The other hip, he agreed with my suggestion that I'll need a new one in five or six years. There's just the start of arthritic wear. If I hadn't had one, I'd not be aware of such early signs. He said, I do have unusually shallow sockets - the right one particularly so, which was why it went first, but the other one is shallower than average too. I'm not thrilled of course, but I'd rather know - my regret is not that I'll need an operation, but for the gradual decline that I can expect to start in about three years time. We talked it over, fairly briefly as we were in complete agreement, and I said that I'd rather have it done sooner next time. My doctor had initially suggested waiting until I was over sixty if I could, and I'd got fixed on that - I knew a long time ago that I couldn't wait that long, but I could see the point of hanging on as long as possible, because of future revisions. The second time, there's no point in waiting and I don't want to be hobbling round with a stick again. Also, this hip cost around £12,000 all told and I jolly well don't want to damage it by limping heavily with the other leg.
So we shook hands and I thanked him, and he said that when I want to discuss it, to ring the hospital and make an appointment or, if I want to see him on the NHS, to speak to my GP and ask him for a referral. In any case, he'll take a look at my operated hip in about five years, so the two events might even combine.
*Slight grammar alert there, but I concluded that now the hip is part of me, I shall treat us as a single entity.