Monday 16 May 2011


I've been watching a programme about problems with medical implants - I usually avoid such medical things, but I rather felt I should.

Those of you who have known me long enough may remember, some 20 months ago, I enquired about hip resurfacing as an alternative to a full hip replacement.  The surgeon to whom my GP referred me was very off-putting, saying that there were a lot of problems with metal-on-metal implants and, in addition, hip resurfacing had its own dangers, especially for women - this being because, post-menopause, most women lose bone density and the less invasive treatment of resurfacing can leave the femur more at risk of fracture.  I've got a socking great porcelain spike in my femur, which adds stability rather than lessens it.  I quizzed him pretty sceptically and straightforwardly (for example, I asked how many hip resurfacings he had done, and whether his reluctance was because he hadn't done enough of them to become fully adept) and I am appreciative that he took me seriously and explained without patronising or being offended.  Every time he has seen me since, he's asked if I've seen the latest findings, which, thanks to Hip Headlines, I have.

I asked him why, if there were good hip replacements, new and untried ones were being used, and he frankly said, because of the money in them.  Something new can be sold for a lot of money.  He didn't for a minute suggest any corruption or malpractice, but simply that it's a massive industry and that companies doing research need to sell their devices, and surgeons can be convinced to try them.  At Norwich, they had watched what was going on, were not comfortable with the number of problems thrown up and had made the decision to stop doing any metal-on-metal implants.  Since then, there have been a lot of recalls of specific devices and many people have had to have further operations to replace their artificial hips.

Today, we went to view a sale at B0nh@ms in London.  The Sage is going to the sale on Wednesday, but I won't go then.  We had plenty of time to look and handle all the china we wanted to - if you have never been to view an auction, you can ask to see and hold anything you want to (actually, I'm not sure if it works the same for delicate stuff worth millions, but it certainly does for the thousands-worth).  It's brilliant.  It's good to hold a lovely item that you will never own, and handling it adds a lot to just seeing it.  I have ambivalent thoughts about museum pieces - of course, some things are so rare and precious and of such historical significance that they should be kept in museums, but they will never be loved and appreciated again in the same way.  Lovely things should be touched, if they're not too fragile, and so much in museums is kept in store and rarely seen again.  Especially now, when a museum is meant to be a viewing experience rather than a historical record.  It's laid out very artistically, but there's not room to show much of the collection, even the really beautiful pieces.  They might as well be sold on for people to enjoy and appreciate again.


martina said...

I've been given/inherited lots of the family heirlooms which I use. Some of it I use daily. Always makes me feel warm and fuzzy, remembering the grandparents.

Rog said...

Yes, keeping things "for best" and not using them and enjoying them is such a shame. Legs AND gravy boats!

Ivy said...

I`d be too afraid of dropping something so valuable, to ask to hold it.

Unknown said...

It's the great thing about my speciality (clocks, weaponry, metalware generally) that, broadly speaking, it's not breakable. Although when handing over a piece to be examined and making the above remark about it's not being breakable, I do make a habit of adding:- "and that's not a challenge!"

Dave said...

'Lovely things should be touched' is my motto. Mind you, I run the risk of getting my face slapped.

Roses said...

It sounds like you've got an awesome surgeon. The consultants I've known have had a tendency towards the God-complex and hate being questioned.

The fact is: it's your body, you need to know if there's anything better/more appropriate for you. I wish more people would take responsibility for their health, instead of leaving it to the doctors, who after all are only human too.

Glad you enjoyed the sale. See anything girlie? With roses?

Christopher said...

Please tick the response that seems most appropriate:

a) He's such a tease, that Dave, you know.

b) He's such a soft touch, that Dave, you know.

(Just dropping in to say we're back, overflowing with rich experiences of which the Great Wall Party was by no means the least.)

Z said...

My doctor expects me to take responsibility for myself. I suspect that he sent me to that consultant deliberately, knowing that we'd be straight with each other and earn mutual respect.

I don't see you as careless, Ivy and I don't see why you'd drop anything - but I take your point, maybe start with the less valuable items! All the same, Dave is right too , if a).

There was a nice tea service, that was a wedding present from Queen Victoria, accompanied by a friendly letter from Princess Louise. I rather doubt that has ever been used, actually, I'm sure the family kept it far too carefully. Our antique china isn't suitable for much use, but at the wall party, coffee was served in 100+ year old cups - nothing special at all, and they do go in the dishwasher.

If anyone hasn't sponsored Rog yet, please go and do so. And think of Rosemary, Sarah and Sally, as well as Kaz, when you do.

Chris, dear heart, welcome back, and thank you both so much for coming. The Wall Party was the highlight of my year so far (I do expect it to be superseded, but I won't be surprised if it remains in the top three) and I was thrilled to meet so many lovely people. And dogs.

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Z:
One of our relatives is about to have a hip replacement so your advice here and the website link were most timely.

Yes, china was made to be handled.

Pat said...

I though about you when I read an article on hip replacement. That is a very useful link.

Anonymous said...

Guilty of not-yet-but-soon-be-donation, sorry.

Museums need collections, to pick from for the exhibition. For my taste in the last years the show-part ("Inszenierung") is a bit over emphasized by some houses, even smaller ones. Some museums only reflect the ego-trip of the curator. More spectaculum than place of learning.
Things need to be used, they have a Sitz im Leben.

PixieMum said...

I agree so much with using beautiful items.

When my sister announced her engagement her intended produced bottle of champagne. My sister started to get some beautiful gold patterned glass glasses out from glass fronted cupboard. I think the glasses belonged to my mother's grandmother, in any case they were old then in 1978. My mother said "Oh, we won't use those, they are for special occasions".

My sister, as far as I know, never forgave her for that comment.

It is times like that that remind Ian and I to enjoy and use items in our home so our Royal Doulton fine bone china dinner service is used as is the slightly more chunky Denby Baroque.

Eddie 2-Sox said...

Do you think that when Carol Decker and T'Pau finally run out of money and also need hip replacements, they'll release China In My Leg?

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Z said...

I am not saying that everything a museum owns should be on show. However, to take a single example, I know what used to be on show at Norwich Castle from their magnificent collection of Lowestoft. Now, a small proportion of it is displayed and, more importantly, the display hasn't changed in years. My favourite two-handled loving cup, bought by the Friends of the Museum, is locked away in the vaults and has been since the museum's revamp. It might as well be lent out or sold for all the worth it is to those who are its custodians. Time was, I might have donated to the collection. I wouldn't now, what would be the point? And many museums are, while fun and interesting, soon seen, now. There is little to draw the seriously interested back.

The thing is, to ask questions about an operation and check out the answer. Not all metal-on-metal implants have been recalled, but I'd want full details now I have done some checking - mainly because of Pamela's work, I must say!

Madeleine, I'm speechless and as one with your sister. If you'd been able to come to the party, you'd have seen that we use the *good* china and silver all the time.

Simon, I feel a bit like Dave here in that I have no idea what you're talking about.

And the Sausage man is fine, you can trust him darlings. Do review your local sausages, his links can be relied on.

PixieMum said...

Z, To be fair to my Mum, I don't think in fact she meant it in that way. She just didn't think! It was a household, like my grandparents before her, where the best items were for display. I'd never known the glasses to be used.

As my sister and her husband don't want anything to do with us I cannot discuss it or even laugh about it with her after all this time.

Z said...

You've said on your blog that your sister doesn't see you, and you don't know why. That's very sad, and her loss more than yours - which doesn't lessen the gap in your life.

Anonymous said...

Museums follow fashions too. Every now and then (every generation?) discovers new what is stored in the magazines. And a "new" view or perspective is "developed". I do not like the idea of museums selling off things - yes, I confess, I have the collector bug somewhere in me. I feel ambivalent about museums - of course I would work there, but "home" is the library or the archive.

What I heartly dispise is the whole damn ego tripping and backstage stabbing, some people do anything for a photograph in a mewspaper. I happily stay in the research department.