38 Years Ago Today I Got My Bionic Hip
In the summer of 1982, I was playing Teener League / Babe Ruth / Legion Baseball. I remember being in the outfield on a day where it rained earlier in the day. A fly ball was hit toward me and I came sprinting in to make the catch. As I got closer to the ball I realized that I misjudged it and pretty much had a stop right where I was. As I tried to plant my foot, my foot started to slide, and then my cleat caught the grass and propelled me forward. All my weight came down on my right knee and I hit it just right that it actually cracked my hip. We wouldn’t find that out until two months later.
I felt a shock go through my body when I hit the ground. I got up, brushed off my knee and continued on for the rest of the day. The sad part is, my hip did not hurt, but I was feeling a lot of pain in my knee. After a couple of days of gimping around, I went to see my doctor. He took x-rays of my knee and said I must have just bruised my knee. I finished the rest of that baseball season walking and running with a huge limp and a lot of pain in my right knee.
In September of that year, started my freshman year of high school. Two weeks into the school year I fell again and hit that same knee. This time I did some major damage. I couldn't walk, I couldn't sit, and I couldn't lie down without being in extreme pain. My sister took me to the hospital where our doctor was there waiting for us. The pain was still in my knee, but at this point it was excruciating. Again they x-rayed my knee and didn't see any damage. They kept me in the hospital where they were giving me shots of pain killers in my leg for days.
After being in the hospital for several days, my mother saw the way I was lying in bed. I was lying with my right leg bent at the knee and with my foot turned out. She pointed that out to the doctor and said that the elderly people in the nursing home where she worked would turn their legs like that if their hip was broken. So the doctor came in and examined me again. He tried to straighten out my leg at which point I screamed. So he ordered more X-rays and this time he x-rayed my hip.
My femur had broken right through my pelvis. He then measured my leg and it was at least two inches shorter than my other leg. My doctor went back to the first x-rays he took of my knee, and in the very top corner, you could see my hip had a crack in it. He apologized that didn’t notice it months ago and he recommended me to an orthopedic surgeon who specialized in sports injuries. They transferred me from the hospital in Carbondale, to Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton where I had three pins put in my hip.
I will never forget I had my surgery on November 4th, because it was also my mother's birthday. What a birthday present huh? Sitting in a hospital waiting for your son to have surgery? Today would have been my mother's 89th birthday. Every November 4th, I would wish her a happy birthday, and she would wish my bionic hip a happy anniversary.