It's not Just Growing Pains: A Guide to Childhood Muscle, Bone, and Joint Pain, Rheumatic Diseases, and the Latest Treatments

By Thomas J. A. Lehman | Go to book overview

25
Reconstructive
Surgery

Rebecca’s parents were very nervous. Rebecca had severe arthritis that had affected her hips. Despite multiple medications from a variety of physicians, things had slowly gotten worse over the last year. Now Rebecca was in my office. Rebecca and her family had hoped that I would have a medication to reverse all of her problems and allow her to walk normally again. Unfortunately, it wasn’t so. Rebecca’s hip pain was so bad that she rarely ventured out of the house except to go to school. She had begun to use a wheelchair to get from class to class in school. Careful review of her X rays made it clear that medications were not going to make Rebecca’s hips better. She needed hip replacements.

The family was very resistant to the suggestion that Rebecca’s hips be replaced. I carefully explained she would have much less pain and much better function. When I had Rebecca walk down the hall, she had an abnormal gait because of all the hip pain. The family told me that other children had picked on Rebecca because they thought she walked funny. They were very afraid of what would happen if she had her hips replaced. I called out to my office and had one of my volunteers bring in a pamphlet on total hip replacement. The volunteer, a young lady, walked in, smiled, gave me the pamphlet and walked out again. I asked the family whether they had noticed anything. They replied that I was lucky to have such an attractive volunteer working in my office. They were stunned when I said that the volunteer was one of my patients who had had her hips replaced one year earlier. No one could tell that she had had her hips replaced. The only ones who knew were her friends, who saw how much better and how much happier she was after recovering from the surgery.

-361-

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