I feel blessed. One year ago, I was experiencing severe hip problems. My hip had been replaced 22 years before, and then a slight revision 3 years after that. That served me well for years, but in 2017 it became a problem.
A major problem I encountered was that Dr. Don Hodurski had done the original replacement and had since retired. I went to multiple doctors, but they were leery of doing the revision since they didn’t do the original hip replacement. Some of the tests showed there were several complications, including some accumulation of fluid.
I was referred to a couple of doctors at Andrews Clinic in Birmingham, but they also were leery of attempting a revision. One day I met a friend, Shot Thames. He told me he had just had his hip revised by a great doctor at East Alabama Medical Center. I also found out my good friend and member of our Board, Lucinda Cannon, had a hip replacement from the same doctor. Lucinda helped me get an appointment with Dr. Todd Sheils.
It was one of the great blessings of my life! He surveyed the situation, didn’t talk about how tough it could be, but was offering his talent. Lynn and I were both elated when he said that he would help.
I then learned from some other doctors who were in medical school with Dr. Sheils that he was #1 in their class and had one of the highest scores on medical boards that they had heard of. When I met with Dr. Sheils, he talked about how his team would be praying for me. I am smart enough to know that when you have a doctor with extreme intelligence and skill and a humble spirit to pray and ask for God’s guidance, I was at the right place!!
I had the surgery in February 2017. Dr. Sheils could not determine if the fluid and other complications were due to infection. He could not put in the kind of new prosthesis that was needed. He used his skill to “improvise.” That surgery was a great success for several months. But then some complications arose two days after I returned from Germany in November 2017.
I went back to Dr. Sheils and he said at some point, some of the bone deterioration had given way, etc. I asked him what he would do if it was his hip, and he said he would replace it with the prosthesis that he wanted to use back in February. He suggested doing it soon. He said he would be available the Monday after Thanksgiving.
I feel very blessed Dr. Sheils scheduled my surgery right after lunch on Monday, November 27. He didn’t schedule any other surgeries for the rest of the afternoon in case the worst scenario would require removing the original stem out of the femur or a couple of their major things. He was prepared for everything.
I just learned that a few years ago, Dr. Sheils’ son was extremely ill. He was in East Alabama Medical Center. His liver had begun to fail. They were getting ready to medi-vac him to Birmingham. It was a critical moment. But a lady who works at the hospital came up to Dr. Sheils and told him she was praying for him and that his son would be alright. She had crocheted an angel and gave it to Dr. Sheils. The next day, his son went home!
Dr. Sheils hadn’t seen that lady again in 3 years. Just about 3 or 4 minutes before he went into the operating room for my surgery, she appeared again! She just told him that she felt like he needed extra prayer. She wanted him to know she would be praying and everything would be alright. She was his angel – and mine! Just as that lady walked off, another lady appeared and said, “I’m really praying for you today.” Dr. Sheils said he went into my surgery knowing he was really in God’s presence!
My surgery was only about an hour and a half. He was able to put in the prosthesis that he had desired. He didn’t have to remove or replace the stem. He put in a wedge where some of the bone had deteriorated which would require a longer recovery. When he walked into the waiting room with my family and friends, he had a smile on his face and thumbs up.
I am blessed! Because of the nature of the surgery, I can place no weight on my left hip for 14 weeks (about the end of February). I am on a walker, but able to get around really well. I am able to go to the office every day and keep my speaking engagements that don’t require long travel. The biggest challenge is not my hip, but my arms in using the walker. I have no pain with that hip.
I am blessed!