My Trip to India

Hi Everybody!

I’m so excited to have returned from my “medical tourism” trip to India!

When we began making arrangements for my hip surgery (I had bone on bone osteoarthritis of the hip which has been hampering my life for the last five years), each step we took led us to this Indian adventure. And what an adventure it has been! I’m convinced we made the right choice to travel to India for the surgery and now, 10 days post-op, I’m home and feeling great and able to do so much more than I expected.

Because I didn’t have health insurance, a glitch that I should have fixed somewhere between my 1998 divorce and 2004 second marriage, when I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis we were faced with some tough decisions. A good friend who is an orthopedic surgeon (a hip and shoulder guy), took an x-ray of my hip and recommended a relatively new procedure called hip resurfacing, at somewhere between $50,000 and $80,000. He recommended his partner, who has done five of these new procedures.

After some dedicated investigation, my dear husband found some very interesting information via the Internet (what an enabling medium!). We’ve been doing hip resurfacing in the US for about five years and many doctors here still recommend full hip replacement instead because of the newness of the procedure.

Hip resurfacing was developed in England about 12 years ago and the doctor who performed my surgery was on the team that developed it. It removes no bone compared to the hip replacement in which the head of the femur is removed and replaced with a pin and ball. The hip resurfacing prosthetic fits much tighter than the hip replacement apparatus, therefore it doesn’t dislocate like the replacement is prone to do, and performes just like a real hip. It was designed with younger, active people in mind.

I’m 50 and developed pain in my groin which I thought was a running injury when I was training for my third marathon almost exactly five years ago. It progressed to the point that I could walk only 50 yards or so at a time with much loss of range of motion (haven’t been able to cut my own toenails for a few years!). Not to mention lots of pain, because the hip joint was for all intents and purposes fused, it threw my body mechanics off and EVERYTHING hurt.

We decided that hip resurfacing was the way to go and again, thanks to the Internet we found several chat groups led by people who have gone overseas for this procedure. To be able to talk to people about their experiences was invaluable and we decided to go to Chennai India to have Dr. Vijay Bose perform the surgery, who has successfully performed 1,200 hip resurfacings. And, secondarily, with travel and accommodations, the cost was a fraction of what the surgery alone would be in the US.

We spent about 9 months in communication with the doctor and his staff planning the trip. Then a couple of weeks ago the day had arrived to depart and naturally, we had a little trepidation heading off to a culturally different country for something like this, no matter how thouroughly we had researched it.

I’m thrilled to report that every step of the way the adventure went without a glitch, and the worst I can say is that the towels in the hospital were too soft and left fuzz all over you after a shower! :-) 

Here is a photo diary of the trip:

The first two nights we stayed at The Raintree, a lovely business class hotel:

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The first two days we did some sight-seeing and fabric shopping! (More on that tomorrow.) The traffic is unbelievable–pedestrians, motor cycles, cars, buses, bicycles, auto rickshaws, traditional bicycle rickshaws and cows–all intermingling in an orchestrated symphony that to the Indians makes sense but to a westerner seems like utter chaos!:

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An auto rickshaw:

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We stopped to see a temple:

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A view of Chennai (FKA Madras) from our hotel window. One foot firmly planted in the present, one foot firmly planted in the past:

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The next seven days we spent in the hospital in a modern wing built with western patients in mind. My room had a private bath, kitchenette, wi-fi access and a cot for E., he was able to run his business from India! Ready for surgery:

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A successful experience, every step of the way was superbly organized and the epitome of compassionate care. Part of my medical team:

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The next four nights we spent at a fabulous resort, The Fisherman’s Cove, on the Bay of Bengal. There is no better place for recuperation!:

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I’ve never experienced people who are so caring and devoted to service! I’ll never forget the people who were so kind to me:

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Well, as positive an experience as that was, I’m thrilled to be home with more energy and mobility than I dared hope for.

I have a month off of work for some R & R–time to get sewing!

Ta-ta for now!