James Mackie - Alma, MI
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Walking Pain-Free After Hip Replacement Surgery
For avid hunter James Mackie, the problem with his left hip progressed slowly from a mere annoyance to serious pain that stopped him in his tracks. For a couple of years, he consciously and unconsciously adjusted to the pain as well as he could. "Certain things, like climbing up and down a ladder in a deer blind, were really painful," he said. Eventually, though, simply walking became a chore. "Last year, 2015, it was really bad. By the end of the day, I was done."
By July, the pain was severe and over-the-counter pain relievers were no longer sufficient. Following the advice of his primary care physician, Mackie consulted with Orthopedic Surgeon James Ware, D.O. "Dr. Ware put me on some prescription medication that really helped," he said. However, an X-ray showed that the hip needed to be replaced.
"When he told me I needed surgery, I said 'OK, as long as it's after deer season,'" said Mackie, who hunts during both bow and rifle season. "I've been hunting since the '50s and haven't missed an opening day since 1969, when I was in law school." Surgery to replace the joint was scheduled for November 23.
Unfortunately, Mackie's 46-year-old tradition was about to be broken. The strong medication that was keeping the pain at bay was also taking a toll on his gastrointestinal track. When he stopped the medication, the pain returned with a vengeance.
"I had to ask if we could move up the surgery and I ended up having it on November 16," Mackie said. "I had the surgery in the afternoon and was in recovery by 5:30 p.m. I was in very little pain and even walked to the bathroom with a little help. The next day, November 17, they had me walking with a walker, then a cane. I felt really good and was taking very little pain medication."
Mackie was doing so well that he was discharged on November 17, the day after his hip was replaced. "When I got home, I did my exercises and only used about a quarter of the pain medication that was prescribed," he said. "I used a walker for a few days and then a cane, but within three weeks I was pain-free and walking unassisted."
Mackie has maintained a healthy weight for several years and is very active; both of those factors contributed to his speedy recovery. He also attended a pre-surgery session that helped him prepare. "They gave me exercises to do along with a schedule and I followed it religiously before and after surgery," he said. "Dr. Ware knew I’d done the work because of my quick recovery."
While a disciplined lifestyle helped him recover, Mackie gives credit to his skilled surgeon. "I have nothing but good things to say about Dr. Ware and his staff," he said. "He kept me informed every step of the way. He tells you the way it is, and the way it can be. He gave me the good and bad of surgery and told me how I could avoid trouble. Everything was perfect with me and I know others who had surgery with Dr. Ware and they are all happy with the results as well."
Mackie also appreciated the convenience of staying close to home, and most of all, he's happy to be mobile and pain-free. "I'm definitely looking forward to hunting season this year," he said.
James's story is just one example of how MyMichigan's advanced technology and physician expertise can help people live active, pain-free lives.
To find an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in joint replacement surgery, contact Health Line at (800) 999-3199.