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John Harbour

New York, NY

Thirteen years ago, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my right hip. Competitive racquetball, competitive skiing, and military service had left their toll. I was only forty and resistant to having a hip replacement. It wasn’t the right doctor, the right tech, or the right time. My doctor looked at me and said “You’ll know when you’re ready, but know that it’s inevitable.” I was concerned about infection. I was concerned about the procedure. And I had hope that the hip would remain the same and not get worse. After all, I thought, I wasn’t in THAT much pain.

Five years ago bone spurs developed in the joint and the pain began to affect my quality of life. My range of motion was gone. I couldn’t walk without pain. The distance I could walk had been greatly reduced. And I started to feel old. For someone who loved to travel and explore new places on foot, skied, hiked, and played soccer, my life was shrinking. I could no longer play golf or racquetball, and I no longer had the agility needed to wade the waters of the Catskills while fly fishing. My workout routine had been reduced to swimming. I could no longer tie the shoe of my right foot. Sitting for two hours to watch a movie or for five hours on a plane became almost unbearable.

In May of 2017, in chronic pain and only able to sleep in one, very awkward, position, I started researching surgeons at HSS and selected my top three to begin the process. My hip had taken over and had put me on the sidelines of life. Dr. Westrich was at the top of my list. I met with him and scheduled my surgery for June 1st.

I am now at seven months post-op. I walk the streets of New York and have moments of pure joy when I notice that I no longer have pain and can walk as far as I desire. I am sleeping through the night again — in multiple positions. In September I entered the river in search of trout for the first time in three years. In November I kicked a soccer ball around with my physical therapist, and this winter I hope, with the doctor’s permission, to ski at least the bunny trail and feel the wind in my face.

I used to think it was hyperbole when those who had had the procedure said it was the best decision they had ever made. Now, on the other side, I can honestly say that it was the second best decision I have ever made. The first was asking my wife to marry me.

The experience that I had at HSS was nothing less than amazing. Everyone that I came in contact with was at the top of their game. From the person who admitted me with joy and without stress on the day of my operation to the aide who assisted me into the car for the ride home, every part of the process was exceptional. In the thank you page of my book, Diary of a Hippie, I give thanks to the all of those at HSS who provided such amazing care. But I still feel that more needs to be said. You are the best of the best. Thank you for the amazing care that you provided. Thank you for giving me my life back. And thank you for getting me Back in the Game! I will forever be grateful.