I had tried to deny my worsening hip pain for about 7 years, thinking I could somehow miraculously fix it myself. When X-rays showed bone-on-bone osteoarthritis in both hips, I started looking for a surgeon in the islands to do a hip replacement. I did my research and decided I wanted an anterior approach operation with ceramic replacement joints. No one on this island nor St. Thomas in the USVI did this. I saw a commercial on TV for HSS and, being very impressed by their website, called. I went through the International Center, to whom I submitted x-rays and information, and they matched me to Dr. Alexiades.
He and his wonderful/helpful staff presented the idea of doing BOTH HIPS AT ONCE! I had never heard of this. They assured me they’d done many, that I was a good candidate for it, (“ when people do one hip at a time, they usually have a “good” hip to recover on....you don’t”), I was “young” at 56 and healthy. They had top notch equipment and technology, plus, logistically for me having to travel from Barbados one time not two was positive. I got pre-authorized by my excellent insurance (Aetna International), and on April 20, 2017, I rounded the corner from the subway stop, saw HSS, and was soon sobbing as I hobbled in extreme pain the last few blocks to get to my initial appointments. I felt quite comfortable with Dr. Alexiades - he sure has a great manner and everyone in his office was so nice. I did everything they told me to, including donating my own blood, which turns out I needed later, so glad I did it.
I returned to HSS for my operation May 1st. I was on the table for 4 hours. The worst part of my whole experience was the next few hours. The doctor and team had finished and put me in post-op around 6 pm. I came to around 1 am. my blood pressure was very low and I ended up needing that transfusion of my own blood. When I finally got up to the 7th floor recovery area, I sensed I was in good hands again. From the excellent nurses to PT to the dietitians, everyone was so caring and knowledgeable. They had me up and walking with walker, (unfortunately I was overzealous on my ability to walk to bathroom, ended up fainting and peeing all over 2 PTs and a male nurse, who were my buddies from then on after that “bonding incident”). I also had a painful episode shortly after the epidural was removed but the staff managed it perfectly. I was in the hospital for 6 days.
I then moved over to the adjacent Belaire guest house (shout out to Pia, who was such a helpful liaison there), where I could recover and go to PT appointments, first in wheelchair, and later by walker, by simply using the bridge that connects the buildings. I loved PT sessions, and did all the exercises I was given. In 3 and a half weeks Dr. Alexiades pronounced me recovered enough to fly back to Barbados. I remember getting up from my aisle seat in the plane and explaining to the gal in my row that I had just had both hips replaced and had to walk for circulation to avoid any blood clots. When we landed she proceeded to reach for her hard bright yellow carry-on from the overhead bin and DROPPED IT RIGHT ON MY RIGHT HIP! OMG what are the chances!? She wasn’t even that sorry. Well, that little incident caused me to learn more about the proprieties of SCAR TISSUE than I ever could have imagined. Dr. Alexiades’s office counseled me on how to handle it via phone calls and I found an excellent PT and masseuse team here.
Although there were periods of rapid recovery, interspersed with many speed bumps, mostly when I would overdo it, I can now state, unequivocally, having this BHR was the best thing I’ve done. Every single day I am SO GRATEFUL at being able to walk without pain, to swim, ride my bike, travel all over, climb easily up ladders/scaffolding and paint murals, and dance - it is such an exhilarating feeling. I write Dr. Alexiades postcards continuing to thank him. To imagine he does so many of these procedures, basically giving numerous people new leases on life - well, I am in awe. If you are reading this and are considering a procedure at HSS, I would encourage you to not be scared. I was scared and wished more people had written here about BHR. I apologize for not submitting my experience sooner, but it really has changed my life so MUCH! I love the sturdy, painless mobility I now have. I even like showing off my scars - my badge of honors! Yes, I’m a big fan of Dr. Alexiades and HSS and I’m SO happy with my 2 new hips!