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On Health and Becoming Bionic

February 3, 2013 - Ray Tsuchiyama

On a recent visit to a golf driving range, spouse C. and myself encountered a friend who was looking much fitter and healthier. He explained that he had a hip transplant surgical procedure and while he was in the hospital (and during his recovery), he had lost 30 pounds. My spouse C. commented that if I lost that much I would look like an excellent Public Relations model for the dangers of anorexia.

Although I did not press for details of his surgery, he was excited to tell us that while he felt nothing below his waist and had downed a concoction of mind-altering and pain-numbing drugs, he still heard loud banging, like a plumber with a hammer straightening a pipe to fit into a drainage sink. He realized that his doctor was just forcing the titanium ball and rod into place into the hipbone, and while the strenuous activity did not cause any pain, he was alarmed that such a forceful alignment took place in a sterile, quiet surgical room in a Honolulu hospital.

Luckily, the hip replacement procedure was successful, and he was walking about with a slight limp, without the great pain he was suffering just a month before (the 30-pound weight loss also helped, I am sure).

By coincidence another friend had an identical surgery and flew back to Maui last week. I spoke to him on the day he did not have to drink his medications. He is a rather tall individual, so I did not even wanted to imagine how his lanky frame was moved to a car, then to the airport, and into the plane, then off to the airport and driven back to his Up-Country home. He was beginning Physical Therapy and he was sounding well, and was planning to return to work next mid-week.

Of course, my friend added, since his body contained a ball and rod made of highly-polished light-weight titanium, he was resigned (forever!) to stop and ask for a “pat-down” at the airport security line.

In one surgical operation he had become a bionic man – and was different than me and others.


Article Comments



Feb-03-13 9:01 PM

My poor daughter complained as she waited for Dad, "Do we always have to travel this way?"

Orthoscopic aids and certain surgical implants do require verification by TSA.


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