I think of my hip as a gift from so many people who touched me directly and those I’ll never know.

As I lay in my hospital bed with my brand new ball and socket, less than a couple hours after the sutures were closed, I started to think about all the people who made this miraculous surgery happen with hardly a worry on my end.

Yes, there were the obvious ones to credit – my orthopedic surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the nurses, the physical therapists and of course my family and friends, but there were so many more people I connected with either directly or indirectly to be grateful for as I began to list them in my mind.

The staffers who run the hospital, check in patients, clean the rooms and toilets, maintain the computer systems, keep the lights on and the temperature comfortable made my experience smooth, convenient, comfortable. The volunteers who greeted me at the hospital entrance, who let me know where to wait, and give directions to the bathroom – all with a smile and a caring heart – deserve my appreciation. As do the specialized team who prepared me for the surgery and outfitted me and other hip patients with all the necessary comfort equipment like raised toilet seat, leg lifter, a sock pull-up contraption, and hand-held grabber to pick up even the tiniest of things off the floor.

At the doctor’s office before and after the surgery, I was serviced by at least half a dozen employees working to receive patients, manage paperwork, approve refills, schedule appointments, and take phone calls. And then once I was called in to see the doctor, there was the friendly X-ray technician who always asked how my day was going and the nurse who took my weight and vitals.

I’m humbly reminded how interconnected we all are and how much we depend on one another in our daily lives.

heart connected thanks

I thought to myself, there’s a ton of science behind this modern medicine. After all, the surgery itself was completed in under an hour and my incision is only about 3 inches long. I was standing and walking on my new hip on the same day, albeit with a walker. This just wouldn’t be possible without all the scientists, researchers, teachers, and thought leaders who pioneered and developed these state-of-the-art surgical techniques. All the people who treated me went through years of schooling and invested thousands of dollars in their education so they could help others like myself.

Inside me is an artificial hip made of a titanium stem and ceramic ball and socket that went through years of innovation, engineering, and quality assurance – as did all the surgical instruments, medical systems, and machinery needed to perform the surgery. I must extend my gratitude to those people who studied and furthered the biomedical science it took to manufacture, test, and distribute these special joints and ensure their safety and compatibility with the human body. Thanks to them and this industrial-strength device, I’ll eventually be able to exercise with no restrictions and likely live out my life without the need for another hip replacement.

My gratitude list goes on and on – the pharmacists who filled my prescriptions, the social worker who showed me how to pull on my pants, the PT intern who gave me a soothing heat wrap, the sales rep who promptly delivered the electronic ice machine to my home, and the compassionate home therapist who made a return visit on the same day just to adjust my crutches. 

I think of my hip as a gift from so many people who touched me directly and those I’ll never know.

I also had the good fortune of a wonderful co-worker who put me under her wing with much coaching, wisdom, and encouragement leading up to and after my surgery. Her hip was replaced a few months before mine and she generously shared her experiences which meant the world to me.

Beyond the medical and research community, my employer provided for disability and time off with 100% pay, my insurance covered 100% of the surgery (I didn’t pay a dime), and I was able to return to work and not skip a beat after 6 weeks. It takes a village to process claims, administer disability benefits, and manage all the accounting. I am so grateful for the unsung experts who dedicate themselves to the details we take for granted.

I think of my hip as a gift from so many people who touched me directly and those I’ll never know. I’m humbly reminded how interconnected we all are and how much we depend on one another in our daily lives. The network of people involved in accomplishing this successful joint replacement will always astonish me. My journey moves forward with the healing process and a smile of deep gratitude.

We invite you to share a story about yourself or another person, reflecting on the question: “How has gratefulness shifted a moment, an experience, or a lifetime?” submit your story

Stories of Grateful Living
Pear Urushima

Pear Urushima

About the author

Pear Urushima is a writer, poet, taiko player, arts advocate, traveler, and photographer. She’s a passionate board member for A Network for Grateful Living and by day thrives in the high-tech world as a marketeer.