“About two months after my hip surgery I was able to walk with a cane, but I didn’t get very far, and two places haven’t healed so I haven’t been able to walk correctly,” Karen says. Despite doing everything her surgeon told her to do, from six weeks of rehab to continual physical therapy, she can’t get her balance. And it’s getting worse, both physically and financially. Karen recently bought a wheelchair and, because she lives alone, hired a caregiver to wheel her around the grocery store.
“I can’t get the right balance, I’m not putting proper weight on my feet. In March of this year I was just trying to walk from one room to the other and heard a crunch – my foot broke,” Karen says. “I was back at the same hospital with the same orthopedic surgeon. It took twice as long as the normal recovery time to heal because I couldn’t walk properly, even with the special boot for support. It’s like I’m swinging out of balance all the time.”
Karen is exasperated, to say the least. She is only 65 years old and thinks she will never be able to walk correctly. Her surgeon told her that it’s “just going to take time” and prescribed her pain meds. But just how long is that—two years? “When you have something replaced it should work like new or at least as it did before,” Karen quips. “Now I’m on Lidoderm patches that are very expensive—some days are better than others but the pain is always there--and I live on social security.”
Although she’s trying, it’s not easy to exercise with constant pain. And driving is painful so she has to hire someone every time she has a physical therapy session.
“I have to go through acrobats to get up – I know it’s going to be an adventure because I never know how I’ll get up from bed or the chair,” she explains. “Sometimes my hip locks. I can turn a certain way and hear a click so I have to stop what I am doing, afraid my whole hip will go out. I can no longer pick something up from the floor. For instance, the grill from my fridge keeps coming off: I never had a problem getting down on my hands and knees to put it back, but now it stays off.”
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“Meanwhile, I have to watch my feet and stare down at the sidewalk when I walk; if not I may trip. That’s how I broke my toe. And last week I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night. As I got up from the commode, my left hip locked and I keeled forward, hitting my mouth on the door knob and breaking off my right front tooth completely and damaging the other teeth in my bridge. I spent four hours in dental surgery and was billed $6,385.
“After I saw an ad on TV about Stryker hip lawsuits I have a glimmer of financial hope. I also had to buy a stair lift so this Stryker hip has cost me a bundle. And it has caused a lot of stress.”