Hip Hoperation – Tanya reports…


Wow, it’s over – I have a new composite right hip joint made of stainless steel, plastic, ceramic and bone concrete!

As many of you know, I’ve been managing two seriously arthritic hip joints (resulting, no doubt, from 30 years of sport, 22 years of developing a farm, plus genetics maybe) for more than three years now, with help from tai chi, an exercycle, swimming, and gorgeous massages from our Earthsong masseuse, Susie.

But before Xmas the stiffness, pain and fatigue stepped up a notch and the pain began waking me at night. After consultation with surgeon Gary French (and his considered answers to a long list of questions) I decided to commit to the first hip replacement on Wednesday 3 February.

..a new hip joint!

..a new hip joint!

Day 1

Arrived at the hospital early in the morning, sun just rising beside Ormiston Bridge.  My first time being admitted to hospital in 70 years!


Felt quite calm and philosophical – knew the time had come – aware of all the risks, and reassured that hip surgery is one of the most successful ops available in NZ. Interview with anaesthetist Anne. Given a blue gown by nurse to put on about 8am – felt the first prick of a needle in my arm- and remember being wooshed away into the lift…

101 minutes later I emerged, dazed with the morphine, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, oxygen and plasma circulating in my blood through drips in my arms, and with blood and urine exiting through tubes elsewhere. After an hour in the recovery room, I was wheeled back to my room, where a very relieved Charmaine greeted me lovingly (in many ways, surgery is hard on partners too- waiting powerless and anxious as the minutes tick by…)


Nurse Nachelle with Charmaine

A dozy afternoon and night, with very attentive nurses waking me every two hours to offer me drinks, or to see if I knew my name, or to give me pills. “Here’s your next cocktail of party pills, sweetie!” said nurse Nachelle cheerfully.

Day 2

6.00am consultation with surgeon and anaesthetist. Breakfast, and more party pills, and then up for my first walk on the new hip, with practical guidance from physiotherapist Wendy.



Physiotherapist Wendy with Tanya

Day 3

Practice walking up and down stairs with my crutches, further discussion with surgeon, and good news! I’m ready to go home with Charmaine in the afternoon!




Back at home, Friday 5 February…

Lovely to hear the rustling of the ti kouka tree outside my upstairs bedroom doors,  and the soothing rumble of the frog orchestra from the pond in the evening.


Two weeks on…

I am amazed by how the human body adjusts too and heals from such major surgery so steadily.  Aided of course by my darling minder, Charmaine, I am making good progress

Doing my exercises diligently, walking carefully in the house, using one crutch outside, and weaning myself off paracetamol. The clear plaster came off the 12cm incision yesterday, bruises are fading. A further four weeks of convalescence ahead.  I’m getting a taste for this more restful lifestyle…

Gardening sorted – Sue Smith, our special gardener from earthtalk days, is here for four days renovating our garden and helping with community gardens, and our new Earthsong neighbour, Manabu, is learning to take over some of my jobs in community gardens and orchard.IMG_6790

And as for the future?

Who knows? I may get my left one replaced too in six to nine months time…


  1. Tanya, I didn’t know that all this was happening! What amazing surgery this is, and I hope it gives you a whole new lease of life. Being in pain is no fun. Sounds as if you are coming through well, & I wish you a steady recovery.

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