Publisher’s note: This first ran in the January 2011 issue of Ski magazine.
By Peter Shelton
I had hip replacement surgery one month before my first grandchild was born.
The decision to do it, to go for the new hip, had not come easily. Back and forth I went over the previous winters: I’m too young. I can still ski. (I was 59 at the time.) I can barely walk back to the car after a morning on the slopes, but I can still do it, damn it!
Then on the other side: I’m bone-on-bone. I’ve seen the pictures. Yoga isn’t doing the trick. I’m eating ibuprofen by the handful, day and night. That can’t be good. That isn’t good.
I can still sleep. Pretty well. Most nights. Except when I can’t because there are no more positions to try, no way it seems to silence the ache.
But what if the new hip turns out to mean an end to skiing? It could happen. Isn’t skiing, even skiing in pain, better than not skiing? I hadn’t missed a season since 1957. True, I hadn’t taught skiing for years, but I’d continued to write about it, dream about it, find grace in it.
One surgeon rolled his eyes when I said it was important to me to be able to keep doing this thing that was so much a part of life. I found another surgeon.