Thrive by IU Health

June 20, 2023

‘Life-changing’ hip replacement surgery is a home run

IU Health Arnett Hospital

‘Life-changing’ hip replacement surgery is a home run

In January, he couldn’t cross his legs or tie his own shoes. Now, he is ushering in the crowds at Loeb Stadium in Lafayette.

The pain and discomfort drove Dennis Martin to see his primary care physician. After an X-ray, he was referred to orthopedic surgeon Russell Meldrum, MD.

The years of working on his feet had finally caught up with him. His cartilage was gone, and he was in need of a hip replacement.

On May 5, Martin had a posterior right hip replacement. On May 31, he was back in action, working opening night for the Lafayette Aviators Prospect League baseball team at Loeb Stadium.

“I give everyone involved an 11 out of 10,” says Martin. “The entire team has just been amazing. I am certainly grateful for [surgical navigator Jenny Allen] and everything she has done to move me along this journey. She is a godsend.”

In and out in under 9 hours

Martin’s surgery was the first one of the day. He arrived IU Health Arnett Hospital at 6 am. By 7 am, the process started with a spinal injection. The next thing Martin remembers is asking what time it was—9:20 am. As soon as he could walk 100 steps and some stairs, he was sent home—around 2:30 pm. Just under 9 hours at the hospital in total.

The next day, a physical therapy team was at his home to evaluate his progress. He had physical therapy three times a week for the first two weeks, followed by outpatient physical therapy twice a week for two weeks. He was released from physical therapy and his cane by the time the first pitch was thrown.

"You have to do the work”

“I did the work,” says Martin. “You have to do the work. You have to listen. I tried not to take the pain pills and that was a mistake. You need to stay in front of the pain as directed.”

According to Martin, the most difficult part of the recovery process is getting off the toilet seat. He has learned a lot of little tricks along the way, like using the handle of the cane to help get himself dressed.

Ushering at baseball games has been Martin’s side job for the past few years. He has not returned to his full-time position with the Lafayette Parks Department as the bouncing of the lawn mower is a little too uncomfortable. He hopes to seek other opportunities once he is released by Meldrum in early July.

“People who are younger and active, but in pain, should be lining up for this surgery,” advises Martin. “It is life-changing.”



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