Happy Hip-iversary!

Caitlin in the Pre-op Clinic waiting room at Boston Children’s Hospital

Author’s Note…

Ten years ago today my daughter, Caitlin had a total hip replacement at the age of 14.

During a two-year span prior to her THR, she underwent many surgeries and tests to determine why she lost the blood supply to her left hip.  The ultimate diagnosis was idiopathic osteonecrosis. A total hip replacement was the only viable option.

In 2011, in order to keep family and friends up to date with her medical saga, I started my first “blog” on caringbridge.org.  Today’s “slice of life” is excerpts from her page during her stay at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Sorry…it’s long!

Journal Entry by Julie McGowan — March 28, 2011

Caitlin is now in her surgery, which should last for about 4 hours.  She was a bit anxious to go into surgery, especially when she found out that I wasn’t going with her.  After a tearful good-bye, she was pleasantly surprised by a visit by Auntie Jen in the OR.  Luckily for Caitlin, she was able to stay with Caitlin until she fell asleep.  According to Auntie Jen, she was talking about the beach as she drifted off to sleep.

Journal Entry by Julie McGowan — March 28, 2011

Caitlin is now out of surgery.  The surgeon says that it was a success!  We will be going into the PACU soon to see her. 

Journal Entry by Julie McGowan — March 28, 2011

The Pros and Cons of a Total Hip Replacement…

We are now settled into our room on the 10th floor.  Caitlin is doing very well all things considered.  I think the pain medicine is more than doing the trick as Caitlin is providing comedic relief for us and the staff here with her brutal honesty.  She has managed to tell the nurse that she is “amazing” for providing her with a foam pillow for her backside, accuse me and Jim of “abandoning her” when she went into surgery and call her brother just to tell him that she loves him! 

We also heard the pros and cons of having a “hip replacement”.  Some pros include “different pain, a new hip and the ability to wiggle her toes”.  The cons include “awful pain, lying in a stupid bed all day in a stupid Johnny and butt pain.” Not to mention, “her stomach is rumbling and she can only eat ice chips, her throat is dry, she can’t get up to go to the bathroom and she has to go pee automatically (catheter)!”

Fortunately for all, she is sleeping peacefully now.  Hopefully tomorrow will bring a few more pros and a lot less cons! 

Journal Entry by Julie McGowan — March 29, 2011

Out with the old…In with the new

Day Two with a new hip!

After a busy morning of OT (brushing her teeth) and PT (moving her leg with support), Caitlin was having some difficulty with pain, and nausea.  Some adjustments to her medications seemed to do the trick and she was able to get washed up this afternoon and enjoy several catnaps.  I use the term “catnap” loosely though.   Each time she wakes up, she requests a drink because as she says, “My tongue feels like a cat’s tongue, all dry and scratchy”.  She has also awoken from her slumber to ask me if I was able to get my roots done (of course the answer is yes!), if I am wearing my dog tags (my hospital badge) and if those people were going to stand by her bed and watch her all day?(??? It was just me and Jim in the room!)  The answer is…yes, she is on a Morphine drip.

We have put on an x-ray on someone’s hip replacement that we found on the internet so you can see what her new hip may look like.  Caitlin’s new hip has a ceramic socket and metal ball.  We hope to be able to see her x-rays at some point this week. 

Please keep posting on this site.  Caitlin says reading people’s comments are the best part of her day!

Journal Entry by Julie McGowan — March 30, 2011

Day 3…. Thank Goodness for Barbecue Sauce and Milk Duds!

Today was a big day for Caitlin.  In PT, she was able to get out of bed and sit in a chair for a while.  She has also switched to oral pain medication.  For dinner, she was able to keep down some chicken fingers and fries with barbecue sauce.  I knew if I ordered something with BBQ sauce, I could get her to eat!

We are so lucky to have a family who continue to love and support us so much!  Auntie Jen stopped by and visited with us on her break.  Uncle Sean, Uncle Kevin, Auntie Jenny, Colleen, Uncle Dave, Nana Bruce, Auntie Heather and Kristina also came to visit.  It was a great distraction for us tonight and we really enjoyed the company.  Caitlin Skyped her brother before he went to bed.  He is coming in to see her tomorrow afternoon.  Although they won’t admit it, they have really missed each other.

Thanks for checking in on Caitlin and an extra big “thanks” to the family member (Jenny?) who brought the Milk Duds.  I am about to break into them now…it is the perfect late night hospital snack!

Journal Entry by Julie McGowan — March 31, 2011

Hello Everybody!

I am warning you that my entries are definitely not as good or amazing as my mom’s but I wanted to do an entry because I believe we need to spice it up today:]

This morning I was feeling very nauseous and felt uncomfortable but one I got some magical non-nausea medication from my lovely nurses, I felt like a QUEEN. They care so much about me. The amazing thing is that I was able to pass half of the P.T. requirements in just a little under 1 hour!  I set a new record for myself. I will be heading off to P.T. in a few minutes and if I pass that then I will definitely know I’m ON THE RIGHT TRACK TO RECOVERING AGAIN!!!!            

My days are full of dreams and laziness. At lunch time today, Marcia McGee came to visit and gave me a huge bear that my church family has given to me.  It is amazing and I love it. Thanks for everyone’s continuous prayers for me. But I would also like you to pray for my cousin Rosie who has had a terrible skiing accident.

I have to go to P.T. now so I’ll let you all know how the outcome goes…

I have just gotten back from P.T. and I PASSED!!!!! It is totally awesome because I could be heading on home tomorrow, sooner than expected!

Thanks again!


Caitlin 🙂

Journal Entry by Julie McGowan — April 1, 2011

Day 5…We’re still here!

It looks like tonight will be our last night here in the hospital.  If all goes as planned, Caitlin will be able to go home sometime tomorrow. 

Today’s highlights included OT where she learned how to dress herself with the precautions that she has in place and a shower!  It was so nice for her to be able to get washed up and have her hair shampooed.  It only took two conditioner applications to get all of the bed snarls out.  Thank goodness we braided her hair before her surgery otherwise it would have been an easy 3 or 4 rounds of conditioner.

We have had some lovely company over the last two days.  Yesterday, Caitlin’s friend Sophie came to visit with her mother. Susan and Heather also came to spend some time with us.  Today, Lee and Auntie Jen stopped by for an afternoon visit and Ryan, Auntie Heather, Kristina and Nana Bruce came to spend some time with us tonight. 

It is hard to believe that this is probably my last night staying at Children’s Hospital.  On our last two visits, I knew that I would be coming back at some point.  Tonight, I am pretty sure that this is it.  When Caitlin gets her next Total Hip Replacement, she could be married!!  Worse yet, I could be a grandmother by then!  If I can’t look forward to staying at the hospital with her again, I guess I can look forward to taking care of her kids.

Next post…from home (hopefully!!)

 Journal Entry by Julie McGowan — April 2, 2011

We’re home!!

MicroPython — OTA Updates and GitHub, a match made in heaven | by Ronald  Dehuysser | Medium

Not found on caringbridge.org…

September 2019

Caitlin’s healthcare experiences greatly resonates with her and inspires her to enter a career focused on supporting children and families in healthcare settings. Caitlin begins graduate school at Boston University to become a Child Life Specialist.

“In both healthcare and community settings, Certified Child Life Specialists help infants, children, youth and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of acute and chronic illness, injury, trauma, disability, loss and bereavement. They provide evidence-based, developmentally and psychologically appropriate interventions including therapeutic play, preparation for procedures, and education to reduce fear, anxiety, and pain.” – Association of Child Life Professionals – https://www.childlife.org/the-child-life-profession

January 25, 2021

Caitlin graduates with a Master’s degree in Child Life and Family Centered Care. She accepts a full time Child Life position at Boston Children’s Hospital in the Pre-Op Clinic (yes – the same clinic where the above picture was taken many years ago!) and in the Phlebotomy Outpatient Lab. Today, she begins her career supporting children and families who are scheduled for surgeries with subsequent hospitalizations, as well as children and families who have blood draw appointments.

March 27, 2021

Caitlin passes the Child Life Certification Exam and becomes a Certified Child Life Specialist, ten years after receiving her total hip replacement.


15 thoughts on “Happy Hip-iversary!

  1. I can feel your joy and pride shine through in this post. The journey of her surgery and recovery certainly shaped her future plans. I’m glad you included those carebridge pages so I could gain the appreciation of that journey. Wishing your daughter much happiness in her new career!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post brings back so many memories! The strength and courage you, as a mother, and Caitlin as the “patient”, emulate, is awe inspiring! I love her so much and have always admired her courage! I’m sooo proud of all she’s accomplished and yesterday’s pass on her licensure was just the icing on the cake! Your family is the best and Kristina and I love you all so much! ❤️ I only hope, Kristina continues to look up to, and attempt to model Caitlin’s example!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Julie, I’m in tears reading today’s post! So beautifully recalled through your actual daily entries! I still think some of those videos of Caitlin ‘s pros and cons would have made The Ellen Show 😂😂. Caitlin is such an inspiration and has gone through so much and her career choice could not be more perfect! I am so proud to be her Nana Bruce. I also must add that I am so proud to be your Mom and Jim’s mother in law! You are amazing parents!!! Happy Hip-iversary, Caitlin 🎈

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember so well, Julie, Caitlin getting prepared and having this surgery. I remember visiting her before the surgery and seeing how brave and prepared emotionally she was for this surgery. I admired her courage and the courage, love, and support of her family. She is an inspirational young lady and I have enjoyed hearing from your Mom of her times at Merrimack College, her graduation, and her many pursuits after college. It is so good you journaled her times. I did this when Uncle Norm was so sick. It is a treasure for me to read repeatedly so that I remain grateful and humbled. I wish Caitlin continued success and so look forward to all this beautiful young lady will achieve in her life. She is truly a brave young lady who pursues her desires of the heart. I love her dearly.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your post proves that one truly never knows where life will take you. Your daughter’s story is a fairy tale and it is so special that you captured its moments in this timeline like way. You were so smart to write about everything the way you did. It was wonderful to follow your daughter’s story right up to the present!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is an amazing story. I had no idea that a 14 year old cold experience the kind of chronic disease that would require a total hip replacement. How wonderful for her to be able to build a lifelong career out of her undoubtedly very stressful and painful and frightening experiences and end up working at the same hospital 10 years later.

    Liked by 1 person

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