When bodies need replacement parts

Replacing a shoulder with non OEM parts.
Living longer can also mean needed replacement of OEM parts.

Among the multiple problems that surviving to get old is the sad fact that our OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts wear out, particularly for those of us who put a lot of mileage of wear and tear on our bodies.

My “frozen shoulder” complicated by severe arthritis received two shots Monday, one steroid and the other cortisone.

The shoulder has been a problem since breaking my left arm and dislocating the shoulder in a softball came in 1985 in the Capitol Ellipse while serving as a staff member of the House Science and Technology Committee for Congress.

Botched therapy for the injury led to failed healing and the shoulder use was limited and has gotten worse over the past 50+ years. The pain has gotten so bad that the orthopedist suggested the shots. If they don’t work, the next step will be shoulder replacement surgery.

At my age? I turn 75 in just over two months. No problem, the doc said. He has done such replacements for others in their 80s.

Terrific. More metal in an aging body that already has enough non-OEM parts to set off metal detectors before even passing through them. My right leg is crammed with multiple metal parts that were needed to rebuild the compound, the badly-broken leg from the crash of my motorcycle with a cow on a dark U.S. 221 between Cave Spring and the bottom of Bent Mountain on Nov. 9, 2012.

I also have a non-OEM right-eye socket and other parts required by the plastic surgeon who rebuilt my face from the same accident plus several other replacement parts in other places of my body along with some missing ones that I can live without.

Advanced Arthritis comes from too many broken bones over the years. My right ankle has been broken so many times that the last X-ray technician couldn’t obtain an image because too much calcium buildup covering previous breaks blocked the scan. An MRI managed to show that it was, indeed broken.

In another case, an X-ray showed a badly sprained ankle from a spill I took from my bike when an SUV ran a stop sign on a side road connecting to Rte. 8 but the Carilion tech missed a broken fibula higher up in my leg. I walked around on the damn thing for several weeks before a later -ray of my knees also showed the bone hearing. Fortunately, the break was not dislodged and the lower part of the bone did not shift.

The surgeons talked about possibly removing some of the rods, braces and pins from my broken right leg but apparently waited too long and an examination showed the bones were grafting over the metal parts.

“Normally, people your age don’t heal that quickly,’ the doctor said.

People my age often hear doctors end a lot of sentences with “for your age” but that time, it noted that something like healing.

“Age is best considered a situation of mind over matter,” legendary pitcher Satchell Paige once said. “If I don’t mind, it don’t matter.”

© 2004-2022 Blue Ridge Muse

© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse