Randy Ichihana - New Hip - Hurray!

Randy Ichihana - New Hip - Hurray!

When it comes to his pain threshold, Randy Ichihana is one tough guy. His injury tally began when he broke his right arm as a child. Then came a high school football injury that resulted in Randy having his meniscus surgically removed. Randy never let his orthopedic injuries slow him down, and he continued to play baseball, surf, ski, hike, bike, and golf throughout his adult life. After a shoulder replacement at age 40, Randy went right back to playing sports with his then-teenaged son. Next he battled a bout of back trouble and had several rhizotomies to deaden irritated nerves in his spine. Randy ruptured his Achilles tendon and had it repaired, only to tear the tendon again a couple of years later – this time completely. Shortly after the second tendon repair, Randy went skiing. “My pain tolerance is so high,” Randy explains, “I just dealt with it. I would play through pain. I never realized I was hurt.”

It was only when he got into his fifties that Randy was forced to slow down. His right hip joint was deteriorating, and walking was becoming increasingly painful. One by one, he gave up his beloved sports. He stopped surfing and hiking at Olompali Park. Randy had a daughter now, twenty years younger than his son, but he couldn’t play sports with her like he had with her brother. In fact, he couldn’t even take a walk with her around the neighborhood. Physical therapy, medications, and a cortisone shot didn’t bring lasting pain relief. Walking had become so painful that he had to plan his activities around how far he would have to walk. When he went to the grocery store, Randy would scope out parking spots near the shopping carts, which he would use for support. If there was no suitable spot available, he would leave and come back later. While Randy was able to continue working as Pulmonary Service Manager for MarinHealth Critical Care & Pulmonology | A UCSF Health Clinic (formerly a Prima Medical Foundation clinic) because it did not require him spending too much time on his feet, he knew it wouldn’t be long before he needed a hip replacement.

By the time Randy went in to see an orthopedic surgeon at MarinHealth Medical Center (formerly Marin General Hospital), he had been living with debilitating hip pain for three years. Randy was concerned about a long recovery but his surgeon explained that the minimally-invasive anterior hip replacement procedure could offer a shorter recovery time than the traditional surgery. Better yet, Randy would be able to resume his active life, and even get back to playing sports.

Prior to surgery, Randy attended MarinHealth Medical Center’s complimentary Joint Replacement Class, taught by the Medical Center’s orthopedic nurse navigator, with help from a physical therapist and an occupational therapist. The class gave Randy a clear understanding of hip replacement surgery and the personalized care he would receive during his stay at the Medical Center. Not only did he get all of his questions answered, he also got to see and hold a titanium and ceramic prosthesis like the one that would soon replace his diseased hip joint. As a lifelong athlete, Randy prepared for the surgery by using machines to strengthen his leg muscles. He wanted to be as strong as possible when it came time to try out his new hip.

Randy had his surgery on the morning of April 14, 2016 and was walking the same day! “There wasn’t much pain,” he marvels. “In fact, I got so excited about walking without pain, they had to reel me in.” Randy begrudgingly accepted a walker that first day at the recommendation of the Therapists as he began his recovery. Randy only spent one night in the Medical Center and was able to go home the following morning.

Randy returned to work full time after one week, already able to drive, sit, and walk a mile or two, without hip pain! His recovery was so swift and thorough that he never used any of the crutches, canes, grabbers, or other assistance devices the Medical Center gave him to use at home. Before the surgery, Randy’s gait had become slow and tentative, but only one month after the procedure, people began asking him to slow down so they could keep up. “I was always known for my speed.” He explains. “It was so hard slowing down.” Now that he is resuming his active lifestyle, Randy plans on taking up Weng Chung, a martial art he hopes to learn with his teenage daughter and adult son. Eventually, he knows he’ll need a partial knee replacement for that bad knee he’s been dealing with since age 17, but right now, Randy’s too busy enjoying his active life.

This story was first published in November, 2016.