Gerald Otto's Hip Story
Once you've had a hip replacement, you start hearing about and meeting other dancers are also similarly bionic, some right in your own health club! So it was that I found Gerald Otto at my neighborhood Equinox. We started talking about hip replacements and comparing notes. Then he said the line that will endear him to me for life: "Anyone who has had any real career in dance has a hip replacement!" I had to have his THR story.-NR
Gerald Otte danced for seventeen years for Alwin Nikolais in the Nikolais Dance Theatre. The photos below are from that period and the following years when Gerald danced in his own company, OTTECO.
(Photos are copyrighted.)
Here are Gerald's thoughts on his THR:
The big question became, "How much pain was I willing to deal with on a daily basis."
Dancers learn very early that physical pain is a part of being a dancer. As I got older I had to wonder why and how much I needed to continue living in pain. I went to several doctors. The treatments included tui na, acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic, osteopathic, general medical and with a hip analyses specialist. I was able to prolong my dancing career about six years using various treatments. The time came, however, that I had to answer that "big question." The answer was, the time had come to face a replacement for the hip.
I am not sure if there was a trigger element to the decision, but perhaps it was my friends seeing me limp and knowing I was not feeling good that pushed me to make the decision. I do know that the "promise" of a pain-free night of rest was a big factor. I had the operation. I now have a prosthetic hip.
Am I pain free? No.
Is it better? It is substantially better.
Do I have regrets of making the decision?
When you make a decision that is irreversible you accept it or you are foolish. Some day, the doctors say, I will have to have the second one done. I will wait as long as possible. Hip replacement is not perfected. It has a long way to go.
Would I recommend it? No.
I tell dancers friends to wait, if they can.
If you love to dance even half as much as I do and you can no longer dance, the loss is great. Do not fail to talk to as many people as possible about your own hip, but it is only you who can make the final decision.
Gerald Otte's Home Away From Homepage: Gerald's own website includes his principals for teaching modern dance, other dance resources, personal information and links.
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