David Brandt

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David Brandt, 52, of Upper Jay, New York, remembers when each step he took was a chore.

The pain in his hip prevented Brandt -- an active snowboarder, rock climber and long-distance runner -- from doing the things he loved, including climbing stairs with his four-year-old daughter Sophia.

“It got to the point where I really was counting my steps. How many steps from here to the car? Are there going to be stairs where I’m going? . . . It’s hard to tell my daughter that daddy can’t go upstairs.”

In November 2008, when it became clear that medication and other treatments were not helping, Brandt went to his primary care physician and had x-rays taken. The images revealed a hip joint devoid of cartilage; it was bone-on-bone.

Brandt was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, which he said may have been brought on by a snowboarding fall.  A nurse he knew recommended Fletcher Allen Health Care for hip surgery, and Brandt was referred to Fletcher Allen orthopedic surgeon James Howe, M.D.

From there, Brandt’s treatment moved swiftly. Dr. Howe recommended a total hip replacement. The surgery and recovery were quick and the coordination of care excellent, Brandt said. He was admitted on a Tuesday morning and home on Thursday night.

“The whole process seemed seamless,” he said. “Every step of the way there are caring people . . . I wouldn’t have expected any better.”

Brandt’s hip healed quickly and today, he hardly notices his hip was replaced. “Most people if I didn’t tell them I had my hip replaced they would never know,” he said.

He’s been able to return to many of his regular activities – from daily tasks like bringing in wood for the fire to recreational pastimes like riding his mountain bike.

He especially enjoys going for 2-mile walks with his daughter, who recently turned 5.  “I tell her daddy needs to go for a walk, and she always wants to come with me.

The biggest benefit is you’re not constantly living in pain … It’s nice to wake up in the morning and be pain-free and it’s nice to go to bed at night pain-free. You don’t realize how limited your life is until you can’t walk.”