I felt like “me” again
Bradley Holgate had spent his career thus far working in the construction industry. He’d spent decades doing manual labor without any complaints. With any spare time, the father of five enjoyed being active in nature; whether that meant wakeboarding out on the water or mountain biking, Bradley was all-in, all the time. That is, until he reached his late forties. At that point, Bradley began experiencing unbearable pain in his lower back.
Considering the hardworking, always on-the-go, energetic lifestyle he’d managed for so long, anyone who knows the Northern Utah man would have to agree: he has a high threshold for pain.
“The only way I could get rid of the pain was go and lay on a yoga mat on the garage floor. That’s the only way I could sleep,” Bradley explained, recalling that period of time in his life with utter disbelief.
By 2018, Bradley admits he was “suffering pretty good.”
Accurately diagnosing the cause of pain, recommending total hip replacement at 49 years young
Although the severe pain materialized in his back – unbeknownst to him – that wasn’t the culprit causing Bradley’s pain. His hips were actually to blame.
In 2021, at only 50 years old, Bradley learned he would need both of his hips replaced.
During a total hip replacement surgery, a surgeon will remove the damaged hip joint and replace it with a prosthetic joint. The artificial joint is made up of a cup and liner – implanted components known as prostheses. The surgeon places the artificial joint that is made up of an implanted socket and liner in the pelvis, and a new femoral head and neck implanted into the femur.
The years of pain, Bradley confessed, aged him.
“I felt like I was aging exponentially,” Bradley conceded, and in the most genuine of tones continued, “To be honest, it kind of starts whittling at your self-worth.”
Bradley suffered from congenital hip issues – something he was born with. As his doctor would explain to him, the hip joint should be smooth like a cue ball. Both of Bradley’s joints, however, were far from it. The joints were failing.
“Brad, I have no clue how you even endured this. Your hip joint was severely misshapen from years of impingement,” his orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Daniel Higbee, told him. “This is very crippling. There is no cartilage at all.”
Bradley says he will refer people to Dr. Higbee until the day he dies he was so pleased with him.
Dr. Higbee is a highly skilled surgeon, with advanced training in a wide range of musculoskeletal disease. He treats work and sports-related injuries, joint disease, and traumatic fractures. He specializes in joint preservation and, if needed (like in Brad’s case) joint replacement including the less invasive anterior hip replacement, which he introduced to Box Elder County. He is also proud to bring the anterior total hip replacement procedure to Northern Utah, allowing faster recovery from pain and a quicker return to function following hip replacement surgery.
Bradley describes Dr. Higbee as well-mannered and reassuring; he communicated clearly and confidently what needed to happen to solve the problem in his hips.
“You feel incredibly anxious when you go into these situations. In your head, you get yourself all revved up. I went and talked to Dr. Higbee and immediately, he just has the type of personality that’s soothing. He was incredibly calming. I thought, ‘This is the guy I need. I need the opposite of me to figure me out,’” Bradley recalled.
More than that, Bradley says about the doctor, “You want to be the guy’s friend.”
A personalized approach to recovery
As a worried patient with seemingly endless questions, Bradley says Dr. Higbee listened intently to his reservations and took them into account as they thoughtfully prepared for surgery and made post-operation plans. The recovery was of particular concern for Bradley.
“I was scared of myself,” Bradley explained, referring to the possibility he would need to rely on prescription pain medicine in the days and weeks following the procedure. “If I found something that really worked, I’m going to be dependent on that. I didn’t want to endure through medication. I just wanted to get it fixed.”
Without a hospital experience of his own to turn to for perspective, Bradley didn’t know how to navigate choosing where to have such an important surgery performed.
“In my mind, I had this idea that it had to be bigger, better, stronger, faster to do my hip there,” he explained. “My first experience walking into Brigham City Community Hospital was, first, it’s beautiful and second, I went in there and just had incredible experiences with everybody – the nurses, the doctors, and all those who did the consultations.”
“Soothing” is how he characterizes what he encountered at every turn with Brigham City Community Hospital.
“It was calming, reassuring,” Bradley added. “I thought, ‘Ok, these people really know what they’re doing, and they’re pleasant. It’s not a hospital where you’re a number.”
On November 3rd, 2020 Bradley went in for hip surgery and everything went incredibly well. After a one-night stay, he was cleared to go home.
“I walked out of the hospital!”
When Bradley arrived home to begin the recovery process, he called in the medication as prescribed to the pharmacy, and based on his communication with Dr. Higbee, they adjusted the dose accordingly. Not even three weeks later, Bradley was completely off all medications.
“I could walk the block. I was just walking,” Bradley exclaimed, excitedly. “I had been hunched over for so long because of the pain and I was walking. This is a miracle.”
Returning to life as he knew it, pain-free
Within six weeks’ time, Bradley’s pain was completely gone.
“Life-changing! Holy smokes, I got my life back! I don’t feel an ounce of pain in this hip. What an experience this has been,” he reflected.
As months passed, Bradley kept getting stronger.
“I went wakeboarding and had no problems!”
The remarkable results have meant everything to his family. It’s as if he has turned back the clock and successfully returned to his fun-loving, action-packed life he missed so much.
A year after surgery, Bradley says he doesn’t feel the actual hip replacement. If not for a small scar where the incision was made, he says he’s not convinced he had surgery at all!
“My first hip replacement has been absolutely amazing,” he said. “So, let’s do that again!”
Although life since surgery has been busier than ever for the Holgate family – they’ve since moved out-of-state, bought a new home and seven-acre property that demands a lot of attention and hard work – Bradley is preparing to replace his other hip.
Now that he knows what to expect, Bradley says he won’t be nervous this go-round.
“I feel confident all will be well,” he said.
Bradley is traveling back to Utah so Dr. Higbee can perform his second hip replacement surgery at Brigham City Community Hospital.
“The care is top-notch! I just had the best experience! And it’s not just the physical recovery. It’s mental and emotional, too. They save you at Brigham City! Dr. Higbee saved me.” And that’s why I say Take me to Brigham City Community hospital.
For those wondering, Bradley has returned to sleeping comfortably in a bed inside his house.
To schedule a consultation with an orthopedic specialist at Brigham City Community Hospital, please call (855) 796-0593.
Learn more about Orthopedic Care at Brigham City Community Hospital