Gettin Hip
How hip is hip?

When I was a kid “being hip” was the coolest status you could get. The hip people dictated the way people dressed, what kind of music was cool and they mastered the art of looking down their noises at the non-hip. Fortunately or unfortunately I was never embraced by the hip crowd but life went on and I forgot all about being hip until the doctor said “you need a new hip”.

I didn’t know if that would make me cool therefore helping my hip status which could have used it, but alas, that wasn’t what he was talking about.

I led an active life with a lot of physical activities like walking, hiking, and hitting the streets in search of stories and articles to write. In my younger days I also ran a lot and spent many hours bouncing about stages in a rock band so I thought nothing about the slight pain in my lower back until last winter when the pain seemed to grow worse seemingly day by day.

I’m a veteran so I contacted my doctor at the VA hospital in Portland and she set up the appointment and after all the poking and x-rays determined I had really bad arthritis in my hip and the cartilage was basically worn out; that was the pain I’d been feeling, not my back. If nothing else that was good news to me having known many folks with unfixable back problems, I just needed to get my hip fixed and be done with it. However, there was a slight problem ahead; the VA hospital is overwhelmed with veterans in need of treatment and since I’m not a combat wounded veteran I would have to go to the bottom of an extensive waiting list where I would be for maybe a year. It was suggested I go with private medical insurance but I don’t have any being a self-employed writer who receives compensation per article published.

However, another situation came into play; at the end of last summer I reached the age of sixty five and became eligible for Medicare which covers hip replacements with a fairly low deductible.

Weighing the situation I decided to check out Medicare while remaining on the waiting list at the VA and go with the first one that would take me. I seemed like a good plan but it was kind of odd in that both the civilian doctor and the VA doctor had to give me more x-rays, blood tests and the rest of the tests and screenings a surgery candidate needs. It was a catch 22 for sure, the VA had no problem with my medical needs since I’ve been going there for several years but the civilian doctors needed their own findings not going by what the VA said. As you can imagine it was quite an adventure trying to get it all coordinated; back and forth, back and forth. Finally about month ago I got a call from the VA and they said I was still eight months or so away from a new hip but later that same day the civilian docs called and after one final exam they set a date.

It was a relief to know that my hip was going to be replaced and at a hospital near my home. Just the thought of a pain free nights had me smiling and marking off the days until the surgery and when I’d hit the bed at night I was reassured that soon I was going to be hip, a good hip!

Next week I’ll tell you how I became hip.

To reach Rick Schultze email yarick@pioneer.net


Rick Schultze

A few years ago at a writers conference held in the central Oregon coast town of Yachats, where I live, I listened to the late Ken Kesey, a frequent visitor to the area, tell a writer that this could be a hard place to write. “If you think you can sit there staring at the ocean for inspiration you’re wrong, it’s not out there, it’s in your head!” He was right; it is beautiful here in Lincoln County, the kind of beauty that makes concentrating on anything else tough and since hearing that insight, I’ve written at a desk facing a wall, no windows opening onto a ocean view, although I have one, but it’s worked. I’ve done, and do, different kinds of writing. As a freelance writer I’ve been a observational columnist, a humor columnist, a book and music reviewer for newspapers, magazines, and online. However, as a creative writer, my heart belongs to fiction. In that genre I do short stories, road adventure stories, musical adventure tales, and in current production, are three small novels. So really the purpose of this web site is to give you a glance of some of the things I’ve done, a preview of what’s coming, and hopefully, a view of what it’s like to be a writer living in a small town on the Oregon coast!