“Be 92 Going on 62”: Enjoying life to the fullest after a hip replacement surgery

Elliot Valenstein, PhD, glides through the water as he completes 50 laps at the neighborhood racquet club pool. Swimming is one of the many ways he’s remained fit and healthy for most of his remarkable 92 years.

He also walks, rides his bike and has even been seen working on the roof of his Ann Arbor home from time to time.

But he wasn’t always so active.

“As I got older my joints began to ache and my walking became limited,” Dr. Valenstein says.

The discomfort increased over the course of a few years until, by his 90th birthday, he decided to have hip replacement surgery at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to relieve the pain.

He scheduled the procedure with board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Thomas O’Keefe. Within a few hours of the surgery, he was sitting in a chair reading a book. A few days later, he left the hospital and entered a sub-acute facility to start rehab. After two days, he felt so good that he was able to continue his exercises at home.

“The care was excellent,” he recalls. “After the recovery period, the pain was gone and my movement was re-established. I was fine.”

Dr. Valenstein resumed swimming and doing the things that bring him and his family joy.

It’s a life that seems to be getting better with age.

As a young G.I. in the World War II, Dr. Valenstein served in the jungles of Burma. Following the war, he earned his doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Kansas and became a distinguished researcher at Walter Reed Institute of Research in Washington D.C. He returned to Ann Arbor to teach at the University of Michigan until his retirement. He is a published author and noted authority on brain stimulation and psychosurgery.

Dr. Valenstein and his wife still reside in the home they bought together in 1970 and where they raised two sons – Dr. Paul Valenstein, a pathologist at St. Joe’s Ann Arbor, and Carl Valenstein, an international law attorney.

Later this year, Dr. Valenstein will travel to California to officiate the wedding of his granddaughter.

Thanks to the expertise of Dr. O’Keefe and the team at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Dr. Valenstein’s new hip allows him to continue enjoying life to the fullest.

“The hip wasn’t a major life event in the grand scheme of things, and that’s a good thing,” he says.

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