John Clayton traveled to more than 50 countries around the world, but when he arrived in the South Bay in 1962, he knew he’d found his home. After meeting his future wife, Brigitte, in 1972, Clayton settled in the Palos Verdes Peninsula and hasn’t left. “There was something magical about it,” Clayton recalls. “It’s like living in LA, yet it’s in the country.”
A travel journalist and local TV and radio talk show host, Clayton originally came to the United States from England to pursue an acting career, although he always had a passion for travel and writing. After years of auditioning with limited success, he took a job as a baggage loader for Continental Airlines (now United).
Clayton is now in his 70’s and is retired from the radio business, but he has no plans to slow down any time soon.
Last April, Clayton got a little more adventure than he’d bargained for on a peaceful Sunday afternoon when he landed in the Torrance Memorial Medical Center Emergency Department. Clayton lost his balance and fell while getting up from a chaise lounge in his backyard, which led to a broken hip.
Glenn J. Huber, MD, informed Clayton that he needed a
partial hip replacement surgery.
Huber’s specialty is orthopaedic sports medicine with a focus on knee, shoulder and hip arthroscopy. He also performs hip, knee and shoulder joint replacements (called arthroplasty).
“Hip replacement surgery (even partial) involves replacing the bone and cartilage, i.e., the ball-and-socket of the hip joint with metal and plastic components,” explains Huber. “This involves an open incision, general anesthesia and some blood loss, which makes it a major surgery.”
“Typically hip replacement patients are in the hospital from two to four days and go straight home if they are younger and healthier or if they have a good support group. Those patients needing more care will go to a transitional care unit emphasizing and specializing in physical rehabilitation,” says Huber.
“When the patient is safe and independent enough, they then return home.”
He spent 12 days in the hospital, and while he was grateful for the excellent care he received, he admits that it was one of the most challenging experiences of his life. “I was feeling so down, because I’m a very impatient guy,” he explains. “I wanted to get out of there so badly.”
Barbara Paris, a nurse in the TCU made a large impact on Clayton’s stay. “She was wonderful,” Clayton says. “She gave me hope when it did not seem to exist for me. She gave me daily encouragement plus a big hug, and it made all the difference.”
“The importance of the transitional care unit (TCU) lies in the ability to enable a patient to attain functional goals which will make them safe enough to return home. This transitional period reduces readmissions to the hospital for reasons such as falls and pain control.”
It took just two months of in-home rehabilitation for Clayton to recover most of his mobility. He attributes his success to the support of his family and the high quality of care he received at Torrance Memorial. “The level of dedication to what they all do there is exemplary,” Clayton says, adding, “It’s like a family . . . it’s a special place.”
Clayton is the host, writer and co-producer of John Clayton’s Armchair Traveler on RPV-TV channel 33, he keeps a travel blog (travelingboy.com), and he writes a monthly travel feature for the
Palos Verdes Peninsula News.
In addition, he is the manager of public relations for the SS Lane Victory, a World War II-era steamship. He is proud to have been an American citizen since 1966, and his passion for World War II history has only deepened since attending the 60th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy on June 6, 2004.
“About 180 veterans came in,” Clayton reminisces. “At the special ceremony honoring the allied veterans, President Bush got up and said, ‘If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be here today,’ [and] 30,000 people cheered for over 15 minutes. It was one of the most incredible and moving experiences of my life.”