Need Hips. Will Travel.
"Besides, my life is here now," Brooks says. "I have a blues band called Blues House 313, and I'd helped plant a house church, the Phoenix Metro Community Church, with the intention of taking Christianity back to first-century principles--that is, before religion took over and screwed it up. We've got about fifty folks now and probably see twenty-five to thirty every week. I've being doing that for two-and-a-half years."
Ruling out both the U.S. and Britain left "medical tourism"--traveling to another country where health care costs are lower. "I went to the Fortis Hospital in New Delhi," says Brooks--the Indian medical center where Maggie Smith's character had her hip done in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. "They are hip specialists, and including the $5,000 for the round-trip airfare, we got the whole thing for $25,000."
He and his wife arrived at the hospital on February 15, Brooks says, "and three hours later I was on the operating table. No messing about there! They had two surgeons, to do both hips at the same time. The last thing I remembered saying before they put me out was, 'You can't put the catheter in until I'm out cold!'"
The operation was more than a medical success. "It turned out most of the doctors who worked on me knew their blues," says Brooks. "Not just Eric Clapton but the real blues. And all they wanted to do was to talk blues! They even piped in blues to the operating room. After the operation, we had lots of long chats. I had an absolute blast!"