From digging in the garden to dancing the polka, Tony Colton was an active senior until everything changed a few months ago.

Colton could hardly walk due to terrible pain in his right hip—the same hip where a pin had been placed several years ago.

"I couldn't do anything," said the 85-year-old Quebecer. "It was just bone on bone. I was walking with a walker. I couldn't do anything else."

He decided to undergo hip replacement surgery but soon found out he would be waiting a year and a half to two years. So, he decided to pay out of pocket and have the surgery done privately.

"Because what am I going to do if I have to go another year, you know, like this?" he said.

It's a decision a growing number of Quebecers are making.

"Quality of life is immeasurable, and pain and suffering is also immeasurable," said Dr. John Antoniou, an orthopedic surgeon. "And yet people languish waiting for someone to do something about it, and so ultimately, some people take matters into their own hands."

Colton found a surgeon who works in Quebec's public system and a private clinic. His wait went from a year and a half to one month.

The surgery took about an hour. Two days later, he was home and doing physiotherapy.

"Every week, I could see an improvement," he said.

His regained freedom came at a cost—$21,500.

While it was a difficult decision, he says he has no regrets and had the full support of his family.

"I told my family I'm spending your inheritance, and they all agreed, you spend it," he said. "We're not rich for sure, but we have our savings. What else could I do?"

He only wishes everyone could have the surgery as quickly as he did, referencing a friend who waited three years.

"He had it done two weeks ago. He waited all that time."

Now, four months after surgery, Colton is pain-free while walking, taking the stairs, even hitting the dance floor with his wife.

"We went to a dance two weeks ago. My wife was afraid to let me dance, but I did do one polka and a couple of waltzes."