Chris’s Hip Resurfacing with Dr Chris Drinkwater 2014
I have had a fairly active life to a point – running, hiking, biking, and a lot of squash. In the fall of 2009 I started getting aches and pains around my right hip. Matters continued to degrade and I stopped playing squash in Nov 2010. I self-diagnosed as iliopsoas tendonitis and pursued some sports therapy and chiropractic. Neither produced results and by Apr 2013 I could barely walk 50 yards without significant pain. I was recommended to a PT and went as I was running out of options. This turned out very well as AG helped me restore most functionality within a month. I was able to do a lot more again but it did hurt and range of motion was getting worse – I knew what the real condition was and the only way to treat it. My squash colleague MF and I had been trading notes as we had similar conditions. He ended up getting a BHR by Dr Drinkwater with a rosy prognosis. I booked an appointment with him in Feb 2014 and explained my history including the PT I had been doing religiously. I expected to hear "let’s try alternatives first" but he took one look at my x-ray and said "let me know when you want to do this." I like his approach and demeanor. Also the fact that he is the only OS in town doing this modern procedure appeals to my medical device engineer side. By this point (and it takes about a year to get there) I knew there was no alternative and so booked the BHR for the end of March. I ramped up the PT even more – consider it training.
The whole pre-op process through Highland hospital was quite effective and organized. For the most part, the information presented was helpful and there were no real surprises later. I have no medications or health issues, vitals and blood are good.
Into the hospital at 6am, which is actually best as you don’t have to starve all day. Very efficient and friendly prep process, into the OR at 730am, painless spinal block, bam, wake up in the recovery area. The procedure was apparently flawless and quick. After a suitable time I am wheeled in to my room which is quite comfortable, better than a lot of hotels I’ve stayed in. There is a steady procession of health pros checking on me, getting vitals etc. Because I farted, I am rewarded with lunch which to my surprise I wolf down.
I spend the next two nights at the hospital, of course not much sleep but also not a lot of pain. They are pumping me with Toradol and acetaminophen which is surprisingly effective. I didn’t need to take a whole lot of the oxycodone, mainly at night. There was no getting out of bed the first day – I thought that was part of the protocol. The next day there was walking in the hall with the walker which wasn’t too bad. Sunday morning I demonstrated the ability to get up and down stairs (easy) and was released.
• I took 600mg ibuprofen and 1000mg acetaminophen 2x day and saved the oxy for night time.
• The trick to back sleeping is to elevate your upper half a bit with some firm pillows. Six days post-op I could side sleep.
• PT visited, I’m doing great, very flexible and strong. I cannot overstate how important my pre-op PT training is. I think it was a major factor in a smooth and speedy recovery.
• The upstairs/downstairs with a walker is a pain so we moved a few bits of furniture around upstairs and between them for support and the cane I have free access to the upstairs. Six days post-op I stopped using the walker as the cane worked fine – major improvement. I sometimes forget to grab the cane but walking unassisted a bit is not a problem.
• If you are taking the oxy, do not stop the Colace! Senna tea is also very helpful.
• Constant icing is important. Leg is quite swollen but that is normal.
• The pre-op training was not fully complete. I also referred to: http://www.hipresurfacingsite.com/Post-Op/How-Fast-Will-I-Recover-/menu-id-54.html – Things To Remember.
• Discharged by the PT visit. The first six 6 weeks are all about healing, best thing is to walk. No stretching or strengthening. Walking a lot, up to three miles, mostly without the cane. Inclines don’t hurt any more!
• Staples out, TED socks gone.
• Leg swelling subsiding, moving down. I gather that when it hits your foot it starts to subside. Thigh and knee almost normal actually.
Week three to six:
• Went driving after three weeks per the doctor’s instructions, no problem even with a manual transmission. I started going back in to the office after that.
• Still have hobbitfoot. I read the swelling can take months to fully subside.
• Started going back to the gym for a bit, upper body and abs, felt good. I do need to figure out how to change my socks in the gym.
• Six week X-ray and checkup with NP Linda, flying colors. Released from restrictions, I can do anything non-impact. Shoelaces, here I come (actually not too difficult). No formal PT suggested, just restablish my standard regimen. Incision pain is normal, as is residual swelling of foot and ankle.
• I realized most of the last week I have felt a lot better. Maybe the six week time frame is significant.
And on until now (8 months post-op)
• Things just kept improving fairly consistently and in the third month I was regular in the gym, hiking nine miles, biking… minimal pain and that was just surgical.
• There is some sensation when the hip moves in a certain way. Others talk of clunking but this doesn’t sound the same. I think it may be some tendon sliding on the new parts. It eventually mostly goes away.
• I notice my gait has become balanced again. Foot strikes are the same.
• Checkup with Dr Drinkwater at four and a half months. X-rays, ROM and strength are all excellent. He says I can start activities involving impact after six months, just "be gentle" initially.
• Went to the dentist. After doing some research I decided to take the prophylactic round of antibiotics. Getting an infection in the hip is extremely low likelihood but very nasty outcomes.
• Without thinking, I am occasionally taking the steps two at a time.
• Swelling definitely completely gone after six months.
• I have to notify the airport security people now about the metal hip – it does set off the detector.
• Started a little light jogging. Not planning to do a lot of running but it’s fun to jog a bit on trails.
• The last 10% of flexibility is definitely going to take a while. I understand it can take up to 2 years. Just keep stretching and exercising, especially the small muscles using wobble boards and such.
• I turned 60. Sometimes I have to force myself to remember my hip was ever bad. And then I am very grateful. Tennis in the spring I think.