I thought that I would provide a quick update on my recent experience with my second resurfacing in California last week. I share some data points in the event that it may assist at least one person to make the right decision and get on with a productive life free from pain and disability.
– Background – 44 olds, right hip C+ Amstutz 2004, severe OA from years as world level athlete.
– Returned to high level activity after first resurfacing, including running, skiing, golf, water skiing, coaching kids sports and anything else important with no pain. At 40 years olds I was nearly not a candidate due to severe OA, bone-on-bone and cysts that required grafts and cemented stem at surgery.
– Rapid degeneration of left hip and very limited range of motion. I elected to schedule surgery because I have high tolerance for pain and wanted Dr. Amstutz to have good bone to work with. Very active until surgery in both cases.
– I know there has been some discussion about Dr. Amstutz and his age on this forum. The man is amazing and on top of his game. He did three operations the day I was scheduled for surgery. They are doing resurfacing two miles from my home in Boston and I certainly could have done without the trip to California. At this juncture I would not trust this important decision to anyone but Dr. Amstutz. I asked him several questions about the past and future of resurfacing, and as always we had a very interesting dialog. He appreciates educated patients. I found it natural to ask him about the types of changes he will make when he is doing this surgery ten years from now. By most estimates that will put him well into his 80’s and I would not be surprised if he continues to work his magic for many years to come.
– Flew alone to California on Saturday. Ran and worked out each day prior to surgery. Had pre-op meetings on Monday with Dr. Amstutz, internist and I had to manage a strange blood disorder I have with my doctors back in Boston at Mass General.
– Went out for a nice dinner on Monday night. Got up and went for a seven mile run (helps with the decision process and cognitive dissonance, i.e., couldn’t wait to get on the table).
– St. Vincent’s in California is a first rate facility and everything was first class, very clean, organized and they did a great job pre- op and post-op. I was alone the entire time and they were all very helpful and attentive.
– I lost quite a bit of blood during surgery due to my unrelated blood and platelet issue. I was low in HCT and Hemoglobin which is normal given the bleeding. Ran a slight fever for two days.
– Talk of transfusion on day three the day I was scheduled to head home. Convinced doctors to let me go and had to decline some medical advise.
– American Airlines called and in a very matter of fact way let me know that my flight was cancelled. They wanted to book me through Dallas and arrive at 2am in Boston. Got on next non-stop. Checked out of hospital feeling very dizzy but wanted out. My first class seat was no longer available due the changes. 45 minutes into six hour flight I had some severe swelling and became worried. Found out I was bleeding from site and collecting at my knee which swelled dramatically. The compression socks mostly stopped the blood from going to the lower leg. I was worried about DVT and clotting. Had to make the pilot aware that they may need to do a U-turn with the 767. I toughed it out but it was not pretty. Walked the isles and sat in the flight attendant jump seat the entire flight. Driver met me and I looked of death and he helped me home at 3am. It was not a good night. I felt like I had five gallons too much blood in my body and spent the night trying to decide if I should go to the ER. This was my only bad experience, bad decision making and totally my doing. Retrospectively, I would not have gone alone, would have stayed in hospital for at least one more day, or checked into a good resort and rested a couple days.
– Moving around well by Monday after swelling went down significantly. Went to Mass General to check blood levels and all were headed in the right direction. Went for a two mile walk on crutches on the Charles River. Last time I took any pain meds was on the day after surgery. I don’t believe in taking pain meds as they are prescribed and had not taking any since the last surgery. Walked another couple of miles in the evening with crutches. Tough to sleep only on my back as I mostly sleep on my stomach and sides.
– Feeling great by Tuesday with blood coming back to appropriate levels and my one week post op is a few hours from now. Got up at 5am to do some work, made my kids breakfast, took a shower, walked them 1 mile to school, went for coffee and walked home, and I will work more than half of the day today. No pain meds needed. Walking around the house with no crutches without any problem. I did promise the good doctor that I would keep them around for the first three weeks, but I won’t need them next week. Started driving yesterday with no problem, just a bit slow getting in and out or the car. Drove in 2004 at one week and it was the right side. The left side is a breeze in comparison.
– Some lessons learned and observations – don’t be afraid to ask for help, listen to your body, get off medication as soon as you can because you will recover quicker, push yourself, focus on and believe in the most positive outcome, given your individual limitations get in the best possible condition that you are capable of, and find the right surgeon with the right experience and trust their judgment and skill.
Just a few thoughts from the other side, again. I know based on experience that every day I will get better and stronger and the short term discomfort will be a distant memory. I am happy to answer any questions anyone may have as there were so many helpful hippies back in 2004 who assisted me to become educated and take control of my short term misfortune.
Best of luck in your decisions and good health!
Best Regards, James C+ Amstutz LHR 05/04/2004 C+ Amstutz RHR 09/11/2007