Update – Kate’s Second Hip Resurfacing 2014
I am exactly two weeks post-op on my second BHR. The first was three years ago. I knew what I was getting into the second time around, and I resolved to “go with the flow” more than I had with the first. I did everything they told me to do at the hospital. I packed interesting reading and low-carb food options. I resolved to be pleasant to my husband, who is tending to our household (four dogs, two cats, a yard that needs mowing, clothes that need washing, floors that need vacuuming … my goodness how did I do so much in such pain for so long?).
It’s 2:30 in the morning. It is quiet. I am watching a TV show about comets and catastrophes. I crutched into the kitchen and made a keurig with heavy whipping cream and Torani sugar free caramel. Then, in an intricate balance of crutch and cup, I began the dance of finagling the hot stuff into the bedroom. And I saw it.
Dog poop. In the middle of the living room. And, off to the side, looking extremely chagrined, sits my 10 month old bulldog, Elmo. His eyes are half-closed, trying to deny the dastardly deed.
My husband is upstairs snoring. I don’t want to wake him up. Nor, frankly, do I want to smell dog poop all night. So I put the coffee on the mantle, crutch over to the dog poo bags, grab one, open it, crutch back, and stand over the offending pile, open bag in hand, crutches against the wall, wondering … wondering …
The Doc on Duty at the hospital, a wonderfully funny fellow with an inner light set on “glow,” gave me two rules on discharge: 1. don’t fall. 2. don’t fall. I intended on obeying both.
So there I am, in the middle of the living room, 2:30 in the morning, coffee cooling, crutches cast off, and I slowly bend down, bag in hand, sensing my balance from years and years of yoga, swimming, biking, running, all coming to the forefront, holding me up in space and time, as I reach down and fold the offending mass into the bag. Then equally slowly, up I go, wrap the bag, tie the knot, and place the bag on a table. I intend to display the results of my arabesque to my husband when he wakes up some four hours hence. And he will tell me how far I have progressed. And I will accept his kind words, and the depression will skitter into the corner again for a while.
And I’ll imagine how very nice it will be, on my two bionic hips, to take off for a nice, long, pain-free walk down in the metroparks with Mister Elmo, who can thereafter do his business where he’s supposed to.
Kate’s Original Story
The surgery went off without a hitch. Everything was completely uneventful. There were no rough patches whatsoever. Everyone at the Cleveland Clinic from the anaesthesiologist to the houskeeper has been very attentive and focused on listening to my needs.
* I was surprised in recovery to see that my heart rate was 46 and that my teeth were chattering cold. They put on a fabulous hot-air blanket with a cutout for the head to warm me up. Within a few minutes, I was toasty-warm.
* They were playing Billy Joel in the O.R., I think. I *came to* with these lines in my head: “You may be wrong. I may be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.” Henceforth, this shall forevermore be my mantra. 😀
* They give you this bright blue thing that looks like a leash for an invisible dog to pull your leg up to your chest. No restrictions on range of motion.
* I am lying here with two thingies gently squeezing my legs and an ace bandage wrapped tightly from my toes to my butt. It’s comforting, like being hugged by a very precise mother.
* Dr. Brooks is my personal hero. And Phil’s running a close second.
* There is no pain. There is no pain. There is no pain. Gracious God, after all this time, there is no pain.
April 29, 2011
They took out my urinary catheter this morning. I am afraid that I won’t be able to hobble over to the bathroom in time. I told them about my fear. They said oh don’t worry about it, you’ll do fine. OK then, if I pee all over the bed, it’s their fault.
I had a meltdown. It was a grand and glorious meltdown complete with full-fledged hyperventilation. My hip muscles decided they wanted to hurt as I was sitting back on the bed. Really hurt. Tears just sprang to my eyes. It lasted maybe five minutes max. I suspect that I needed to release all that pent-up stuff in any event. I am okay now. I realize that you have to stay on top of the pain meds, particularly before Brunhilde comes lumbering over for therapy. (Brunhilde is about five foot nothing, 98 pounds soaking wet). How could she possibly hold me up if I went down like the Lusitania?
I am grateful to all of the kind people that are tending to my care. I’m not at all sure that I will be able to move again, but I will try. This much I know … you sure as hell can’t go back. The only way out of this is forward, one small step at a time.
May 4, 2011
I am watching TV at home in bed. I couldn’t really ask for a better recuperation, I don’t guess. I have a wonderful husband who is giving me pain meds every 3 hours or so, making sure my hip is iced for the swelling, putting ice in the diet ginger ale, nuking a Weight Watchers meal when it’s time, and generally being the Positive One, letting out the dogs, mowing the yard, you get the picture.
I am grateful.
So why do I feel so crappy? The weather has been so godawful around here (they’re predicting snow tonight) that I don’t want to get dressed or go sit outside. So I’m hanging out in my pjs and going from the bedside potty back to the bed, with a trip or two on the walker to the kitchen. That’s pretty much my daily PT, and it’s pretty much all I want to do.
I am bored out of my skull, but all I want to do is sleep.
My daughter is coming home next week with her new baby and I don’t even know if I’ll be able to make it to the church for the baptism. I asked her to wait a while, but I don’t think she understands what a debilitating piece of work this surgery is. I don’t really want her to see me all down and out, but I don’t want to push it, either.
Is there a moment when you realize that it’s better? Or a sign that says you’re on the right track? Or could you just float along and be forever lost?
OK, done whining for now. Thanks, hippy people, for listening. I don’t see this getting better any time soon, and I don’t much like where it is right now. It’s just kind of frustrating, and there’s nothing you can do about it. The worst part is that there’s nothing really wrong, but there’s nothing exactly working well, either.
May 12, 2011
So my recovery is slow but steady. I am two weeks post-op, coming off the pain killers, out and about in the world on my crutches just about every day, walking around at Sears, whatever, doing OK at my own pace and in my own time. Not as fast as a lot of youse guys, but creditable, y’know?
The discharge orders state that there’s to be no dental work for 3 months. OK, fine, I had my teeth all cleaned 3 weeks pre-op. So I wake up this morning and my upper-left gum is all swolley and tender to the touch. Get to the dentist and he tells me I have an absessed tooth and need a root canal, and that there’s also something funny happening to the tooth next door.
Great. I give the dentist the name of the physician’s assistant. The dentist puts me on amoxycillin and some antibacterial rinse. Once they connect, I’ll have a root canal.
This makes me almost as nervous as the resurfacing itself. That funny little word “sepsis” keeps popping up in my head.
May 24, 2011
I am at exactly four weeks post-op and am returning to work this morning (like it or not). I still have a ball of swelling about the size of a flattened grapefruit on my upper hip. Assume it’s where the muscles are surrounding the new “alien” implant. Can barely turn over to lie on the surgical side for more than five minutes, but it does provide another sleeping position for however short a time. Even turning on the non-surgical side is a little painful for the surgical area. I’ll take a couple of Advil Liquigels if I wake up too often, but I’m trying to get painkiller free totally. Hate the stuff.
I figure a little swelling and night-time discomfort after a month is to be expected. Every day, in every way, a little better and better.
May 25, 2011
The root canal went OK. It went okay. It was a long drawn out process. Apparently that infection resulted from a slowly-cracking molar and had been there for some time. There was so much scar tissue that it took a LONG time for the dentist to carve it all out. Ick. I have to go back tomorrow to have it finished up. The greatest thing, I think, was the fact that the dentist called me at home later in the evening just to make sure that I was doing okay. It’s really nice to have a regular gum instead of this big swollen thing sticking out the side of my mouth.
Went back to work yesterday, too. I was AMAZED at what a long day it was, and how tired I was after a few hours of sitting upright in my ergo chair. Last night my butt bones were screaming, and my inner thigh muscles were tightening up on me. A couple of Advil Liquigels did help. Getting back to reality is a piece of work in itself.
May 28, 2011
My story is essentially the same as everyone else’s, I guess. I am a big woman, 6’1″ tall, and despite the fact that it is hard on my joints, I am a long-distance runner. I’ve done about a dozen marathons, an equal number of half marathons, a ton of road races, triathlons, distance biking, you name it. All of it as a back-of-the-pack older woman, but I loved every one of those races. My favorite race is the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando the first weekend in January. I have about 10 medals from that event alone.
So I ran all the time, swam a lot, biked, did some weight work, and was really really happy until I began to notice my left hip hurting. So I’d stretch it out from time to time on my runs. The pain would start to emanate up my back and down my hamstring. Then later on I couldn’t stretch it out. It hurt pretty much full time when I ran. Then it started hurting during the normal course of my life. I had a fairly decent orthopedic guy at the Cleveland Clinic, and he’d recommend PT and injections, and that kept me going for a while.
I remember very clearly the moment I could no longer run for the pain. It was devastating. I sat down on the side of the trail and bawled my eyes out. Still, it took me several more years of hobbling around until I finally found the surgeon who I trusted to do the replacement.
I’m five weeks out now, and I feel fantastic. There is hope again in my life, and it is priceless.
October 5, 2011
I’ve spent the last few months on my beloved TerraTrike doing some light ROM stuff, graduated to my step-through for commuting to the office, and generally getting along fairly well. Did some half-centuries this season, and looking forward to pushing the envelope on my road bikes when spring comes. (April 27 is the one-year anniversary.) All is well.
February 5, 2012
I was out on the trails this morning, all muddy and slippery, and torquing my dear Zelda (left BHR) every ten ways to Sunday, for 4.5 miles. So I’m getting changed, and I hear this squeak. Long and creaky, like a door that hasn’t been oiled for a while. Thought it was my knee, which does the rhumba every so often. Then it hit me. Oh sweet Lord, it’s Zelda.
Couldn’t wait to get on the compy to find out that I’m not falling apart, I’m not getting metal poisoning, I’m not gonna die, they’re not going to have to saw off my hip or any other body parts.
You guys are the best. Ten months and counting. Other than my squeak, and a pretty limited range of motion, Zelda is hanging in there, and I’m considering a run at Ironman in October 2012.
March 28, 2012
Almost a full year. I’ve been trying to do Ironman for sheesh seven years now? This new hip thing is my last and best attempt at a so-called “team” of medical guys & trainers to get me to the IM start line. Abject and abysmal fail. Sigh. Everything I read about goal-setting fails to account for the fact that I never even seem to get out of the chute before another hip-related issue takes me out of commission. (And let’s not even begin to talk about the shoulder degeneration, okay?)