October 12, 2016
As some background to my bilateral surgery – I’m a 37yr old female. 9 years ago I put my SIJ out playing squash but never got it seen to as v shortly thereafter was sick for 3 years with chronic fatigue. After getting better from that illness and back to sport I then developed piriformis syndrome on my left hip, that after 2 years of treatment had a release surgery – terrible decision. Anyway I then was very unlucky and had a tubing accident where I tore the ligament and cartilage in both hips leading me to lots of pain in both hips. 3.5 years, 5 unsuccessful scopes later (yes 5) with the discovery of dysplasia and a small degree of arthritis led me to the position of wanting the resurfacing. After 6-7 years of injury and starting to get dodgy knees and sore back from all my muscle imbalance I was ready to be done with it.
I had planned to the surgery last year then fell pregnant. So postponed surgery until after the baby was born (and remarkably during the pregnancy my hips were about 75% better to the point I’ve been able to walk mostly pain free) and here I am with a 3 month old just having had the bilateral with Dr De Smet. I flew from South Africa with my husband and baby last week, for the surgery on Wednesday. When I got to the hospital I was a little bit freaked out as all the other patients seem quite a bit older. I have been nervous about my age and what will happen when my hips run out. As Im nursing a 3 month old the logistics needed some planning as I want her to be mother fed. I had expressed as much milk as I could and had that shipped in dry ice for post surgery and the plan was to pump and dump or save for when I was in hospital and baby was with my husband.
The surgery itself was apparently unremarkable, I woke up thinking I was in heaven and then thinking i had no legs. A bit surreal. The first couple of days after surgery were relatively fine as I was on an epidural for the time so I could nurse my baby and not take painkillers so couldn’t really feel anything.
Tough day – they took me off the spinal and onto only paracetamol, definitely not strong enough! So went back to the stronger pain killers and baby had to be fed some of my stash and during this while kept pumping. When they got me up and out of bed for the first time I almost puked/fainted a couple of times. The size of the surgery really taking effect, I hadn’t really contemplated how hard 2 hips at the same time would be in terms of initial post surgery.
Today the pain was generally much better so I dropped down to paracetamol. Getting in and out of bed and walking with the zimmer frame still very uncomfortable. I got the shitz – worst timing ever! Had to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes for a couple hour period – and sitting on the toilet very uncomfortable with 2 hips.
I was planning to leave hospital but wasn’t able to as not ready to do the stairs – not due to my hips but I kept feeling sick after being up for any prolonged time. I managed one length of the corridor on my crutches. I haven’t felt so weak after surgery before, really feeling like id been run over by a bus! To be honest I was glad to have another night being looked after and not having to care for my baby.
I left the hospital to the hotel. The first night back was horrible as I was back caring for a young baby that’s not really sleeping in bed next to me. I was in hell. I didnt get much sleep due to the discomfort, the lack of pain meds and the baby. I have also come down with a cold and I have tendonitis in my wrists which mean my hands are killing me (this is from holding the baby apparently!). My hips are frustrating, my left hip feels great but my right is super sore. It is like night and day. i can see why some people have v quick and v slow recoveries when I compare the difference. My right is the bad one and feels like all of my groin tendons round to my butt are grating or catching so any movement exaccerbates this.
Today my right hip is marginally better, still pulling and sharp pain on movement. Ive been icing religiously which helps. My left is great. Getting in and out of bed is getting easier but still hard to move my right laterally with out sharp pain. I can walk to and from breakfast with my crutches and sit at the table to eat so I am progressing, albeit slower than I thought I would. The physio visits every day and her exercises are good. The nurse also comes every day to check the wound and inject me with heparin. My husband had planned on going back to SA today and leaving with the baby, but there is no way i can care full time for her – its too hard to lift her and move her without it pulling on my abductors.