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Author Topic: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?  (Read 1896 times)

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Two4One

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Middle of the Night Musings 1.25.12 Day 36
(I also posted this on my own Bilateral Story)

A Hippy and I were talking the other day, and the following observation was made:

Quote
"Realize now this getting back to normal is going to take far longer then I envisaged."

I think this is spot on, and the topic really grabbed me.  I believe that we need to understand and embrace the healing pain our bodies are going through and not expect for it to be easy at all.  From what I've been reading and seeing, that kind of expectation doesn't match the reality of most people in that resurfacing is a major surgery that simply takes time to recover from.  What gets me, and I believe a lot of other people, is how amazing it feels to have the OA pain GONE, but the reality of recovery is still front and center and can be very disheartening, until one day at 3 months, or perhaps as long as 6 months, you can move without hurting anymore at all. IMO, The long and the short of it is that our bodies take one year to fully recover from hip resurfacing, and there is no getting around that medical fact.

I think we will evolve through the healing pain and the muscle spasms; I quite simply think the major pain reduction will happen between the 3 and 6 month mark.  Regardless, my model is that my body is my friend and it tries to tell me, through pain and soreness, when to back off or to perhaps change my routine.

My surgeon's protocol is 2 to 6 weeks of partial weight bearing, using the walker, crutches, etc.  I had been lurking on this board and had been on other boards, so I was fortunate to see how important proper walking form is, and how it's a base for every other form of exercise.  I'm a big believer in following your surgeon's protocol to the letter.  I am not going to be one of the statistics' who dislocate their hardware or, Heaven Forbid, break their femur because they felt so well that they didn't feel the body's laws of healing applied to them.

Although I was home bound and bed ridden for over 2 years with undiagnosed end stage OA, pre op I made myself crawl sometimes, whatever it took, to go to the pool.  I could NOT tolerate pool walking because my OA was so bad, and the only thing I could do was the backstroke, resting my legs from time to time, but it was my only connection to the world - so I did it.  Three months prior to my bilateral resurfacing on December 20th, my OA pain was too bad to make that ten minute drive anymore, and I put my pool membership on hold.

I am getting a lot out of my out patient PT, and IMO I think it's a mistake not to do it.  After being weakened and bedridden so long, my left glute is atrophied, I had no calves to speak of, and every bit of my core and all the small muscles girdling the hips were fairly useless.  I now work on specific muscles through adduction, I do a lot to strengthen my core, and I also tend to all the micro muscles that are so weak because only my larger muscles did any work at all during my confinement.

My PTs also stress to me all the time that if I wasn't taking painkillers of some kind that it would be so emotionally and physically taxing that I wouldn't be able to make as many strides as I am today.  I hate to push narcotics on anyone.  Yet, I will emphatically say if you take promethazine or any other powerful anti nausea agent you most likely would then be able to tolerate vicodin or norcos. (same meds, different brand names).  Of course, in 2 months or so when you're ready to wean off and don't need them anymore, you will have withdrawal and you will get sick for about 2 weeks - it's like a very bad flu.  The other unavoidable side effect is making docusate and enemas part or your schedule.  I worry about about the other hippies who are going through the fatigue and drain of toughing through your PT and recovery whilst in pain.  Again, this is only my opinion and that of my team of doctors, nurses, and PT's, but I think it's a bad idea to get bummed out because it freakin' hurts too much to do your PT properly.  I think it's a bad idea to never be able to get any good sleep because of pain, and it's totally unnecessary to suffer if you don't have to.  I guess you could say I'm a firm advocate of "Don't get behind on your meds or your pain."

OK, *climbing off soapbox*

I see a lot of folks questioning why aren't they having this fabulous, pain free healing like the lucky hippies who only need a bit of ice, and that's why I'm adding my 2 cents in.  What are your thoughts on the pain medication/no pain medication methods of recovery?  How do you feel about your own level of pain while you are going through the recovery process?
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 10:31:55 AM by Two4One »
"I was inspired by the very idea of turning the wildest figments of your imagination into something real and creating a life for yourself." - Ken Ilgunas

12/11 Failed Bilateral BHR by Dr. Schmitt  3/14 Positive Metal LTT for Nickel Allergy.   11/14 Bilat Ceramic/Titanium Revisions.

Woodstock Hippy

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2012, 11:53:00 AM »
You have to think of this long term.  If you plan on a 6 month or longer rehab, which it is, it won't seem so frustrating.  Right now I'm at 10 weeks and I seem to be stuck at a plattau.  I just have to ride it out, keep working, and hope for some more progress soon.

Since you were layed up for so long, you have to be patient with your recovery and remember to take baby steps, baby steps. Once they all add up, you will be back to being your old self.
Bilateral, Dr Scott Marwin, NYU Joint Disease Hosp, 11/15/11

hernanu

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2012, 01:11:20 PM »
I think this is a great topic and observations. Given the extent of the work done, and that any HR surgeon tells you that it takes a year to recover, I did have not lowered expectations, but appropriate ones.

Just to be able to walk without a limp by six months (after the first, with the second three months later) was a treat. I still had other issues - my right took longer to regain strength, due to foot issues on the first, but eventually those worked out.

I was lucky in that I was able to do only Tylenol and ice for pain, but the pain was there for a bit. As 'One says, you do what you need to to reach your goal of walking in strength. That takes a year or maybe more until you feel an ease in walking. I was just happy throughout the year of recovery when I was able to retrieve pieces of my life back. It was like a scavenger hunt for the pieces of my life I had dropped as the OA took control. Priceless.

I think we should accept the length of the recuperation and take joy in the scavenger hunt.

Woodstock - don't stress the plateau. Your body is just gathering itself for the next leap forward. I'm a great believer in chaos theory, so think of things in plateaus and precipitous change. I had many plateaus at different times, and although it is a pain to deal with, impatient as I am, the progress that comes afterwards will please you.
Hernan, LHR 8/24/2010, RHR 11/29/2010 - Cormet, Dr. Snyder

imgetinold

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2012, 02:14:36 PM »
I know I'm early in the recovery process (2 weeks today), but it seems like I'll be good to go in two months.  I know that's not the case, but the rate of recovery from day 1 to day 12 is unbelievable.  I realize I'll probably hit one or more plateaus on my way.  For me, this will be a bitter pill, since my hip was playing nice for the last 3 weeks prior to surgery.  I ran 4 miles on Monday, had surgery on Wednesday.  I ALMOST cancelled.

That's why I'm here.....on surfacehippy.....because I know that when I get really down because of what my body won't do, or what restrictions preclude....that my Hippy friends will provide support and perspective.

LONG LIVE HIPPIES!
Andy - Right Biomet uncemented HR with Dr. Gross on 1/11/2012......GO BOILERS!

obxpelican

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2012, 03:13:30 PM »
Everyday you will find things get better, it won't be long now for you.  At a certain point you will be able to go a few days and not even remember your new hip.


Chuck
Chuck
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Tin Soldier

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2012, 03:20:12 PM »
I planned for 5 months or so of researching (mostly messing around here), one surgery with 6 month to year recovery, then in 6 months another surgery with 6 month to year recovery.   I anticipated about a 2 year process.  At 5 months since the second surgery, though, I'm doing a little running and lots of cycling and feel pretty much back to normal.
LBHR 2/22/11, RBHR 8/23/11 - Pritchett.

Dannywayoflife

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2012, 03:40:16 PM »
Everyone heals differently, but I planned all along to give myself a full year before resuming my normal activities and to be honest it will take a gradual approach and time to fully get back into them. From what I've read full healing takes around 12 months give or take a little.
Train hard fight easy
LBHR 10/11/2011 Mr Ronan Treacy Birmingham England
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Rbhr 54mm head 60mm cup 12/02/15 Ronan Treacy ROH Birmingham England
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Pat Walter

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2012, 03:47:53 PM »
The healing timeline is different for each person.  Common sense tells us that if you were inactive and unable to do anything for 2 years, using walking aids and meds, you are going to take a very long time to heal.  There is much more than the local muscles and ligaments around the hip to heal.  You have been unbalanced and unable to use use muscles for years.  Just replacing the hip joint won't magically allow the body to work normally.  Some people that were bad for years never do get back to a real "normal"   Others that just had hip problems for a few years and never were using crutches or wheel chairs, usually have a quicker recovery.  Also bilaterals have more healing to do than a person with just one hip resurfaced.

There are a lot of people with quick recoveries with little meds required and few problems.  Most people take a little more time and might be on meds longer.  Then there are the few folks with very bad long term hip problems and bilaterals that will take a much longer time.  The normal bell curve is a pretty good guide.  Most are in the middle with normal recoveries with a few at the left quick end recoveries and a few at the right slow end diffiuclt recoveries.

Most hip healing has occurred at 6 months as far a bone ingrowth. It takes a full year for full healing.  Some people have muscles and incisions that heal quicker than others and can be very active at 3-6 months.  Others take longer if they have to take a lot of PT to get muscles working again.  Some people have muscles that haven't worked well for years.  There is no way they can have overnight successes to complete quick healing in a short time. 

Also - it is what it is.  We all have to go along with the healing timeline of our bodies.  We can keep a positive outlook, but there is no way to push the healing.  Patience in my opinion is the absolute most important factor in recovering from any surgery.

Pat
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3/15/06 LBHR De Smet

curt

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2012, 03:57:04 PM »
    Depends alot on what "normal" means to you, I guess.  Sleeping and walking completely pain free is more "normal" than most can expect as we age, and doing hardcore endurance like we did in our "youth" (please insert your definition of it here...) may never be possible for most despite having hip surgery.
     I DO believe that we are prone to set higher expectations for ourselves based upon our personalities and previous levels of activity before OA, but striving for continuing improvements, while small, are probably better and more realistic goals than perfection.  Two and a half cents... 

Curt
51 yr, RHBiomet, Dr. Gross, 9/30/11
happy, hopeful, hip-full

Two4One

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2012, 04:15:51 PM »
Quote
You have to think of this long term. - Woodstock Hippy

I think this is an excellent point.  Rome wasn't built in a day, and I liked what you had to say about being patient with yourself. It seems to me that you have to factor in your own unique situation pre op, how long or if you were incapacitated, and give yourself every bit of kindness and patience that you can dredge up.

It goes without saying, the fine hippies here really are all about supporting each other in their own individual "many paths" that is their journey of recovery.

Thanks Woody for weighing in.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 04:39:27 PM by Two4One »
"I was inspired by the very idea of turning the wildest figments of your imagination into something real and creating a life for yourself." - Ken Ilgunas

12/11 Failed Bilateral BHR by Dr. Schmitt  3/14 Positive Metal LTT for Nickel Allergy.   11/14 Bilat Ceramic/Titanium Revisions.

Two4One

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2012, 04:27:01 PM »
Quote
I was just happy throughout the year of recovery when I was able to retrieve pieces of my life back. It was like a scavenger hunt for the pieces of my life I had dropped as the OA took control. Priceless. - hernanu

I like that, hernanu. It's a completely apt metaphor and also the actual reality of the way this recovery works at the same time.  Yesterday, being able bodied to the point where I could go get my hair done. run to the grocery store to surprise Hubs with his favorite big cookie, stop by my favorite makeup store, and ALL THIS on top of going to PT in the morning is just amazing, especially when you compare it to begging your spouse to off you just a few short months ago!  The pieces of your life you get to pick up on the way to having your whole given back to you makes my face hurt most days from smiling so much.  The general public probably thinks I'm simple!

I like Loki, hernanu; we both know change is the only constant, and Thank Everything for it.

2-4
"I was inspired by the very idea of turning the wildest figments of your imagination into something real and creating a life for yourself." - Ken Ilgunas

12/11 Failed Bilateral BHR by Dr. Schmitt  3/14 Positive Metal LTT for Nickel Allergy.   11/14 Bilat Ceramic/Titanium Revisions.

Woodstock Hippy

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2012, 04:27:18 PM »
'' I DO believe that we are prone to set higher expectations for ourselves based upon our personalities and previous levels of activity''

You got that right.  Yesterday I was out on the bicycle and I did nice easy 13 mile loop.  When I finished the good angel was telling me in one ear ''that's good you took it easy and you finished feeling good'',  the one with the pitch fork was in the other ear yelling '' next time we've got to do 20 miles, should be able to get the pace moving up, we should be able to ride 30 miles in another 2 weeks''.

It's a battle I fight every day!
Bilateral, Dr Scott Marwin, NYU Joint Disease Hosp, 11/15/11

DGossack

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2012, 07:47:28 PM »
I am one of the lucky ones in that I was able to stay in good shape prior to my surgery.  I wasn't running anymore (had to give that up 10 years ago) but I could bike, hike, swim, etc.  So my recovery was pretty fast and I had very little pain (high pain tolerance).

The rehabilitation has taken longer.  I am surprised at people that have very little or no PT.  I found that invaluable.  It was only once each week up until five months post op.  The observations and added exercises focussed on those little muscles around the hip capsule.  It seems to me that we can get to everyday activities pretty quickly but these smaller muscles are not ready.

I am a week away from six months.  I still have very small pain on the outside of the thigh.  I am almost positive that this is muscle pain and seems to be related to the incision.  It could be the IT band which has always been a problem. 

I have avoided running or even biking outdoors up to now.  I didn't want to risk problems by rushing.  I have been biking indoors but did not want to risk going down on the new hip until the bone had sufficient time to heal.

I plan on running again and biking outdoors following my six month check up.  I may have another x-ray just to be sure everything is still good before I start though.

Best wishes.

Dan
LBHR, Dr. Pritchett, 8/1/2011
fullmetalhip.wordpress.com

Tin Soldier

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2012, 09:49:18 PM »
Quote
especially when you compare it to begging your spouse to off you just a few short months ago!
:o

Nice one 2x4.  That's sad, but I can understand.  I don't think I was quite that far along but was heading there.

Hern's point is excellent.  I have been coming across things in the treasure hunt that I had forgotten about, unicycling, taking 2 steps at a time on the stairs, climbing a tree, crawling around under a tractor without major pain, jumping into the back of my small pickup and loading gear to go play in the woods, sitting in a meeting and crossing my legs (for short bit, still not stretchy enough), watching my wife and kids play soccer and knowing that I'll get there, just takes time.   The list goes on.  That is a very positive perspective and I think as Pat points out you can be very positive through recovery and rejoice in the small things. 

Woodie's angel and devil are on my shoulders right now, as I want to go for another short 2 mile jog (4th day in a row), but the angel is saying, "you had a little discomfort in the right hip yesterday, remember what your surgeon said [gradually begin running]"....I plan to try downhill skiing this friday and hopefully the devil of my youth won't take over and have my leeping off cornices and crashing my way through the trees.
LBHR 2/22/11, RBHR 8/23/11 - Pritchett.

Dan L

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2012, 12:02:32 AM »
Is sad to hear how much you have been through, but seems very hopeful for the future.  Your morale will get boosts as things speed up at various points in the recovery process, I know mine has.

I have become much more comfortable with the reality this is going to be a 8-12 month process after the final HR to be 100%.  My typical impatience has been offset by the continual steady progress overall, that seems to go along in fits and starts of improvement, but is always better over time.  Long term deal for sure, but great smaller victories along the way.

You are very right about managing pain during recovery.  It's been my experience after more than 15 years of very succesful pain management treatment for spine injury and resulting surgery, and now the BHR, that treating pain, is essential to healing, most importantly if you also can't sleep due to pain.  Staying ahead of it, as you mention, is the #1 thing pain management docs teach: it will result in faster healing, less meds overall, and sleep.   If you are above a tolerable pain threshold for yourself, you will not heal.  At month 3 at the end of a day including home pt exercises, walking, and time on a stationary bike, I sleep much better by simply treating the low level pain that will wake me up if I don't, and have less pain the next day, usually with tylenol, or a really, really hot soak.  On bad days, screw it, I treat the pain aggressively with pain meds, to make sure I can sleep and heal.  Taking so many less meds overall with the OA pain gone on one side, and contine to heal very nicely.

Dan


LBHR Dr Brooks, 10/2011; RBHR 2/2012

Aerial

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2012, 12:28:08 AM »
I am adding my experiences not to be pompous please, I am actually very pleased with where I am at 7 1/2 weeks.  I didn't think I could enjoy the holidays and I was walking fine about 3.5 weeks after surgery.  I thought I would have trouble with work at 4 weeks but that has been fine as well.  I have been able to comfortably return to basic yoga (which feels great in terms of gentle poses to increase ROM in all hip angles), elliptical and weight training (light upper and lower body), walking up to five miles and swimming after clearance at the 6 week mark.  I am not back to my "normal" but very ahead of where I thought I would be.  I haven't taken meds other than an occasional Alleve or Tylenol since about day 7.  I wasn't prescribed PT but feel like Dr. gross's phase two exercises have been sufficient and I don't mind not having to spend additional $ on PT since insurance has rolled into the new year.  I suppose I am one of the lucky ones.  My condition was very bone on bone before surgery but I did stay as active as possible prior to surgery which I think helped.  My biggest points I am addressing is weakness with abduction and internal rotation.  Where I want to be is still a ways off (tennis, possibly running, cycling outdoors and more advanced yoga) but life is much better now than before surgery.  I am one whose downfall might be doing too much, which I really try to monitor.  I am grateful for my recovery status.  I think the important thing to remember is the individual nature of recovery.

PS- Plus I am back to heels in my professional dress (haha)

PPS- I echo celebrating the little things....walking to and from campus is a joy, squatting to wash the wheels on my car is a joy, having energy by days end is a joy, and wearing a variety of shoes is a joy  :)
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 12:46:54 AM by Aerial »
Right hip resurfacing with Dr. Gross on 12/5/11!

Two4One

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Re: Is Getting back to normal going to take far Longer than you think?
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2012, 04:11:03 AM »
Hey Andy,

I found your experiences to be quite interesting.

Quote
...my hip was playing nice for the last 3 weeks prior to surgery.  I ran 4 miles on Monday, had surgery on Wednesday.  I ALMOST cancelled. - Andy
Quote

From Pat's post and general observation, it seems if you have you've been active, you do have a much better chance of a quicker recovery.  You were smart to get your hip done and avoid seeing your limitations and pain spiral out of control

Godspeed in your healing,
2-4
"I was inspired by the very idea of turning the wildest figments of your imagination into something real and creating a life for yourself." - Ken Ilgunas

12/11 Failed Bilateral BHR by Dr. Schmitt  3/14 Positive Metal LTT for Nickel Allergy.   11/14 Bilat Ceramic/Titanium Revisions.

 

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