Author Topic: One week post op with Dr. Callendar + 10 year post op with Dr. Vail  (Read 911 times)

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I just had my second hip done - this time with Dr. Peter Callendar in SF. My first was done by Dr. Thomas Vail at UCSF ten years ago. It's been fascinating to go through this a second time with 10 years in between. Both the procedure - and I - are different this time and like others, I have learned at least something from experience. I was 48 then and am 58 now.

Before the long update . . . . have to say that this forum has been hugely helpful and want to thank everyone who takes the time to contribute. I used it 10 years ago and now. 

I went with Dr. Callendar because of his experience with BHR and knowing he could do either BHR or THR based on the circumstances. Dr. Vail has opted out of doing resurfacing as a result, I suppose, of getting caught up in the device issues from about 7-8 years ago. He did a great job for me and I have had no issues with the hip. I've measured my metal levels and fortunately they are low. I don't even think about my previously fixed hip.

I tend to not put a lot of credence into the personality or bedside manner of surgeons - I just want to know they are very good at what they do. Once I make a decision, I will put my trust in them and do what they say - for better or worse. I chose Callendar primarily because of his proximity to where I live (Bay Area) and his extensive experience with BHR. He struck me as a perfectly nice guy, but that didn't matter too much to me. I hear Bernie Madoff was a very nice guy. 

Dr. Vail had given me the heads up ten years ago that my second would probably need attention down the road. In January of this year, I got the early signs and by May I scheduled the surgery. This time, however, like others, I didn't let the pain "get to me" like I did the first time. I knew what it was and that it was only going to get worse, so I tried to power through it to stay active up till the time of surgery, which for me included riding a bike.

In spite of having gone through it before, I was still a bundle of nerves waking into Presidio Surgery Center a week ago, which was reflected quite accurately in my blood pressure numbers. Everyone there was certainly great and the experience at this facility was I believe more pleasant than UCSF, which is a huge, bustling hospital.

It was helpful seeing Dr. Callendar in a very positive mood just before surgery. He seemed very confident, which at the moment of truth was great. (ok, maybe there is something to bedside manner).

When I woke I had the requisite pumps and stockings working away at my legs. Dr. Callendar came by soon after to tell me that it was a successful BHR, which was hugely reassuring. Step one done.

Certainly my waking experience was much better than at UCSF. When I awoke there, I found my self inches away from a guy who looked just like Charlie Manson with both wrists handcuffed to his bed with an armed guard sitting next to him. There was no one else around. Later, when I did my first laps using a walker, the same guy was doing it with me - this time he was handcuffed to his walker and there was another armed guard walking next to him. It's like we were surgery buddies. It made me wonder, is someone more dangerous with a walker as a weapon? Should you really handcuff them to the walker? If he made a "run for it," would it be better to more easily take the walker away from him? What would a "run for it" even look like? Maybe a discussion for another post.

After watching some chef documentaries on Netflix, having a takeout milkshake and an uneven night's sleep at the surgery center, I went home feeling pretty good. I was also well aware of taking Oxycodone, although in lower doses than the stuff I had the first time ten years ago, which was more like LSD.

I remember ten years ago when my wife came to visit and she saw me in the room down the hall and assumed I was watching TV. Instead, I was staring at trees outside the window in complete amazement and wonder. Thankfully - due primarily to input from this site at the time - I got off that stuff pronto. This was just around the time when opioids were getting more heavily prescribed, and I feel lucky to have had this site available throughout the process, especially on that front.

When I got home, I came to the immediate startling conclusion that no modern furniture designer has ever had orthopedic surgery - ever. I stood there on my two crutches scanning the room full of low furniture with no armrests or hand holds. It's like the opposite of what you need. You don't think about it much until you are faced with sitting down. Lots of cool looking stuff that is going to make your life harder every waking hour.

If I had a third hip that needed work, I think I'd rent a recliner or something similar - one that doesn't swivel and has great armrests. In fact, these should be prescribed and covered by insurance! And throw in a couple of milkshakes.  It's a little late now, but I would absolutely plan for the perfect chair if I did it again. I did, however, discover that we have a deck chair that is large, padded, has great wooden arm rests/holds, and has an ottoman. So being Summer in San Francisco, I throw on a sweater and sit outside more now. Not a bad result.

This time around I've also tried to focus on things that I can do successfully even on crutches to keep my mood up. For example, smoking meat. When you smoke meat, you have to sit around for about 10 hours to monitor the smoker. This is perfectly suited for surgery recovery and you gain a great sense of accomplishment while you simply lie around.

A few weeks before surgery I got a Traeger wood pellet grill, which is perhaps the ideal smoker for hip resurfacing recovery. It has a built-in thermostat that adjusts the pellets so you don't have to constantly fiddle with the temperature. You simply make sure the thing keeps going and that you aren't burning the house down. At 4 days into recovery, I smoked 6 lbs of pulled pork that was the best I've ever made.

In terms of other specifics, I came home on crutches, ditched one crutch after 4 days, and now at 7 days in, am playing with a cane, although not quite ready. I stopped the Oxycodone after 3 days. I didn't really notice a change in pain when I got rid of the Oxy and really wanted to get rid of it asap. I don't mind feeling a little pain, especially if that's all there is and I can monitor it without "masking" it. But I also didn't want to be stupid about it and try to be some kind of hero. As others have pointed out here, everyone - and every hip - is different. The fact that you can have two different recoveries with two hips on the same body makes it clear that there is no one answer.

I'm in no rush - I'm more interested in the hip healing than charging out into the world prematurely. Ten years ago I think I felt like I needed to prove something around having speedy recovery (male ego?). With this one, I could care less if it takes less or more time - because I know it will be better, give or take a week or two. You only compete with yourself on this front.

In fact, recovery is the perfect time to put life on hold for a few weeks and think about what the heck you are up to, re-evaluate what's important, and where you might go next. After having gone through the first resurfacing 10 years ago, I came to realize that it's not just about getting back to what I was doing - it's as much about what I might do that I've never done before and how my life and others may be altered as a result. Oh, and you really don't know what that is until you see it. You can't really plan for it.

Ten years ago following my first resurfacing I decided to get a bike to help strengthen my operated leg. I hadn't ridden much and my intent was to just do something that would help the leg. Next thing I know I'm hooked on cycling and getting into better shape than I was before. My son, who was 8 at the time, picks it up and we get into bikes together. We build a bike together for my wife. Then he gets a job at a bike shop after I mention to the owner that he's great at selling things (Lego sets) online. Then in high school, he joins a mountain bike team and competes with kids all over California. In four weeks, if all goes well, I'll drop him off at college for his freshman year. He's going to join the bike club and set up shop to fix bikes to get to know others.

I look back on all of that and ask, would I trade all of that in for a better hip to start? No, absolutely not. The bad hip was a serendipitous twist and turn that had collateral benefits. Sitting here one week after my second resurfacing, I can't help but wonder how I will change again as a result for the better - and how the positive wake of that may affect others. It's easy to contemplate this, because, well, I got nothing but time right now. So for me, it's forget about getting back to status quo - let's see what unfolds as a result of the (left hip) turn in the road. Or maybe I'm just getting over the longer effects of Oxy right now.

Thanks again to everyone on the site. Chris
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 08:56:49 PM by SFHip »

Pat Walter

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Re: One week post op with Dr. Callendar + 10 year post op with Dr. Vail
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2018, 09:08:32 PM »
Hi Chris

Congratulations on the second hip resurfacing. 

Thank You for taking time to return and let us know how you are doing.  It is interesting to read the comparison.

I wish you the very best and am looking forward to your updates.

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3/15/06 LBHR De Smet


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Re: One week post op with Dr. Callendar + 10 year post op with Dr. Vail
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2018, 10:04:24 PM »
Awesome story Chris. I liked the way you worked in much humor into your adventure. Pretty interesting that they place orthopedic surgery patients in with the (soon to be) prison population. I'm glad you didn't get shanked or had to take community showers with that guy. Being a fellow NorCal resident, I too considered Dr. Callander. I probably would have chosen him if I could have worked out some initial insurance difficulties. Glad to hear things went smoothly with him.

I also enjoyed your relaxed, introspective attitude dealing with your second surgery. So many of us (including me) focus on merely getting back to what we were once doing, and regaining the strength and fitness level we once had. And we sometimes forget about other life adventures we can experience beyond our favorite sporting activities.

Please feel free to write us again, regardless of whether it is pain-medication influenced, or not. :-)
Bilateral patient
Dr. Gross
December 12, 14 2016
Biomet (uncemented)


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Re: One week post op with Dr. Callendar + 10 year post op with Dr. Vail
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2018, 11:07:00 PM »
Excellent post sir! Best of luck going forward.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 06:50:47 PM by Quig »
Bilateral Hip Resurfacing by Dr. Thomas Gross
  -Right Hip; April 11, 2016
  -Left Hip; April 13, 2016


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Re: One week post op with Dr. Callendar + 10 year post op with Dr. Vail
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2018, 05:19:46 PM »
Good luck Chris, sounds like you've got a good attitude and that goes a long ways.  Thanks for the story.
Hernan, LHR 8/24/2010, RHR 11/29/2010 - Cormet, Dr. Snyder


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Re: One week post op with Dr. Callendar + 10 year post op with Dr. Vail
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2018, 02:21:35 PM »
Thanks Pat, Joe, Quig, and Hernanu for the comments and encouragement!

What a difference a week makes. It's like the first week the body says "whoa, what just happened?" and the second week the body says, "ok, we got this." The progress since day 7 each day has been great, and most importantly, encouraging.

I made the decision - based on this site and talking to a couple of colleagues - to ignore PT exercises and focus on healing, which means walking best I can, elevating, and icing. As soon as I made that decision, my operated leg showed immediate improvement. But it does create some awkward moments with my in-home PT gal.

A week ago I felt very tentative on a cane and now am transitioning off of it, which is great. What this means is that - as others have suggested - you need to walk, walk, walk. Along with that is heading back out into the world, which is great because you can go a little batty limping around the living room.

Heading out into public with a cane reminded me of when I was living in NY just after college. During one of the worst heat waves, I decided to "defrost" our freezer using a hammer and screwdriver. After removing all the ice, I noticed the 5 holes in the freezer tubes making a hissing sound. It then dawned on me how a freezer works. So for the next week, I looked at people on the streets of NY in wonder for how they took for granted that they had a working refrigerator. They didn't think much about it. They simply didn't appreciate their refrigerator.

Now I see people walking from point A to point B as if it's a given, like walking is nothing special. It certainly gives you an appreciation for mobility. Ten years ago, when I had my first hip done, I think I simply wanted to get back to walking and blend back in and just look "normal," which is code for not being disabled. Now, with a little more time and distance, I don't think I'll think about mobility the same way again. 

Heading out also means driving. I pretty much ignored the guidelines for when to get in a car and headed off. On my first drive, I went straight to a burger joint to get a burger and shake. I felt like a convict who had broken out of jail and who went straight to a bar. It's like I was going to get caught and sent back, but I was going to enjoy it while I could.

Other big milestones include those related to grilling. I've moved from smoking meat (where lying on a couch for 10 hours works fine) to tending a grill and making chicken and fish. This was a big improvement. Standing is easy even if I need a little help getting around. You just need to make more trips between the grill and the kitchen, which is not a bad thing for the hip in the process. Knowing you can cook - and play little with fire, in the process - is very encouraging.

Sitting here at the end of week 2 (with less discomfort sitting), it really does feel like I'm off to the races although I know from experience that getting back to 90-100% will take a fair amount of time. I feel very fortunate to have this experience - and to have access to the service. I often think about people who had to live with a bad hip joint because of either history or access. With such a great procedure available, no one should have to live with a bad hip joint.

Thanks again for the support.



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