May 2, 2015
My first three days post op were tough, and only after a horrendous vomiting session and a better nights sleep did I awake Friday feeling like everyone else! I tried walking, I tried sitting up, and it seemed any “upright” time would make me dizzy and sweaty. I as weak, tired. But after the vomiting and getting pain meds under control, much better. I think your idea of getting off the hard stuff on to some less hard stuff (but hard enough) is a sound one.
But I have further learning. I tested the other night and today, is one 500mg paracetamol or cocodamol enough? No, feel tender, exercises feel too hard. Going to try two paracetamol this evening and see, but will continue on two cocodamol at midnight for sleeping. Will let you know how it goes.
Seeing others’ rates of progress makes me envious but I’ve decided I’m not going to get upset if I have to take a day or two rest. I remain very confident that at my six week check I’ll have reached the goals.
May 7, 2015
So, it’s been 9 days since the op, and I’m improving daily.
Summary so far:
Avoid too much of the heavy pain killers. In my case they were not necessary, I was simply after sleeping! But I should have been prepared for little sleep on first night, and general soreness. I am a light sleeper and it was always going to be hard sleeping in a hospital!
Take the laxative medicine if offered. I declined initially and ended up struggling and regretting my choice. However, my choice was because I was feeling sick (from other medication), so a problem of my own making.
Exercises from physio are crucial. In first week since op, I have managed to re-activate some lost muscles. My arthritis was such that adduction of my right leg was a no-no. And it was clear these muscles to control that had wasted over the years. But even after just one week, I can now move my leg a little (from being literally unable to move it!) and feel strength returning.
Walking is the only other requirement, on two crutches for six weeks. However, they are already just hiking poles, and I could easily have discarded one even at day 7. But I will stick to the protocol, they are a reminder not to do something “natural” and upset progress.
Yesterday, op+8, I walked 2k by accident. I am supposed to build up to a mile after six weeks. I just didn’t realise how a few little walks quickly added up. I feel fine, but muscles around hip were definitely tired as a consequence. Hip itself continues to be quietly pain free!
On op+2 the physio showed me an adduction exercise (well, move really). Just laying on back, legs bent 90degree at the knee, open the knees slowly until tension. I was scared doing this, but needn’t have been. This would have been like being electrocuted had I tried it pre-op, and I was delighted, nearly tears of joy, at having regained a motion lost nearly twenty years before.
So far, so good. Plan to stick to the protocol now to six week check up. Painkillers so far, 2x cocodamol every six hours, sometimes seven or eight hours pass. And one aspirin twice daily. Walking a few hundred metres each day plus whatever pottering about the house I do.
Should be back to work Monday, op day+13, but would expect a few early finishes and flexible working in amongst this for a week or two whilst I continue to recover. Have been having a nap each day for up to an hour which will make for a test come Monday at work!
Amongst all of this, I should note that every member of the team that I met or who was treating me, as well as other patients in my cohort, were all wonderful. Positive, supportive, responsive, caring. You couldn’t really ask for more. Coupled with the supportive and informative forum here at surface hippy, I can’t imagine any other orthopaedic operation being so … Easy.
In detail …
Clerking in day, Monday:
Arrived in afternoon at hospital, and was processed in. I had travelled alone, figuring my family life would be disrupted enough when I got back to warrant not putting them out through the week. Also, I imagined it would be quite boring waiting around the hospital, and expensive too, time off work, travel and accommodation costs soon add up. I knew the hospital had good wifi, so video and voice calls home would be (and were) easy enough.
I think I made the right choice in travelling alone given circumstances but if all practicalities could be ignored then having someone there would be nice. Met Carlos too today, which did compensate in a small way. His experience of having had one already was an inspiration and reassurance.
Surgery day, Tuesday:
A bit nervous, walked up to theatre, anaesthetist offered me a large Margarita at 2pm, and I awoke at 4.45pm. I couldn’t tell whether I’d had any surgery at all, never mind whether it went well. That was some Margarita! Felt nauseous and lapsed in and out of sleep, sipping a little water offered by nurse. The surgeon’s assistant passed through the recovery room and noted it had gone well. I went back to my room about 6.15pm and by about 8pm had a sandwich and started to feel better.
Muscle pumps were installed to help lower limb circulation so as to minimise risk of blood clots, and these were mildly irritating: noisy, and, well, just annoying. Still, if the surgeon says they’re important, who am I to oppose, what do I know?!
Through that night I got little sleep, and by about 2 or 3am asked for more pain relief. Had some oral morphine, and managed a few hours of fitful sleep. Later, I had some tramadol too, and I think all the medication was getting too much for my system. I felt feint and remained so, and a little nauseous, for the two days after surgery.
Wednesday, post op 1
On this day I tried a few steps with walking frame, but got too dizzy after ten steps, and had to lie down again. Went through the bed exercises with physiotherapist, and managed to do those.
The pumps remained on my legs, irritating and helping, alongside all the other foreign noises of a night in a hospital, to prevent any good sleep. So, I asked for some help sleeping and I think that night had tramadol and oral morphine again. Still didn’t sleep much at all.
In amongst all this, I felt very positive though, my hip operation had gone ‘like clockwork’ the surgeon advised. I had made ten steps, and felt good about how things would be in a few weeks’ time.
Thursday, post op 2
My co-patients were all getting about on their crutches and I was having a hard time, it felt unfair. But I think a matter of the medicines and eating a lot (it was like being at a five star all inclusive resort!) were my downfall.
I tried to walk again today, but still a bit dizzy. Managed a little using crutches. Physiotherapist was surprised, as she felt I should be doing best of all the patients under her care given my age and physical condition.
In the evening, I decided to have only a light dinner, but before that had the usual medicine (aspirin) and proceeded to vomit. Whilst a very unpleasant episode, it was also cathartic and I did feel much better once cleaned up.
During the day the surgeon and his assistant visited, and noted again it had gone well. So, I was still feeling like I was lagging in my progress compared to my compadres, but felt very positive. The many stories I had read previously were a useful reminder that different people recover at different rates, and in lots of cases, the first week or two are tough. So I tried to think beyond the immediate, and relatively minor in the context of some stories, issues and remained positive.
Friday, post op 3
Awoke after a fairly good sleep (insisted no leg pumps as I felt they were preventing my sleeping) and felt much better. I shaved, used the facilities, and did my exercises all pretty good.
Eventually had a shower.
For some other patients, including my buddy Carlos who was having his second one, it was discharge day. Thankfully I was staying until Saturday, as it was necessary for me!
We were all due X-rays and ultrasound checks. I was lucky enough to be around long enough to see the surgeon’s assistant again in the afternoon. He looked at my X-ray and noted it was ‘textbook positioning’. This gave me a real lift, and I felt on cloud nine having also overcome my other nausea and dizziness issues.
Saturday, post op 4
This was my intended discharge day. But, I was of the impression that unless I had a bowel movement I wouldn’t be allowed to go. So, it was all about trying to have a poo for the first hour or two of my day. It was very difficult, but eventually made it. Annoyingly, as is the case usually with such “traffic jams”, when I got home in the afternoon my motions were restored to their former glories like I had never had a problem at all. Note to self: after operation, take the laxative immediately it is offered!
So, Saturday allowed me time to do some walking, pack, have dressing changed and so on. A busy morning, then I was released, out in to the world by myself with my new hip to get flight home.
Everything went smoothly.
I then had a great night’s sleep, interrupted, but feeling stronger again.
By now, I was operating my crutches alternately, more like hiking poles, and it was clear I could move around quite easily with just a single crutch. But, it was important not to get carried away and have an accident.
Sunday to Wednesday, post op 5 to 8
Progress continues. Have been taking cocodamol roughly every six hours since Thursday last week, but have times when I just feel I don’t need any. Have mixed in the odd paracetamol instead but mostly two cocodamol. They are lasting longer than 6 hours now though, so I am gradually stretching them out, as I’d like to stop soon.
Today, Wednesday, day 8, I walked a bit further than I should and really felt it, tired and sore muscles. Will take it easy tomorrow.
Have been able to do all my exercises easily enough, even when painkillers have nearly worn off. So, gradually, things are improving. I can easily hobble with no crutches, but this is pointless and risky. Best to be using crutches and developing good walking form, re-learning to walk properly without a limp.
Feeling very positive now, getting back to work will be a test on Monday (day 13), but by end of May I will be very surprised if I am not nearly back to normal, apart from carrying two crutches for no obvious reason (other than to remind me to take care!).
May 29, 2015
- 31days post op today
- Progress has been pretty good, not super hero
- Have been off all pain killers since day 18 – absolutely nothing, no cocodamol, no paracetamol, (for benefit of US folks, no Tylenol/Advil/Percocet etc) – nothing (even stopped the aspirin)
- Have been able to get around with one crutch probably since about day 18, and “surf the counters” around the kitchen/diner/lounge at home
- This week, since about day 25, I have started to not bother taking crutch upstairs when I go up to rest etc
- Been in normal bed (not recliner) since day 1
- Managed to sleep (a bit, maybe an hour) on un-operated side a few days ago, but think leg “fell off the pillow” and I awoke with sore leg on my back an hour or two later – was then sore the next day
- Have been doing the exercises diligently – upscaled from requested 4×10 reps to 4×15 reps of everything, but some days manage only to squeeze in 3x15reps
- [size=78%]Have been doing about the required amount of walking (building to 1 mile by week 6) – some days more, on top of all the stuff inside the house pottering around[/size]
- [/size][size=78%]Stopped the 2x Aspirin daily along with other painkillers at day 18[/size][size=78%]
- Night sweats I believe are related to combination of the op+the medicines and mine stopped as soon as I stopped the painkillers (and prior to that I was drinking lots of water and that helped me manage them – by waking up to visit toilet throughout the night before the sweats commenced – would wake just a “little clammy” rather than “drenched”)
- Been back at work since day 22
- [/size][size=78%]Still sore around hip, butt[/size]
- [/size][size=78%]Can’t walk properly – hobble – without crutch, but can walk easily with crutch[/size]
- When walking with crutch when I try to walk as “normal as possible” it is sore, but gradually improving
- Soreness is in butt muscles almost exclusively. They need strengthening and stretching. Couple of weeks to check up, after which I hope I can start stretching and swimming
- Standing only on operated leg, say to put trousers on other leg … Very sore but improving.
- [/size][size=78%]Consistent with advice from experienced members here, I think I’ve learned that:[/size]
- It is very easy to over-do it and aggravate the recovering muscles
- My “leg falling off pillow” episode mentioned above aggravated things
- [/size][size=78%]When I feel sore, I then, the next day, really reduce the amount of walking (to only the prescribed level and no more) and stick to the exercises, and lie down a lot more: this then sets me up to feel good the next day and really feel the progress.[/size]
- I know I could go out and walk, with a crutch, for miles if I wanted, but I also know I would be sore, have a poor night’s sleep, and be tired the next day.
- So I have up day, over-do, then have down day, then recover, have another good day … The over doing often isn’t deliberate, just builds up.
- [/size][size=78%]Notice that sitting for any length of time over a few minutes means soreness on getting up, so have tended to be lying down at home a lot, especially when on a down day![/size]
- Overall, no miracles, but pain free from arthritis, and muscle damage is gradually improving and strength returning.
June 7, 2015
It’ll be six weeks on Tuesday, in two days time.
Pain around knee has gone, and the inner groin pain, all my adductor pain, has improved significantly, now only if I palpate right at the top I find it uncomfortable. So it is progressing.
My main sources of discomfort at the moment are:
Did a lot of cycling yesterday, maybe three miles (a lot, relatively speaking) and my incision is a bit tender along its length.
Since Thursday last, the “breakthrough” that I hadn’t expected arrived. Like overnight my pain levels somehow breached into “not really uncomfortable anymore” territory. Still feel it, but just felt like the crutch was totally unnecessary. No difference between using and not, until tired. Still carrying it or a hiking pole (took it with me on bike yesterday).
Pain, or discomfort, is in butt muscles, and I can feel it is a “weakness” rather than “damaged” type of soreness. And top of outer thigh bone, like it is still bruised a little.
Getting “six week” X-ray done a week tomorrow, and hope to get all clear to drop the crutches, start swimming and “do what feels ok”. We will see.
Still worry a bit, especially when I see the less positive stories on here. But, take lots of heart from all the positives, and supportive and wise comments from all the experienced hippies. I am gradually learning to stop worrying and start living, but probably won’t properly get there until I’m back swinging the golf clubs again.
July 28, 2015
I am 13 weeks post op today. No sign of a limp when walking, but still have start up stiffness/limp.
On holiday in France now, and since arriving Friday night we have walked for a couple of hours round town, cycled 5-6 miles each day, swam (actually mostly climbing the stairs to the slides) for an hour or two each day. Yesterday we also climbed the 300 steps of Phare La Coubre near where we are, then I practised golf – pitching, chipping, full swing x 1 basket. This morning I rose at 6am, warmed up with half a basket … And played 18 holes, carried my bag all the way, concentrating on walking with butt muscles firing. 12 over par at Golf du Royan, my first 18 since pre op, felt great. Hitting the ball further than pre op now.
Why tell you all this? Well, my butt is tired. And I have a limp now. Tomorrow will be rest, swimming in the lazy river! Then I reckon I will be back stronger on Thursday, limp free.
This to me is the evidence that it is all about re-building strength, doing the exercises diligently, making and taking the time to heal well.
August 6, 2015
Well, here I am at 14 weeks and two days post op. Been on holiday past couple of weeks. Played golf two times, carried once (tiring) and pull cart second. Hitting the ball better than ever, and pain free. Looking forward to an exciting golf future for sure.
Over the past two weeks I have done pretty much everything I have wanted except on the odd occasion reigning myself in when tempted to chase after my daughter or run otherwise. Biking, walking, swimming, climbing the stairs to the pool slides countless times. One thing I haven’t done is rope climbing in the trees and zip lining. Maybe next year for that.
Have managed to put my leg up, hip flex, and over my bike’s crossbar, and today (well last night on getting home) I rowed for a minute, and five mins this morning. I am back!!!!! Not quite cranking my old level, but I can row with my knees inside my elbows. (Indeed, I think it will be a great exercise for gradually reestablishing the full hip flex ion range.)
All in all, I am a very happy bunny today. And it’s only 14 weeks. I read stories on here of people forgetting they had the op after a year or two, and I can well believe it. Fingers crossed things continue on this current course, no reason to think they won’t if I go steadily.
Anyone thinking about the op, and wondering is this all hype? Well, I’m only 14 weeks in but it all is consistent with my best hopes so far, and if you are a candidate, and you need some kind of op, you shouldn’t hesitate if an experienced surgeon offers you this. (But do hesitate if the surgeon has no knowledge or no/only limited experience of this, and go see someone who has!)
August 29, 2015
Whilst I still remember, here are a couple of thoughts:
Your scheduled date will arrive pretty quick, and as ready as you are I expect you will still take a big gulp as you get closer to the operating theatre. Only natural. But you’ll wake and within a few days will realise you’re not far from being in a much better place. Patience required though as there are painful moments when you twist more than intended or something. You will feel you have spoiled all the good work, but you won’t have. Then a few weeks later, as these occasions diminish, you’ll be as happy as you can be.
Regarding toilet risers in earlier posts. I didn’t get one. When I was in hospital and had to go there was no riser, and I asked if I needed one. They all, nurses and physiotherapist agreed no. Only really tall patients need them. I am 5’8″.
Painkillers. It is rightly noted that you want to stay ahead of the pain. I didn’t find pain a particular issue, and took my painkillers regular but tried to reduce early, and during the night I found it most irritating. But, I definitely overdid the painkillers immediately post op, overdoing the advice of the physio who noted that managing pain is important to enable the exercises. So I had extra oral morphine even though I now realise I wasn’t really that bad off. This was counter productive and meant I didn’t really get walking on crutches until third day post op, when all of my buddies were walking next day. I was upset about that. So, manage pain but don’t go mad!
Patience: I recall being eager for the op, and then even moreso for the recovery. I think you might find yourself feeling the same. I learned this was a mistake too. I was monitoring every twinge, how much of a limp, pain levels and worrying far too much. Basically, the first six weeks take time to pass and there will be a lot of ups and downs. Nothing serious, but enough to have you worrying. With the benefit of hindsight I put myself under unnecessary stress. So, be prepared for that. (And I don’t really buy that going mad with exercise works. Enough per doctor’s advice, diligently, carefully, especially the strengthening exercises. But I think going mad on walking a lot might actually slow the process.)
Sweats. Get some towels for overnight. Hopefully you won’t be affected but I think this was one of the more unpleasant (not painful of course) side effects, and started about a week in, and ended about after 3 weeks. I am convinced this is due to the pain meds. But don’t under do those. Catch 22.
October 5, 2015
I recently passed 5 months, and the outside of my hip remains sore and “delicate” (not as much as at first, gradually normalising), if I overdo things exercise-wise a different kind of soreness …
December 30, 2015
It is 11 months since I joined the site, which was invaluable pre op, and likewise even today at 8 months post op. Thanks to Pat and all the contributors, excellent work all!
It’s just over 8 months since my op, and as posted previously things are great, very happy with progress, back playing golf better than ever (in winter too!) and following a new resolution I made myself in November I’m really starting to feel fit again …
I realised, after reading some of the contributions on here for inspiration, that I was neglecting my rehab, focusing on my golf too much over my health compounded by a very busy business travel schedule from end of Oct to mid Dec. So about 5 weeks back I committed to getting my rowing (concept 2 erg) programme back in action. First week was tough to rebuild motivation – two years back I would be rowing 5-6 hours per week, 50-70km weeks regularly and I was wondering how I didn’t get totally bored! But here I am 5 weeks later and much fitter and back “into it”, 135km rowed. Last three days I’ve gone up a notch and done a 10km session, 8.8km interval set, and tonight 10km steady. Tired, and feel tired butt muscles but rest tomorrow and row again New Year’s Day.
So, that is me. The rehab train is back on the tracks, and I aim by 30 June to set a new 2km pb – my boss has done a 7:20 and mine is 7:22.9, so motivation high for sub 7:20! Rehab and rowing are now my priority over golf, but happily enough I think it is helping the golf so a win win.
Sooooooo happy I had this procedure, it has really changed my outlook, what I can do, and what I think I can do, both physically and career-wise/confidence too.
February 22, 2016
Following up on my post a couple of months back, so now approaching 10 months. About a week after that I was sidelined with flu (man flu, the worst variety!) which stopped me working out for several weeks, whole of January pretty much – lots of people at work etc suffering it too, and they agree it has been a heavy bout this year!
So, it knocked my hopes somewhat. I was hoping for a sub 8min 2k on the erg by end Jan but that was dashed. However, whilst still not back up to full training level, I thought I would have a go yesterday and see if 8:10 or thereabouts was on … really surprised I managed a 7:58 and highly delighted. HR 165 halfway, and up to 173 at the finish.
I am also certain that with my technique now “normal” with knees inside elbows rather than with my right knee flared pre-op, I am able to generate more power driving from my legs, so I’m once again hopeful of my goal below: sub 7:20 this year! Another “I’m so happy with the op” moment.
April 27, 2016
So happy with having had this done. Like most, scared beforehand. But what a year. I am so happy, I’m loving it, and could shed a tear of joy.
I’m rowing as much as I want, running a bit now too, fit, well, oh and golfing as much as I want too. And walking the dog every day. As well as career and family of course. Where previously the day after golf I was sore and it limited me, no more. So running around playing with the kids … no problem whatsoever.
I am still aware it isn’t my normal hip, but it is brilliant. It has restored me to life. I think the bit of running I’m doing though is telling me: take it easy for sake of your left hip and your two knees!
Best wishes to all. And for those who are considering it, as virtually all others will attest: talk to the surgeon, you have nothing special to fear. Time will be right when you decide: pretty unpleasant pain and life limiting, especially if it upsets your sleep, as mine did, but now doesn’t!
Thanks to all the long termers, the pathfinders, and Pat for the site. Your input, support and stories were crucial in my decision, and my present happiness. Thank you.