The Hip Is In! It’s Not What I Expected. . .

1 hip jointI am behind on writing my blog, because last week my bad hip was replaced by a supposedly good hip.  Everyone encouraged me to have this surgery, and all I heard was praises about this surgery from those who have had it or from friends and family of those who have had it.  The one thing missing from all their dialog was what it was like during the recovery time.IMG_9123

I was fully prepared to have this surgery done.  I walked in a tired patient (got up at 3:30 am) and they hauled me into the operating room at 7:00 am.  I woke up in the recovery room complaining of shivering with my teeth chattering.  The nurse said this was normal coming out of the spinal anesthesia, as she laid another heated blanket on top of me.  

I had never had a spinal before.  My recollection of past surgeries was being wheeled into the operating room, helping me move from the gurney to the operating table, the anesthesiologist putting a mask over my face and telling me to count backwards from 100.  I never got past 96 that 0 sleepI can recall.  Of course, I was given some pre-op medication in my IV, which made me super relaxed.

This time I had something put into my IV that apparently really relaxed me, because I cannot remember being taken to the operating room, no mask put over my face and telling me to count.  I don’t remember saying good-bye to Dennis as they rolled me away, although he says I did.  I do remember that the anesthesiologist told me I may not remember anything, and that is about last I remembered!

I was in my bed in the recovery room.  They rolled me out and took me to my room where I was to stay for a couple days.  There was no moving from a gurney to a bed—I was in the bed in the recovery room.

0 walkerThat day is pretty much a blur.  I had not slept well for weeks.  The pain in my hip would wake me up, and I would have to move, but moving in bed at night meant sitting up and maneuvering my body to a new position without rolling on my hip.  Sleep, especially after surgery, was a welcome friend.  By afternoon the nurses were ready for me to get out of bed and stand, and possibly walk.  That was not to be.  The first time they got me to sitting on the edge of the bed, walker in front of me, I looked at them, and then my head started spinning.  I was about to faint.  They laid me back down, and said they would try later.  Back to sleep I went.  The second try wasn’t much better.  I did get to a standing position, but nothing beyond that.  Therefore, the doctor said I needed to stay another day.  Yes!  I was no where ready to go home.

The second day, the physical therapist and occupational therapist were determined to have me moving.  There were three goals I had to accomplish before I could be discharged.  They were:  

  1. Walk (with a walker) 100 feet; 
  2. Get up and go to the bathroom on my own;  and 
  3. Be able to get myself out of bed and into bed.  

0 carActually the third task is the hardest, and still is the hardest.  Once I accomplished all these tasks, I knew they would kick me out that afternoon.  Now the occupational therapist showed up to inform me that I was going to learn how to get in and out of a car.  She rolled me down three corridors to a room that had a simulated car. She asked me what kind of car Dennis would be driving to pick me up.  I said he had an SUV, and she hit a button and 0 cross feetthe car raised a few more inches.  She demonstrated how to get into the car, and then she had me do it.  It was as hard as getting into the bed.  

There are also three things one is not allowed to do, once they have HipPrecautionPhotohip replacement surgery.  They are: 1) cannot cross legs or feet; 2) the foot on the surgical leg cannot be turned in or out—must leave the foot straight; and 3) cannot bend more than 90 degrees or is it 70 degrees.  I’m not good at geometry so any bending scares me!  I know I cannot bend over in any way whatsoever.

Here I am 10 days post op, and I am not sure how I am supposed to feel.  I finally did my hair and make up today.  Dennis said I must be feeling better.  He stated he was concerned because I always do my hair and make up.  I must have felt well enough that when I looked in a mirror yesterday it scared me.  I looked old and haggard.  I decided last night I would do my hair and make up to feel human again.

I don’t know to whom I should ask questions. I am done with the pain medications.  I didn’t want to take them because they are some pretty nasty strong stuff, but the doctors and nurses said that I cannot let the pain get ahead of me, so I took them faithfully.  Now I am done, and I hope I have no more pain because they didn’t tell me what to take once I stop the big ugly drugs.  My best pain relief so far is to get back in bed and take a brief nap.  Actually, that does work.  

I think the follow up care by home health is a joke.  The nurse came the day after I got home.  She declared me no longer needing a nurse.  That was last Thursday.  By Sunday I was on melt down mode because I didn’t feel great, and I didn’t know what to do.  Why did everyone say this surgery is great?  It hurts!  It scares me that I might move incorrectly and throw my new hip out of joint.  My leg is sore and uncomfortable.  Who do I ask?  I limped (no pun intended) through Sunday, and Monday morning I was feeling really down.  Dennis called the home health company.  The nurse gave us her name and number and said if we had any questions or concerns to call them, and they would have the nurse call me.  Ha!  What a joke.  When Dennis called, the home health people said that he should call my doctor.  What kind of care is that?  I would like to know how much they charged medicare for that one?  The doctor’s office was surprised when I told her that the nurse is done seeing me.  They told me that I probably overdid it feeling good on Saturday, and to stop pushing myself, and take the day easy.  So, I guess getting back in bed and snoozing for a short time is the answer—it worked that day, and has other days when I feel overwhelmed by all of this.

I still will believe that this is a surgery I will be glad I had—once the healing is complete.  I will be able to walk without pain.  I pretty much walk without pain now.  It’s the getting up and down stuff that is still painful.  

I am still planning to drive out to Arizona the end of December.  I am not sure I will be hiking the mountain trails for a while, but the weather is better, and there are a lot of sidewalks to walk on level ground around my home.  I am confident I will continue to heal and strengthen over the coming months.  I am hopeful.

It’s a joke, okay?  I’m good with the surgery!0 horse hip

9 comments

  1. Too funny!! I love the cartoon, but do sympathize with you. Keep taking those naps you have been in overdrive for a long time. And I know Dennis is a good nurse. I would report that home health care nurse. You are on my prayer list. Love, Nancy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My neighbor had knee replacement surgery on September 19 and I believe he got home from the rehab center on October 9. That is knee, not hip, but it took him about three weeks just to get home. Perhaps you’re just pretty early in the healing process.
    In watching other people recover from surgery and injuries, I’ve noticed that improvement can happen abruptly. Dad had a leg wound once, and after remaining static for weeks, it suddenly made a quantum leap and shortly was completely healed. Surprised us but didn’t really surprise the doctor.
    I’m sorry your home health care experience has been so bad. That’s really a scandal.
    I hope you’ll have encouraging news to report next week
    Lois

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Getting off the drugs is a HUGE bonus! They are deadly! I trust you are going to therapy….that will help so much. Just give yourself time to heal….no rush; one day at a time. You will be hiking that mountain in no time!! Take care of you…… Ren Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You went through major surgery Andrea and you are doing about as well as can be expected at this point in your post op. Everyone’s recovery process varies according to age and other medical conditions etc, but the fact that you can now walk without pain is a sign that the process is working!
    My husband was a Military Nurse Corps Perioperative Nurse for many years (now retired) and he said because of what is done in the surgical process to remove your old hip joint and implant a new one, you will definitely have aches and pains for perhaps a few months. And the older the patient, the longer the recovery. He said getting up and moving around is key, but the rest is important too! Rest allows the human body time to work on the healing processes! Your doctor and his surgical staff team failed you by not informing you ahead of time by the limitations of movement that would occur post surgery. You should have been given handouts and literature informing you of these things at pre-surgery visits. And it sounds like they did not serve you well with home health care, because that is not what you really need: most home health care is just really to change bandages, administer or check on medications, to feed patients that require assistance, and to help with bathing and toilet needs. But they should have arranged for a few weeks of home physical therapy visits!! These are the folks that can answer questions regarding the how and why of your limited movements and to assist you with learning different techniques to accomplish things like tying your shoes, squatting down to pick things up, etc. I would be calling either your PCM or your Surgeon’s office to find out why that has not been recommended as that is usually part of Standard Practices. And during this call, you might also address any post operative pain needs. The military has gone to recommending 600-800 mg ibuprofen for pain and discomfort, it lasts @8-12 hours, it helps with swelling (your hip area is likely still swollen at the surgical site and will be for awhile to come), and most importantly, it is non-addictive. I’m sorry that you were not given an accurate picture of the whole hip replacement process! Every patient deserves to be well informed! Make some calls, I really think you would benefit from a good physical therapist. Have patience with your body Andrea, it will heal….in time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sorry you’ve gone through such a difficult time. You are brave and from all accounts, moving, if ever so slowly, since you aren’t sure what to expect at which stage, forward. You are unsinkable – hehe you are. I wish you all the best! sincerely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Today was a great day (day after this post). I’ve graduated to a cane, could move my surgical leg on its own, and will promote to actual physical therapy in a week! I guess I am unsinkable after all!

      Like

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