I 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.
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 I 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.
That 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:
- Walk (with a walker) 100 feet;
- Get up and go to the bathroom on my own; and
- Be able to get myself out of bed and into bed.
Actually 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 the 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 hip 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.