Well, it’s been three weeks since I got my new hip. The operation I needed a year ago- but put off and put off, has finally happened. I’m so glad it’s over, so glad I survived, and so glad this surgery was available to me! Prior to the big day, I said lots of prayers and was given a great peace about the whole situation – I didn’t spend a lot of time worrying or dreading the operation. On the way to the hospital that bright sunny morning of July 1st, I thought I’d want to grab the steering wheel and turn the car any direction AWAY from the planned destination…. but I didn’t. In my logical mind, I knew I was headed to the exact place I needed to be.
Everyone was quite pleasant in pre-op, except for the IV nurse. Oh, she was okay too, but I couldn’t help but say something when she decided to put the IV in my antecubital area (front of the elbow). I said something like, “you drew the blood and kept the IV in the antecubital?” She said, “well yes, is that okay?” I then said, “everytime I bend my arm this is gonna bug me…..” so she suggested she take OUT the IV and put it somewhere else. I wasn’t too keen on that plan either, so I decided to grin and bear it. Before I knew it, they were wheeling me to the O.R. I remembered in the pre-op class I took, that to avoid the possibility of infection, nobody gets catheters anymore. They said (in the class) to be sure and use the restroom before you enter the O.R. So, I had them stop in the hallway outside the surgery department while I hopped off the gurney and visited the ladies room. Then it was back up on the gurney for a ride into the operating room. Funny thing, when I got in there, First thing I saw was a large whiteboard with my name, birthdate, and etc written on it. First thing they asked me was to state my name, birthday, and what surgery I was having. I laughed and said, “if I didn’t know, all I’d need to do is read the board!!” Before I knew it, they were putting in my spinal and next thing I knew, I was out. Like a light. Until… until I woke up!! Yes, I woke up during the surgery! I was warned by the anesthesiologist that that could happen, so I wasn’t in total shock when it did. Weird thing, when I woke up, I could hear hammering. Yup, hammering. I couldn’t feel anything – for all I knew they could have been hammering on anyone or anything. I decided that I better somehow let the anesthesia doc know I was awake, so I opened my eyes and started looking around, and may have lifted my head a bit. I remember he saw me immediately, made eye contact, and zapped me with more of the happy medicine. Next time I awoke it was in recovery.
I was up later that afternoon to use the bathroom, since nobody gets catheters! That was okay, I wanted to be up as soon as possible. Everything they say about sleeping in hospitals is pretty much true. They have to do their checks, give meds, and do vitals, etc. I have to say that my pain was fairly well controlled, even though I found out that taking any sort of narcotic was not in the cards for me. Yes, I had a day of feeling sort of queasy and nauseated, but I’m sure that’s fairly typical. I spent two nights in the hospital and was EVER so happy to come home on the third day! The first thing I did was TAKE A VERY LONG NAP! I was so tired – from the surgery, from the anesthetic, and from not sleeping well in the hospital, that I couldn’t wait to have some uninterrupted sleep. I slept three hours that afternoon and then, after dinner went back to bed and slept pretty much through the night.
The first week I maneuvered around the house using a walker. By the end of week one, I was pretty much through with that cumbersome thing, and got the okay from the Physical Therapist to use a cane. After three weeks, I’m still using the cane. Not quite sure when “most” people give up the cane and walk on their own, but I’m not there yet. I still have pain in the operative leg, although the surgery site is nicely healed. I’m working on building up the strength in my leg by doing the exercises that the PT prescribes. It’s possible that my recovery may take a bit longer than some because I was SO weak on my “bad” side for so long, but I’m hanging in there! One other thing I’m struggling with is LLD — Leg Length Differential. My operative leg is now longer than my other leg! Sometimes “they” say it’s a perceived thing, but it’s a fact with me. The PT measured both legs and the right one is 3/4″ longer than the left. One more thing to adjust to.
I’ll have more updates as the weeks progress. I do not regret this surgery one little bit… I needed it so badly – my only hope to be a regular mobile person again! I have great faith that in the coming weeks, I’ll be walking without any assistance (i.e. cane) and doing normal things again……….. like walking around Chateau Ste Michelle in September, enjoying a concert with friends and family!!!