New Hip — Week Three

i survived

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!!!

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I’m having a total hip replacement!

cartoon

July 1st is D-Day for me.  I’m having my hip replaced.  Finally.  I’ve put this off for just over a year now, choosing instead to do a WHOLE lot of traveling during my first year of retirement.  We’re home now, to stay (for a while at least), so the time has come.  I called my surgeon’s office in April and said, “put me on the surgery schedule!”  July first was the first opening – so here we go.  Next I’ll do a Q and A regarding this operation…

1. Why do you need a new hip joint?  Several years ago, I had a tear of my labrum – a ligament in the hip, much like the rotator cuff in your shoulder.  This torn ligament caused irritation, which in turn caused arthritis to eat away at my joint. I’m currently without any cushioning in my hip, “bone on bone”.  It hurts A LOT.

2. How long have you known you’d need this?  I knew about three years ago that I’d end up getting a new hip, eventually.

3. Why did you wait this long?  I seriously considered having my joint replaced last year (2013).  After a visit to my doc, he asked if I’d like to try a different pain killing pill to try and put off the inevitable a little longer.  I said “yes” I’d try the new pill (well, it was new to ME, not a new drug). I started taking two Diclofenac every day and WOW what a difference it made!  I felt so much better, I decided to hang on to my own joint for a while longer.  Plus, we had a LOT of traveling planned (and paid for).  We had a big family vacation last May/June in Palm Springs.  Then in early September, we had a Mediterranean cruise planned for just over two weeks. In October we had plans to travel back to Palm Springs & stay till January 1st when we’d start our cross-country RV trip. We accomplished all these wonderful travels and returned home just last month.

4.  Have you tried anything else?  Yes, I took the Diclofenac until May of last year (with great pain relief) until I found out that it had adversely effected my liver.  My liver enzymes shot up (they had always been normal before), and I knew it was a result of this drug. I had to stop taking it.  When I quit taking it, – no surprise – the big time pain returned.  I also had a cortisone injection in this joint about 3 years ago.  That was a miracle pain killer – for about a MONTH.  Then it was all back with a vengeance.

5. How did you choose your surgeon?   One thing I know for sure, after being a practicing RN for 35 years, NURSES KNOW who the best doctors are. They know who does the best work & who has the best outcomes.  I had a contact at the hospital in our town who knows the nurse manager for the Joint Replacement ward.  She asked the nurse manager (very discreetly) who she would use, if she needed a new joint.  I was SO happy that she named the doctor who had done hubby’s hip replacement 4 years ago.  I know him and trust him. I feel even better, knowing that he is officially “nurse endorsed”.  🙂

6. What sort of prep do you need to do, prior to the big day?  I must say, our local hospital and the joint replacement center specifically, are VERY organized.  I received a notebook of information about an inch thick.  I have exercises to do, a class I had to attend with my “coach” (hubby), instructions on how to prepare our home, equipment I will need for a few months afterward, etc.  They even encourage you to eat healthy foods, high in protein and iron – which I’ve been trying to do.

7.  Are you worried/concerned/freaked out about it all?  At this point, I’m truly not.  On the day of the surgery I have no doubt that I’ll be nervous for sure!

8.  What about the pain?   Pain is no fun.  I’ve been in A LOT of pain now for a long time.  I know I’ll get a “PCA” for the first few hours (patient controlled anesthetic) and afterward, I hope they’ll find a pill that’ll work for me.  I think I’m more worried about the nausea, but they have medicine for that as well.

9.  How long is the rehab?  From what I’ve read and heard, I will have to be very cautious with my new joint for three full months. I’ll be going to physical therapy twice a week for a few weeks.  I’ve also heard that I could be feeling pretty darn good and fairly mobile in a couple weeks.  Hubby was, with his hip replacement.  I hope and pray I am able to do as well as he did.

10.  What do you hope to gain?  I hope to be able to walk a block or a mile or more, without being in crippling pain. I hope to be rid of this awful limp that makes me look like I’m 95 years old!  I want to be able to reach my right foot again, clip and paint my own toenails again!  I want to be able to bend over, feed the cat, put on socks and pants without a huge struggle, get in and out of the car like a normal human, and get back to KAYAKING again!!

So, there it is… all laid out.  I’ll write more about this huge journey after my pre-op appointment with the surgeon next week, so stay tuned to find out how it all pans out 🙂

Reclaiming the blog!!

At the top of the Acropolis, Athens Sept 2013

At the top of the Acropolis, Athens
Sept 2013

Hello to one and all!  I hate to admit it, but I’ve ignored my blog long enough!  I got so caught up in other things (regular life!) that I never finished the posts on our Mediterranean Cruise – which we took back in September 2013.  I started another blog (www.journalsfromourjourney.blogspot.com) about our recent trip across the USA in our Winnebago Journey RV.  Now that our trip is winding down, it’s time to refocus on this, my original blog!  I am debating if I should carry on with tales from our cruise of last year, by doing one or two more  posts on the cruise, succinctly telling the tale of our trip — OR — should I just start anew with what’s happening in the here and now?   I’m not sure just yet, but do know that the blog is truly reclaimed and my regular posts will resume! 🙂    Some of the things I hope to blog about in the near future are obviously things that are of interest to me, and I hope will be readable content to all of YOU in blogland!   I want to resume my book reviews (and boy, have I been reading a lot lately).  I want to talk about some of the makeup/skincare etc products that I’ve used recently  – some I’ve liked, some not so much.  I also want to chronicle my next big life event – my hip replacement surgery, which is scheduled for July 1st.  There will be much to do to prepare for the BIG operation, and then (assuming I survive) much to do in regards to rehab.  So, do keep tuning in for regular updates from my corner of the world – starting again VERY soon!!!!  I have missed this creative outlet  and am happy to be RECLAIMING my blog!

Smiles and hugs,

Mizsuzee  🙂

March will never be the same

Sometimes our lives can take a turn that we’re simply not expecting.  My life did just that this month.  On Friday March 5th, I telephoned my dad to let him know that my husband John’s hip replacement surgery had gone well.  When I asked, “and how are YOU?” he replied, “not so good”.  He went on to say that he had been to his doctor and was told he had pneumonia.  Well, that’s all it took.  I was officially worried.  A 95 year old with pneumonia… it doesn’t take a nurse to know that that’s a bad combination.   Immediately the “worry wart” in me became activated.   But wait.  I’ve still got a husband in a hospital bed with an IV, surgical drain, and a brand new hip to worry about!  Okay, lets double the worry… why not?

On Saturday March 6th I was in a physical therapy class with hubby, trying to be a good “coach”, learning all the exercises he needed to do, when my brother called.   He said he’d taken Dad in to the ER, that he was now admitted to the hospital, that they’d drawn blood, that he had nearly no platelets, no white cells, and they thought he had acute onset leukemia.   We’d gone from pneumonia to leukemia in less than a day.  I decided it wouldn’t be smart to give this bad news to my dear husband who truly needed to focus on his own issues at that moment.   So… I glued on my happy face and walked the hospital halls with John, all the while praying fervently for both of my “special guys”.

Sunday March 7th was discharge day for John.  He was coming home, but not before we both attended his discharge class at 9am.  By 2pm I had my surgical patient loaded into the car, headed home.  Later on that afternoon after he’d been made comfortable on the couch, properly medicated, TED hose on, and awake from a little nap, I told him about my Dad.   John was shocked to learn that Dad had taken ill and even more surprised that I’d been able to keep it to myself during his hospital stay.  When I was finally able to “spill the beans” I also spilled a few tears.  Tears I’d been stoically holding inside for a couple of days.  My precious (and amazingly tough) husband said right away, “You’ve got to go be with  him!!”  I knew he meant it but I also knew I couldn’t leave just yet.  Who would change his dressing and watch for signs of infection in the wound with 28 staples?  Who would help him in and out of the shower?  Who would put on the TED hose religiously and wash them out each day?  For goodness sake, who would help him pull up his underwear and get dressed and put on his socks and take his temperature  twice a day and prop up his leg on pillows and make sure he took all the right pills at the right time???  Who would drive him to town every day for his blood check?  Who would feed our kitty Jinx when “Daddy” couldn’t bend over to even put food on the floor?  The answer: My WONDERFUL neighbors.  Oh how I love and am thankful for them ALL!!!

I left on Tuesday March 9th – John insisted I fly to avoid 4 hours on the freeways.  I hated to leave my dear husband, even for a minute — just FOUR days after a major surgery, but I knew I needed to get over to see Dad.  It was a blessing that I did.  Dad was totally coherent, albeit sleepy at times, but I think even then he knew his days left on this earth were few.   We talked a lot those two days I was there.  he told me he was so happy that I’d found John .  That it made him so pleased to see me content and secure.  He said he was glad I had a great “traveling buddy” 🙂  We chatted about my boys – his only grand kids.  And about all sorts of stuff.

When I left on Wednesday March 10th I told Dad I’d be back the next week, and I was.  Only this time the diagnosis had changed — and so had his condition.  Now Dad was in kidney failure.  The docs tried several things to kick his kidneys in gear, but in the end nothing worked.  Each day I watched as Dad got increasingly sleepier — the normal bodily reaction to built up toxins in the blood that would normally be filtered out by the kidneys.   My amazing husband – less than two weeks post op was with me every step of the way.  I thank God for giving John the strength to support me when I truly needed it the most.

My wonderful Dad went to Heaven to be with Jesus and my mom – the love of his life – on March 23rd.  He was kept comfortable and had great care from all the nurses.   What respect and admiration I gained for the nurses who come to work every day and face these sad situations.  Made me feel like such a “wimp” of a nurse – having chosen the “easy” part of nursing — babies.

Losing Dad is SO sad.  It’s devastating.  He was such a big part of all of our lives!  There is an empty space now that nothing can ever fill.  I’ll miss him and think of him every day for the rest of my earthly life … and then… one day we’ll all be together again.

Next time, a bit more on the upstanding man that he was.

Tomorrow’s the big day

Well the day we have dreaded has arrived.  My dear husband is having his hip replaced tomorrow March 2nd.  I have great faith that all will be well, but any prayers sent on his behalf would be ever so appreciated.  I’ll be sure and update the blog in the next few days with all the gory details of the joys of hip-replacement-land.  How will we ever sleep tonight??????

New paint, more food, and surgery

It’s been a busy January here in our FAR northwest home.  Since DH is laid off work during the winter, he has managed to accomplish some great painting projects!  The latest is our bedroom which, after much trepidation, we decided to paint purple. All I can say about the finished product is: I love it!!  We both are very very happy with the result.  You may recall in my previous post where I pictured DH getting the walls ready.  Well here are some more snaps of the now finished project…..

The beginning of painting the “feature” wall.

The finished darker “feature” wall and lighter side walls.

This shot shows my new purple/brown chair courtesy of Pier One, under the needlepoint picture my dear Grandma made for me in 1973.

The “dressing area” also a light purple.

We painted our tiny master bathroom an even lighter shade of this purple and are SO happy with the outcome.  I also have to put a plug in for Lowe’s Valspar paints.  They cover in one coat, have very little odor – which is totally gone the next day,  are reasonably priced, and are low in VOC’s.  One thing I haven’t finished is the curtains.  They are on hold until a great inspiration hits me as to what kind and what color!

As you may remember, I’ve been trying to make healthy food in smaller portions lately.  In some cases I’ve succeeded, in others… well I’ve again made more than we needed but at least we’ve been socking that away for future meals.  Here are three dinners that turned out particularly yummy!

Roasted Vegetable Pot Pie, on it’s way into the oven

Potpie on the plate – super yummy for a January day!

Hubby raved about this one for days – honestly! Spicy shrimp caesar salad 🙂

Then it was time to try something totally new —  QUINOA!  Anybody tried this tasty grain that is full of flavor as well as fiber?  Well it was all new to me… so here’s what I made…  The recipe is from Food Network Magazine and this is the dry quinoa before cooking.

Quinoa in the pan getting read to boil

Next, the scallops.  I am not a huge seafood lover, but scallops are nice because they have such a mild flavor and don’t (or shouldn’t) taste “fishy”.

Large sea scallops, gettin’ themselves a saute`

And finally the finished meal,  Scallops with Citrus and Quinoa; Dilled Zucchini on the side.  Very tasty indeed!

And now for our final subject for this post, surgery.  After a two and a half hour visit to the orthopedic surgeon’s office yesterday, we have a date set for dear hubby’s hip replacement.  March 2nd.  Lots of stuff to do prior to the big day such as pre-op classes, blood draws, etc etc.  No doubt there will be more on this as the date approaches.  It’s SO VERY necessary, but also quite scary, and we hope you’ll keep him in your prayers.

A new year, a fresh start

Here we are, a week into the new year already!  Hopefully it’s been a “happy new year” for everyone.  So far I’d have to say it’s been a promising new year here.  I think it could be a year that may very well involve a fair bit of change for our household.  First off, dear hubby will definitely be getting a brand new hip joint, most likely in early March.  This is a good thing I do believe – but of course I’m not the one undergoing the big surgery.  Or the rehab afterwards.  Still, the doc has told DH that without it, he can expect to say “bye-bye” forever to his beloved game of golf, and in a relatively short time,  “hello” to wheel chair life.  I’ll be taking some time off work to help care for my dear spouse after the big event.

Prior to the surgery, DH has been told that losing  a bit of weight would be a good plan.  So……. we have been trying really hard to not just “lose weight” but to make some definite changes in our eating and exercising habits.  I’ll admit I’m normally a bit of a slug, a couch potato … you get the drift.  Months ago we got a Wii Fit and we are finally trying to get some use out of it.  I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest workout ever, but we are moving more, and some of the stuff is actually fun!  Hey, it can’t hurt!  I take that back.  If you have a bad hip (as we both do) just skip over the hula-hoop activity!!  It’s a killer!  What’s not so fun is the little voice coming over the TV announcing your weight and BMI and then telling us we are “obese”.  YUCK, what a horrible word!  My goal is to get out of obeseland and into overweightville.  A good first step, anyway!

Another of the  changes I mentioned earlier has to do with our intake. We eat a lot of good food.  Key words: a lot.  I don’t mean to brag, but shoot, I do love my own cooking and so does dear hubby.  Most of the stuff I make is pretty healthy, but we consume massive amounts of this good stuff… and that’s not, well, good. So, we are making a concerted effort to eat less and that means I am training myself to cook less (portion wise).  I went through all my January/February issues of Everyday Food and cataloged all the “light” recipes that looked delicious.  This is what we had for dinner last night: Beef and Orange Stir Fry.  Oh my, it was delicious and I made brown rice instead of the white that is shown in the magazine photo.  When the recipe says “Serves 4” I am finally paying attention.  I’m cutting down most of the ingredients in half to feed the TWO of us, instead of making the full amount.  Now I know it might be smart to make the full amount and freeze the leftovers, but for now as we get used to our smaller portions, I’m simply NOT making the extra.  We need to re-learn what normal portions are, even if the food is super yummy!   Tonight I made a delightful pot of soup, some of which I shared with a neighbor who’d had some pretty extensive dental work done today.  I gave her a choice of what soup would suit her fancy and she chose Mushroom Barley.  Here’s how it came to be:  This turned out quite tasty, if I do say so myself 🙂  Hubby agreed.  We had a nice salad along with it too.  I do love to cook and plan nice meals, so you may be seeing more food showing up on my blog this year.

In early November of last year, dear hubby worked his behind off repainting our living room, dining room, kitchen and hall.  Finally we got rid of the stark ‘off-white’ that has been the mantra of this home since the day it was built, since the day we moved in.  Now it’s time to start in on the bedroom.  I used to love traditional, “Early American”, and “country” type decor… but for some reason, my tastes have changed a bit in my middle age.  I now like a bit more modern look and one thing I really can’t stand is clutter!  Not to say I don’t have my fair share of it!  I’m always struggling to try to make my rooms look “cleaner”.  So, in our quest for new bedroom color(s) we bought (not kidding here) at least 10 different samples from Lowe’s, brought them home and tried them out on the walls.  After much trepidation, we’ve come to a conclusion.  Purple.  Well, maybe more like a lavender-gray.  And the “make over” begins tomorrow!  Here’s the “before” snapshot… That’s dear hubby, prying the mirror tiles off the wall.  Not sure they are going back up.  The shelf that runs horizontally above the bed (the brackets are visible in this picture) will be repainted – black – and will go back up.  Even if it turns out horrific, I’ll be sure and post the “after” photos.  We have been so afraid of COLOR for so long… it’s a little scary to go-for-it, but the paint has been purchased, and we’re gonna do it!  Oh, the dark purple color on the right side of the bed is the color we chose for that wall… it will be the “feature wall”… all the other walls will be a lighter shade.  My darling husband says that if we decide we hate the darker color (right now we actually LIKE IT, but we’ll see…..) he will repaint it to the lighter shade we have picked out for the other walls.   More to come…. soon!!!