Category Archives: Hip Dysplasia

What a difference!

I think it is fair to say that yesterday was the hardest day of my recovery so far. Everything I did, from lowering my pain meds to maintaining the level of Valium I was taking, resulted in me being either completely exhausted or in excruciating pain. It also didn’t help that yesterday was the first day I tried to use my walker for a brief trip down the hallway. The end result was a lot of tears and 11 hours of sleep last night, capped off by cookies.

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Happily, however, today is very much a different day. I woke up well rested, and managed to get through a couple of Tasks that, pre-surgery would’ve seemed like nothing but now that I am limited to only one leg and in a decent amount of pain, seem like insurmountable goals. It’s still apparent that I need someone here with me at almost all times to help me eat, prepare my meds, bathe, and prevent me from falling over. To my surprise, taking a shower is actually one of the easier things I have to do because I have the benefit of the shower chair and a lot of stabilizing equipment to keep me from falling over. My mom has been amazing in terms of keeping me on schedule with my meds and keeping me entertained and well fed. I don’t know what I would do without her. My next appointment with my doctor isn’t until the 28th and I would not be surprised if I continue to need help through at least at that time and probably a lot longer since I don’t get to bear weight on my right leg for 6 weeks.

My scar continues to be covered mostly by Steri-Strips and there’s really not nearly as much bruising as I’d anticipated. The incision feels sort of lumpy right now (sorry- that may sound gross) and I am very anxious for the stupid Steri-Strips to fall off so I can see what the whole thing looks like.

20121222-191604.jpg The exterior edge if my right leg is still numb – I figure it will take quite some time until I get the feeling back.

I’m hoping that the weather tomorrow is a little bit nicer because I’d love to go out in my wheelchair and tool around the neighborhood. I’m not exactly claustrophobic but I have been in the house for days and wouldn’t mind a little variety. Almost any activity wears me out these days but I feel like I need to start somewhere.

For the heck of it, here is a video of my cat attacking wrapping paper.

Home

I am happy to report that I made it home from the hospital yesterday and arrived at our apartment around 2pm. The house was super walker/crutch sound effects, I have a recliner I sit in during the day (and a rolling overbed table), and for night i sleep on a chaise (I would sleep in our bedroom with the dog and cat except for my severe allergies.

Things started off really good – not a lot of pain and a lot of people around to support me. My husband set-up an app on my iPhone called PILBOXIE which reminds me exactly what pills to take, how many of each, what they look like, dosage etc. It’s also great because it keeps track of the pills you have taken in the past so that when I go to my 2 week follow-up appointment I can say exactly what I had been taking.

Things continued on a good track through part of today, to the point where i thought that I would be ready to get back to work sooner than anticipated. I quickly realized that rushing back to work too soon would probably mean that my recovery overall will take far longer. That realization, coupled with an increased amount pain on both my operated and yet-to-be-operated-on plus the fact that the back of my throat is red/swollen/with possible strep blisters implies that rushing back and wearing down my immune system is not a good plan,

On the red sore throat (strep?), I called my physicians office to ask what to do and am waiting
hear back. Otherwise I’m ok aside from totally lacking coordination and the fact the drugs really make me loopy to the point that i don’t know where i am and I literally fall asleep if I close my eyes for 3 seconds.

On a surgical note, the incision is 8″ and the SteriStrips are starting to come off – creepy incision photos coming soon I hope!

Fading fast – more details tomorrow!!

Breaking out!

Barring any unanticipated problems, I will be getting out of the hospital today at noon. It’s one day earlier than I originally thought; however, my pain is well managed and my physical therapist approved my departure. In truth, my recovery is going much better than expected. What that means, though, is that i have to be extra cautious to not act like I’m back to normal and accidentally overdo it, even if my brain feels like I can get back to normal my body totally doesn’t .

20121217-103513.jpgI really can’t say enough nice things about the facility and all the staff at HSS. I would absolutely have another surgery here (and, lucky for me, I have my second surgery scheduled for May 8).

A couple of minor notes. They switched my meds to a new narcotic yesterday and the narcotic I was put onto resulted in me having terrible recurring mini-dreams/nightmares/hallucinations. These started within seconds of falling asleep and caused me to wake up while hallucinating that I was in the middle of chat with anyone from a world leader to a 3 year old. It was driving me crazy. This is not the only recovery problem I am having but it freaks me out all through the night. Luckily I was approved to switch to a non-narcotic medicine and I actually slept for about 5 hours which is amazing.

Other weird recovery problems include excessive dry mouth, itchiness over my stomach and upper arms, and a complete inability to read/type (which is why these post are not as well edited). Just some things to think about before the next surgery.

Stop here if photos of surgical sites freak you out


My doctor’s assistant removed the dressing from my wound incision site. I posted a photo showing how the incision looks approx 9″. I know that some people are freaked out by somewhat graphic photos. So if you are interested you will need to scroll to the bottom of this post to see it. Note that the pen is in the photo for reference only and that the incision is held together by SteriStrips.

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Ex post long screws

Not much new to report from hospital land. My hip and the incision site ache and burn. My right leg basically does not work – it is incredibly heavy and like a dead muscular fish. Therefore, my left leg is having to bear the burden of walking and pretty much any activity I try. Unfortunately the left leg quickly becomes very weak and unstable and I feel like I could easily collapse (i have a similar problem with my left leg as the right and am having surgery in May.

It looks like i will be released tomorrow to recuperate at home for several months. Dressing over the incision comes off tomorrow too! For the meantime, here is an x-ray of my right hip post-PAO (the doctor takes numerous X-rays during the procedure to be sure that the placement is correct and he kindly gave me a copy). More photos coming soon!

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Baby steps

Day two post surgery is still going pretty well. I have not slept much in the hospital, even since I got out of the ICU. Someone still comes in at least once/hour to check something and my sleep cycles are really screwed up from the massive amount of medications I am taking (Percocet, dilaudid, oxy to name a few). So while I’m a little loopy, I’m not really all that sleepy. And on the subject of loopy, some of these pain meds make it practically impossible to even write a sentence (so apologies if this post is confusing).

20121215-211455.jpg (the ginormous stuffed bunny that Guy got me to sleep with while i am at the hospital)

My epidural and Fowley catheters were removed this morning so I have had to get out of bed several times to use the restroom – my walker is my new BFF (at least until I can walk on my own).
My pain feels like it is in either the incision site or deep in the right hip joint. I haven’t seen the incision yet but believe it is between 8″ – 10″ long. There is also this crazy level of itchiness on my torso that is frustrating – caused by the dilaudid – so I have a different drug to take care of this. It feels a little bonkers.

Here is a photo of my incision, covered by its dressing and in no way inappropriate (I promise).

20121215-211621.jpgThe incision dressing runs down the front of my leg starting from just below my waist to about half way up my thigh.

I figure that once I can remove the dressing, around the 18th or 19th, I’ll take a photo if the actual scar. I also have an X-ray that the Dr took during the procedure – ill scan it and add it to the site once I’m home.

Falling asleep…g’night

Beginning to recover

It’s the day after the big day and I am feeling surprisingly ok. Yesterday was rough, partly because of the surgery but also because I lost all feeling in my foot and lost the ability to move it. As it turns out, I had a reaction to the epidural that caused my foot to go totally numb. It may have been the meds or the placement of the epidural catheter itself but for about 12 hours it was unclear whether my foot was going to work again. However, the effect has mostly (thankfully) worn off and the foot is almost back to normal.

The surgery seems like it was pretty straightforward – 4 breaks to the pelvis and 4 very long screws. 4.5 hours. I finally made it into my own room at around 3pm. it is a shared room (though now i have it all to myself) overlooking the East River. Physical therapy had me up today, sitting on the side of the bed and walking with a walker. I have never been as fond of medical equipment as I was of that walker. I will update tomorrow on how it goes when I walk further and use crutches for the first time.

I am lying in bed with my leg in a CPM machine for about 8 hours/day. It moves the joint up to around 30 degrees in a continuous motion – strangely soothing. I expect to be at the hospital until Monday or Tuesday. My doctor feels that I am doing really well, although my blood count is low due to the blood I lost during surgery.

I cannot say thank you enough to everyone here at the hospital and my friends and family who have wished me a speedy recovery. A special thank you to Lauren from Hip Women and to the Rabbi who came especially to visit me!

I know that it is going to take a long time and I am at one of the first steps (and likely to have lots of stumbles), but I am really happy to be on the other side of this first surgery.
Photos of me in my room and of my view of my foot (the background is Queens).

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Made it, mostly

Let me preface this post by saying it is going to be short and possibly a but incoherent.

So I made it though the surgery (yea!) – started around 9:00am, I would up somewhere around 1 or 2pm. Lots of pain. I then had a complication that has resulted with total numbness of my right foot, though it seems to be getting a bit better. I’ve been in the ICU getting poked and prodded – it does not seem like foot drop (look it up) which is good news. Hopefully it will clear up and I can move into a room tomorrow.

Better update (and photos) tomorrow but for now I try to sleep.

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One more day

…one day more. So my surgery is tomorrow, as in the day after today, as in I’ll get up tomorrow and have my surgery. I thought I’d be freaking out by now, spastic like. In reality I am cool as a cucumber. Totally calm, not nearly as concerned about the people around me who seem understandably worried. It is, after all, a big surgery. This isn’t any out patient surgery. No, this is a kick you in the teeth, knock you down, full on drag out surgery. After all, they are breaking my pelvis 3 times and moving bones and screwing me back together. So why am I not concerned?

I had my pre-op appointment and surgical pre-clearance last week. They drew blood and took X-rays. I met with my doctor who pointed out where they would be doing the cuts and what tools they will use (a saw for 2 cuts and a chisel for 1). We discussed the physical therapy I would have to do (super mild) and that I won’t be walking for a while (at least 6 weeks non weight bearing on crutches + tbd). The doctor said I’d be in the hospital for 4-5 days. And yet, I am totally unconcerned.

I am more concerned about the fact that I’m NOT concerned than I am about the surgery. I have been busy and have had a lot to do so maybe I’m just distracted. Maybe. I think I’m just ok with it all. We’ll see once I wake up tomorrow how chill I am.

Finally, I think I’ll be updating this a lot more starting tomorrow. You know, the day of my surgery.

Preparing for Surgery

I am 15 days, a little more than two weeks, away from my RPAO and I realized that I need to make sure that I have started to get everything together that I am going to need, day of and once I get home.  It’s crazy all the things you have to think of when you realize that you are going to be out of commission for a while:

1. Order my Durable Medical Equipment (shower chair, raised toilet seat, rental wheelchair) for delivery to my house when I am in the hospital — Check!

2. Order sundry medical aids for use at home after the surgery (pick-up grabber, foam cushion, sock put-on aide) — Check!

3. Take a look at my Suggested Pre-Op Purchases (which can be viewed under the drop-down titled “R U A HIpster?”) to see what I need to shop for in the next two weeks. — Check-ish (this is gonna take a while but it appears I have most of the stuff I need)

4. Line up people to take care of walking my dog / feeding my cat while I am in the hospital (and once I get home) – Check!

5. Make sure all Christmas gifts are purchased in plenty of time!  This is a tough one because I am a terrible gift picker outer and now, I have less time to think about it. Ugh.

I think this is a good start.  Once I started to write it all out it began to feel a little overwhelming, so I gave up for the night.  The one good thing about the surgery is that it will be over and then there’s nothing I can do about it.  I can’t make my hip become unbroken — it will be broken and I have to figure out a way to deal with it.  Whatever I didn’t do will get done.  Whatever plans I have will work themselves out.  I truly believe that this will all come together in the end, and it will be fine, whether or not I plan it to an inch of its life.

Is it weird that I think that having a surgery that will break me into bits is having the effect of putting me together into a calmer, more reasoned person?  Yep, think it is.