Tag Archives: dysplasia

Sleepy Saturday

It’s been 4 days since bilateral hardware removal and today I was finally allowed to remove my bandages and take a proper shower. I saw the new incisions on each hip for the first time and truthfully, they’re not as bad as I’d anticipated. At about 4″ long, they’re each approximately half the length of the incisions from the original surgeries. They are healing nicely (although they look a little gory with dried blood and steri-strips) – I decided not to post pictures of them until they look a little bit better (you’re welcome). I can’t yet tell if surgery fixed my remaining issues – it’s just too soon to tell. I probably won’t know for certain until the inflammation goes down which might take a while. That said, I am cautiously optimistic.

Earlier today I made the exact same mistake I’ve made after pretty much every surgery – I acted like I had not just had surgery and tried to do a couple things around the house. I paid for it with a serious bout of nausea and exhaustion. I know this was a “minor” surgery but it still involved somebody cutting into me and my body feels the need to remind me of that fact. In general I’m worn out most of the time and get so sleepy that I can doze off at the drop of a hat. I’m sure it’ll take me several weeks or even a month or two to really get back to feeling normal.

I’ve started to pull back on my pain meds since the pain has lightened a bit. I haven’t had leg cramps in the last day (a huge relief) and the itchiness has gone now that I’m off the Percs (a definite downside to opiate medication). That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to kick them up for a period of time since recovery is all ups and downs.

I’m hoping to try some PT exercises at home once I feel up to it, starting with mild things like bridges, clamshells, squats and the like. My next appointment with my surgeon is January 13 when he will clip the ends of the dissolvable sutures and will likely discuss formal PT and steps moving forward. For now, I’m falling asleep. Goodnight and sweet dreams.

I’m still here!

It’s nearly 11 months post-PAO and nearly 6 months post SDD and I am still alive and kicking (although, technically, I still can’t kick, with either leg). I know I have been lax in providing updates but honestly, recovery is a SLOW game with small steps forward.  I have been in PT, off-and-on, since February, but recently my improvement, especially on my left side, is mostly stalled and in a holding pattern.  That said, I have a bit of news and some updates to report.  I also know that there are others who are going through similar surgeries and experiences that read my blog and I really want this to be a complete picture of what I have gone through (and continue to go through).

Right hip (PAO) first.  My right hip is doing pretty well with any remaining pain located in either my right greater trochanter or in my psoas at the front of my hip.  I’m hopeful that any remaining pain in these areas will get better with more time, keeping in mind that full recovery from a PAO is up to 2 years.  The only other problem I have with my right hip is that the screws along my iliac crest do give me some discomfort — not sure if they are unscrewing themselves (which is possible) or if the swelling around the incision has finally gone down.  I’ll get back to these screws in a bit.

Left hip (Surgical Dislocation).  Left hip is not doing nearly as well as the right.  I am finally off-crutch (for the most part) because my limp is gone (for the most part).  However, I still have pretty significant pain in my left greater trochanter and psoas.  The pain in the front of my hip seeps into the joint and sometimes I feel like the ball of the femur isn’t solidly in the joint which makes me wonder if I am subluxing my hip joint (click here – Hip Instability – for a bit of information on hip instability and subluxation).  The pain in the trochanter can get pretty severe to the point where I sometimes need to use my cane or crutch, both because of my limp and in an attempt to take the weight off my left hip.  The pain definitely gets worse 1) when it rains and 2) the more I walk.  Which leads me to…

I’m having another surgery!  Yes, that’s right, ANOTHER freaking surgery, and another holiday season sullied.  I am having the screws in my left hip (and possibly the screws in my right hip) removed in late December (exact date tbd).  Good news – it’s an out patient surgery, though I may be in the hospital overnight to ensure the pain is well managed.  Other good news — other people who have had their screws removed bounce back within a few weeks after the surgery and typically move quickly beyond the holding pattern of improvement to actually get better.

I am scheduled to meet with my surgeon on November 18th for my 6 month SDD follow-up and anticipate that my physical therapy benefits will be up around that time.  After my Dr. appointment I will know if any additional procedures (e.g., fluid drainage, scope) are required — I am hoping NO but we will see.

tumblr_mub3moYShU1qhvwbto1_500SO, aside from a new hair color (black and blue streaks), a new semester at law school (my second to last), and a new tattoo (amazing, huge, on my thigh, done by Seth Wood, and appearing at the bottom of the page [you can see the bottom of my PAO scar next to the bee above the flying bee]), that’s what’s new.  Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Recovery Lacks Pizzaz

It has been exactly one month since my PAO. I continue to gain strength in my operated leg.  Unfortunately, my not-yet-operated leg is deteriorating under the stress of bearing all of my weight.  I’m more tired than I thought I would be at this point and sleep around 10 hours a night. I seldom have any significant pain in my right hip joint. However, the muscles in my right thigh and around my right knee often ache, either from the surgery, the atrophy, or the fact that they are all stretched out because of the placement of the bone. I wake up every night because of the ache. My house is filled with equipment — multiple sets of crutches, a wheelchair, a walker, the list goes on. It’s more than three weeks until my next follow-up, more than three weeks until any of this changes. I live in pajamas, I have noticeable roots and I really need a haircut.

Now don’t get me wrong — I knew what I had signed up for. Recovery is a slow process and I need to let my body heal. But like so many things, knowing how things will be is a lot different than experiencing it. And now I know, and it has become ABUNDANTLY clear, that recovering from surgery is really freaking hard for me.

This may sound insane but surgery was exciting!  Pre-op appointments, learning where the cuts would be made, talking to the surgeon, blood draws, getting my bag packed, waking up early to make it to the hospital on time, checking in, getting myIV, being wheeled into the operating room?!? These adventures were WAY cool! And then I woke up and there are people everywhere and alarms going off and I realized I was stuck to 4 cables and, oh by the way, the surgery just happenend and possible complications and then there’s the days in the hospital and visitors and therapy and going home and being on drugs and follow-up appointments.  Novel! Excitement!!

Then, slowly, the excitement faded and there’s not much new and novel going on.  Life is getting back to normal, although slower and less shiny than before the surgery because, well, I’m recovering.  I’m back to work (from home, for which I am really thankful thankful since it permits me to have some interaction with the outside world, plus, it exercises my brain). I leave the apartment a few times a week with my husband but doing something as simple as going to dinner wears me out. I watch tv or draw. I am TOTALLY ready for my tax appointment. And I’m starting to research what my next surgery will be like, because even if it’s another PAO, it will be new and novel and a little bit exciting.

I know who I am, that I thrive when I am busy, that the busier I am the more I can get done and the happier I feel.  I grasp on to exciting new things, always looking for something I can do next.  Recovery has forced me to slow down, a lot, to stay in the moment and to let my body heal. There is no glitz, no glitter or sequins. Nothing new to target my sites on, nothing special, just more of the same but less… It is me, slowly getting better, without the shine or sparkle, the new or the novel. In this way, for me, recovery is way harder than the surgery was.

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).

20121214-180726.jpg

20121214-180746.jpg

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.