Tag Archives: hips

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.

(Mostly) Hardware Free 2014

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a fantastic time celebrating the end of 2013/start of 2014.  I spent last evening at home, recovering from yesterday’s removal of 7 of the 8 screws that were installed during my PAO and Open surgeries. Here’s a (rather long) recap of how surgery went and how recovery has gone so far.

Before surgery...

Excited pre-op

Surgery was initially expected to take about an hour and a half; it ended up taking closer to two and a half hours. Anesthesia consisted of a spinal and sedation. Dr. S started by removing the 3 screws from the left side which had bursitis that he had to clean-up and then removed 4 of the 5 screws from my right side (1 of the screws was positioned too deep to be easily removed).

I woke up in the PACU in a lot of pain in my left side, a burning ache from my left hip down my left side into my knee and cramping my left calf, pain at about a 7 or 8/10. The pain in my right side was not nearly as bad, about 3/10.

...after surgery

Exhausted post-op

The nurse injected liquid Motrin into my IV (which basically had no effect) and then injected Dilauded which worked right away (thank goodness). Dr. S stopped by to check on me (I only vaguely remember that he was there, I was still drugged from surgery) and talked to my husband about how the procedure went. The nurses in pre-op and the PACU were very warm and helpful (another great experience at HSS).

I was in the PACU for 2-3 hours, had 1/2 a cheese sandwich and some ginger ale, and my first dose of Percocet. I got to the point where I felt ok enough (pain at about a 4/10) that I managed to dress myself and was released last evening.

The evening was uneventful and I faithfully took my Percocet every 4 hours, even through the night which was restless and insomnia filled. Unfortunately, this morning I made the mistake I tend to make the day after surgery – I felt so OK, pain wise, that I thought I could wait 5-6 hours to take my pain meds. Bad, bad idea. The pain in my left side, which had been at a steady 3 or 4 out of 10, spiked to 8/10, and I was suddenly in tears. Just then a nurse from HSS called to check-in with me (perfect timing) and reminded me that I MUST take my pain pills every 4 hours on the dot. So I’m on it, the pain’s down to about a 5 or 6/10, and we’ll see how the next few hours go.

Right hip

Screw removal -- Right hip (gauzed) (2)Here are some photos of the surgical coverings (and a peek at a few of my tattoos).  My left hip is on the left side, my right hip on the right.  I can’t take off the gauze or take a shower until Friday so I won’t know how long the incisions are until then. Bathing in the sink until then — Yippee!

My next appointment with Dr. S is Jan 13th when the stitches will be clipped and the steri-strips replaced.  For now and the next few weeks I plan to take my pills and take it very easy.

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.

Maybe I Overestimated

I has been 1 week since my surgery and a little over 1 week until my first follow-up appointment (December 28th).

I’m starting to think that how I was feeling on Tuesday was just a tease, a day when I didn’t feel so bad that I was lulled into believing the worst was over and I was on the way to getting back to normal. It may have been the fact that I was finally allowed to take a shower or that the hospital meds were still in my system. In any event, I cannot emphasize enough how wrong I was.

Wednesday was a rough day that made me believe that I haven’t even experienced the worst of the pain less than the idea that am recovering. My hip, hip joint, incision site, my thigh, my lower back, core muscles, backside, and un-operated leg are so incredibly tight and sore. It aches to simply lay down and can be frightening when I move about the apartment on my walker because I feel genuinely afraid of falling down when my left leg starts to shake. Falling down would be a disaster because it could mean that the screws which are holding my acetabulum in place could break or bend — and would therefore require more surgery. Today is a little better but I am shockingly exhausted and my legs seem to shake all the time.

I have been doing my PT exercises, as much as I can. They are really basic — flex/extend ankles; press thigh into the bed, raise a can over my head while lying over my back — and from what I understand these will be the basic exercises I will be doing for several weeks. This part of the process is less about strengthening than rebuilding, letting my pelvic bones grow mesh back together into one cohesive unit.The hope is that meshing will be done by the 6 week follow-up (late January) at which time I can I can start weight-bearing on both legs and eventually be off crutches in February or March 2013.

By way of a reminder and as I previously noted (and as is probably evinced by my bizzaro writing), I am on a lot of pain and focusing is not my greatest skill. Sometimes I just start writing and get distracted but keep writing and then look down and it’s like my fingers have a mind of their own. I have also taken to falling asleep while people are talking to me on the phone or in person, like i blink and in that single second I fall asleep and start dreaming and simply forget to reopen my eyes. Also, as I try to type late and night I repeatedly just about drop my iPad or iPhone when I start to drift off to sleep. I thought that was a late night problem but I am revising my note this morning and the problem is just as bad.

One note of thanks to those who kindly sent flowers and treats from Zabars They are really beautiful and yummy — here is post them.

20121220-131418.jpg

20121220-131436.jpg

20121220-131501.jpg

20121220-132209.jpg

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!

20121216-110032.jpg