Some of you may not want a blow by blow description of my experiences - so don't read this. LOL However many of my friend/fans on StoryStar find it interesting, some are even contemplating getting a hip (or knee) replaced themselves. This is my journey, yours may be different. In the next post I will talk about the Mental aspects of going through this procedure. How the lack of chronic pain is such a relief, that you get almost a runners high. How your dreams are affected by the pain medication, and your mood iS overwhelmed with gratitude. But that is for next time.
So here we go:
I hardly know where to begin! It took two years for me to reach the point where I was willing to have the surgery. It took two minutes to be glad I had it done. For those of you (who like me) are putting it off after it is bone on bone- well…don’t.
I do have surgical pain, and yesterday’s car ride to the Physical Therapist was a nightmare - my leg swelled up in the car, pushing me into the side panel. It is a ten year old truck however, so it wasn’t that comfortable to begin with. When I got home I tooK my two pain meds (Tylenol and NORCO)- put ice on so many places I looked like frozen modern art- and laid down for a while.
But none of that compares to the absence of pain. That chronic bone grinding, spirit chewing, mood munching, will sapping, constant barrage of pain from the bone on bone Arthritis- gone. I have drenched my pillow with tears of thanks to all of you, the Medical Marvels available, the Engineers, Scientists, and Doctors too. Those tears were followed closely by their close cousin: tears of Gratitude and relief.
It is humbling to be helpless. I thought my “firsts” were all behind me. Nope. I have a whole slew of new “firsts” flying at me willy nilly. My first operation. My first anesthesia. My first time wearing Pressure socks, Plasma Socks, and wrap around Ice Flow bandages that “ice” the hip for hours at a time. Ice has been my ally against pain, swelling and discomfort. Yea for Ice!
I have two children - and they have been magnificent caregivers- juggling their own busy lives to fit me in. In fact, both were willing to drop everything and take care of dear old dad. I don’t need Father’s Day this year to remind me how lucky I am to be a Dad. My Kathy, well, there isn’t a kinder, sweeter, smarter, more caring care giver in the world She is spoiling me rotten.
I asked her if it was going to be like this the rest of our marriage? She laughed.
“Don’t bet on it, Kevin.”
Until I get around a bit better, she is both my arms and legs- head nurse, and chief bottle washer. And then she goes to Work! So hugs to her too.
Now some tidbits of various kinds. If you get this done, get a hospital bed for home use. You can rent them. I know that…now. LOL Make sure those first five days (at least) someone is there with you 24/7. Don’t think you can just have someone check up on you…you can’t. The risk of falling, or of a setback, or a freak occurrence is high those first few days. Really high. So make sure you have someone there, and your phone on a cord around your neck.
If you trip, you aren’t going to be able to reach a phone on a table in another room.
How easy is it to be careful and still do something that might injure you, or mess up the surgery? Well, here are three short “Yikes” moments I have had in seven days. Two of them made me scream. I have discovered that I scream like a B Monster Movie Chick from the Fifties. High pitched, tinny sounding, and shrill. LOL
So here they go- in order of experience:
I was wearing my ice wrap around my hips. On my legs were the plasma pumps (Kathy call them “clamps”. Both of them use velcro to seal themselves around your body. In order to use the rest room, I have to unplug, uncouple, and unwrap the Ice Flow wrap. I can leave the “clamps” around my calves on while I go to the bathroom. They are not in the way.
Well, it was dark, I was in pain, and I thought I had done everything right. I was wrong. The long velcro strap from the Ice flow wrap had attached itself to one of the plasma socks “clamps” on my leg. If I hadn’t used my walker, I would have fallen. As it was I dragged the ice chest off of its stand- Luckily, it just fell onto the bed.
A simple thing like a dangling velcro strap, and I might have had to go back to get fixed up.
The second near incident was from trying to elevate my leg to reduce swelling. A recliner is no where near the elevation you need for your leg to be above your heart. As the Therapist said yesterday:
“Doc says that if you are laying flat on a couch, the leg you are elevating should be on the back of it.” That is a ballpark figure. So Kathy and I stack a whole bunch of throw pillows at the foot of my bed. (Did I mention that you can rent a hospital bed? And if you did, you could just make the bed do the lifting?)
She placed my leg on top of our impromptu pyramid and I laid down to drain. It was working fine. Except I forgot my foot was two feet in the air on a pile of pillows. So when I got up to pee- as soon as my weight shifted, the leg plummeted right to the ground. Missing the edge of the bed completely.
I screamed. Kathy had gone down stairs to put the sheets in the dryer. So there I was - stuck at a weird angle - in agony, and I did it to myself. (By the way, Hospital beds have railings…so my leg couldn’t have fallen out of the bed. I’m just saying.)
That set me back for quite a few hours.
And the last one:
I wear pressure socks (like you see on old people and NBA Stars). Kathy or my daughter have to put them on for me. Then I wrap the plasma Socks (that pump air up and down your calf like a massage chair) around them when I am laying down.
So I have to poop.
Off comes the Ice Flow Pad: disconnect the hoses, unwrap the velcro, turn off the pump. Make sure no velcro had decided to cling to the clamps of the plasma socks. Check. Okay. Angle legs to undo the six attachments that keep the clamps in place - and make sure they haven’t velcro’d to anything, like say: a blanket, towel, or the the ice wrap. Check.
Okay, grab the walker and hobble to the bathroom. Squeeze myself into position between the commode and the tiny space between the tub and sink. (We have a truly tiny bathroom) I plop down on the seat. Everything works like the Doctor ordered (I am on stool softeners, mild laxatives, and easily digested foods).
Then I go to wipe myself.
We have tile floors in our bathroom. My pressure socks are made out of silk. I leaned to one side and put all my weight on bad leg. (You see where this is going don’t you?)
My Surgical leg shot out like a Hockey Goalie in the Stanley cup finals leg might have. This time my scream earned me a supporting actor role in THE BLOB. No real harm done, but the pain-o-meter went on the fritz for a few hours - again.
So there you go. Three ways that things can go wrong in a heartbeat. I am sure I will discover some more.
I have moved on from the Walker, and now walk with a cane again. I still use the walker if we have to go to an appointment, but around the house, I do my laps with a cane only.
Okay, I wanted to get to the mental parts of the last week, because they are phenomenal. But that will have to be a later post. My body has let me know it is time to lay down and take my meds.
And believe me, you learn to listen to your body when you get this done!