8 weeks Post Op. Am I Hip Happy?

So, I am 8 weeks out of surgery.  Time to assess my situation.

Am I Hip Happy?  

What’s new?

Well.  I can lift my leg up in the air like this:

While this does not seem like a big deal, it really is.  I was completely not able to do that prior to surgery.  Now, after 8 weeks, it seems easy. I was just able to do this on Sunday this week. I showed it off to the Physical Therapist yesterday.  He was properly impressed. Even though he has been sort of jerky, he did understand the significance of this, as he was the one who looked at that before surgery and said, “You can’t lift it at all?” You sure?

If I walk quickly, I walk fairly normally.  If I walk really slowly, it does look like I have a rolling gait, and if I walk a regular pace, I still have a few issue with my gait.  I can walk up to 2 miles slowly.   I have not tried more.

I am able to run in the pool now, up to 35 minutes at a time with very minimal pain. When I first started pool running it hurt each time my left foot struck the bottom of the pool.  Now it only hurts once in a while and usually because I’ve twisted something incorrectly.

I’m allowed to use the elliptical, and have gone as far as 2 miles on it in 20 minutes.  I love using it because I don’t have to worry about gait, or too much strain on my hip.

I’m able to do a great deal of weights at the gym, though not everything.

I am able to do all of my regular activities of daily living with no help.  Dishes/Laundry/driving/Groceries/Pet Care/basic home cleaning.  I no longer am exhausted from just walking to take out the trash. Carrying stuff over 30 pounds does seem to freak out my hip, like my body can not adjust to the load.  (dog food.)

I can put on my shoes pretty much like a normal person does.  Though I admit my left will not bed as nicely as the lady in the pic has hers bent.  But post surgery, I could not get socks on and had to lift up my foot and insert it into the shoe,  shoving the shoe on the foot is much easier. 

I am having a great deal LESS pain than prior to the surgery.  My pain now mostly occurs when I do too much, which is a problem that I do not take seriously, until I over do it.   I also know many ways to alleviate the pain through certain stretches and avoiding things like pivoting.

My Scars now are extremely insignificant.  In fact, I think most people would be shocked that those two little faded out spots are from a Hip Surgery. I have been careful to sunscreen them though.

Emotionally, I am in a much better place than I was even 5 weeks post surgery.  I feel much more alert and able to handle things that come my way. Prior to surgery I felt that way too, I think the surgery just sort of knocked me for a loop there.

What is “not new”  or New but not fun…

I still have occasional bouts of pain.  Today I clearly overdid it, because I am having a lot of pain post gym.  Motrin and Aleve do not really help the pain, which is maddening to me.

I still can not sleep on either side, as it causes immediate Groin/labrum pain.  Of course laying on my back relieves it just as quickly. I was a left sided sleeper, and I do miss that.

My left side of my hip is still sore.  It hurts to lay on it, especially on a hard surface.

I am unable to run on land.  Though in 2 more months I will probably be able to do this! I have jogged a little once or twice, and noted that the pressure put on the hip is intense.  I’m not ready for it.

My hip when it is not hurting feels somewhat stiff and inflexible.

My Range of Motion in the hip is somewhat limited (see above stiff and inflexible).

I continue to have to be somewhat careful about how I move.  If I stand and pivot I am inviting severe pain and an accident!

I still walk fairly slowly, and am unable to adjust very quickly to changing situations….like trying to adjust and catch a ball when someone shouts “Head Up!”

After a Moderate workout, I usually need a power nap of 1-3 hours.

My Concerns:

I am of course, concerned about how running is going to go.

I wonder if my Range of Motion will always remain this limited.

I wonder if I will always have this pain when I overdo things.

I also wonder sometimes if I have retorn the labrum, but this seems so unlikely, that I think I just wonder unnecessarily.

My Anxiety regarding my recovery made me a difficult person to be around and some people have been avoiding me.  This makes me feel terrible, but I do understand where they are coming from.  People who are irritable and depressed are difficult to deal with.  Once I started to walk fairly well, most people expected I’d bounce into my goofy happy self.  I actually got a little worse, probably because some of the support I was getting disappeared and also my expectations were probably a bit high right off the bat.  I hope over time, the people will forgive me as much as they can.

Am I Glad I did this?

A lot of people have asked me this on the internet, the employee health nurse, a variety of friends and such.

While I felt like I had no choice, I am  glad that I had the surgery done.  I do feel better 75% of the time.  I also feel that after the 24 month total healing cycle, I will be much better.

What do I wish I would have known?

I knew, but ignored the fact that I would need A LOT of help post surgery.  Being stubborn, I refused a lot of help that was offered. In retrospect, I probably should have set up a schedule and asked people to come by one a day for an hour or so, for 2 weeks post surgery.  Simple things, like fixing my own cup of coffee were so frustrating. I had tons of offers for help, I did not have to endure such frustration.  In addition, I became unnecessarily isolated.

I wish I would have understood how long it would take to really feel improvement.

I wish I would have known I was going to suffer quite a bit of insomnia.

I wish I had understood just how de-conditioned my body would get.

I wish the Physician had encouraged me to take 8 weeks off work from the get go.  He mentioned it, but, did not really encourage it.

I wish I had had more instruction on wound care!  As an Emergency Department Nurse, I really had no experience with healing wounds.  So by scrubbing my incisions with chlorhexidine I thougt I was avoiding infection, well yes, but I was delaying the healing and possibly making the scars HUGE.

I wish I had known more about dealing with my own anxiety and fears.

I also wish that others would have understood more about dealing with my anxiety and fears.

I wish also that I had been better equipped to clearly explain my anxiety and fears!!!

I wish someone would have told me that when I got my period my groin pain would increase exponentially, and not to worry about that. (Sounds dumb, but really not dumb at all.)

I wish I had started the pool running sooner.

I wish I had started out my PT relationship on better footing.  Not sure how that could have happened though.

Unexpected surprises:

I started to learn to quilt.  I had wanted to do this for years now.  I am TERRIBLE at it!  But I am enjoying it.  It is creative, and I like the fact that I can make something useful and pretty.

I made a few new friends at the gym.  One in particular, Rick, a man about my age with severe Cerebral Palsy.  he walks with a walker. I’ve always seen him in the gym but we never spoke.  When I was still on crutches he came up to me one day and just really encouraged me.  We always speak now in the gym, and I love that we are friends.  He is such an encourager.  No matter how weird and anxious and needy I was, he was always smiling and telling me how much better I was looking each time.  I hope to become better friends with him.    I found some people were not as supportive as I wanted, but I have come to realize now that people are as supportive as they can be.  For some, it’s a lot, for others, it is not.  I am now more grateful for each expression of support, because it is what that person could give at that time.

People LOVE the handicapped Bathroom.  I find that they choose it above all others.  I know that rarely is there a handicapped person who needs the bathroom, but I was amazed at how many times at the gym I would struggle into the bathroom, and find the handicapped occupied by a very able bodied woman.

Emotionally, I am much more brittle than I knew.  Even with trying to prepare properly for this sort of thing, i was still woefully unable to cope.

9 week follow up with Dr Brcka in one week.  I am excited to see him.  I am still quite worried about the trifecta of the Doctor, myself and the Physical Therapist.  It seems that we are not exactly all on the same team all the time!

Getting excited about Comrades 2013!!!!

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19 thoughts on “8 weeks Post Op. Am I Hip Happy?

  1. Hi! You left a comment on my blog about my nautical quilt and I can’t reply because you are a ‘no-reply blogger’. I just wanted to let you know that quilt wasn’t too tough. If you decide to tackle it, please feel free to email me with questions. You may have a hard time finding the pattern, it was in last summers’ Quilt’s and More.
    Good luck with your recovery! Sounds like quite an ordeal. And I will admit to using the handicap stall, I have a 2 yr old and it’s the only stall with room enough for a stroller! but I do make it quick. 😉

    • I never understand the no reply thing!!! I’m going to have to figure it out! thanks for the quilt info. The recipient has now changed her mind 3 more times about the nursery, so I am waiting.
      And no worries about the handicapped stall. I think with a stroller, you are deffo entitled to some considerations. But when you are 12….it’s just an odd choice.
      thanks for the offer for help with the quilt. I am a struggling quilter!

    • I wonder too, I think a lot of info was given to me that I ignored, or did not process well. I do remember the Ortho Doc telling me that I might be able to go back to work 3 weeks post op but that I would be limping around. I sort of blocked that out… So I wonder how much else I blocked out of my mind. I also remember at the first follow up, my surgeon telling me “You are going to have more pain”. Even though he told me this, I still was scared to death when I did in fact have more pain.. Duh.

      As for the anxiety, I don’t know that most people would have reacted quite like I did, and it certainly was unexpected, even for me. It is a vicious circle, you get upset and get reassurance, then get upset again, and such.

      I think I was pretty well prepared by the Physician, but I chose to ignore many things, or some of the things I was told didn’t really sink in, until the actual misery of the thing came to pass. I think also because everyone is different, people are hard pressed to predict what will happen….

      I am really stubborn, so it’s hard to know. I wish I was less so, but then I guess I wouldn’t be me!

  2. I think you’re being too hard on yourself. No one ever knows in the end how a major surgical procedure will go; everyone’s recovery is different, each of us processes information and pain differently. When a friend went through bypass surgery, he was so angry and unpleasant afterwards that no one wanted to go near him. One day he called and apologized, saying during those weeks of recovery he felt out of control and depressed that he might not be able to resume a normal life and travel, eat out, or even go for a run around the block. What made things worst was he was a therapist and spent a lot time with people recovering from traumatic events. He said he knew what was going on, but it made no difference: he hurt, he was mad about his body not doing what he thought it should be doing, and he drove all of his friends away. He said it taught him a lot about empathy—“I’ll never tell anyone again to stop feeling sorry for themselves.”

    I try not using the handicapped stall in a restroom: the place I used to work at had a rule that said if we weren’t disabled and a regular stall was available, we should leave the handicapped one open for those who really needed it. (And we did have a number of coworkers in wheelchairs or using walkers.) I have to confess however that it’s nice to have a stall large enough that I can change clothes in it or haul all of my shopping, backpack, and purse inside. Some places have stalls so tight and dark, you feel like you’re in a coffin. I’ll remember you the next time I walk into a public restroom, however!

    • I thought of you today! I went in to the gym bathroom, and of course, noted the handicapped occupied by this super fit lady! Luckily I no longer have need of the handicapped one. I think I will probably always be a bit sensitive to that now. though I am probably guilty of using the handicapped in the locker room as a changing area as well…

      • So every time you use the restroom, you’ll think of me? LOL!

        But seriously, I’m so glad you’re doing better. You’re working out in the gym more than I ever did when I was 100% healthy!

  3. It sounds like you are making progress and that you have learned lots about yourself and what you would do differently in the future. It seems that you are looking at this experience as a whole and all the different things that have come out it which is really neat and insightful. That is great that you’ve made a new friend at the gym and also that you’ve learned how to quilt. Sometimes its hard to admit to our weaknesses amongst our strengths and I think the fact that you were able to look at yourself and see where you are and what you would do differently. That is truly amazing.

  4. Anxiety and fear is the worse. It’s hard to explain to somebody when you yourself do not really know what’s going on.Chronic pain also put you in such a bad mood no matter how happy a person you are normally. I remember feeling this way the first year after my car accident (when I tore my hip labrum).

    It’s funny you mentioned that your hip hurts more when you get your period. Yep, I feel the same way that time of the month and I always know when it’s going to rain the next day.

    I could only lift my leg about an inch off the ground when I first got injured. Now I can lift it perpendicular to the ground like in your picture on it took me a while and lots of hip exercise and stretching on my own to get there. My 2nd orthopedic surgeon told me that my pain level (2-3 / 10) is as good as it going to get for my injury. I’m managing the pain from my hip injury fine (I exercise and am able to do most things I’ve done previously), but there are still days when it puts me in a dark mood. I always wonder if surgery will make a big difference for me.

    I’m glad to read that you are doing well. I can’t wait to read about your pain level and mobility several months from now.

    • Small Steps, I should probably in all honesty tell you that, according to the PT, My Mobility is 100%. The thing is prior to surgery, I was “hypermobile” so now normal mobility feels tight.
      And In addition, if I didn’t have the Ultra-Marathon as my goal, I would probably be discharged from PT and allowed to start jogging in 2 months, it’s just that I have this goal, and the particular race requires a lot of quadriceps control, so we are working on that… a lot at this point is my goals that are making PT takeso long and for them to decalre me “done” though I should be done in about 2 months.
      I wish I walked more like a normal person, but I think I will not for the rest of my life, and I am ok with that….

  5. I think you are making wonderful progress and things are starting to fall into place. I think your range of motion will continue to improve – my ankle and my rotator cuff are still improving. I still do my stretches though because both areas get stiff if I don’t and that reduces their rom.

    I was with a cast and crutches for 10 days alone before the manservant could get home – I said “no” to all offers of help because I didn’t want to feel that I was putting people out. Two years later when I broke my shoulder the manservant was in Chile and I asked for help from friends right from the hospital! 🙂 It took him 11 days to get home that time due to the earthquake. People really don’t mind assisting – it’s the accepting of help or asking for it from us injured that’s the most difficult.

  6. so glad the surgery is a success so far. It will take a while with the physical therapy but hello, those are really great things – lifting your leg, putting on shoes like a normal person. Just don’t rush it and let your body heal even though I feel like you and I are similar in that we just move. 🙂 Take care of your self!

  7. Anne says:

    Reading your story was like reading mine… you had the same feelings going through the post surgery as I did…. feelings about Friends being there and Not…Fears. My very best friend was not there for me at all…. I was so disappointed…but I had others step up to help… I am single so it was a challenge, my boyfriend broke up with me the 2nd day I was home from the hospital…said he could not do this… I was counting on him…he let me down… however I appreciate all the support I got and focused on that only to heal and get through a very hard time in my life…. I as well overdo and have to rest… I have always been fit and strong and it was frustrating at times…. but in all I am so happy to have my new hip and not have pain walking… I love to walk and I love life….. thank you …. its 8 weeks for me and I still have not tried to put on my shoe yet… but I will try today…

  8. Holly says:

    I’M SO GLAD I READ YOUR POST. I AM 5 WEEKS POST OP TOTAL RIGHT HIP REPLACEMENT. I JUST FINISHED MY WALK DID SOME DISHES DID SOME LAUNDRY AND I’M TIRED UM I NEVER USE TO BE LIKE THAT SO IT’S VERY FRUSTRATING. I GUESS I ASSUMED THAT I WAS SO ACTIVE THAT I WOULD JUST COME HOME AND BE ABLE TO DO EVERYTHING IN MY MIND. I DROVE MY CAR 3 WEEKS POST OP SO I FEEL PRETTY GOOD ABOUT THAT. I STILL HAVE A SLIGHT LAKE DISCREPANCY MAYBE AN INCH HAS ANYONE DEALT WITH THAT? Hope to hear from some of you thanks much holly..

    • It sounds as if you are doing well Holly. I did not have a hip replacement- so my journey and yours are going to be somewhat different. But the aftermath of surgery is something that seems to take forever to recover from! Hang in there!

  9. michael says:

    just take your bloody time it takes about 1 year to notice the full relief from hip replacement i know i have had one a ceramic on ceramic , now just look after the dam thing . they think they can run on them climb bloody evrest its an artificial hip it will last for years and years provided you look after the bloody thing . these sportsman like jimmy conners the great tennis player etc have destroyed hips needing early revision because the treat them harder than you would a normal human hip . you look after it my lady and your new hip will look after you .if your hip is uncemented give it that 3 months for the bone to really grow into the new hip holding it rock solid . its not a race .

    • You do realize that this was over 20 months ago now? My hip wasn’t replaced, I had a totally different surgery than a replacement! My hip is lovely now, and doing what was recommended returned me to successful completion of the Bayshore Marathon! I may have lacked patience, but I had a superior outcome!

  10. doc martin says:

    your 8 weeks here is my advise get the hell out of that gym and give your hip a chance to heal before you wreck it , your only 8 weeks post op give it 6 months before you go back to the gym deep tissues and muscles and the joint capsual need time to heal . now give it a chance it will be 12 months before before your hip has fully come on im a vetren of three hip replacements recently having my right hip done two weeks ago for the first time . like you i hate having to be so patient with it but thats the way it is this ceramic on ceramic i want to give it evrey chance for the bone and tissues to heal and give my 30 40 years of use . you lack patience give your bones a chance to heal it takes 3 months or longer your to ruin your hip if you dont slow down a bit till its heald .people are so stupid . dr martin .

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