So it’s been just over a week since my anterior hip replacement surgery and, while I expected to do well after surgery, even I am impressed with how well things are going.
Surgery was on Monday morning and I was discharged about noon on Tuesday. Anterior hip replacement, which is much less invasive than the older method used on my other hip, is considered “outpatient” and thus the quick discharge. My right/first hip was replaced about 11 years ago and I have about a 12-inch scar on the outside of my hip (20+ staples to close the incision). This surgery, done from the front (or anterior) has left me with about a six-inch scar on the front of my leg, starting about the panty line. The leg muscles are moved out of the way — not cut, so everything is much more stable afterward. They even have a really cool surgical bed for the procedure. Your feet are put into boots and then moved around as needed for surgery.
They had me up and walking soon after surgery (with the help of a walker). Pain management was done with oral oxycodone and Tylenol, but there was actually very little pain. (The doctor injects pain medication into the surgical site, so that helps.) I’ve taken one oxy the day I got home from the hospital and done well on just Tylenol since then.
I got home Tuesday and home physical therapy started on Wednesday. I’m getting around with just my cane, although for short trips in the house, I’ve started leaving the cane behind and just walking on my own. Next week I finish in-home therapy and will switch to outpatient. Which is fine, except that I have to figure out how to get across town for my appointments. Technically, my doctor’s orders say I can drive at this point, but I haven’t tried it yet. Getting in and out of the car (which I’ve done once since surgery) isn’t the most comfortable thing I can do. Luckily, it’s my left leg, not my right/driving one.
There are a few things that are a bit of a challenge such as getting in bed, some parts of getting showered and dressed, etc. The main thing is just getting my energy back. I do pretty well when I get up, but it doesn’t take much for me to run out of steam.
I’ve often said that it’s not the big things in life, it’s the little things, and this situation is no different. The big things — surgery and recovery so far — are good. But, for example, they stuck me more than 15 times over a four-hour period starting at 1:00 am to get labs so they could discharge me. They couldn’t discharge me without the labs so I didn’t have a choice. The lab techs and floor nurses all tried. Then they called in the team from the ER and then the team from the ICU, then a second team from the ICU after shift change. In the midst of all that, my IV blew and I wouldn’t let them start another one. I told them if they couldn’t find a vein to draw blood, I sure wasn’t going to let them find a vein to hold an IV. One guy from the ICU actually listened to me when I told him of an earlier horror story where they used a vein in my foot, and that’s where he finally was able to draw blood. I actually have more bruises from the blood draw than I do the surgery.
But I’m doing great. My husband stayed home with me the first week. He went back to work this past Monday but I had a girlfriend come hang out. We actually went out at lunch and grabbed a sandwich — the first time I’d been out since surgery. I have the PT guy three days this week and my cleaning lady today, so I really don’t have much of a chance to lay around and be lazy.
My rheumatologist asked for the pathology report from my hip. We’re still searching for answers on what actually is going on with me. It’s hard to diagnose when my labs always come back normal. We’re hoping that the actual joint will yield some clues. After that, I have my surgeon follow-up on 2/20, so I’ll be posting updates as things progress.
I’m blessed to have so much love and support from family, friends, neighbors, and my RA peeps. It truly does make a world of difference knowing that there are people out there who care if you’re doing well. And I am — both blessed and doing well. Thank you so much — and thanks for checking in.