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[THR] About a month

Discussion in 'Hip Replacement Recovery Area' started by ely, Jan 11, 2019 at 10:17 AM.

  1. ely

    ely new member
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    Because of avascular necrosis, I had anterior surgery on right hip Wednesday December 12 with spinal anesthetic.

    I awoke in recovery with a major neck-ache and hallucinations like kaleidoscopes. Up in my room, everything sparkled, and my son was sitting facing me, and it was like a gossamer fabric between us. When I closed my eyes, I saw faces. One was sort of scary-looking, so I blinked and changed to a more pleasant one. It really let me know what a highly visual person might experience.

    I walked down the hall with the walker and noticed the surgery had left me with a much longer leg. (It has gotten better. At PT this week, it was measured to be 1 cm longer. Since the arch of my foot is still higher from the swelling, maybe when it flattens a little bit, that will make it closer. My doc said to give it six months.)

    I went home the next day on the 13th. I had to get the final semester grades in, so the next day sat at my table with my laptop and checked to see if any students had turned in late assignments and then worked on final grades and got them submitted on time. That felt like a relief – now I was off work until mid-January.

    I had oxycontin but it made me sick, so I just stuck with the high-strength Tylenol. Thus I didn’t experience any oxycontin side effects from then on. I had to give myself the Lovenox shot every day for two weeks, which made little bruises on my stomach. I found it was better to sit down to give the injection, and I did so every day at 8:30 a.m. It was fairly painless. I kept a tally of when I took the drugs so I could easily tell how long between painkillers.

    The first week, I could sleep only two hours at a time. I found three places to sleep – my bed, my recliner chair, and my sofa, but I didn’t use the sofa at first because it is low until well into the second week. I would get up and walk around between sleeps. I could feel my body was recovering from the shock of the surgery, but I was surprised that sleep was so seldom. I read two books, one for a book group scheduled for mid-January.

    I binge-watched Dead Like Me on Hulu or Netflix, not sure which one. I also binge-watched Gas Corner on Amazon Prime. Add to this some episodes of Cutthroat Kitchen and Nailed It. As you can see, I’ve been more on the comedic end. I’m sure I slept through a few episodes, dozing on in my recliner. I listen to This American Life archive, too.

    On about the fifth day, I woke up with a red foot. So I had to go for a scan to see if it was a blood clot. Fortunately, veins looked good. My doc recommended wearing a compressive stocking, so I ordered a pair. But when I tried to get one on with the sock thing, I couldn’t get it on, so I did not wear it for a couple weeks. But I did also order a leg-raise pillow so I began sleep with my feet upraised. Now I can get the sock on. I have a varicose vein, so maybe that is the cause of the red foot.

    I found it hurt the groin area a lot to lift my leg, but the leg-lifter tool was great. Before surgery, I had bought the kit that included it, the sock thing, the clipper, and a hook. I recommend the kit – it just makes things easier at first. Now it’s doing well.

    Between sleeps, I would do the PT exercises. Now I sleep about 4 hours at once. And then I can go back to sleep for a few more hours.

    I've noticed that when the swelling goes down, the pain goes up. At first my leg was swollen a third or so bigger than its normal size. As the swelling went down, pale-looking bruises appeared down my thigh and calf, around my knee. Even my shin has been sore. Now at four weeks, I do still have that pain. My calf feels like I’ve been running.

    My doc said he keeps patients on the walker for three weeks. So I used it even though it didn't seem necessary. However, I did not take it outside because it jolted on every bump, which felt dangerous. Last week, I switched to a cane, but I don't really need it, so I don't use it inside. I do take the cane with me when I go out. I’ve been walking eight blocks. I fortunately live in an good city walking area, and there are a lot of people out running, walking their dogs, or pushing baby strollers.

    I started driving last weekend. My doc said I could do so any time after the second week, but I waited a bit because my car is low. When I got in, I was able to left my leg in, and it was fine. What a relief. Freeing.

    My outside hip is still numb, but at last, today, some of the numbness is gone along with swelling. So it hurts. Kind of stinging ache. It likes to be stroked lightly. There is still numbness just below the incision. I also observe that at the top of the incision is a bump. I’m wondering if I should start massaging this.

    We’ve got a snowstorm going now, so I just cancelled my PT for this afternoon. But I will continue to do the exercises and will attend next week. It is 60 stairs up to my fifth floor apartment, but I have not done the stairs yet. It freaks me out a little to look down the 15-step flight, but I know I will do it soon. My on-campus classes begin in two weeks, and I'm confident that it will be a smooth process. Now to update my syllabus.

    A bit of an overview of the last four weeks, eh?
     
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    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019 at 11:02 AM
  2. Jaycey

    Jaycey SUPER MODERATOR Moderator

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    @ely Welcome to BoneSmart! Sounds like you are doing very well with this recovery.
    Hope this goes well. Even at 6 weeks out it is still very early to be returning to work. The recommend time off post THR is 10-12 weeks and then a Phased Return.

    Here are your recovery articles. Please note the article on energy drain. This may also impact your early return to work.

    Hip Recovery: The Guidelines

    1. Don’t worry: Your body will heal all by itself. Relax, let it, don't try and hurry it, don’t worry about any symptoms now, they are almost certainly temporary
    2. Control discomfort:
    rest
    elevate
    ice
    take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)​
    3. Do what you want to do BUT
    a. If it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physical therapist - to do it to you
    b. If your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again.​
    4. PT or exercise can be useful BUT take note of these
    BoneSmart philosophy for sensible post op therapy
    5. Here is a week-by-week guide for Activity progression for THRs

    Pain management and the pain chart
    Healing: how long does it take?
    Chart representation of THR recovery

    Dislocation risk and 90 degree rule
    Energy drain for THRs
    Pain and swelling control: elevation is the key

    Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it

    Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds
    Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

    BIG TIP: Hips actually don't need any exercise to get better. They do a pretty good job of it all on their own if given half a chance. Trouble is, people don't give them a chance and end up with all sorts of aches and pains and sore spots. All they need is the best therapy which is walking and even then not to excess.

    We try to keep the forum a positive and safe place for our members to talk about their questions or concerns and to report successes with their joint replacement surgery. While members may create as many threads as they like in a majority of BoneSmart's forums, we ask that each member have only one recovery thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review history before providing advice.
     
  3. Layla

    Layla FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Hi, Welcome to BoneSmart. :welome: Thanks for joining us and Congrats on your new hip!
    It sounds like you're doing really well. Wishing you a Happy One Month Anniversary:yay:
    Keep up the great progress and stay in touch. We love updates.
    A great weekend to you!
    @ely
     
  4. Hip Hip Hooray!

    Hip Hip Hooray! post-grad

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    Congratulations on making it through the surgery. Wow, that's a lot of steps. Keep up the great work.
     
  5. ely

    ely new member
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    Fortunately my work is health-stimulating. I get to be around all those bright & thoughtful minds. I teach research and writing, so I'm constantly learning. I've been so lucky to have the time off between semesters to go through this process.

    I was thinking of a couple messy occurrences:
    • Spilled the wet coffee grounds down the cabinet and onto the floor the first week. What can be harder to clean when you're not going down to the floor?
    • Fell asleep with the ice pack and awoke to the ice being melted out of pack and leaked all over me and my sofa. Brrr. I disposed of that ice pack, btw.
    • Left the lid open on my smoothie jar, so when I turned it on, it shot blackberries and banana all over the place on my second week.
    I've gotten into making a lot of smoothies. I add protein powder as well as flax to the fruit and coconut water. Easy way to get at least three fruit servings -- and some protein. Protein is so necessary to the healing.
     
  6. Debru4

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    ely--I know the general guidelines indicate a longer recovery period before returning to work, but I also know as a teacher/instructor sometimes our semester start up times don't coincide with those particular weeks. I am a retired teacher, but believe I could have returned to work part-time---up to 4-5 hours a day after 4-5 weeks. I couldn't have returned to full-time(8-10 hours a day) work at that point. I also had a very smooth recovery and know that isn't always the case.

    9 years ago, when I was 9 years younger:heehee:, I had back surgery and returned to elementary school teaching, 1/2 days at 4 weeks (right after the Christmas break), which is what you are suggesting. It went fine.

    However, the key is, I wasn't on any narcotics, and I had the support of a great school team. If I had needed to take more time, I could have, which also gave me peace of mind. Had I had any doubt about my ability to make it work, I would have asked for more time up front. I think that's so important---to have a back up or exit plan if you choose to return to work sooner than typical.

    Good luck to you!
     
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  7. Mojo333

    Mojo333 FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    :wave: a new hippy getting through recovery so they can get on with life:yes!:
    You sound too be doing very well.
    Keep things slow...and if you do go back to work...(I went back too early but finances and my position necessitated my return) the energy drain and extra activity will dictate you do a Whole Lot of Nothing when you get home.
    Hope you are still icing it up!:ice:
    Happy One Month Hipversary!:tada:
     
  8. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, NURSE DIRECTOR Administrator

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    It's not uncommon for it to make people nauseous.

    I'd really like to offer you some structured advice but in order to do that, I also need to ask you some questions. Are you willing for me to do that?
     

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