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[THR] Are We There Yet?

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Barbaraj

Barbaraj

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Good morning all—it’s my first full day at home and I am resolved today to get more organized. After being home for a brief while yesterday afternoon I realized my operated leg was getting really swollen. I know icing is recommended but it made me even more stiff somehow. But I dutifully kept at it on and off for the afternoon and will do it today as well.

At least initially I am trying Tylenol during the day (although have stronger stuff if I need it) with a Tramadol before bed, and another one after 6 hours if I wake up and I'm in pain. Last night made it to 2:00 AM when I woke up and my left hip was aching from sleeping on my left side, plus I agreed to get a flu shot yesterday in the hospital and foolishly requested my left arm! Sore all over the left side of my body. Anyway, dragged out various pillows and pitched them on the floor, rolling over on my back, sleeping until 5:30 when I got up, and pee’d. Then back to bed and hubby helped me onto my side again with pillows put back. I’ve realized the week’s activities are all going to feel like a MAJOR production! All those PT exercises I did in the hospital yesterday have been ditched (not really pain but muscles in my thigh just ain’t functioning!) so doing foot pumps and knee presses only.

By the way, I’ve read that lots of folks have been required to wear these oh-so-attractive thigh high compression stockings and have hated them. I have ‘em on too, but kind of like them at the moment—they keep my legs warm which I like in bed. I may loathe them after a few days but not a problem now.

So, first day home has begun, the long journey begins. Will use my thread as others have done as a journal for recovery. Will help me, I’m hoping, look back and see real progress as the weeks go by.
 
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Barbaraj

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And @Lea61, I feel very lucky to have been so clear headed in recovery, posting using my cell phone to help pass the time, a real possibility with the sedation/spinal option. Who knows if I will be one of the lucky ones who have a relatively straightforward recovery, but if I do I hope it will help others who have read some of the posts here from folks who are really struggling and (like me) we’re getting a bit freaked out. I realize I am a wordy poster so folks might get bored with my long entries but I am going to keep writing if only for myself. Cheers, and good luck with your upcoming appointment.
 
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Layla

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Hi @Barbaraj
I hope today is a good one for you. Sounds like getting comfortable last night took some effort. You'll get it figured out. Maybe you'll be able to sneak in a nap this afternoon :fingersx: I guess at this point, sleep when and where you can. Our bodies do their best healing while we're sleeping.

Are your compression socks thigh high? That would be awful. I had knee high and hated them, I can't imagine thigh high but it seems another recently mentioned having thigh high TED's also. Using your thread as a journal is wise, especially with the knowledge you may experience this again at some point. I may also and wish I would have used my thread more effectively....as a means of comparison. Haha....which we're not supposed to do. But C'mon...who doesn't? Lol.
Hope you have a good one!
 
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Barbaraj

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Thanks, @Layla. I am feeling pretty good today, not in any real pain (again, keep waiting for that other shoe to drop although you said it won't necessarily happen). Plan for the day is to figure out a schedule for myself. I felt a bit out to sea when I got home, forgot my evening dose of aspirin and stuff is scattered all over the place--bedroom looks like a bomb hit it! As I've said before, I thrive best in a calm, organized environment so really need to do some work on that today.
 

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Hi @Barbaraj, funny you mention being alert after spinal-sedation. My retired RN sister came up for my surgery. In the days before the surgery she was saying that when she gets her hip replaced (she needs it but has other health issues) ... she was definitely going for full anesthesia. No spinal for her, she said.

I arrived after surgery to my room. And I'm talking ...

My sister sits in a chair in the corner and pipes up, "OMG, I can tell you had a spinal. You are so alert. Oh my!"

She was surprised and thrilled for me ... not sure if this changed her mind about spinal sedation or not ... but your story reminded me of her reaction. Actually her reaction was a boost for me. Oh, I must be doing well if my sister who is terrified of a spinal is now saying how sharp I am after a spinal!
 
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Barbaraj

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Hey, @Going4fun, I was really happy to be so alert, although I tolerate general anesthesia pretty well, too. I was admittedly terrified of the whole spinal/sedation, but primarily because I was irrationally frightened of waking up during at any time during the procedure, hearing what was going on but being so drugged I couldn't let anyone know. I was practically weeping by the time the anesthesiologist came in to talk to me--I was a total basket case! They were very kind, listened to my past scary stories about half-assed sedation, and reassuringly told me that I would not be waking up. They then gave me a small shot of Versed (I think) which immediately calmed me down and felt so good--wish I could have had that seconds after getting to the hospital! The spinal didn't hurt at all, tiny prick in my back for the numbing agent, and then some zings and twinges when they put in the actual spinal but not painful at all. And I was immediately asleep after that and didn't wake up until I was in recovery. Glad you had the same sort of experience as well. Since I will undoubtedly need to have my left hip done at some point (groan...) I will now face surgery with a lot less anxiety. Sure, nobody ever looks forward to surgery in my experience, but knowing what to expect makes it a lot more emotionally tolerable anyway.
 
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Barbaraj

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Okay, @Layla and any other person who might have an answer: can someone tell me if elevating one’s operated legs is essential? I find it uncomfortable and it makes me really more stiff. I’m okay with icing but it would be so much more comfortable doing so just sitting in bed with legs extended flat. If I don’t elevate will bad things happen?!! I’d much prefer to skip it. And I am wearing the compression leggings, vigorously wiggling my feet and ankles and getting up and walking every hour.
 
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Layla

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In all honesty, I only did it on occasion. I'm not saying that's right, just stating what I did. I've heard toes above nose. I did all the wiggly jiggly exercises though while I was sitting or lying down and also took walks around the house every hour or so. The only thing I fully embraced was icing. It was my relief of choice.

Here's an article from the Recovery Guidelines -
http://bonesmart.org/forum/threads/pain-and-swelling-control-elevation-is-the-key.7602/

I'm sure others will chime in...
 

JoeKnows

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can someone tell if elevating one’s operated legs is essential?
I didn't have much swelling, and none that I noticed lower than my knee, so I didn't elevate much. When I did, some pillow architecture was required to get it comfortable (which, at the time, required assistance - I had to hold my leg up while directing my wife / four year old on how I wanted the pillows). I'd think you're fine playing it by ear; if it doesn't work for you and your swelling isn't crazy, I doubt your leg will fall off by not elevating, haha.
 
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Barbaraj

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Thanks @JoeKnows, glad to hear elevating may not be essential for everyone. It is not very comfortable (yeah, the knee positioning is a pain) and I feel so much stiffer afterwards that I confess I am not “feelin’ the love” with elevation. Problem is that I am a hidebound rule follower for the most part so always worry when I consider flaunting the rules! Thanks for the reassurance!
 
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@Barbaraj - I'm a rule follower too (though I draw the line between "rules" and "guidelines" differently than some). For example, I get a visceral reaction if I'm in a golf cart and the driver goes within 50 yards of the green, haha.

If I were in your shoes, I'd try to find a more comfortable way to elevate if it's swollen, since it really does help. Good luck!
 
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Thanks, @Layla, I really don’t like elevating although I’m fine with icing. Yes, my thigh is really swollen right now, but if icing plus the recommended allotment of Tylenol is sufficient to slowly deal with this, and I am not doing any damage by not elevating ( wriggling my feet as I am writing this!), then I am going to give myself permission to skip it.
 
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Hey, @JoeKnows, I like the rules vs. guidelines idea—elevating for now is moving into the guidelines area and I have no problem ignoring those! I suspect it is incumbent on each individual to figure out what works best, although being stupid and ignoring basic rules like appropriate medicating isn’t good. Maybe I will try elevating later—for now the hassle factor is overriding any perceived benefit.
 

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Okay, @Layla and any other person who might have an answer: can someone tell if elevating one’s operated legs is essential? I find it uncomfortable and it makes me really more stiff. I’m okay with icing but it would be so much more comfortable doing so just sitting in bed with legs extended flat. If I don’t elevate will bad things happen?!! I’d much prefer to skip it. And I am wearing the compression leggings, vigorously wiggling my feet and ankles and getting up and walking every hour.
I mistook and misunderstood the meaning of 'elevation' in the THR context, and didn't realize for a long time that meant getting your feet/legs up above waist height. I thought it was like sitting up or lounging lengthwise on the sofa or bed with your feet up. That's how I spent my first month, so I guess I never really did get my legs up high enough. But so far as I can tell, there have been no bad effects. I'm not advising, but just sharing my own experience with this.
 
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Barbaraj

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Thanks, @An54, nice to hear that other folks have survived and thrived despite no elevation. I am lounging in bed now, legs spread flat and watching mindless TV. I am not feeling as anxious as I was before a few have chimed in that not elevating didn’t derail their recovery.
 

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@Barbaraj Have been wanting to stop in, but I became over zealous with "now I'm on crutches" activities, going out with Hubby for medical related errand, visit with surgeon and then physio visit (about upper body and core maintenance exercise post op), walking out to the horses and back twice yesterday, that I had such an energy drain I could hardly speak! Spending the day in my recliner today to try and recoup! I believe I have paid a visit to the ODIC!

About the elevating.... Pre-op I practiced back sleeping with my legs elevated and it was quite comfortable. I purchased an elevation cushion, looks wavy vs. wedgy. Best laid plans and all that....came home from hospital and hated having my leg(s) elevated...in fact bed sleeping in general hasn't worked out for me at all, and I've been living in my recliner. I may try again at the end of week three....as I hear things improve for those of us with bedsleeping issues. Anyhow, my legs are not elevated above my waist really in the recliner either, but more horizontal, when reclined. So, although I say I'm icing and elevating, that is a big fib!! My legs have been pretty much at the same level as my waist. However, in saying all that, I had noticeable swelling in my thigh and knee area and outside of calf and ankle, that showed up after my first shower....day three/four? When that swelling showed up, I had ice everywhere and was staying off my feet except to pee and do a lap around the kitchen island, on the way back from the bathroom (which became further away as i resided in the recliner in the living room). Anyhow, any swelling has resolved by getting my feet up in the recliner and icing. I'm two weeks today, and the swelling improves each week. My OS said it will come and go up to three months. He said jokingly at my check up that I'll have a matching set of fat ankles after surgery #2 Nov 8! My ankles are pretty skinny and bony usually!:heehee:
 
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Barbaraj

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Haha, @Alitm, matching pudgy ankles—bet you are looking forward to that—NOT! So far my swelling is contained to my enormous thigh, so big it brushes up against my other thigh when I am up and waddling, which feels very weird. But glad to know there are others out there who haven’t taken to elevating. I understand why it good to elevate but it’s really uncomfortable for me and my thigh is just going to take awhile to go down to normal proportions again. The good news, from my perspective, is that although it sore and swollen it isn’t super painful. If it hurt badly perhaps I would be more determined to work through the discomfort of elevating since it’s supposed to help to relieve any swelling. For now I will ice and tough it out (uh...not like I have a choice!)

Sorry to hear you (my idol!) have ventured into overdoing land! But sounds like you are being sensible and have parked yourself back in your recliner. Stay put, you overachiever!
 

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@Barbaraj ...good idea to use this as a journal. I think writing is very therapeutic. I don't always share the true extent of my anxiety with my hubby, so coming here to express those feelings is an outlet of sorts.
I am so impressed with your first two days of recovery so far. Can't believe that you are not even taking much in pain meds. At least you know you have them available if you need them. And....your posts are not too wordy....
and you're right, they will help so many others (like myself), who are reading and waiting..... and trying to stay positive!
 

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:wave:again, the swelling will travel I'm afraid...gravity! My swelling has gone way down since last week. The swollen thigh looks a little scary when it first happens.

I'm going to do my evening stroll...4:45 PM here and still really warm and lovely. Have behaved all day so want to get out in the sunshine for some vit D, before the rain arrives this weekend as forecasted! There and back to the barn...NO detours!:SUNsmile: Will ice on my return trip :ice:
 

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