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THR DesertDiva's Recovery Thread

DesertDiva

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I've been up and down emotionally and haven't responded to this forum since prior to my surgery. A friend stayed with me for two weeks and I've been "on my own" for awhile.

I've had a home health care nurse, an OT, and a PT come twice a week but that's winding down and I'll be discharged from all at the end of October. I'm actually walking through the house unassisted, but use a cane when I go outside or to appointments.

My dental bridge cracked and half of it fell out last Friday so I've had two trips to the dentist and waiting for my appointment with an endodontist to see if I require a root canal. I had a major meltdown along with a hysterical crying jag since this happened at the worst possible time.

The hardest part is the 90 degree "rules" and my cabin fever. My PT has worked with my getting in and out of my car, and since it's a manual transmission I've practiced pushing in the clutch. I can lift my operative leg, but sliding it over to the clutch is still a struggle. However, pre-surgery I was in so much pain I "did" physically lift my left leg to push in the clutch.

The surgery wasn't as bad as I had imagined, but still was not a "walk in the park." The orthopedic surgeon has more or less promised me that the other hip will be done before the end of the year. I see him for my six week follow-up on 11/05/19.

Still, I find myself trying to keep busy at home and attempt to fight depression. I had some ankle and knee swelling so my doctor prescribed compression stockings. I had to buy a stocking donner and practice lots before I got the hang of putting them on myself.

It's just that this has been going on for so long that I find I can't recall when my life was more of less "normal" and pain free...
 
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Eman85

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I'm hoping you consulted your OS about dental work and informed your dentist that you have had a THR. I had an automatic car to drive post op so it was no big deal being my left hip and I was driving at 2 weeks. Before surgery I drove an 18 wheeler so I can relate to the lifting the leg for the clutch. When I had a manual transmission pickup I always shifted without the clutch because some days it was too hard to use the clutch.
 

Trudijane

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I very much identified with your post - because I began having dental problems (again) while in the midst of recovery - but I could not go to the dentist yet. I could have had someone drive me - but emotionally I couldn't deal with both things at the same time.

Now, after 6 months post-op, I can walk freely, except for an ache in my back which may or may not have something to do with the hip replacement. I am trying to found that out. But I was not able to drive my car until 4 months later, which really affected my independence. I hate asking people for rides, etc. and am just thankful that I can do that now.

I was very depressed for now, and sometimes still am - because having to deal with a healing hip and a tooth that I'm fighting to save. When I finally went to the dentist to replace the implant I lost - he told me he couldn't and that he may have to pull out another tooth. Sometimes, I just feel as if I'm falling apart in different ways. So, I know what it's like to have one problem compounded with another.]

Like you, the first 3 months took a toll on me. I had some care, but not nearly enough, and I was pretty much on my own for most of the time - so cabin fever played a role towards being depressed as well. I felt so detached from the outside world. I agree that the whole process is not a walk in the park - but at least now - I have no acute pain that I had prior to the surgery.

Thanks to all the wonderful people in this forum - I at least learned to be more patient with myself. It's 6 months and I'm still healing - I'm not quite back to normal - but I remember how painful it was for me before surgery.
 

Jaycey

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@DesertDiva Welcome to the other side of surgery. Yes indeed - this recovery in certainly not easy. Sounds like you are doing well for only one month out. Time and patience are prescribed.

Are you icing and elevating where you have swelling? Ice is a natural pain killer and it will reduce the swelling that causes stiffness.

Unfortunately post op blues are a part of this recovery (see the article below). But the good news is this is all temporary.

I'll leave your reading list here for you. Please keep us updated!

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
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 this BoneSmart philosophy for sensible post op therapy
5. Here is a week-by-week guide for Activity progression for THRs
6. Access these pages on the website

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.
 

Layla

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Hi @DesertDiva
Welcome to the bright side :SUNsmile: Happy One Month Anniversary!
Most of all you describe is normal, aside from the unfortunate circumstance of the dental issues. As Eman85 suggested, make sure the dentist is aware that you just experienced a joint replacement as they may want you on antibiotics if it's determined you need the root canal.

It sounds like you're going through some Post Op Blues which is fairly common. Please know it's only temporary and most often short lived. Recovery gets boring, feeling trapped gets old and it's normal to want to be back in the world thriving rather than feeling like a patient. It's coming though so do your best to hold on, slap a smile on your face and have a lovely weekend!
We're here for you!
 

HipLucy

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@DesertDiva, I can so relate to your dental woes being the last straw. In the past year I have begun to lose fillings frequently and was told by my dentist that the bone in my jaw shows signs of deterioration. But I had to get the hip taken care of. Every time I eat something harder than oatmeal or soup I worry that I will lose a filling or crack a tooth. I even went so far as to pick up antibiotics in case I had to make an emergency trip to the dentist in my early recovery period.
 
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DesertDiva

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I'm hoping you consulted your OS about dental work and informed your dentist that you have had a THR.
At my two week follow-up, I asked about dental work and the orthopedic surgeon told me it depended on my dentist and he had no restrictions. I'm scheduled for a root canal next Wednesday and was instructed to take 4 (500 mg) of amoxicillin one hour before the appointment.
 
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DesertDiva

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I very much identified with your post - because I began having dental problems (again) while in the midst of recovery - but I could not go to the dentist yet. I could have had someone drive me - but emotionally I couldn't deal with both things at the same time.

I was very depressed for now, and sometimes still am - because having to deal with a healing hip and a tooth that I'm fighting to save. Sometimes, I just feel as if I'm falling apart in different ways. So, I know what it's like to have one problem compounded with another.]

Like you, the first 3 months took a toll on me. I had some care, but not nearly enough, and I was pretty much on my own for most of the time - so cabin fever played a role towards being depressed as well. I felt so detached from the outside world. I agree that the whole process is not a walk in the park - but at least now - I have no acute pain that I had prior to the surgery.
I live in Southern NM and there's a program here run by the city called "Dial-a-Ride" for seniors over 60 and ADA people. (The hip replacement is considered temporary ADA.) I have a very sloped driveway and you have to be able to walk to the curb outside of your home. I almost started crying in the bus/transport because I feel I've reached my "coping limit."

Part of the issue is I no longer see the original dentist because basically I don't "trust" him and found a new dentist that I feel comfortable seeing. I had to go back to the original dentist in order to be reimbursed for the zirconia bridge that broke. It's been a nightmare and is causing me a lot of anxiety without going into specific details.

I still have to face the right THR, and at six weeks the orthopedic surgeon said "we'll discuss it then." However, he did say he thought we could do it before the end of the year. Grocery stores will home deliver groceries now, and I have rides to my appointments. However, I've never felt so alone in my life...
 
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DesertDiva

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@DesertDiva, I can so relate to your dental woes being the last straw. In the past year I have begun to lose fillings frequently and was told by my dentist that the bone in my jaw shows signs of deterioration. But I had to get the hip taken care of. Every time I eat something harder than oatmeal or soup I worry that I will lose a filling or crack a tooth. I even went so far as to pick up antibiotics in case I had to make an emergency trip to the dentist in my early recovery period.
I'm so sorry about your struggles. It's just after having to go through all of this and still facing another hip in the near future, I thought that the universe would "give me a break." My days run into one another with waking and immediately struggling to put on compression hose on the operative leg by myself. I have computer time, eat something, have a glass of wine, and then take a Xanax in order to fall asleep on my back with my operative leg elevated on a pillow and a rolled pillow between my legs. Not an easy task for someone who was a life-long side sleeper. Then, after waking up several times in the middle of the night I get up and do it all again...
 

Debru4

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I can only imagine how overwhelmed you are feeling, recovering from your first hip replacement, anticipating the 2nd one, dealing with major dental work, and being on your own as you try to navigate all of the errands, appointments, etc. that are part of daily living, as well as recovery! Kudos to you for reaching out to others, and for being able to identify your worries. I think being able to name our feelings is so helpful---it gives them less power over us, and also enables others to share their experiences and ideas. There is so much still going on medically at one month out of surgery and the things you are describing with regard to your hip will improve. I would imagine that within the next month your hip/leg will begin to feel much better, hopefully your sleep will improve, and you'll have the dental issue taken care of. You have a lot on your plate, but time will take care of a lot of it, and your positive attitude and the support of others will help as well. :console2:
 

Jamie

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Desert Diva, I'm so pleased to hear your new hip is performing as well as it is. At one month walking about the house with no cane or walker is fabulous. It's a great sign of good things to come for you.

I am sorry to hear of your dental woes. Life sometimes does throw these challenges at us. But please know you are DEFINITELY not alone. You have your BoneSmart family here to talk with, whine to if needed and who will support you no matter what.

Do you have some friends in the area you could invite over for lunch? That might help break up some of the days. You'll see your surgeon here soon and I think that will help you too. Sometimes we need that confirmation from the doctor that all is okay.

Surgery really can bring on bouts of the blues or even depression. You are right at the time in recovery when that possibility is strongest. Did you get a chance to read the articles Jaycey left for you? I hope so because they do contain a lot of information that will help you see how well you are doing.

I do need to caution you about taking prescription medications like Xanax and drinking alcohol. That is not advisable and you may want to reconsider stopping one or the other. Alcohol is a depressant, so it might be the logical choice to forgo for a while.

Please don't hesitate to come here and talk to your online friends. Someone is almost always around to share your concerns and celebrate your successes. You know we celebrate even the smallest steps forward during recovery!
 
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DesertDiva

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I do need to caution you about taking prescription medications like Xanax and drinking alcohol. That is not advisable and you may want to reconsider stopping one or the other. Alcohol is a depressant, so it might be the logical choice to forgo for a while.
I pretty cautious about any prescription medication. I waited until I was no longer taking Tylenol (actually a couple of days after) before I had wine again. A glass of red wine with dinner is the only "guilty pleasure" that I partake in, and I leave a large margin of time before taking the Xanax. My health care professional that prescribes the medication knows about this...
 

Layla

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struggling to put on compression hose on the operative leg by myself
I can't even imagine this. It has to be difficult.

Wondering if you have a date for your Right THR? Let us know if / when you do so it can added to your signature. I'm sure it's hard to enjoy the benefit of your Left THR while your right is failing. One good thing about having your surgery soon is you'll be done and on your way after the next recovery.
Wishing you comfort as you wait...and a great weekend too! :)
 

leejaa

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I am sorry you are still struggling and especially the extra worry and issues with dental problems. Is there a chance you could lease a car that is not standard. I love manual transmission cars but a few years ago we transitioned to all automatic just in case of issues as we age - my knees and hips and my husband's shoulders. I told him we would adjust but better be prepared than not.

I know it must feel daunting to have another surgery coming up but it is so much better to have two good joints and your current new one will support you much better in recovering from the second.

Please keep posting here, everyone here understands and wants to help. It really can help with some of the feelings of being alone. Sending cyber (((hugs))) and healing vibes. :friends::flwrysmile:
 
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DesertDiva

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Thank you everyone for your advice, replies, and well wishes. It's comforting to know that I can come here and even "complain." :tantrum2: Living alone and being responsible for everything is sometimes a huge burden. My friends are mainly in the RV community, and by now I would be on the road for the winter meeting up for holidays and eventually heading for Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico for an extended stay. Actually, a friend of mine that lives in Mexico came and stayed with me for the first two weeks after my surgery.
It's the little details that are frustrating such as knee and ankle swelling and having to put on and remove compression stocking (with the aid of a device called a stocking donner) and using a dressing stick to remove them. Initially, I applied for a city service called Dial-a-Ride that takes you to doctor appointments, the grocery, etc... However, I took the application to the orthopedic surgeon's office BEFORE my surgery and they sat on it three weeks before completing their part and mailing it out. The service is for senior and ADA people and each way on the trip is only $1.00. Most grocery stores in my geographic area will deliver and as I'm running short of things like bread, eggs, and milk I'm putting together an order. Wal*Mart gave me a coupon for three "free" deliveries to announce their new delivery service with a minimum of $50.00 order.
Now I have my little dental "blip" to get through, but I'm sure it will all work out.
At the two-week follow up appointment I asked my orthopedic surgeon a long list of questions. He did utilize the posterior approach and I have a curved six-inch scar that I think will look much better as time goes on. The surprise is that I had a small incision at my waist that the doctor said was for the Mako computerI. My operative leg is slightly longer, but the doctor says that he will adjust the length to match when he does the right hip.
I was going to be released the next day from the hospital, but asked (since I was nervous) to stay an extra night which was granted. There was never any extreme pain (just incision discomfort) after they removed the I.V. the day after the surgery and I filled but never took the RX for oxycodone. The discomfort and pain I experience is from my right hip which hopefully will be done in December. I had to use a leg lifter for about a week or so, but now I can lift my operative leg into bed, etc... I'm being released from my home health care team next week and can walk to my mailbox now down the street using my cane. However, the health care people "pounded" into me remembering the hip precautions - almost to the point that it creates some anxiety in me at times.
I "do" have an anxiety disorder which is usually under control, but so much has happened that sometimes I struggle. However, I want to be mobile again and "get my life back" and I'm motivated to making that happen...
 

leejaa

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You are doing so well if you are lifting your leg on your own and getting around and getting to the mailbox on your own. Having the right hip done will probably make everything even better as you will not have that pain to deal with.

Sounds like you normally have an interesting life traveling in your RV and seeing the world which must make it harder to be limited. Just think next year you will be back up and around traveling without the pain.
 

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I'm sorry you're missing your annual vacation time. Just think how great you'll be feeling by the time the caravan rolls next year. I'm sure being alone during early recovery, with all it entails, is difficult some days. Hopefully you have someone to call on if necessary.

If you're not already, try elevating for the knee and ankle swelling you've mentioned. Here's the article from the Recovery Guidelein

Thankfully you found the Dial-a-Ride for transportation and you're lucky enough to have grocery delivery in your area.

If it's any consolation I experienced posterior approach also. I did not have any precautions to follow. I was only advised to move thoughtfully and slowly and if anything hurt, STOP. Basically let my body be my guide. More and more surgeon's are moving away from prescribing hip precautions post op. I'm not suggesting you be dismissive in regard to your surgeon's direction, only contemplate that if it's okay for some who experienced the same approach to forego the precautions you will most likely be safe in relaxing a bit and hopefully less anxious about it all.

You're doing well, be patient, you will get your life back.
I hope you have a peaceful week!
@DesertDiva
 

CricketHip

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@DesertDiva Hopefully you keep posting and we will most certainly reply! There is comfort in "talking" to others who have been in the same place. Yes, That's a surgery room!

Of course you are feeling blue, I would be sad too, about missing the RV'ers. But next year you will be in fine form and just watch out world! DesertDiva will be back on the RV trail! :driver:

Anxiety is tough to keep down after surgery. It must be hard with the staff pounding into your head about the restrictions. But you are already a month out though.. that is good progress! Every week means your muscles and surrounding soft tissue is healing more.
The Dial-a-Ride sounds like a very nice option, too.
Hopefully you are having decent weather and can sit outdoors occasionally.. I did that this afternoon for a short while.. it is so calming and relaxing.
Take care and I hope you have a good week. :flwrysmile:
 
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DesertDiva

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If it's any consolation I experienced posterior approach also. I did not have any precautions to follow. I was only advised to move thoughtfully and slowly and if anything hurt, STOP. Basically let my body be my guide. More and more surgeon's are moving away from prescribing hip precautions post op. I'm not suggesting you be dismissive in regard to your surgeon's direction, only contemplate that if it's okay for some who experienced the same approach to forego the precautions you will most likely be safe in relaxing a bit and hopefully less anxious about it all.
Layla - Wow, no hip precautions - that's wonderful. I'm going to be discharged from home PT on Saturday, but EVERY VISIT I have to "recite" my three hip precautions. We've practiced getting in and out of my car and pushing in the clutch with the only problem being that I'm still having a "small" issue moving the leg enough and lifting it to the clutch. However, pushing it down is no problem. The PT also went with me to walk my dog (which is 14 lbs. but pulls sometimes) around the park near my house. It went well.

I know health care providers feel it's important to make patients aware of hip precautions (if ordered), but there's a point where it "does" make one too anxious. My PT "corrects" me if my operative leg isn't completely straight (we're talking maybe a 1/2 inch roll to the side). I see my OS on 11/5 for my six week follow-up. Even though it will only be a few weeks of freedom before my other hip is done, I'm anxious to drive.

On another note my root canal went without a hitch, and my dentist is going to build the tooth up and attach a crown. The endodontist recommended that I don't have another dental bridge, but after my surgeries are completed and I'm recovered have a dental implant for the missing tooth. (It doesn't show when I smile thankfully.) Thank you and everyone else for their calming words...
 

Jaycey

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@DesertDiva the restrictions are sometimes imposed but please don't let this cause you anxiety. I had no restrictions after my RTHR but I found that my hip just didn't want to move in certain directions. Listen to your hip - it will tell you if you are moving wrong.
 

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