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[THR] Diary of my journey to happy times

Discussion in 'Hip Replacement Recovery Area' started by Klassy, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. Klassy

    Klassy senior
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    I did eventually emerge from my cocoon to spend the afternoon gardening. Very cautious with the stepping over plants etc, there is plenty of scope to overbalance and wrench my hip or, even worse, crush a seedling. I was pleased with the results. The process was less enjoyable than usual. It’s amazing how much less agreeable fresh air is when it is delivered at 50 mph.

    Time for my 10 day progress report.

    To recap, Day 86 was “Can walk outside for .7 miles without aids. Flexibility has improved, though still not as good as on non operated leg. I can go upstairs at home alternating feet, with a lot of help from banister, and I have once gone downstairs on an easy flight of stairs alternating feet. I could probably cut my toenails if I really tried, ironically my podiatrist appointment for this purpose is tomorrow so I haven’t tried. Hobbies normal but for short periods of activity. I’ve driven for about 30 minute trips. Lump is still there but much less tender. I can sleep reasonably well except for the pillow wrangling. I’ve been back on the pills but in the form of cold and flu tablets. (Now I write that I’m wondering if that is why the twinge has gone). Stiffness remains but has improved.”

    Day 96: Can walk for 45 minutes without aids, about 2 miles. I leave home without an aid if I know the terrain will be level. Hobbies can be indulged in for longer, I can potter in the garden for a couple of hours and I rang my first post-op quarter peal (45 minutes non stop ringing). The lump has pretty much gone, there is just an area near the incision which is firmer to touch than the good leg and is still numb. Sleeping is bad but due to coughing. Stiffness much the same I think. Stair climbing much the same. Having thought the twinge was gone, it came back as a twang. A rather alarming feeling of something catching or shifting. It has diminished in the last week but is still there. At times I can make it occur by tensing my glutes, and then I can feel it in my hand resting on my thigh as well as inside the leg. I’ve decided to deem it normal healing activity as long as it continues to gradually improve.
     
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  2. Barbaraj

    Barbaraj post-grad

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    Sounds like Day 96 was a good one, @Klassy. With your quarter peal, reduced lump, walking without aids and the ability to get out and work in the garden, you are truly making remarkable progress. By the time summer arrives I'm betting you'll be back in full swing, ready to enjoy life to the fullest. Hope the wind has died down a bit and you can get outside again for some fresh air. Sunny in my neighborhood, with warmer than normal temperatures so absolutely a day for me to get out and work in the yard. Unlike you, I won't be doing any "real" gardening, just getting out there on the Sisyphean task for cleaning up debris in my back yard. I just keep moving my kneeling pad an inch at a time, dragging a yard waste container on wheels behind me, and picking up tree junk. But on a nice day, I don't mind it and the fresh air is wonderful. Have a great day!
     
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  3. Layla

    Layla FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Congrats on the quarter peal. I know how you've been practicing and looking forward to that. Lengthy walks and time spent in the garden must feel very fulfilling. Now you just need to get rid of the pesky cough so you can get some uninterrupted restorative rest. You continue to do well, Klassy. You're definitely on your way.
    A great Sunday evening to you!
    @Klassy
     
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  4. Klassy

    Klassy senior
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    I hope you enjoyed your day in the fresh air @Barbaraj , it's about time you got your share of good weather. I would call clearing up tree debris proper gardening, definitely. Sisyphean is a very good word for it, the number of times I've pulled out the same weeds doesn't bear thinking about.
    Day 97: today's milestone was completing our regular 200 mile drive (as passenger) with only one stop. That is back to pre op norm, down from 3 stops for our first post op journey. The hip was a bit painful for the last 10 minutes but was fine after a few minutes walking.
     
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  5. Barbaraj

    Barbaraj post-grad

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    Good morning, @Klassy, sounds like day 97 went well, with another milestone under your belt. I can well imagine a 200 mile drive would be tough, and oh, that you'd be pretty darn stiff upon arrival. Our car has seat warmers in the front seats, and I often turn those on to afford a little comfort as we're driving. I'm still rather stiff getting out of the car, even after a 10 minute drive, but you are right that with a few minutes of walking (not to mention the attempt to exit the car and stand up for the first time!) I am feeling fine. Have a great Monday!
     
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  6. Klassy

    Klassy senior
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    Day 98 and Day 99 I went completely overboard with gardening. Full on digging and carrying stuff a bit heavier than was probably wise. There is just so much to get on top of now that spring is busting out all over!

    I thought I might be paying the price now, but the new hip has held up well. I have had some complaints from my left kneecap, intermittent quite sharp pain. I’ve had that sort of exercise-induced pain for decades in both knees, no one has ever been able to find a cause or a cure, so the reason it is happening now may be simply that my left leg is returning to near normal levels of activity after being coddled because of the hip.

    Day 100 and I decided I had better stay away from the garden. We went to the coast for a walk, to a route that was a regular outing in pre OA days, and became too far as OA progressed, so I was able to make a direct comparison. I was pleased to find I was much improved on how I was last summer, though not yet back to pre OA standard. I felt so well that in the evening, when I saw that my phone showed almost 8000 steps, I decided to go out round the block so I could make it 10,000 for the first time with new hip. Mission accomplished! 10,133 steps.

    Two little downsides. One is that, despite feeling like I was really striding along, my time for the 0.7 mile round the block walk remains stubbornly at 15 minutes. I so want to achieve 14 minutes, ie 3 mph.

    The other downside is that my right hip gave me several OA style twinges throughout the day. I know it is a likely candidate for a THR sometime, but it has been very quiet since the op, despite carrying more of the work. I will keep a watch on it. Part of me wants to get to enjoy the left hip for a couple of years if possible, but another part thinks, if the right hip is going to go, better to get it over with. And if I want it on NHS, need to start the process soon to have a hope of getting it done in 2019.

    I confided to H that a second THR might occur this year, and made the mistake of joking that perhaps we shouldn’t bother moving the spare bed back upstairs. I don’t need the bed downstairs any more, but I haven’t yet begun the necessary nagging to get it moved back upstairs - H has been so good about looking after me it would be ungrateful not to cut him some slack. But to my horror, he took me seriously. He seemed to regard leaving a bed in the dining room for another year as not only acceptable, but a welcome side effect of my need for another THR. Grrrr. Time to start nagging methinks.
     
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  7. SurreyGirl

    SurreyGirl post-grad

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    Ah, husbands. So well meaning but sadly often wrong! You will get to that 3mph limit but just be careful not to overdo it. Do you think your local NHS will put you on the waiting list for your other hip or will you have to be in a state of more deterioration in that hip before you are a candidate for surgery?
     
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  8. Carriemay60

    Carriemay60 post-grad

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    Your steps, walks and all the gardening are wonderful. You are doing so well!!
    I am not sure what I would do if my other hip started to grumble - I think there would be tears for sure, maybe even snotty sobbing :bawl: I know I need a really good break from all of this after 5 years of it but on the other hand there is no way on earth I would risk another one getting this bad.
     
  9. Klassy

    Klassy senior
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    @SurreyGirl, I don’t know what NHS would say. It would definitely need to be worse than it is, but X-ray last May already showed moderate OA, and if it’s going to start hurting... I’m thinking I’ll leave it a couple of months then if I have pains ask for an X-ray, that may at least indicate rate of deterioration and it might also show that all is well with leftie. When I read on here of people having follow ups at 3, 6, 12 months I’m unsettled about being signed off at 6 weeks without any X-ray other than the one taken on Day 1. Though I suppose if the result of how it feels is good I should stop worrying.

    In the meantime I’ve spent this morning tidying the spare bedroom to put some gentle pressure on he-who-is-well-meaning.

    @Carriemay60, if I’d been through half what you have I’d be howling if the right hip gave trouble. One factor in my thinking is that we have a house move coming up next year, so if the hip went bad then or soon after it would be a pest. Plus I am planning to get a puppy after the house move and don’t want to be in recovery when she is young.

    But I don’t want to go looking for trouble. Best case is we move, get puppy, puppy grows up and slows down a bit, all while right hip keeps quiet.
     
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  10. Barbaraj

    Barbaraj post-grad

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    Had to chuckle, @Klassy, at your description of overdoing it in the garden recently--that would be me, too. But your gardening sounds more intense, I wasn't doing any digging or schlepping piles of dirt. Gardening for me is all about weeding and tree debris pick up, and there is LOTS of that for me to do. Our three day run of extraordinarily warm days (temperatures in 70's, we broke all sorts of records) is at an end, although it's hazy sunshine outside but a lot cooler. Like you I was aching by yesterday afternoon and evening. I should have taken some Tylenol, I know, and iced but didn't--and paid the price with a night of tossing and turning, with no comfortable position for these cranky hips!

    I am impressed with all your steps! I move during the day, and go to the gym for 30 minutes on the elliptical and often an additional 15 minutes on the recumbent bike every other day, but my step count, according to my fitness watch, really isn't all that high. At best, I'm around 7500 on a really good day.

    By the way, my left hip bothered me not at all before my right hip replacement, which I found shocking as it was arthritic, too. But since the right hip has been replaced the left one is totally taking over in terms of aching and discomfort. My goal continues to be to wait until the fall for my one year check up when I will probably be pressing for a second surgery next spring. But, if I get really miserable I will go back in earlier than that. I think I have a pretty high pain threshold but I hope I'll know when, at least from my perspective, it's "time".

    Sounds like a lovely walk along the coast and how great to be able to do that without the kind of pain you experienced before your surgery. Progress, real progress!
     
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  11. HertsHippy

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    @Klassy - I am also feeling my other hip. It has a spur (FAI) and clicks. It does not move as smoothly as the new hip. But there is no pain and I hope to avoid a second THR as long as a can by keeping it strong and being careful. I believe our NHS district uses the Oxford test to do initial assessments. NHS waiting times appear to be very variable - I waited just 2 months but probably was very lucky.

    What puppy are you wanting to get? We have a 11 year old CKCS who is now slow and just likes sniffing. He was great with our children and when younger he took us on longer walks which introduced us to places which we would never have gone to. He is not going to be replaced......
     
  12. Klassy

    Klassy senior
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    @Barbaraj, yes I’m very pleased with progress. Walking is beginning to seem quite natural. I don’t have a high pain threshold, I’m definitely a wimp. With your gym visits I think you are impressively active. Can you watch TV or something while using the equipment?

    @HertsHippy, I think some of my long wait on NHS may have been for the particular surgeon I wanted. But I think Kent usually ranks fairly low in the postcode lottery. I had to wait ages for X-ray report, then they threw in an extra step by requiring confirmation from a physiotherapist that surgery was needed, then the wait began to see the consultant. So it took about 5 months to get on the waiting list, and then be told I might have to wait 8 more months. At which point I decided to go private.

    I want a cockapoo just like my avatar picture (which is not my dog, just my fantasy). CKCS are very cute. Might I ask why you won’t replace him? Do you find it restricting having a dog?

    Day 101. Wow, seems like no time since 40 days was a big number. My main activity today was sorting out the spare bedroom, which had become a dumping ground, and the adjoining bathroom, which had, well, how can I put this nicely? Let’s just say that after some months of being used from time to time but not by me, it had lost its sparkle.

    A couple of firsts today. I got down on the floor - and more importantly, up again! It wasn’t pretty, but I was pleased I could do it at all. This was so I could give the bathroom floor a good scrub. I hope I’m not making everyone jealous with the details of my exciting day. The other first was I rang a bell up at our practice. This also wasn’t pretty. In theory we ring up “in peal”, which means with all the bells staying in order and perfectly spaced. Our Thursday practice group never achieve anything like this ideal, so the fact that I was even less perfect than usual went happily unnoticed. The bell ended in the up position and that was good enough.
     
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  13. HertsHippy

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    While we love him very much we do find it very restricting having a dog. He needs fed and walked twice a day which means that he cannot be left for a long time. So we cannot go out for a long day unless we get someone to pop in to feed him or book him into kennels. It limits holidays, particularly in school holidays when the better kennels get full up very quickly. Impromptu trips away are virtually impossible unless you have family or friends to help. It can also be quite expensive - ours had a huge vet's bill a few years ago which was only partially covered by insurance. Finally it is difficult to keep the house tidy - a lot more vacuuming is needed. But if you like walking a dog is great and they are good company.

    I was very lucky - I raced through this stage but I had been diagnosed with OA in the hip in the past and it was clear that the physiotherapist step was not needed. I only saw my GP for 5 minutes before getting into the system as it was clear where it was going. I used the excellent NHS Choices website for the process which gave me some choice in hospitals and timing but I did not go through the process of choosing a surgeon. I checked out the experience and qualifications of the consultant appointed to me - he had done lots of THRs and had lots of letters after his name which was enough for me as I think I was probably a very straightforward patient. My whirlwind experience with the NHS was excellent but perhaps I was lucky not to be in a region with longer waiting lists. But who knows what Brexit will do to the NHS.

    Like you I found it a bit alarming to be discharged at 6 weeks with no follow up. But perhaps should be reassured that the operations had been deemed successful.
     
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  14. Barbaraj

    Barbaraj post-grad

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    Hey there, @Klassy, it's Friday morning here in the PNW and I need to get busy today and straighten up the house as my husband returns from a business trip this evening. He's been gone all week. It's not terribly messy, as I'm fairly tidy, but I need to change out bed and bath linens, run the dishwasher, etc. I chuckled about your concern that we might be jealous over your "exciting" life--as if any of us have really and truly thrilling days! I admit I haven't gotten down on my hands and knees to scrub a bathroom floor, but I'll need to run the vacuum today! By the way, I could watch TV at the gym, but I usually bring my Kindle to the gym (equipment has built in ledges for books) and I have ear plugs to plug into my iPhone so I can listen to music. Pre-hip nonsense, I used to listen to high powered "techno" music with a throbbing, hard beat--but post-surgery I now listen to a station called "dinner jazz", much slower music to help keep my pace slow and steady on the elliptical.
     
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  15. Klassy

    Klassy senior
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    @HertsHippy, food for thought re the dog. We don’t even have a cat ...

    @Barbaraj, sounds like good entertainment options at your gym, which must help keep you motivated. I’ve had another exciting day rather like yours, laundry, vacuum, etc, as the spare bed has finally been moved back upstairs and I can reclaim the dining room which I use as my study. Actually, no joking, it is very exciting. Another big step on the road to normality.

    It has meant umpteen journeys up and down stairs so an excellent workout too.
     
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  16. Carriemay60

    Carriemay60 post-grad

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    Yay for you claiming back some normalcy and your spot next to hubby in bed!

    We are dog lovers in a big way and currently have one but also will not replace her.

    1.) One of our sons seems to have developed some rather serious allergies to dogs & cats and it's important to me that our house is a safe/welcoming haven. Also have 2 grandchildren that seem to have allergies. Up until now an moving towards retirement we have lived so far away from the kids that we typically visit them. While overseas I would board the dog out and have the cleaner do a very deep clean if our son was expected. Currently, we travel to them because as I am sure you can appreciate, young families don't have a lot of travel money.

    2.) I feel more concerned that we may not have sufficient funds constantly on hand in retirement to deal with a vet emergency. If you go ahead, you and your husband must have a very honest, frank discussion about budget for saving your dogs life. If your limit is 2,000, you must be in agreement. Otherwise you can be in danger of running with emotions and going far beyond a comfortable budget. (I have a daughter who got guilted into spending $8,000 US and the cat still died a few days later)

    3.) As Hert says, they do tie you down from impromtu outings and it is advisable to have at least 2 kennel/sitter options if something comes up suddenly. With a puppy, you are making a commitment for up to 14/15 years. In my case, I am ready to make that commitment again (our current dog may live another 8 years) because I wonder how I would manage if my husband passed away. Mobility for me for walking, if I would need to move to an apartment, etc. On the other hand, I know I would LOVE the company of a dog if living alone and they are motivating to get out for a walk.

    I really don't mean to sound negative, but it is smart to go in with your eyes wide open. It was a breeze when I was home with kids but now (or when mobile), I want to win the lottery and book a world cruise leaving the next day! :)

    I wonder if you might consider options to give it a try without making a permanent commitment before you get your own puppy. There is always a need for short term foster homes from rescue kennels. There are also opportunities to raise a future Guide Dog for up to a year from 7 weeks before they go into their final training and meet their forever partner. However, those are generally more the size of a lab but labs are so easy and smart!

    Finally, if you consider all the pros and cons and decide to go for a furry friend, you will likely never regret it. Your heart will be full to overflowing with love and you will feel that love and trust returned tenfold. I have a girlfriend who got a little dog for the 1st time in her early 50's and has never been happier!
     
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  17. Layla

    Layla FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Sounds like things are returning to normal, Klassy.
    Jumping back into life and your regular routine.
    That's the goal...good for you!
    Enjoy the weekend :)
     
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  18. Klassy

    Klassy senior
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    Thanks for your kind wishes @Layla, I hope your weekend is sweet too.

    @Carriemay60 , thank you for some wise words. I will weigh up the dog decision carefully. H is supportive whatever I decide, on the understanding that I bear the main burden of restrictions. You have had me googling Guide Dog volunteer roles and there are some possibilities I’d never considered there that might enable me to dip a toe in and also make a contribution. One problem is our current home is too bijou for a dog, so we don’t want to begin looking after a dog till next year when we move. I don’t want to wait too long after that because, as you say, a puppy can be a 15 year commitment, I’m 64, so if we do get a pup the arithmetic says don’t hesitate too long! I am looking at another temporary trial that I can start where we live now, and that is arranging to walk a dog for a neighbour who needs a helper. Just waiting to be a bit more secure on my feet first. I might be able to manage a chihuahua...

    Day 103: Another record: 15,000 steps! And another first: new hip’s first ride on an escalator. I am timid on escalators at the best of times, I really don’t like those loooong London Underground ones going down into the bowels of the earth at a hundred mph (or so) with a million (or so) fellow travellers ready to trample any ditherers under foot. I had carefully chosen a London route that avoided escalators. Or so I thought, until we got off at a station and headed for the lift only to find a sign saying “Out of order, for disabled exit go back to platform and catch a train somewhere else”! At moments like these my heart goes out to wheelchair users. Fortunately the escalator I had to take was up, less vertigo-inducing than down, and I had dear H to linger behind me and hold off the hurrying hordes. Nothing could be done about the 100 mph part except screw up my courage and leap on, and then off at the top. My heart was racing but I was of course perfectly fine.

    All this activity was connected to a rally that I won’t name as I don’t want to possibly upset anyone.

    I was pleased with how well I could manage the outing. I had two moments of pain, both in the left knee, not the hip. Once was when when we arrived at a short flight of stairs late in the day and I forgot, until sharply reminded, that I don’t descend with alternating feet yet. The other was after sitting on a train for an hour and getting stiff, then stepping off awkwardly. In both cases it was a very painful jab followed by a strong pain that wore off completely after walking a short distance. I’m tired now but not exhausted or sore.
     
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  19. HertsHippy

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    @Klassy - congratulations on the 15k. It’s great to beat records - I darent tell you my latest.

    I am glad you enjoyed your march and am very impressed you participated. It is quite disturbing. I hardly know anyone on the other side - our town had one of the highest stay votes in the country.

    And dogs are good for your health - you have to have a good walk every day whatever the weather, rain or snow, and they ensure you never have a lazy lie in - no more getting up as late as 9am.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
  20. SurreyGirl

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    What a fascinating update and my sincere admiration for going on the rally and braving escalators. (I find them scary too). You are braver than me!

    Glad you have your room back...

    Re another op. I too had to go through the diagnosis, physio stage and lose weight so it took a long time waiting before the op during which time the hip deteriorated badly. I would not be prepared to wait that long next time.

    I hope you are icing and resting today. How does your new hip feel today after the rally? I have an image of you on tv along with a stick decorated in blue and gold striding along...was the “well-meaning-one” with you ?!..xx
     
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