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THR Joe G.'s recovery thread

JoeGee

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Had an anterior total hip done January 16 by Dr. Anthony Unger at Sibley Hospital in Washington DC. Despite my stress leverl being off the charts going in my surgery was uneventful (I'm told!). Surgeon said it went "very, very, very" well and since he's done almost a thousand of them, I'll take that as a positive.

Surgery itself was a blink. They started a drip prior and the next thing I knew it was over.

They had me up on my feet using a walker ~10 hours after surgery. Definitely felt weird but not painful I stayed in the hospital overnight so they could keep an eye on me as I've had some vascular issues in the past but it was uneventful.

Friday 1/17 I came home. Here is is Thursday 1/23 and I haven't been out of the house yet! But it's been cold out and blah blah blah. Tonight we go intot he city for dinner to celebrate my son's 25th birthday. No wine for me though.

PT seems rushed. They came over prior to the operation to check out the setup here (and probably to evaluate me, although they didn't say that). PT this week was Monday and Wednesday and their last visit is scheduled for tomorrow. Even the therapist thought it was too fast a schedule but I guess they wanted me to have all 3 sessions prior to my follow-up with the doctor 1/29. I guess.

PT has wiped me out both times. Just zero energy after. Today (Thursday) I did the PT exercises on my own and promptly slept 2 hours afterwards! And here 4 hours later I'm still very sore. I normally work out pretty much every day and these are very light exercises but they're taking all I have to give.

Mainly at this point the thigh on my surgical side is quite swollen. I've been rigorous with ice and elevation. It feels better in the AM and goes downhill over the day despite not doing much.

Honestly been feeling rather depressed. But once I turn the corner on this fatigue I'm sure I'll be happier.

I know this is a major operation but everything I read prior to it suggested that recovery from an anterior procedure
was quick and easy but so far I'd have to disagree with that. My other hip is messed up too and needs help and I went into this procedure thinking I'd do the other one very soon but now I'm looking for ways to delay it, I don't want to go through this again too soon!

Not sure what else I can add right now but if you have questions I'd be happy to try to answer them.

-Joe
 

Layla

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Welcome to BoneSamrt and recovery, Joe! We're happy you joined us.

Please understand that not being out of the house at only five days post op isn't unusual. Most likely the plans you have for this evening will wear you out. Please get dropped at the door if you're meeting at a restaurant and if you have a cushion you can bring to sit on, I strongly recommend it.

PT really isn't necessary at this point. Walking will suffice for now, then in 6-8 weeks if you're finding you need guidance, let's say with gait as an example, you can schedule a few sessions.

Check out the ACTIVITY PROGRESSION FOR THR below. It should help keep you in the safe range for activity in these early weeks.

Please read the Recovery Guideline articles below and stop back often. We'd love to follow your healing journey.

PS Which hip? Right or Left?

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 these
5. At week 4 and after you should follow this
6. Access to 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 the at each member have only one recovery thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review history before providing advice.
 

ForumUser

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JG,

Congrats!

You will get great advice, here!

My opinion based advice-
1. No PT unless there are extenuating factors
2. Ice and elevate as much as possible
3. Walk as much as possible
4. My experience was improved, I believe, by not taking narcotics ... I used Tylenol every six hours to control my limited pain

While there may be some difference in recovery between operative techniques, after a couple of weeks the recoveries sound much the same.
 

Elf1

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:wave: @JoeGee and welcome, you've come to the right place! You are definitely still experiencing energy drain and will for a bit longer. Just kind of go with the flow, sleep when possible, naps are a wonderful thing! We do our best healing when we're sleeping.
 

leejaa

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Please try not to do so much - ease off on the PT exercises and let your body heal. Also, careful with the going out for dinner. Enjoy but be aware that you do not have that much excess energy right now and might be very very tired and achey if you stay too long. Short excursions are usually best at first.

There is a lot of advertising and hype regarding anterior replacements. In the end the recovery takes what it takes for our bodies to heal. The procedure is still the same and the trauma to our soft tissues and bone as they have portions surgically removed and replaced is still something we need to recover from.

I have had posterior replacements and have had great recoveries both times but there was pain/swelling, extreme tiredness and of course emotions that at times were all over the place between depression and anger over minute things to tears. All normal.

I have had 4 joints replaced and do not regret any of them. The pain is gone and each time I have recaptured joy in living and enjoying activities and basically getting my life back.

You will get there also but our bodies do need time to heal.
 

Eman85

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Your PT assignment is to read a lot of recovery posts on this forum, welcome to reality. There seems to be a lot of the sales pitch beliefs about one approach giving a faster recovery than another. Doesn't seem to work like that most of the time.
The depression is common, it will pass when you see an improvement but improvements will be small and slow coming. The hard part is accepting and adjusting for a realistic recovery schedule. Even with that the depression will return when the improvements are slow to come. Plenty of info on it through posts on here.
 

Fit4Family

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Hello @JoeGee

Welcome to this community. We live close by. I had surgery at VA Hospital Center four weeks ago. My heart goes out to you. Those first few days are hard. No sugar coating it.

Couple things to share. The worst part is the first week, second starts improving and by third you will feel so much better. Swelling really hurts, so anything you can do to get the inflammation moving will help tenfold. Ice, elevation, walking as you can just up and down a hall about every 45 minutes.

Post here. Great group of people who have taken your journey and can help you through it. Sending healing wishes Joe.

Sarah
 
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JoeGee

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Thanks everybody I'll try to take your advice to heart. Dinner last night was uneventful though tiring and late. Fortunately everybody left the house early this AM and I was able to go back to sleep.

I've had some really dramatic health challenges in my life and am no stranger to recovering from injury and I'm a good patient, so I'm not quite sure why this recovery is getting me down so much, maybe it's because I believed I was going to be be ballroom dancing by now (and I've never gone ballroom dancing in my life!).

I just need some patience and a sense that things are starting to go in the right direction and I'll be fine. Unfortunately right now I don't have either of those things but I'll get there I'm sure.

Thanks for the replies and interest and I'll keep you posted.
 

Jaycey

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I know this is a major operation but everything I read prior to it suggested that recovery from an anterior procedure was quick and easy
This is called marketing hype - and unfortunately there is far too much out there. Anterior THR is no easier or harder to recover from that any other approach. It is all about the condition of your hip when you had the op, the skill of the surgeon and how your body reacts to this major procedure. All those stories about people doing marathons within months of THR are just rubbish.

Very early days for you @JoeGee ! Rest, ice and elevate. I can confirm things will get a whole lot better very soon.
 

VSlowLife

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Welcome. You have some great advice from the seasoned experts.
I have spent months listening on this forum to prepare.

Such wonderful advice, friendship, and comfort, is here. Slow and steady is a regular theme.
 

Layla

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I'm not quite sure why this recovery is getting me down so much, maybe it's because I believed I was going to be be ballroom dancing by now (and I've never gone ballroom dancing in my life!).
Your sense of humor is intact...That's a good thing! It will carry you far in this recovery. Stop back often and have a nice weekend!
 

Eman85

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If it makes you feel any better I asked my OS if I could play the piano, he said of course. I never did before and still can't.
This surgery isn't like any others I ever had. This is more like getting hit by a car in a sterile environment.
 

CricketHip

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Hello!! What Jaycey said is so true. My left hip was easy peasy with the anterior approach, but my right hip has been a bit more grumpy.
Glad you are through the surgery and try to rest, eat well and ice, ice baby!
 

Wonderwine

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JoeGee, one of the things that will hit you for months and months is what this forum calls "energy drain". But really, its more like suddenly you feel like you got dropped in a vat of molasses and you can't move your arms or legs and your mind stops its ability to think. Its astounding. For an energetic person like myself, I was bewildered for several weeks after my first hip replacement. Then I figured it out; its just what happens to you during the healing. You have to respect it, go with it, lay down, sleep, stare into space, binge watch a show, whatever. I did it for weeks, sometimes in the middle of a dinner party with friends I'd get up and say "I have to go lay down now" and I would. Even now, 6 months and 9 months out of my operations, I'll push myself physically in some new way and bam, that same feeling comes over me and I just recognize it, give in to it, and go lay down. But as others have said, give it some time. There are markers in this; 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks, then 12 weeks all will show significant change and improvement. At 6 and 9 months I'm back downhill and XC skiing and hiking and biking. Yes, I'm cautious, but I'm challenging myself and getting stronger. I could not have done those things at 2 or 3 months. It just takes time. Give yourself permission to heal. That's all you need do.
 

SarahBee

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recovery from an anterior procedure was quick and easy
I had an anterior procedure as well. I found, in comparison to a friend who had posterior, that I had a much less difficult recovery than she did. At this point, almost 10 months out, we are very similar. That being said, your recovery will take as long as it takes. Be patient with yourself. If I read it correctly, you are a mere week post surgery. You will have ups and downs. I think you are going to be very happy. But maybe not today or tomorrow. Hang in there!
 
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FCBayern

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@JoeGee your past the first week which is the worst as @Fit4Family stated by the end of week 2 you are likely to see a big difference and week three even more. Everyone is different but after week 2 I didn't need narcotics anymore and I'm not shy to use them. You will soon be very happy to have this behind you and a pain free future in front of you, and it won't be too late to take up ballroom dancing if you choose. :loll:
 
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JoeGee

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You guys are awesome. I wouldn't say I feel much different physically than when I joined here 2 days ago, but I definitely feel a lot better mentally about things and we all know that's huge. Thanks.
 

FCBayern

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That's definitely the beauty of this forum @JoeGee , no matter what you are going through someone else here has been there before and can give you first hand knowledge of how they handled it, and if we individually haven't experienced the issue will still be here to offer support. The guidance, advice, and support I have received here have been instrumental to my recovery from both TKR and THR.
 

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