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Bilateral THR JR 2 Hip's Recovery thread<

Mojo333

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More laundry today but I don't carry it outside I use the trolley - it takes me ages to hang out as I'm juggling crutches, pegs and laundry but maybe when I'm better I'll have a new skill in plate spinning.
:heehee:
You ARE funny...a sense of humor is ever so helpful. Venting here is what kept me sane.
Check out this article in our library on icing.
The instant ice packs at the end of the article are especially useful though I must admit I wore out many bags of frozen peas!:yes:
I didn't have an extraordinary amount of visible swelling, but it is a great anti-inflammatory and great for pain relief. Your hips will love it.
 
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JR 2 Hips

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Thanks for the link on icing. Maybe it'll help with the stiffness too as I'm struggling to bend my knees beyond 90degrees and both legs have a leaden feeling when I try to lift them.

It definitely appears as though everyone has a different story to tell and even 2 hips in the same body don't react equally to what's been done so I'm hoping the oddities I'm experiencing are not indicators of failures but just different ways of healing. I admit to getting a bit demoralised reading tales of 5K walks into week 3 and people with truly linear progress and pain that diminishes through time when mine is worse than at week 2 - so I've stopped reading those threads as I feel a bit of a failure and want to stay positive that the random nature of my recovery is normal.

The inability of my body to do what my head expects has at least led to more inventive ways of solving simple tasks which keeps my mind happy but I've yet to figure out how to retrieve the tube of Arnica cream that has disappeared under my recliner - I like a challenge.

Thanks for the continued support - Jo
 

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I admit to getting a bit demoralised reading tales of 5K walks into week 3 and people with truly linear progress and pain that diminishes through time
TBH - most of these claims are fantasy. Please don't let them discourage you. Most recoveries are just as you are experiencing. They just do not happen in a straight line.
I've yet to figure out how to retrieve the tube of Arnica cream that has disappeared under my recliner
Do you have a grabber?
 

hbl

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As you know, my two hips are behaving differently (Feb 19th) and I anticipate that continuing - my physio says my right leg is 2 weeks behind my left. Don't get disheartened if you can help it. I certainly had and am still having good days and bad days - yesterday for the first time I was MIGHTY angry with my body and that came from nowhere because I was sitting down at the time! Evenings are toughest for me when both hips feel leaden, achey and I've got a bit of shin splinty feeling going on too. My last breakthrough was sort of end week 3 and week 4 but am plateauing at the moment. You're not alone but it's also true to say each of us are in a lonely place in the early days even if you are lucky enough to be surrounded by a supportive husband and family. No-one can tread in our shoes right? Or perhaps on second thoughts no-one would want to!
 
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JR 2 Hips

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Yes I have a grabber which is invaluable but I simply can't get low enough to get the angle under the recliner - last time I tried I just pushed the thing further. I've ordered a new tube!

I don't know where I'd be without you hbl as I do feel I'm treading in your shoes even down to the right hip being the worst but I'm really grateful you've been there 2 weeks before me. I have had that shin splinty feeling too in the right leg but I use a CirculationMaxx machine in the eveing for 25 minutes and it seems to help with the circulation and sensation.

Do you have a date for your follow-up? Mine's the 18th and half of me is looking forward to it while the other other half is scared of a bad outcome. Everything else since the op has mostly been glass half full and filled with hope but the future X-ray and surgeon's verdict is like waiting for exam resuts with no real idea of how one's done.

I can't tell hubby this as he is 'Tigger' personified and just doesn't forward think anything - wish I shared that personality trait!

Jo
 

hbl

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My appointment is Thursday week (haven't got a diary in front of me) i.e. not next Thursday but Thursday after. That will roughly be 7 weeks and 1 day (whose counting!) That's when I get the xray done. Like you, am VERY nervous about this. I, too, am a forward thinker/super organiser. Hmm sometimes that gets me into over thinking trouble. Anyway, always here if you need a rant/feel free to ask anything; problem share is a problem halved and all that. Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the sunshine we're experiencing in the UK at the moment. Hx
 
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JR 2 Hips

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Thanks. Thursday the 11th for you then - I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Over thinking does have it's issues - I like to understand everything (good or bad) so I am prepared and can put plans in place whatever the outcome but hubby sees that as looking for problems.... 30 years and he still doesn't understand!

We're up in the Lake District and I can see the sun glinting on the lake - I had hoped to be able to get into our little boat by Easter but I think I should plan for summer. Hope you enjoy the warmth of the sunn too.

Talk soon - Jo
 

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Happy One Month Anniversary! :flwrysmile: (belated)
I hope you're doing well. Please leave us an update next time you drop by.
We'd love to hear some good news from a double hippy.
Wishing you only the best as you move forward!
@JR 2 Hips
 
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Firstly sorry I've been out of touch for a while. Keeping in touch with this site has been a lifeline for me, however, sometimes it just keeps ongoing problems to the forefront of my mind so I've been hiding out a little.

I am now 34 days on from surgery - it feels like MUCH longer. My worst leg (according to the surgeon) has given me way less trouble than the other one which felt OK for the first 3 weeks then it descended into aches, stiffness and a feeling of weakness in the outside of the thigh making it more difficult to stop my knee collapsing inwards. It feels like my left leg has flu - weak, shaky and a bit sore. I don't know if this is a problem or a result of swelling & pressure.

Most of the swelling in my thighs and knees has subsided (not entirely gone but certainly much reduced) but the 'ledges' that hbl describes are beyond stubborn. The ledges are sitting to the outside of each buttock/hip making me look wider when viewed from front or back (not worried about how I look right now but thought it would give an idea of exactly where the swelling is). Some days the swelling is worse than others and is warm when at its worst and it seems to be tied to the amount of excercise - is this a good thing or a bad thing? Am I causing more tissue trauma if the swelling increases or not? Why don't they tell you these things before they happen? By the way icing has not made a significant impact on the swelling for me.

There is some progress however as I now walk (with 2 crutches) up our steep road for 15 minutes and then back again 3 times daily. I can do the laundry, make tea, strip the bed and generally do small tasks BUT I find standing still without crutches for more than 20 minutes is much more exhausting than walking.

There have been a variety of random pains aroung the hips/groin/buttocks which appear and disappear for no apparent reason so I'm ignoring them and focussing on the persistent faults.

Progress is insanely slow especially for my left leg but I am hopeful that everything will resolve over time but preferably before the 18th April when I'm due back for my follow-up X-rays.

Keep stong - Jo
 

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Doing laundry and making beds already - sounds like you are very ambitious especially if you have had bilateral. You sound as if you are doing great with all that walking already. At your stage the only chores I was doing were in the kitchen where I enjoy cooking.

I have been going slow and steady but hope to do Scafell soon.
 

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Some days the swelling is worse than others and is warm when at its worst and it seems to be tied to the amount of excercise - is this a good thing or a bad thing? Am I causing more tissue trauma if the swelling increases or not?
When you reference exercising I'm not 100% sure of exactly what you're doing but I'm assuming you're confused or you wouldn't be questioning it, sweetie.
Please re-read the Big Tip from the Recovery Guidelines -

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.

Think of your legs as injured, because they are. They are trying to heal and they are healing, so please beware of inhibiting the process. Try to look at it this way, if you sustained the same type of injuries from a car accident, would you feel you should be exercising your injured legs? Doubtful. Flesh was cut, muscles and ligaments are separated to expose the joint capsule, power tools are used. Imagine of the soft tissue damage that's occurred. Please consider "walking" as your only form of exercise for the time being. At only one month post op from major surgery you're in the very early days of recovery of two injured limbs. Is there any way you can avoid walking "the steep road" as you've described it for the time being, taking a more level, alternate route?

Please refer to the Activity Progression for THR below. Use it as a rough guideline to keep yourself in check from from overdoing -
http://bonesmart.org/forum/threads/activity-progression-for-thrs.13187/

Consider continuing to ice, elevate and exercise by walking only for a few weeks and hopefully the pain will lessen and you'll notice improvement. We can also tag the forum Nurse if you're interested in her opinion on all.

Wishing you comfort as you continue on your healing journey.
@JR 2 Hips
 

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Hi Jo, I was reading your post and thinking, wow, isn’t she doing well, better than me after 1 month, and I only had one hip done.

And then I got to the part where you said “Progress is insanely slow”.

Whaaat???

You are doing fantastically well, particularly considering the severity of your case with osteoporosis on top of OA.

I’m not one to talk, I know how you feel and there are posts from me where all I could say was “so slow, sooo sloooow, soooooo sloooooooow”, but please do think about dialling back your expectations by about 500% and your activity level by about 200%. I think you will feel better, and recover faster in the long run, if you accept it’s going to take longer than you had initially hoped. These new hips are worth a little investment of time now for a lifetime free from pain and disability.
 

Carriemay60

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Oh yes, you are doing so much! I rechecked your surgery date more than once while reading your activities. If you are capable of doing lots of things (which you seem to be) but feeling recovery is slow, I wonder if you saying you can do it, but not with comfort or well? If I was your task master, I think I would be taking your wings away a bit and enforcing a lot more rest. Slow and steady has a stronger finish! :)
 
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JR 2 Hips

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Thanks for all of the replies.

When I say exercise I mean my little hill walks, the small exercises my physio has given me to do, making tea (just drinks!), stripping the beds (not making them) and doing the laundry which is easy with a washing machine and rotary drier outside. So maybe this clarifies the extent of my 'excercise'.

And CarrieMay 60 you're absolutley correct in that everything I do is with discomfort but not the extreme pain I used to carry with me before the op. I will say again that I just wish the medical professionals and physios would tell us more about recovery.

If I could take up the offer of tagging the forum Nurse then I'd appreciate it as I don't understand what the swelling to the sides of my hips consists of and if I should reduce the work my hips do if the swelling increases. Is the swelling causing the outer thigh weakness? Why do I get a pain in what feels like the rear of my pelvic bone (not my back) and why has my left knee started to hurt - they were one of my most reliable joints!!

On a positive note I took the advice to stop walking up steep hills and John drove me to a Park in Windermere and I had my first walk on the level and in the sun. My left hip was feeling it by the time we got back to the car (only 20mins) but it felt good not to be climbing!

I don't feel quite so much of a failure once I get back on this site and I don't know how you guys all stay so sanguine. Thank you.

I look forward to your responses - Jo
 

Mojo333

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If I could take up the offer of tagging the forum Nurse then I'd appreciate it as I don't understand what the swelling to the sides of my hips consists of and if I should reduce the work my hips do if the swelling increases. Is the swelling causing the outer thigh weakness? Why do I get a pain in what feels like the rear of my pelvic bone (not my back) and why has my left knee started to hurt - they were one of my most reliable joints!!
@Josephine...could you please weigh in on JR 2hips?
 

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Hi Jo - it is disappointing that you have not had good information about recovery from your hospital and physio. I note that your hospital is a centre of excellence for hips and recently had the UK's first THR to be sent home on the same day. Also much of the information provided in the UK is focussed on the very short term while some sites including the NHS can give unrealistic expectations with comments such as "back to normal in 3 months" - whatever "normal" is. It was my physio who gave me the most guidance. She said it takes more than a year to fully recover and this was backed up by fitness instructors at my gym who have had THRs. My physio also said my recovery would take longer than some because of the severity of my OA which had atrophied muscles around the hip and my age (60).

When I say exercise I mean my little hill walks, the small exercises my physio has given me to do, making tea (just drinks!), stripping the beds (not making them) and doing the laundry which is easy with a washing machine and rotary drier outside
This still sounds very ambitious at around a month, especially for bilateral THR - do you not have anyone who can help you with laundry? And what do you mean by little hill walks? That sounds like Cat Bells.

I also had significant swelling until around 6 weeks or so - and it made me look very asymmetrical. My physio suggested that it might have been exacerbated by doing to much walking too early.

I also think you must be very brave to have elected to have a bilateral. It must be great to have it out the way and not be thinking about the possibility of THR number 2 but recovery in the early stages must be very challenging. I don't know how you manage stairs when you don't have a "good" leg to lead and "simple" tasks like showers must be difficult.

I am just over 5 months post op but would say I am still only 80% or so of the way there. There are still aches and stiffness and I cannot do everything I want to yet. I have set my goal for recovery as a year. I found the mental challenges of recovery early on probably to be harder than the physical challenges as it is frustrating to be taking longer to recover than you ideally would like. Hopefully you have read some of the recovery threads to help adjust expectations. In particular @Klassy has an excellent account which sets out her recovery in 10 day stages.

Try not to overdo it going forward and good luck with the recovery. @JR 2 Hips
 

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Hi Jo, you and I have been exchanging separate emails but I will also wade in to say we are both bilaterals (mine Feb 19th 2019) and I would agree that I also still have swelling on one knee and both hips - nothing seems to be reducing and it's very depressing to discover this swelling could last up to 12 months. As said earlier in this thread, the UK is VERY poor at providing information on post op recovery and expectations; whether you go through the NHS or private. Am seeing my surgeon tomorrow for my 7 week xray and check up and will be giving him some notes that I think the hospital (King Edward 7th in London) should incorporate in their patient literature - not least including giving details of this web forum!
 
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Thanks hbl and HertsHippy for your replies.

I wish I could do Cat Bells (it sounds as though you're a Lakes Lover HertsHippy) but at the moment it's only up and down a 14% gradient hill (tarmac so at least smooth underfoot). My OA was the worst the radiologist had ever seen which in some ways was a blessing as the outer bone growth from the OA had acted as a dense scaffold around the severe osteoporosis inside the bone (you'd think if the body was putting that much effort into bone regeneration i.e. the OA spurs it could have thought to repair the internal damage to the bone).

My surgeon described it as papering over crumbling plaster - while the wallpaper would make the bone appear solid there was actually no structural integrity left. This is why he's unsure about the likelihood of the acetabulum in my right leg holding in place. Sadly it's my left leg that's causing me the pain!

Given what has been said I think you're correct about wasted/atrophied muscles and shortened tendons etc. but it is so very, very difficult not to compare myself to others and I know my physio wants me to be walking without crutches tomorrow but my left leg just won't do it - it's not even the pain that's the issue it's that the leg doesn't seem to have the structural integrity to perform. If I try just to stand still on one leg I can feel it in the right hip but it's still good and solid yet the left has more pain and seems to collapse - do you remember those little toy animals years ago where if the base was pressed inwards the whole animal collapsed in a heap? Well that's my left leg!

To anyone else reading this who is considering a bi-lateral then don't let this thread deter you as it really hasn't been an issue having both done - the pain hasn't been doubled and the restriction have been similar to those imposed with one hip apart from 3 notable exceptions 1. ensure you've got decent upper body strength before the op. 2. sort out transport from the hospital as it's difficult getting in a car with 2 damaged hips 3. DO hire or buy a riser/recliner - lifesaver!!

Keep in touch - Jo
 

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As Jo knows, my view is that (3) above is an absolute ESSENTIAL and nowhere in any literature that I've been given or downloaded from NHS etc have I seen this written.

Anyway, look forward to any insights on our inflated swollen hip 'ledges' as we've christened them and a fat knee!
 

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I agree on the lift recliner. I had one and can't imagine recovery without it, although it's happening successfully everyday. I sometimes wonder if because recoveries are so varied from person to person it keeps imformation about recovery at a minimum. What's easy for one person at any given point of time during recovery, may be impossible for another. You read it here all the time. HUH? WHAT? You can do THAT?!! One says to another.

For this reason I always mention the Activity Progression for THR should be used as a "rough guideline"
What feels like child's play to one, another may struggle with. Also, progress can be slower to those who come into surgery in worse shape, limping, on meds, suffering for longer, using an assistive device for months, over not really needing one. Sure doesn't hurt to make suggestions to the NHS instigating change in their literature. I believe @Klassy successfully did that, right Klassy? I'll look forward to Josephine's response to what a few of you have coined "ledges". You Silly Girls :heehee:
 

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