Hello! Cheat day on my internet diet.
It is sooooo helpful to hear all of your thoughts. Thank you all for taking the time. It makes a big difference.
I am doing pretty well mentally now. Still bouts of anxiety, but what I find helpful is playing kind of a game show with myself. Name That Fear. Last week's flavor of the day was....*drumroll*...leg length differential. What if I end up with a noticeable lld that results in a permanent limp? What if I have to wear lifts in my shoes/skates forever and develop low back problems and problems I might develop now anyway because of my little waddle penguin walk?
Well. Hello there, fear of the moment. Have a seat. I'd say have some coffee, but I don't want you any more worked up. I believe you come from the general family of "fear of the surgery not working" don't you?
So. What did the surgeon say about chances of a permanent limp? That, when you do thousands of surgeries you do end up, by the reality of statistics, having a few cases that don't heal correctly. I believe the exact number he quoted was 2-4 cases. Of thousands. Good odds, those.
LLD: of course they try everything they can to make sure it doesn't happen. It can, though most people don't notice a difference less than an inch. It's your lucky day, fear, because it's cheat day and now I'm going to google....*sound of frantic typing*....hmmmm. I see stories of people noticing a helluva difference at 4mm, and some studies suggesting this is a common problem, so maybe this isn't reassuring but....
Do I have any control at all over lld if it happens? Am I going to be awake during the surgery to helpfully "remind" him that they need to be the same length (because I'm sure he doesn't know that). Nope and nope. No choice but to trust that the team doesn't want it to happen anymore than I do and will use their experience to do everything possible to prevent it.
Yeah, I know, fear of the moment, it's not a guarantee. But all I can do is hope it doesn't happen. I think you're also related to the big, big family of fear of optimism/hope. You know why you fear optimism/hope? Because you don't think you can handle bad news or disappointment. Because you're afraid you'll have to take any bad news or disappointment or catastrophe with a stiff upper lip or a smile and pretend it doesn't impact you. But guess what? How you handle any bad news or disappointment is entirely up to you.
Another thing I've found helpful is the idea of being a VIP of the surgeon's team, not a passive "victim." I mean, I'll certainly be really passive (or I'd better be) during the surgery, but in terms of preparing mentally and doing anything I can to help make the surgery a success, I can be much, much more than a scared patient. That's really empowering to think about.
I've scheduled a "spa day" a week before the surgery for a haircut and brow wax and also having lunch with friends, one of whom had a hip replacement surgery herself and tells me she wishes she had done it sooner and she will give me no small amount of grief if I chicken out. Her husband also had a THR and he didn't believe that it would be so "easy" even after watching his wife recover smoothly. His also went very well but he still won't admit she was right.
Have also noticed that when I have a good day (not much pain), I don't think 'maybe I don't need surgery.' I think, 'this is how you're SUPPOSED to feel- actually, you're supposed to not even think about your hip at all and that's what you'll experience once you recover. Also, you won't ever experience it if you don't have the surgery, so...'
- thank you for this list! I am going shopping this week for sure!
A long-handled brush to use on your lower legs and feet in the shower. Good shower shoes with traction. Grab bars. Elevated toilet seat. A car "cane" you attach to the side of your car door so you can ease yourself in and out with strong support. All these I got in advance from Amazon and practiced with preop. Lots of YouTube videos showing you how.
MiL update: she had her pre-op physical and that went well. She will have a social worker in the hospital visit (think it's protocol) and it is abundantly clear that my FiL cannot take care of her on his own. He had his own health crisis (COPD crash - spent a week in ICU) last September and she needs help with any physical movement, including going to the bathroom. Her pain is so horrific that any moving at all ends in screams and tears and that takes a huge toll emotionally on my FiL. They made that clear at her pre-op, so hoping the hospital/surgeon makes similar recommendations to the insurance. Poor woman has to make another trip for a COVID test prior to the surgery. Can't do an at-home, can't do a drive through. Has to be in the clinic. Ugh. Trying to remind her that it will be the last time she has to move before surgery and she has two weeks to go, but she's in too much pain to take much comfort in that. So we're just hoping time flies until Friday the 13th.
Thank you for this space to ramble and think and read. Until next cheat day...onward! In a little over 3 weeks, both my MiL and I will be starting our journey to freedom and confidence.