23 November 2009

... and back again

Good grief, it's been a rough week, one I don't care to repeat. Ever. Here's a summary of where things are up to, from my hospital bed. I'm on Day 6 post op now.

The THR took around 4 hours, twice as long as expected. Despite planning on a ceramic/ceramic joint, in the end I've got a ceramic femur head (48 mm very small), a short stem into the femur, and a plastic (polycarbonate?) acetabulum, which gives better coverage.

Some surgeon told me on Day 1 that I've been ordered permanent hip restrictions, because of the smallness of my bones and replacement and weird anatomy. But when I checked with my surgical team this morning they had no record of this! So I'll need to wait to hear back from Dr Smith about this (he's on holidays).

Main problems have been :

Low blood pressure (still a problem), I get very dizzy and nauseated when I sit and stand up. I'm often on oxygen to help with this.

My left knee is very swollen and extremely painful, can tell when meds are wearing off by the state of my knee! Have had it x-rayed, still waiting on the report.

Pain management - I couldn't have a femoral nerve block, and my dear surgeon stopped my PCA after 12 hours (don't know why, nurses weren't impressed either!), there was some miscommunication about getting me onto alternative pain relief, the first few days were hellish.

I got a small blood clot in my lungs. My legs are all clear (had an ultrasound). My chest x-ray was clear, but my chest CT scan showed a clot. Am on Warfrin now for 6 months, and now have a lifelong risk of future blood clots too :/ For joy.

Crazed woman with severe dementia is in the bed across from me (I'm in a 4 bed room), who is 94, and talks / yells / demands non-stop when awake. Which seems to be most of the time, especially overnight. Even the saintly nurses can't stand her, which is saying something. She is making an already difficult situation much more unpleasant and distressing.

The good things :

My surgeon is happy with how the operation went, I didn't lose much blood, and didn't need a transfusion.

My leg length difference has probably been fixed (about 1 cm increase).

I'm starting to be able to sleep through the night, which is helping hugely. When said roommate is not ranting all night. Ear plugs are essential!

I'm off the walker already and onto my elbow crutches.

My pain meds are being reduced slowly, to see how things go, and I'm not needing oxygen as much.

My next door bed buddy W is lovely. She had a THR some years ago, but fell this week, and has just had another THR on the other hip. She's 81. Early Saturday morning (6 am) they were prepping her for surgery, and while the nurses were saying "You'll be fine" it was clear she was terrified and feeling very alone.

I introduced myself, sat with her for an hour, held her hand, and talked with her about her fear, not just dismissing it (having been there myself!!!) and talked with her about distracting things too, and then lent her my iPod with some calming music. It made a huge difference to her, and I was so glad I could help her out - another hip sister :)

Each day I can see that my mobility is getting better, it's less painful to move my left leg, and things are getting better. But it has been a much more painful experience than I was expecting.

The wound is very clean, only needed the dressing changed on Saturday for the first time. It's a posterior approach, cutting around my hip into my bum. Around 20-25 staples, just saw them for the first time, big metal - yup - staples. Horrible. They'll come out in another week or so. Looks like I've been attacked by a shark.

So that's me ... it's bloody hard and painful, I wasn't really prepared for recovery very well, as I was so focussed on the surgery itself! But the bad bits are mostly behind me now ...

Thank you everyone for all your kind messages and thoughts!

xxxooo Denise


  1. Dear Denise, I am so glad to read that your operation was so successful!! Happy days indeed. Best wishes for your recovery!!! The Labradors end tail wags and happy smiles!!

  2. Glad to hear you're on the other side of the op and doing ok. Thinking of you and sending good, healing vibes. xxx

  3. Hi Denise,
    I have been thinking about you as I know this was going to be a rough ride for you. You have done so well. Good luck with recovery. You are a brave woman. XXX

  4. Denise, glad you're surviving. Hope you heal quickly and can get out of there soon!

    - Sylvia

  5. Sorry to hear about the problems, but so many good things too, that is great to hear.

  6. Well, you're gonna heal whether you want to or not, and since you seem to want to, Hooray!

    I'm SO glad that the worst is over. Soon you'll be sleeping in your own bed with your own family and your own dear puppy. And life will just get better from there.

    How wonderful that you were able to help your suitemate! What a generous, kind woman you are.

    Now, keep thinking happy thoughts. We'll all think them for you as well. Hugs and smooches!

  7. Oh dear. I'm so glad to hear things are improving for you now. Sleeping in a room with ANY random 4 people is not a great proposition even without dementia into the bargain. It's lovely that you could help another 'hip sister' through a tough time. Take care of yourself and heal fast, now!

  8. I've been thinking about you this week too. Very glad the worst is behind you (even though it did sound bad!) and every day sees you a little further on the road to recovery.

    I do feel sorry for you with your roommate across the bed! And I admire your kindness to your next-bed patient. You're very good you know.

    Best wishes on your recovery..

  9. Aww, sweetie! So glad you are starting to feel better. Hopefully it will all be smooth sailing from here on in. I'm glad you were able to support someone else through it too - that must have meant so much to her! Compassion is a wonderful gift. Here is to quick healing and a shiny new six million dollar Jejune!

  10. I'm very sorry that recovery is having some hitches, but it's good to read your blog and know you're well enough to write. Very good.

    Blessings, and may things smooth out from here.

  11. Hi Denise, I'm glad to hear that the surgery went well and that recovery, while not smooth, is going better. It touched my heart to read the bit about helping your bed buddy with her anxiety. Hope recovery gets even better - cheers!


  12. I'm glad the tough bits are done. Now comes the hard parts. I'm thinking of you and sending you pain free thoughts.

  13. slow and steady - you'll get there. Hard stuff to get through for sure!

  14. Oh, hon. I have been thinking of you all week - I'm so sorry it's been such a rough recovery! (Leave it to your sweet heart, though, to come up with such a long list of positive things!) I hope there are even more in that column soon!

  15. So sorry to hear the whole experience has been even more harrowing than you'd bargained on. The positives sound very positive though - I'm still amazed by how quickly they had you up and moving around. Hope everything else resolves quickly and that you can get home for some real rest.

  16. just leaving greetings from Tennessee here! I am happy the worst seems to be over! May your further recovery be speedy and as painless as possible.


  17. Hey! Glad everything is getting better, except for the neighboring dementia patient... While you'll get better, she won't, so you'll be out of there before you know it.

    Hope you get to go home soon!

  18. My dogs probably have the most sympathy for you as far as recovery, since they are both post-surgical themselves.

    But I can sympathize on the low blood pressure, since mine used to run low and I'd stand up and fall back down.

  19. I'm proud of you for having a great attitude throughout all of this. Wishes of good health.


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