23 January 2010

Meet Hippy

It's really in there! This is my x-ray taken yesterday, at "Hip Clinic" :

My surgeon, Dr Smith, is very happy with my progress, and I'm very happy with his handiwork - he did a great job with a difficult structural problem.

I've got a good range of motion, and am walking better than I did pre-op (although I still have a limp). He had to order in a special small "dysplasia hip prosthesis" for me - the spike inside the femur is much shorter than usual, the neck is barely there. The femur head is 48 mm around. The socket is also quite open.

My bones are unusually small - it's part of the dysplasia deformities. I'm wondering whether my leg lengthening (+1 cm) happened because he had to put the socket in a bit lower (I'm lying flat and straight in the x-ray - honest! Man, my pelvis is deformed.). It doesn't look like he's added any length in the femur at all.

Here's a normal hip for comparison with a 'normal' hip replacement, without dysplasia, and with a more normal prosthesis - note the longer neck (between the spike and head) and the longer spike inside the femur. The scale is a bit smaller in this x-ray, so take that into account.

This copyright free image is a work of the National Institutes of Health, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Status at Week 9

I'm free of the DVT stockings, hurrah, but still on Warfarin for another 4 months.

I can walk around without crutches or a walking stick, although I still use a stick when I'm out, as added help just in case, and to give people a visual hint as to why I walk slowly.

My obturator nerve is still a bother - I still can't pull my leg inwards when lying down, and I step a bit funny - but Dr Smith assures me that it's minor damage, the muscle is working a bit, and will get better. Although the muscle is wasting away a bit, I don't have areas of numbness which is a good sign. I've just had a major surgery, after all, as he said, of course things aren't working well yet! I've seen 21 months listed in a Mayo Clinic study, as the average time for recovery.

It's confirmed, I have permanent hip restrictions. This is unbelievably rare (generally hip restrictions last for 3 months, not the rest of your life). It's to reduce the risk of fracture and dislocation, which I'm at a higher risk for because of my deformed anatomy and the small prosthesis. And let's face, I don't want either of those things to happen!

Dr Smith said I can sit on normal chairs and use a regular loo once I get to Week 12, so that's fine, but I'm not to sit on very low things, like a footstool, or squat down, run, jump, bounce, move my left leg across the midline of my body, twist my torso towards my left hip, pull my leg to my chest, put my left foot up on my lap (but I've never been able to do that anyway), bend down to shave my legs, etc. Anything which bends or twists my hip a lot is not OK.

I have to give up Middle Eastern dancing too, which sucks. Hugely. There's a few moves I can still do for exercise (shimmy, chest and belly isolations etc) but I won't be able to do classes.

I'm allowed to lie on my tummy again (yaaay - favourite sleep position!!), as long as I turn over very slowly and carefully, with my trusty pillow between my legs (it stops my left leg going over the midline).

I'm driving easily again, and have figured out how to get into the car with least pressure on my left leg (driver's side is on the right, so I step my left leg in first, keeping it straight, and then get the rest of me in, still keeping the left leg straight).

I'm able to get back on the exercise bike, just for 10 minutes at a time, and going slowly, but with the seat raised up I can do full revolutions without bending my hip past the 90º rule.

My physio gave me standing up exercises, but they gave me sciatic pain, so I've gone back to lying down exercises. The muscles all around my hip, front and back, are very tight and sore. The old scars in my groin are pulling because of the lengthening ... so I'm still doing lots of physio stuff, and massaging the scars to help them stretch (but given that they're over 40 years old, this could take a very very long time).

The 90º rule is driving me nuts, I keep leaning forward when sitting at my desk (like now) and that's a big no-no. I have to sit back further (but then I can't see the screen very clearly) - so there's a bit of fiddling around to do with Universal Access on my Mac (zooming in on the screen), placement of chairs, desks, screen, and so on.

But basically it's going well, things are slowly healing, I'm just getting a bit impatient with the nerve stuff and hip restrictions, but they'll get easier as time goes on, I guess.


  1. Hey Denise - So glad to hear of all that is going well! Boy, the x-ray really shows how screwy your bones are (no offenses) - so that makes your recovery even more amazing. I think you'll learn to just automatically take into account the restrictions so they won't feel like such negatives eventually. Am so glad to hear that your walking is so much easier! Yay, Love, Donna Lee and the Pups

  2. Hooray for modern medicine! And yay for you. Thanks for sharing. The photos are fascinating!

  3. I hope you continue to get better!

  4. Slow and steady is great but it does get really frustrating!! Glad you are on the road to recovery and finding ways to get back to normal!!!

  5. Have you ever tried one of the office chairs based on a saddle seat? I am sitting on one right now, and because there is no 'seat' under my thighs, I can lean towards the screen without closing that angle (the legs are free to 'drop' a bit so the angle stays open).

    Might be worth talking to a Physio. Only problem is they are VERY pricey. Ours is actually a no-longer-required English hacking saddle of our daughter's, attached to an ordinary office desk chair base. A toolmaker/engineer is a very handy thing to have in the family!

    Gae, in Callala Bay

  6. Great idea, Gae! I'd been wondering about the sort of kneeling-on chairs, but they'd probably put too much stress on my joints still, but the saddle chairs sound just right. Probably worth the investment, seeing as I spend so much time at my desk.

  7. Cool xrays! The restrictions sound like a pain but you have LESS pain now. Yay for less pain.

    I'm so glad to hear that you are healing up so quickly. I think I'd have a hard time with that 90 degree rule.

  8. Worth thinking about - but check with the Physio first?

    Can you tell that I am heavily influenced by my husband's involvement with Technical Aid for the Disabled? That is the mantra - check with the Physio!

    And what else do you do with a workaholic German toolmaker when he retires, but hand him over to TAD?

    Gae, in Callala Bay

  9. I find this kind of stuff fascinating.

    It will probably get easier and more automatic, bit by bit. (I am trying to learn to knit stranded colorwork right now, and my hands feel unbelievably dumb, so that's what I keep telling myself!)

  10. I know that you've mentioned about your pelvis before, but the picture is worth a thousand words.

    Wishing you continued healing.

    Big Hugs

  11. Hope things are going well with you coming off your pain meds, bionic woman!

  12. Great photos! Well you see! With all that 'difference' - you really are SPECIAL!


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