Tuesday, March 18, 2014

11 days Post Op for Total Hip Replacement

Well, here I sit with my new hip.  My body is still trying to figure out how to operate with the new parts, and asking when I can swim again!   I cannot lie, the first week post op was rough.  Why? Maybe because I had a drug reaction to the narcotics and broke out in a vicious rash on my back. YUK!  The nurses said I can continue the drug and take antihistamine, or change to tramadol (which I had left over from before the surgery) or get a different pain killer. I decided to take the antihistamine for  day. Decided that was not working, and took a day of the Tramadol, then said the hell with it, I will take Tylenol as directed.  Basically I stopped taking prescribed meds on day 6.

The other episode that took place was a bit of swelling in my shin that was blue. Then the swelling went down, but it stayed blue. That worried me, but the nurses reassured me that it was not a blood clot.  Basically the first 48 hours I spent icing and getting up to go to the bathroom, and a few ROM exercises. I did not have an appetite, but I was not worried about that. I mean, who wants to eat after having a bunch of drugs pumped into your body for two days?  I think aside from the drug rash and the DVT (deep vein thrombosis) scare, there are overwhelming feelings of doubt such as,  will I get better, if so when, what have I done to myself, it hurts to move, when will I be able to sleep through the night, and when am I going to have a BM??

Thanks to the help from my neighbor, who supplied me with some Senna, I was able to have a BM three days after being released from hospital. The first time I really felt like eating anything solid was three days after being home from the hospital, and one of our friends brought over a wonderful meal of salad and quiche, which really hit the spot. After that I started to feel like a normal person again.

There are plenty of forums on the web these days for people to communicate their hip issues pre and post surgery. I'd scour them to find info to see if I was on the right track or to learn more about what to expect during the recovery process, and what I was experiencing. The take away form all the reading is, take it slow, do what the PT says, listen to your body, and utilize all healing techniques available. Seeing as though I am a doctor of Chiropractic (retired) I always look to forms of natural and eastern medicine. At 10 days post op, I had an acupuncture appointment. That was wonderful!

Walking - that is something they tell you to do religiously or as much as you can. I would go out into the rain, cold, or snow and wobble down the driveway and back with the walker. The time it took to do that was almost 10 minutes. Then I progressed to the cane on day 5 and I'd time myself for 10 minutes. I was happy to note that I negative split the time it took to go down the driveway, plus the length of our property line on the road and back to the porch.  Everyday I'd add a little more distance to the walk.  I was actually vacuuming on Sunday, and a friend came over, and said, "I don't think you should be vacuuming."

The PT came to the house two times the first week. The first day she came, she wanted me to do a straight leg raise while lying down on the bed. I could NOT lift that leg on my own. She helped the leg, and I'd have to hold it and push down. It was very difficult to do.  Later, I researched post op exercises, and read that the straight leg raise was something that was done 4 wks. post op. So the next time I saw her, I told her I wanted to hold off on that exercise. She agreed. The other exercises were easy. Standing ones are done with the assistance of the kitchen counter: Marching in place, heel to butt kicks, hip abduction (standing and laying down), hip extension, leg extensions, and even baby squats. I did some research on-line to see if there were other exercises, and I added the pelvic hip lift (bridge). She told me to do the exercises 3xs/day 10-20 reps.  Now that it's the second week of rehab, I was able to do the straight leg lifts.  She wanted me to start getting up from a chair without kicking my leg out, and to think about walking more normal, and less antalgic.   Today she also wanted to see if I was ready to walk without the cane. Hummm...I know that I was not ready for that, as my pelvic would drop if I put all my weight on the operated hip and lift the other knee like a march. That is called the Trendelenberg test. If you can do that test without the hips tilting, then one is ready to ditch the cane. I am not quite that far along, and I can't imagine anyone who has had a posterior incision would be ready to do that less than 2 weeks after surgery. Maybe I will be cane free by Friday, which is 2 weeks to the day.  I have read that patients with an anterior incision take a week less to recover due to the fact they don't cut through as many muscles.

Getting my muscles to relax at night is a challenge, and I thought something was wrong with the implant because the pain has been keeping me up at night.  One night I was sleeping on my side with the BIG pillow they provide you, and as I rolled onto my back, my glut contracted so hard, that it took TWO hours for it to relax. Needless to say, I got out of bed and did some work on the computer to pass the rest of the morning away.  One of the areas that was also very very sore to touch immediately after the surgery was my IT band lateral to the knee.  I knew that I'd have to work on that to get it to relax. I'd massage it, ice it, heat it, and even did ultrasound on it. It's better now.  The other muscle that cramps is the adductor muscle. Basically, since the Dr. had to pound that stem into my leg, (which I felt during surgery) my lower ankle and knee are bruised.  The bruising is subsiding, and my range of motion is improving.  Everything is in small increments, and healing cannot be rushed, like a fine wine!!

This Friday is closing in on the two week time table of post op, and I am looking forward to the freedom of driving. I will have a chiropractic appointment this week, so he can adjust my pelvis using the Thompson technique that does not require rotating the body and turning the leg inward.  The scar looks great. It's closed, and I will start to put Vitamin E oil on it daily.

All and all, positive things are happening everyday. It's good to know that these major surgeries are available to people of all ages.  I cannot imagine a life of limping around and not enjoying the activities that I love to do.  Time to get up and go for a walk!

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