Here I am at day 10 post surgery. I have to say that my recovery has been very different than the norm in that I got off all pain meds except Tylenol a few days after the surgery. I certainly don’t recommend this for everyone and I would not have done it this way but I simply cannot handle pain meds for whatever reason. I find, however that if I am really careful, I can handle the pain pretty well with just the Tylenol and am thinking that I might ratchet that down a notch or two soon. I have a body that is extremely sensitive to drugs of any kind and I really don’t like having to use them except when necessary. (This was written a few days ago, present day Chris here at day 13, There have been some painful times! If you can handle pain meds get them!)
Yesterday I was up and around a lot with the walker and was able to take a joy ride in the wheelchair with my husband at the helm. He took me to the park in our complex and I was able to look around and get out of my head a bit. It was so nice to feel the sun and the breeze while watching the ducks mildly make their way across the pond and back again. The turtles also came for a brief visit but lost interest when they realized we didn’t bring turtle pellets with us and headed back to where things were more interesting under the fountain. (Note to self: Don’t depend on turtles for any kind of meaningful relationship. Apparently it is all about them.)
Today my goal was, by this evening I wanted to be off the walker and on the cane. With this in mind, I started walking and putting more weight on the post operative hip. And Guess What?!?! It didn’t hurt!! I was able to get up and work on taking photos for my new book. I was also able to make lunch and serve it to my husband instead of the other way around. This was a nice change! (Present day Chris here. This was the overdoing it to which I allude later in the post.)
The ups in this particular journey in life are mitigated by some downs. I do have some sort of butt muscle spasm that is extremely painful when it hits. I have not found out how to avoid invoking that or found a way to iron out what is wrong there. This is a good question for my therapist whom I will see tomorrow. (Ok I figured that out and can now avoid it! Good news!)
Other than that, I am doing really well. Every day I get stronger and I am already mentally planning trips everywhere where I will be able to walk without aide and without pain which is almost unbelievable to me as I have had to live with it for so long. There are many very bright days ahead!
If you are going through this or plan to in the future, you can write me here. Also I found a REALLY COOL FAQ site that actually answered the questions that I have and not just saying the same things over and over. You can find it here:http://www.emoryhealthcare.org/orthopaedics/become-patient/faq/hip-replacement.html !!
Present day Chris here at day 13 post surgery! Had a really tough one yesterday. I think I just overdid in my excitement to pretend I am completely better. The body is using energy at a mad rate just to repair and I went all nuts and suffered the agonies of the damned for the rest of the day. Still I made a killer ravioli soup which has been great for lunch and dinner so my efforts were not wasted.
As I make my way through this mother of all projects, I am coming up with more tips for you. At the risk of making this the lengthy blog post that never ends, I will list them out for you. Here they are:
1) Before considering a surgery of this nature, understand that it is a huge project and commitment. Once you undergo the surgery there is a lot to deal with and it doesn’t not all go away in a day or a week or even several weeks from what I am seeing. When I say “commitment” I mean a commitment to hold the idea in mind that this was something that needed to be done and it will turn out for the best no matter how you are feeling in the interim. There have been times, especially lately where I could so easily ask myself “What the hell have I done?” but its best not to go there. What is done is done and you have to stay the course and see it through. Before the surgery, if you are unsure of your state of mind, iron that out before you go in.
2) Go ahead and cry. I really mean this. Crying is not a sign that you are falling apart, a sign of weakness or a sign of anything other than the fact that you have accumulated too much negative energy in your mind and it needs an outlet. Cry it out. advise those around you that they should not try to stop you from crying as this is everyone’s first impulse. We all hate to see someone cry and feel helpless but if they know that it is necessary to empty the pot of negative energy in order to refill it with hope, they will understand and it won’t be so tortuous for them. As you cry, make sure you are only crying about things in the present. Don’t start thinking about all the times your sister ruined your shoes while growing up or the times your hairdresser cut your bangs too short. This is counter productive and will make you feel worse. Cry as much as you need to about the pain, the boredom, the scariness of it all and then dry your eyes and think about how wonderful it will be to climb stairs without exploding into a hurricane of expletives to the horror of everyone around you. You will find the strength to go on, I promise!
3) Make sure that negative people are not allowed any communication with you while you are recovering. I don’t care who they are, negative people will make your recovery a lot worse! I have found that the best way to deal with this is to find a staunch and loyal friend or spouse who fully understands the importance of this concept. Appoint this person Pitt Bull in Charge and put them between you and the outside world. Their job is to turn away the Negative Nellies who want to come in and add to your misery. Once you have recovered you can resume dealing with their nonsense but even then, limit it to the mandatory and spend time with your positive friends and family members.
4) Every day give yourself a little goal but don’t be upset if you backslide a bit. This can be as simple as going from the walker to the cane or taking a shower by yourself, or even taking a shower period. Even if you backslide (I had to go back to the walker for awhile after overdoing it) tick them off your goal list and replace it with another goal. This lets you know that you are making progress even if it is hidden in a lot of work and effort.
5) Sleep whenever you can. At first I didn’t feel like sleeping, in fact, I think my body was afraid to go to sleep because the last big sleep it had, something really awful happened. (It woke up with a new hip!). I am finding that things that I so took for granted every day like making lunch, suddenly require a nap afterward. This is weird to me but apparently necessary. I have to just go with it. after all, the body is trying to build new bone, ligaments and muscles and really may not have a lot of energy to spare for a long walk or cleaning house.
6) Get outside as much as you can. You really do need a change of scene and to look outward instead of at the four walls of your bedroom. My husband and I borrowed a wheelchair. This gets us both out of the house and gives him some exercise while caring for me. It really feels great and many times I don’t want to go back inside.
7) Don’t take drugs for “depression”! Depression may or may not occur with you while you go through this process. If it does, it is a natural response to a real situation. It is not about chemicals imbalances in your brain or anything other than the fact that you are dealing with something that is difficult to deal with. You may feel overwhelmed, You may feel that your life sucks and you may cry a lot. If you find yourself crying about things in your life that are not ok, make a list of what you can do about those things. You will have lots of downtime so make it about fixing things and moving forward in life. Drugs only mask the problem and there is only one person who can fix them and that is you.
There you have it! I am sure there will be more tips for hip replacement victims (I mean patients LOL!) I will write them as I go. Good luck with yours! As always, feel free to contact me for advice or pats on the head with a series of “There, There, whose a good Amys?”. YOU will get through it and maybe I can make you laugh!