Tomorrow is the day and is finally here. By this time tomorrow I will be done and most likely on my way home.
Years ago hip replacement surgery (HRS) was about pain management. Those were the days of plastic hips. Now with titanium hips, it’s all about walking the moment you get off the operating table.
Having surgery of any kind is never fun but luckily we have the best health care system in the world and when you do need it, there is nothing better than knowing you are in good care. The entire process is quite profound and it starts at 6:45AM. Beforehand, the surgeon requires you to do blood work, make sure your EKG is OK, do a nasal swatch, take a class to learn what you are in store for, buy a cold therapy machine (fancy device that incorporates ice and water) instead of using ice packs and be hydrated the day of surgery.
Mind you all this is outpatient. Tomorrow morning the doctor will administer a pain block near the surgical site which takes 30 minutes. Then the anesthesiologist (is there a longer name for a doctor than this one?) puts you out. The surgeon operates for 45-60 minutes. You then have a one-two hour recovery in your private room. Then the PT guys shows up: Fits you with a walker, takes you on a walk, teaches you how to walk up and down stairs, teaches you a few exercises and then off to the car to go home.
The next day a nurse shows up at the house to make sure everything is OK and then it’s all about icing, pain medication, walking and exercising. First the walker, then the cane and then home free. Three weeks no driving (lucky to have UBER) and then get to swim and stationary bike. Twelve weeks 85% healed. One year, 100%.
900,000 Americans get either a hip or knee replacement each year. So many in fact, that everyone I told that I am getting this done knew at least one or two others that had to have it done too. I’m currently finishing up the book, “The Pioneers” which is an excellent history lesson from the 1780’s to mid 1800’s. Just to think they had no options like this back then and I could only imagine what HRS looked like if it was needed.
Anyway, looking forward to no pain in the hip, walking normal again and knowing short term pain for long term gain is what it is all about. Thanks everyone for their best wishes, good luck and yadda-yadda-yadda. And of course the blog would not be complete without HIP HIP HOORAY!
I have to close with this cartoon, send courtesy of Hola Herman! Too funny.
Tuesday, July 23
Arrived at UnaSource surgical center in Troy at 6:30AM. If you have to have joint replacement surgery, this is the place I highly recommend. From the moment you enter to the moment you leave, you are surrounded by qualified staff. They immediately took me to my private room where they took my vitals and hooked me to an IV. The anesthesiologist introduced himself and gave me a pain block in my right thigh (a bit of amnesia medication in my IV since I did not remember any of it). My surgeon, Dr. Verner, actually came to say hello and we chatted for a couple minutes. He left and I was wheeled into the OR. I saw this room for a few seconds until the mask went over my face. One hour surgery, two hour recovery, the PT guy came in my room, set up my walker and I started walking. Amazing. He showed me how to walk up and down stairs and then to the car to head back home at 1:30PM.
I received three types of narcotics and a bunch of other meds. The doctor recommended one Percocet before bed. I never took this before and I was kind of excited to try it out and see what all the fuss was about. However I was in no pain. In fact I was walking outside and not even using the walker. The pain block was amazing and lasts between 16-24 hours. I took advantage of it.
They gave me a pair of rechargeable vibration pads that go around your lower legs to prevent a blood clot (that is the worst and you want to prevent). These suck for sure as you have to wear them when you are not walking. Yep, even in bed. They puff up every few seconds to bring blood flow and then turn off for a bit. I also iced every 20 minutes per hour, walked hourly, did one hour of recommended exercises in the morning and afternoon. Update on Percocet: No feelings at all, so disappointed! That was the end of pain killers including Narco which I never tried.
Wednesday, July 24
Love my nurse, Nurse BUB! There is a lot of work for the nurse. My doctor recommended an ice therapy machine for $175 and terrific invention. It just needs to be filled with ice twice a day, plugged in and so forth. Sheets need to be changed every other day. Taking on and off the compression pads is a pain in the butt. I am always drinking water. But lo and behold I woke up and took a shower standing on my own, no shower seat needed. Walked with the walker and did my daily routine. UnaSource, doctor’s office and even a field nurse came by to check on me. All good! Also I got my first box of get well cards from everyone at TNG along with a nice bag of chocolate, yummy fruit and other surprises. All amazing.
Thursday, July 25
First day with the cane and the morning was really good. Onto book #2 (Patterson’s latest thriller). After lunch, ditched the cane and walked really good without it. Another FEDEX box from TNG with more cards!
Friday, July 26
My nurse is really getting bored with me. The ice machine is packed up as is the walker, cane, shower chair & raised toilet seat that was never used, and starting to look like a normal home again. Walking well and went out for breakfast. Made pizza on the grill and snuck in my first glass of wine. YUM!
Saturday-Sunday, July 27
Now it is a waiting game of getting fully healed. I was told 85% in 3 months and 100% within a year. I think sooner. My incision bandage comes of Tuesday (it is only about 4″ long and waterproof). I am hoping in two weeks I can swim and use a stationary bike. Driving will be sooner than later.
Today, July 29
BUB dropped me off at the Sports Club and I had a personalized rolly-polly yoga session on the floor, thanks Deb! It was amazing to be back less than a week. Now in the office and typing away with my compression cuffs vibrating. All is good and the love and support was amazing. Bottom line: If you are local, check out UnaSource and Dr. Verner if you need joint replacement surgery and stay away from an overnight hospital stay.