Thursday, November 6, 2014

What A Long Strange Trip This Has Been, And It Is Not Over Yet! -Part 2

It has been about seven weeks since my last post when I told about going to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue for a total hip replacement(THR). Since I am now writing about the surgery, I can say that I survived and the outcome was good.

I was scheduled for surgery at 1330. I got there early, checked in and was prepped for the surgery. By 1230, the surgery time slipped to 1430. That time was kept and I was wheeled into the surgery room where the anesthesiologist took control and I was soon in la-la land. He later ask what I remembered because I was babbling during his initial work. I remember nothing.

Hours later, I woke in the recovery room. Just like the surgery in March, waking up was easy and I did not feel groggy. Since I had a spinal injection, my legs were numb. But it did not seem long before my feeling was back and they prepped me to go to my room. Since it was nearly 1930, the recovery room staff ordered me some dinner for when I got to my room.

Got to my room amidst a flurry of activity of getting everything set up and everyone briefed and acquainted. Fortunately these rooms for joint replacement patients are singles with lots of room around the bed. I had dinner and had a sleepless night.

In the morning, there is no rest allowed. After breakfast I was out of bed, dressed and by 1000, I was on my crutches and heading down the hall to group physical therapy. It was funny, my leg length had shrunk by nearly 3/4 inch. Now with the new joint, I had gotten my leg length back. So walking with crutches, I kept turning left into the wall. After about 50 feet, I got the hang of it and could walk straight.

The second day was more of the same: get dressed, walk around the halls on crutches, group rehab, testing by occupational therapists, visit by the discharge coordinator to arrange home health service and finally discharge from the hospital. My sister picked me up and took me to my parents home in Silverdale. After three nights, I was delivered to my own home.

The recovery from the hip replacement was so much easier than the hip pinning. From the beginning, I have been allowed to put weight on the leg as much as I could tolerate. I only used crutches and after two weeks, I was down to one crutch. and a couple weeks later I was down to a cane. I was driving after about three weeks and going to church and shopping after the first week. For the first five weeks, physical therapy arrived at my home to give me exercises. She said that I was a lot more motivated than most of her patients. The only issue I had was that my lower leg, especially my ankle was painful and my ankle and shin was cramping making it hard to sleep at night. The surgeon was not too concerned, but as the pain increased, I went to my own doctor last Friday. Nothing was determined to be wrong and sure enough, the pain has gone away and I am now able to sleep all night. I am getting the best sleep I have had in over seven months.

At seven weeks, I am still using the cane. It gives me stability so I don't limp. I don't lean on it or put much pressure on it at all. The PT person told me that even though I can walk without the cane, since I am limping, I need the cane. Even so, I have been walking a lot and put in a 2-1/4 mile circuit. And I can make the 1/2 mile round trip to the mailbox without a cane, but it is tiring and I do limp some. I can defiantly tell that my muscle tone is not what it used to be seven months ago. Hopefully I will be back to all my normal activities soon! 

My new hip. It is made out of various types of unobtanium materials: alloys of titanium, steel as well as some ceramic and plastic parts. The implant in the femur and the cup in the pelvis are "grow in" style. The bone is shaped with cutters and rasps and the metal parts hammered in with an interference fit. The implant is coated with another rough metal that the bone will adhere to.
The surgeon did say that after he could access the joint and removed the screws,  he pried on the fracture zone with his chisel and could detect movement. That was probably why I could not walk on it for six months. I did not realize until I had this surgery how bad I felt with the unhealed fracture.

The incision on my thigh. The incision is eight inches long. The doctor said that he had to make it a bit longer than normal to allow enough room to remove the screws. It was nice to have the staples removed at two weeks. I also still have the two inch scar from the March hip pinning surgery.
Here are the screws that held my fractured hip together for six months. Also made out of some fancy material.