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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Life after

On March 26 I had my right hip replaced. I had heard so many glowing accounts from patients of hip surgery that I practically expected to walk out of the hospital with no pain at all. That may happen to some but it didn't happen to me.

I used a walker for most of the first week. Then I moved to the cane, which I am still using. I am hoping to set it aside in another week, but my therapist says not to rush. Take what time I need. It's a nuisance to use a cane all the time. It's like being one-handed.

But back to the last few weeks. I left the hospital on March 28, morning. I might have left the day before but the surgeon was out of town until that night, and I don't think that hospitals enjoy releasing patients at night. Hospitals are so intrusive and such rest-suckers. It was hard enough getting to sleep on that bed with my leg not comfortable, but then I'd be wakened for some blood pressure check or something else. Fortunately I was disconnected from the IV soon, and then the catheter, and finally the drain. When the hospital physical therapist came around I was ready ready ready. I was hardly pain-free but I wanted out so I hit the ground almost running.

I started outpatient therapy the following Monday, April Fool's Day. My friend Maryann had gotten me to and from the hospital, and on Friday we had driven together to pick up my daughter Elaine and grandson Elliott at the airport. So Elaine drove me to physical therapy.  After I did a limited number of activities there, the therapist had me on the table, where he tested my hip. He said I was doing very well, that all the time I had spent there working on my knees had paid off in strength, and that I was "about three weeks ahead of schedule". Of course that's an exaggeration, but one I was delighted to hear.

I have now completed three weeks of therapy. I have tried driving and found that I can do it. I am not yet pain-free. I am not yet healed inside, although the wound on my leg is completely closed and I am cleared for dipping in the pool again. The swelling on my hip has gone down some and is clearly not the issue swelling was for my knees. A hopeful result: the therapist says my knee is starting to get straighter! That my bad hip may have interfered with that. I remain hopeful that one day both legs will be straight and I will no longer feel tension in my legs when I walk or stand.