Each week I feel a little bit more progress towards my end goal of running. I am sure it is the case with many active people, that once they start feeling better, they try to “sneak” in an activity that they’ve been told to hold off on until their surgery recovery period is over. They think they are “recovered enough” to try it. I am guilty of it with past surgeries, but not with this one. I am still not ready to run. The hip still bothers me at times when I sleep. It is nearly impossible for me to get my right leg into my pants without leaning on something to give my left leg some support. I’m especially aware of this fact after I’ve worked out and showered at the gym. How embarrassing would that be to fall over in the locker room??? I’m not frustrated though….I’m happily patient. One thing I did notice was the left knee that was giving me fits prior to the surgery…and even during the first few weeks after…..is starting to feel better. In my last appointment with Dr. Tim, I had given up on the knee and said that it had issues as well. He told me to hang on and let the hip continue to heal. Good advice. So with every glimmer of improvement…my spirits are upbeat and I remain optimistic.
My fellow hip brother Jeremy was in town last night so we met up for a beer and compared notes. In my earlier post, I explained that Jeremy had gotten his hip replaced 2 weeks after I did. It was great to catch up and finally meet him in person. Among other things, we talked about our recovery timelines for getting back to the activities that we enjoy. He’s a huge softball player and wants to be recovered before the season begins. He pitches. He has 7 different pitches. I didn’t know softballs could break. Who learns 7 different kinds of slow pitches???? VERY Impressive. Softball by spring is HIS goal. Mine is to be ready to go for Hoopfest at the end of June. I have played at every single Hoopfest. It was great to compare notes with Jeremy. We sat at a table in the corner of Jack & Dan’s and only allowed other people with hip replacements to sit at our table. That is until some mutual friends showed up. We took a vote and the restriction was lifted. It was a good visit. Especially for me….he bought the beer.
4 years ago I had both hips replaced 7 weeks apart, my Dr. was fine with me running again so 6 weeks after my second hip I started running. It wasn’t easy but I stuck with it and last year I was able to run the Twincities Marathon. Now I run 6 miles three days a week and it’s like I never had arithritis. So Gimpy Keep running!
I’ve met my match. THIS DUDE IS C-R-A-Z-Y!!! I think my friends would say that I’m as hard core as they come, but there is NOOOOOOOO way that I would attempt to run after 6 weeks. I still feel pain. It’s still tender down there. I would be afraid I’d do more damage than good. No wonder it wasn’t easy for the guy. He was still in FREAKING pain!!! I’ll stick to Dr. Tim’s advice and wait 3 months before I test the waters. And I intend to run more than 3 days a week too! Still optimistic……..just not crazy. 🙂
I went and saw Dr. Tim today. He checked out my latest X-Rays and told me the progress looked good. I was thankful to hear it because I’ve been getting antsy with this slow slow hip recovery. He laughed at me and pointed out that the receptionists ratted me out when I ran through the doors at my 2 week appointment because I was late. “Your approach to recovery is much different than most people’s approach to recovering after hip surgery.” He was sympathetic though because he is an active guy too and knows the mental pain of being out of commission. THAT bedside manner was all I needed – a doctor who understood my plight. I wish I had 3 more hips hat he could operate on — He understood!!! So I walked out of the his office with my head up, looking forward to another couple of weeks of rest – knowing that each day will get better.
I went to the Gonzaga men’s basketball game last night and was so very happy to see them take down their nemesis – St. Mary’s. Gonzaga has had a few road losses this season, and I was beginning to worry about their chances of making it to the tournament this year. But last night’s win gave me renewed hope. So I looked at my Recovery Timeline and realized that I am late with one of my goals. I had scheduled myself to start swimming on February 3rd. It is now February 10th and I haven’t gotten near the pool. I’ve been blaming it on the fact that I lost my swim goggles, but the truth is, my swimming is about as good as my golf game – I golf once a year. In fact, my golf game might be better. But if GU can take on a formidable foe and put them in their respective place, then darn it, I can get better at swimming. So I’ll go to the Y today at 1 pm. I usually work out at noon, but today….I’m going at 1. That way most of the noontime swimmers will be done, and I won’t have to worry about kicking the guy in the lane next to me. (I told you my golf game was better). Regardless of my swimming technique….I always get a good anaerobic workout – that’s the benefit of being a lousy swimmer. I am looking forward to pushing my lungs to their limit. It’s a feeling that I often felt when I ran in road races……and it will be a good reminder about the future……and getting back on the road again. I’m optimistic about that!
You may recall my “2 of a kind” post a while back when I introduced my fellow “hip brother” Jeremy who received a hip replacement just 2 weeks after I did. I emailed him about a week ago asking how things were going. Jeremy contacted me today with an update. He thought he was home free after the first couple of days, but on the Saturday following the surgery he found himself in the emergency room severely dehydrated and suffering hallucinations. It turns out that his body was having a hard time regulating the pain with the pain pills.
From that moment forward I had to go through some major dark places in my recovery. I didn’t think that I would ever get better for advil wasn’t masking the pain. I thank my wife for literally holding my hand through those uneasy times.
I am happy to report that Jeremy survived that experience and on the 30th of January, he ditched the crutches and went back to work. As a matter of fact, last night was the first night that he didn’t wake up from the pain. It’s good to hear that he is progressing.
We had a vendor on site yesterday. I didn’t get to meet the guy but I talked with one of our salesmen (Joel) afterwards. The guy had a hip replacement last September. He told Joel that after 2 weeks, it was as if nothing had ever happened. The hip felt better than ever and he was back to doing his old things. 2 Weeks????? Who does he think he is? Wile E. Coyote? Now THERE’S a guy who could recover. One minute he’s being flattened by a steam roller, and the next he’s strapping himself to a rocket – often times in the SAME episode. I want to know who HIS doctor was. (No offense to Dr. Tim – he is the best hip surgeon in the region). That Wile E. Coyote. He NEVER gave up. I digress……:) It’s week 5 and I’m still getting around with a hitch-to-my-giddyup. Each day it gets a little better, but there is no way I could even ponder attempting to get back to my old running habits. I continue to be patient. I know there is a plan for me. I miss running…..a lot, but I know that I just need to be patient. I am still optimistic and hopeful, and I believe that when I do get back to running, it will be even better than before.
In my last post I talked about how I met a person (Stephen) who works for the company that manufactures the hip bionics that I received. His company is located just down the street from where I work. He invited me to come take a tour of his facility and I thought it would be very “blog” worthy to do so. The visit was enlightening as I found out exactly what happened when I was out cold during the hip replacement surgery.
Dr. Tim told me that he got to use some “Really Cool” tools during surgery, but I had no idea how cool they were. In preparing the hip, he needs to take the old ball off of the top of the femur (Chop), Prepare the femur for the replacement ball (Drill and Pound), and then prepare the hip for the cup (Drill and Grate – OUCH!). I pictured all of this happening while I was out. I’m going to try to explain this as well as I can without getting too technical. I’m hopeful that it will be understood. I also would like to add this disclaimer for future hip replacement prospects….I felt nothing.
PREPARING THE FEMUR
After the ball is lopped off, the top of part of the femur is smoothed flat. I took a picture of the tool that is used to shave the femur flat, but sorry – it was too blurry. The next step is to drill a starter hole into top of the femur.
Dr. Tim used this tool to pound those things into my hip bone. Didn’t feel a thing. So glad! I learned that the Dr. doesn’t know the size of the bionics I will need until he gets in. So he usually has about 7 different sizes available to choose from.
PREPARING THE HIP
After the femur was prepared, Dr. Tim had to prepare the pelvis for the cup that would be used to hold the new bionics in place. These dome shaped cheese graters were the tool of choice for preparing my hip for the cup. They look pretty medieval don’t they? Again – I did not feel a thing. Again….so glad! 🙂
After all that prep work, I was now ready for the bionics. It’s funny, I remember getting prepped for surgery and waking up in recovery. Never in my wildest dreams could I have guessed what went on while I was out. It was an eye-opening experience visiting Stephen at Stryker and learning about all that went on during surgery.
After working out at the Y today, I was in the locker room packing up my things when one of the guys I know (Jeff) asked from across the locker room, “Hey how’s the hip?”. I told him that I had the surgery on January 3rd and I was feeling fine. In between the two of us was a guy named Stephen who became interested in the conversation. He asked who my doctor was. When I told him it was Dr. Tim, he smiled and said “You have one of our hips!”. It turns out that Stephen works for Stryker, the manufacturer of my hip replacement. I discovered that his office is just down the road from where I work. He invited me to come over and take a look at the product. So this afternoon I got a walk through of his company. Not only did I get to see the product, I got a fairly good description of what went on during surgery. Stephen even showed me all of the tools that were used during the surgery. All I can say is, it is a good thing I was out cold. I got pictures! I will be posting them soon. It truly is a small world.
I remember when I was speaking with Dr. Tim prior to the surgery. He mentioned matter-of-factly that from now on whenever I go to the dentist I would need to take antibiotics one hour prior to the appointment. “Really?” I said, “For the rest of my life?”. “Yep!”, he said. “What about cleanings?” “Even Cleanings.” So today, I had a cleaning appointment clear on the other side of town and guess what I forgot? I COMPLETELY forgot about the antibiotics. But this dentist remembered me from my last visit. I had been there just prior to the surgery to get a confirmation that I had no infections in any teeth – a requirement for hip surgery. When I got there today, the first question they asked when I sat in the chair was, “Have you taken your antibiotics?”. So I have to try again next week. And you can bet that I won’t forget the antibiotics. Who’d a thunk the hip bone was connected to the jaw bone?