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Monthly Archives: June 2014

What Double Hip Recovery is Really Like

Monday, June 23rd will be three months since my double hip replacement surgery. The first thing I must do is thank God for progress – something I say to anyone who asks about my recovery. When I think on these past three months and how my life, my mental state, my faith in God, and my renewed appreciation/love for my husband has evolved, I am so grateful.

Since surgery, I have experienced just about any emotion you can think of. Initially, I felt helpless; having to depend on Husband to do even the simplest task for me. As time went on, I became overly impatient; like the healing process wasn’t happening quickly enough even though I had been told by my in-home nurse and physical therapist that I was progressing extremely well during the first few weeks, and then later by my surgeon and out-patient therapist the same. There were times I thought I was depressed until I learned the real meaning of depression, which didn’t fit me. I do understand (now) why the nurses frequently asked that question. You can easily be suicidal or depressed if you don’t have a reliable support system. It was during those times when I just wanted to get up and go, knowing I couldn’t, and drive anywhere or run up and down the stairs like I used to – that’s when I wanted the implants out of my body. I cried because I could feel them when I’d rather not. For months I was frustrated sleeping on my back with a pillow under my knees (to relieve pressure from my hips) because it was impossible to sleep on my sides. I wanted to walk the way I did before experiencing the pain I endured. I cried some more because I wanted to be at the point of not noticing the difference in my body. “When am I not going to feel ’em?” I would ask Husband who couldn’t answer. “I just want to not know they’re there.” So, not only was I tripping; I was taking him on an emotional trip as well. However, I am encouraged in knowing I’ll eventually get to the point of feeling normal.

I thank God that He kept me alive and I survived surgery because as my doctor said, “You didn’t just have one surgery, you had two major surgeries.” I never thought about it that way. Today was the first time I looked up an actual hip surgery, which was something I made sure not to do prior to having it done. I couldn’t believe my small frame sustained the skin slicing and all the sawing, banging, and hammering that was involved – just the surgical instruments alone made the operating room, I’m sure, resemble a well equipped tool shed.

And when I think of where I am now, I praise God for keeping me infection free and with no signs of blood clots – all things associated with recovery. In real time though, three months ain’t long for what I’ve gone through. But, within that time, I was able to gauge my own progress by charting how long I used the walker (two weeks), when I could drive (seven weeks), when to leave the cane behind (9 weeks), when to wear sensible heels (ten weeks), and be able to side sleep on either hip (eleven weeks; no more sleeping on my back! I’m a side sleeper once again, y’all!). I frequently journal my progress, figuring I could help the doctor with estimations when a patient asks, “When can I do….” No one could tell me exactly when I would be able to do any of the aforementioned, which is why I tracked myself and decided when I felt comfortable enough to do them all.

I’ve progressed in ways that I can literally do a well-informed infomercial; however, still with all the progress I’ve made, I continue to have struggles. When I get tired, Husband tells me I look like I’m walking on stilts – and the ironic part is, I actually feel like I do. Sometimes, when I get out of bed, I forget about the titanium, which is good because it lets me know I’m healing properly. I have a tendency to rub my outer thighs now because they feel slightly different. And that’s another thing – my surgical lines (don’t call ’em scars because they’re not) have healed very nicely. I haven’t done anything special or bought a bunch of nonsense creams to remove marks. I kept the area clean and used Shea butter. I’m thankful that the doc had steady hands too; no zig zag lines on these hips! However, as I sit and write this, I know I’ve been sitting for far too long (it takes hours to write a blog). I can feel the titanium, letting me know I’m gonna regret not taking a standing break. And because I didn’t, I’ll most certainly be walking like I’m on stilts, and I say that with a :), which brings me to this – when folks see me for the first time, they are surprised that I’m walking sans assistance. One person told me they didn’t know what to expect – thought I’d be with a walker, looking all decrepit and whatnot. Really?

Another positive aspect of recovery is the well wishes I received from so many people (I am so blessed). I received so many cards that our mail lady asked Husband if someone died. I had visitors, Facebook messages, text messages, phone calls, and two edible arrangements sent. This is funny because one of seven “Sheilas” I know sent an edible arrangement – no surname included. I contacted six who said, “That’s nice but it wasn’t me.” The last Sheila I contacted was the one who sent it. Chuckles.

From my estimation, I may not be completely healed until a year or so post surgery, which will be March 31, 2015. At that time, I’m hoping to move about without feeling the implants and walking better than I was before surgery. I’m just guessing, y’all – I don’t know for sure.

One thing I’ve discovered in this journey is that I’ve helped by sharing my story and that is my goal. Many of you are experiencing similar medical situations. I’m glad to be in a position that allows me to honestly answer your questions. I’m telling you, this hip thing is so widespread and common that either you’ll go through it yourself or someone you know will. If this post has been helpful to you or if you enjoyed reading it, please let me know by responding or hitting the “like” icon.

Thank you for reading – pass it along!