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From: Sharon F.
Date: 26 Feb 2000
Remote Name: 188.8.131.52
After nearly a year of increasingly unbearable pain due to osteoarthritis (discomfort for years, real pain began in Nov 98), I had my left hip replaced on 7/26/99 using a spinal block. We all listened to Enya while the surgeons did their work and I chatted with the anesthesiologist. It was amazing! I had some surgical discomfort afterwards (self-administered morphine was a God-send), but the PAIN was gone! I was home in five days after getting the requisite physical therapy and occupational therapy (along with frequent reminders about the hip precautions).
My first day home, my son and I took a little "stroll" up the street. I looked real cute with my walker! By the end of two weeks, I had progressed to a quad cane, and by the end of the month of August I was using a regular cane. I returned to work in mid-September. By the end of September, I was using no cane at all and feeling very cocky. Please trust me, this is a dangerous attitude!
November 7th came and I decided it was time to finish painting the living room that my husband had started and quit halfway. Oh, I did fine for the first few hours (beware of fatigue). I was sitting in a chair and bending over to paint rather low on the mantle when it happened; a little spasm and the hip was out! Thank God my daughter was home to call 911 and my husband at work. It was horrible pain, required general anesthesia to put back in place and a night in the hospital. It also set me back several weeks insofar as my strength and mobility was concerned. I was determined not to repeat the experience!
By the end of November, however, I felt I had recovered the lost ground and began my walking program with vigor. By the end of December I was able to walk 12K in 2 hours and two days later I walked another 11K. On January 8th, I was dressing for a 10K walk with my Volksmarching club. My socks were on and I was struggling with my sweatpants. Although I was using my "hook", I turned my leg inward, past the midline, and heard a little scraping sound. It was out again. I was devastated. Again, God was with me - my husband had not yet left for work, and was able to call the ambulance. the pain was still significant, but not as bad as the first time. I concentrated on breathing slowly and deeply and trying to relax until they could get me to the hospital and get some pain medication into me.
This time, it was two nights in the hospital and a knee brace for two weeks after. I am now in physical therapy twice a week and only have recently begun a much moderated walking program (1-2 miles not 6-8).
The moral of the story. Take it easy. Pay attention to the hip precautions. Don't over do. And celebrate small victories!