It is quite amazing to get to this point, 6 weeks post hip replacement, after worrying and fretting like mad before the operation thinking, what if I died on the operating table or what if I ended up with no leg! They were stupid irrational thoughts, but they still whizzed through my head.
I should have known better than to think like that especially as I am a physiotherapist and do actually work as one. Still, it is much better being on this side of the operation, much better. My hip feels really good. My nasty ache has gone and I can now walk without that awful biting pain.I look back and think how on earth did I live with that pain for so long. I wince thinking of the pain I had, it was truly awful. However I do not think I should have had the hip replaced any earlier, as I was not ready for it. Mentally I mean. I felt to have this operation or any for that matter, it was really essential to come to terms with having it and feeling 100% ready. I thought not to be 100% (or as close to 100% as possible) must have an impact on the post operative care and rehabilitation.
I saw Marcus Bankes on the 20th December 2011 and he told me my hip was badly worn. At this point, ignoring the scans and x-rays, I wanted an arthroscopy to tidy up the degenerate hip, but Marcus just said I do not think I would be able to even get the camera in the joint space. Really? Is it that bad I thought? Surely he could manage a scope. He showed me the x-rays (which I could bearly look at as I couldn’t face the truth that my hip had deteriorated so badly since my MRI scan in 2006) and he too was shocked at what he saw and certainly wasn’t expecting that as my hip movement and mobility did not appear to be that bad. He pretty much said a replacement hip was the only way to go. I was gutted.
After swearing like a trooper in front of my surgeon (then apologising the next day via text for my filthy mouth) I saw my brother (who was there helping me with Lily) who looked at me and must have thought the worst. We walked to the river at London Bridge to chat about the outcome. I just sat there stunned whilst Lily was running everywhere. I needed time to think this through although at the same time I had agreed to go on the waiting list.
I waited about 5 months and during this time my hip definitely got worse. Whether it was actually deteriorating further or psychosomatic I don’t know. What did happen during this time was I decided to do less weight-bearing activity, walking, and continue with my cycling commute, swimming and strengthening exercises at least 3 x a week. I gave up alcohol for 5 weeks and ate well. I lost some weight around 2kgs. Walking did get worse and my gait pattern looked terrible from the passer-by although I couldn’t see it. I was unable to weight bear on my right leg without massive compensation and lateral spinal flexion.
1 month before the operation I probably was about 80% there in my head but still not convinced. What did help was speaking with other female hip replacements, communicating with my surgeon, doctor and physio friends, knowing all the pros and cons of your surgery and saying goodbye to your worn out hip. I think I was grieving for my loss. To accept a foreign hip felt really quite hard. I did get there in the end with he help of a lady who works on the subconscious mind and speaking with Marcus and his fellow-man on the day of the surgery. The latter part felt like a god send and set me up perfectly for the procedure.
So 6 weeks on I can do a lot more. I can drive short distances, nearly put on my sock, I can sleep on my unoperated side with a pillow in between my legs and walk without a crutch but still use an aid for long distances. What was really good was I spent the first whole day and night on my own today and managed to be ‘mum’ to Lily for the first time in ages, even before the operation. I walked Lily to the park in the push chair and put her on the swing. We even went out later on in the day just Lily and mum for a walk down the road, which felt really normal and so good to be able to do such simple tasks again without pain. Just small things like this means so much. I have a new lease and it feels it is the start of new things to come…