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…
Well, I am two weeks post hip replacement and all is pretty good. The last week has been steady physically and emotionally good (part from the odd cry). I can walk with one crutch for 10-15 minutes, get my leg in and out of bed, get out of a chair easily, in and out of the bath (a bit slow still but ok), stairs are good, getting in and out of the jacked up Land Cruiser Prado is also ok.
I have had a slight twinge in the buttock where the hamstrings attach to the pelvis and also in the groin for the past 2 days. This started at day 11 post operation. I can weight bear on the hip and leg but it does catch a little during walking. I am sure it is soft tissue tension and muscle imbalance and it is likely it will ease off. Just occasionally a bit disconcerting as you want everything to feel normal even at 2 weeks post op! Any click, twinge or pain does make you nervous.
My exercise session in Dulwich pool yesterday 3rd June was so good. I managed to extend and abduct the hip beyond the range I can achieve on dry land which is very satisfying. Nic my husband was also in the pool with our, fearless of water, 19 month old daughter Lily. Whilst I was doing my routine of exercises Lily is heaving herself out of the pool and jumping back in to daddy’s arms and dunking her head under the water. She continues to repeat this activity 10 x over! She just loves the water! Daddy is exhausted. Anyway, after the pool session, I feel much better, much more relaxed in the legs and hip. The catchy pain in the hip has definitely eased and I feel back on track again. I think the water based exercises are the place to be! I managed to walk for 20 minutes with one crutch the day after completely pain free and no twinges!
Being a mother to a toddler with a physically problem has been a challenge for both Nic and I. As cannot care for her normally yet, Nic has to do a lot more with her. I am not able to crouch or squat down and get on her level and I have to avoid picking her up, getting her in and out of the cot and carrying her. I cannot be left alone with her until about 6 weeks post operation so in the mean time I have drafted in as many of my family and friends as possible to help. It is quite a task for Nic to cope with me and our daughter, plus earn the money, and I am sure Lily has been more screaming and shouting more which I think is her way of getting our attention and communicating with us. No doubt she may detect something is wrong with mum especially having crutches and a grabber stick to pick things up off the floor and also great for chasing her around the house! However although physically I am not quite there yet, I have been able to spend more quality time with Lily doing certain tasks and reading more and I think this has made a difference as she does appear slightly more calm and content. I hope so.
Hello all – 7 days post hip replacement
I am 7 days post hip replacement. I cannot believe I have got here but I am here. It definitely feels (mentally and physically) much better this side of the surgery. Pre op for me was a huge ordeal and I nearly bottled it 2 days before the surgery thinking can I make my hip better, perhaps another 3 months of solid rehab will help! You know get the abs and gluteals working really well?? Stef Brennan my friend and physio said ‘no bud it won’t make any difference, just go for it, you’ll be fine’ or at least words to that effect. I knew he was right. He was only telling me what I knew. I was just scared.
Anyway Marcus Bankes my surgeon and his team at Guy’s hospital, london have done a really good job. He saw me after the operation and said the surgery went really well! (massive relief!). He said my hip was awful and needed replacing and the fact I was slim and young(ish) (41 not exactly young) made the operation more satisfying. This completely reassured my pre operation doubts of ,lets see if I can rehab for another 3 months and whether I had made the right decision!
Anyway today I woke up feeling brighter. I was still a bit slow getting out of bed but at least could move the leg better. I took my pain control and I did my exercises to improve hip flexion, abduction, extension, mini squats, heel raises, weight transference exercises, working top plank. I then walked down the road and felt as though one crutch was more appropriate than two. What is massively noticeable is my pain has gone. I no longer have that horrible, nagging pain on every stride. It was just a bit of operation pain and stiffness. Amazing. I tell Nic and he hears what I am saying and I think he is secretly pleased as he has seen how bad life and mobility has become for me.