Thursday, July 14, 2016

I got a new hip!

Yesterday morning was a full week from my right hip arthroplasty (aka total hip replacement).  For those of you curious about me or who may face this procedure in the future, I wanted to share a few reflections about the first week.

Harder than I thought…
  1. I have a stack of books that I am going to read and things that I am going to study during this extended recovery time.  The first week I have gotten zero percent of that accomplished.
  2. The overall and persistent grogginess that is related to anesthesia, pain meds, and these initial days of my body demanding huge chunks of rest in the process of healing itself.
  3. The ongoing tension of the swelling in the quad of my surgical leg.  For the first week I have learned how to manage the swelling, and while it can be made worse, it is more just managed than improved this first week. 

Easier than I thought…
  1. My hip pain quite literally is all gone.  There is the swelling, the incision (see below), the soft tissue damage, and the time necessary for this new hip to fully become my hip.  Each of those things continue to progress though and I know that at some point in time over these next number of months I am going to have a pain free mobility that I haven’t had for years, maybe ever.
  2. Pain management has been easy.  I have already cut back to half of my initial dosage with no issues…and since my pain is more the discomfort that comes from swelling, rebuilding muscle function after trauma, and getting used to new components…I am not sure that I even needed pain meds.  I like feeling and having a clear head way more than the groggy numbness meds create.
  3. With each PT session there are exercises I learn that are easy to do an indefinite number of immediately.  There are usually one or two others that are difficult and even painful.  I am amazed at how those challenging exercises become easy within a day or two and how much they then contribute to my overall progress.

My main learning in week one…

I was excited to have a season of rest and recuperation…but that first day or two, unless a nurse or PT was here, everyone who came to visit came back and spent time hanging out, and when they were ready to leave I would walk them all out, showing off my mobility skills with a walker - and I did this regardless of how I felt, how tired I was, or what my body needed.  A couple days into my recovery I picked a movie for Christopher and I to watch together.  He suggested that we do so in the living room so that others could join in as well.  Just sitting in a less than ideal way for the course of one movie, caused my to lose the progress of the first number of days and have to start over.  Even taking a couple hours to prioritize my family over my healing at this stage was the wrong call.

Bethany and I instantly got on the same page.  Now, if I need a rest I rest.  If I am resting and people show up.  They don’t get to see me.  As an extrovert who appreciates and wants to say “HI” to every guest, this kills me.  But as a patient who wants the best possible recovery and long term mobility, I have learned that prioritizing my immediate health needs is the best and most important thing I can do.

I appreciate every card, every visit, every gift of food…these things have been a huge blessing to me and my family this past week.  I am doing everything I can to rest, recuperate, heal, and rebuild my leg function so that, at the end of this season, I can continue doing all that Jesus has for me at the highest possible level!

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