Friday, May 30, 2014

hip-op progress report…

It’s just 9 days after my hip replacement and I’ve just returned from a half hour walk…
This isn’t any kind of boast (and I was on crutches and, ok, it did involve a café trip!), this is simply in keeping with the information outlined in the excellent “post hip replacement physiotherapy” booklet that I was given about a month before the operation.
Nevertheless, I do find it pretty amazing and all SO different to my mother’s hip operation experience – or at least my vague memory of it - (and my maternal grandmother had two hip replacements, I think?).
Although I’d promised that I would refrain from “going on” about my experiences, I wanted to make a few notes to remind ME of the process, together with some general observations:
1.       I checked in at the Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre at 6.30am and taken up to theatre some time after 10am. I was duly briefed by the anaesthetists and the surgeon before being given an epidural spinal injection (which numbed the lower part of my body) and then a face mask (which put me out). I don’t remember being “brought round” but felt absolutely fine, perfectly coherent (well, no worse than normal) and could just start to feel my toes coming back to life.
2.       Taken to a recovery ward at 11.40am (I noted the time) and remained there being monitored by a nurse until I returned to my two-man ward at 12.40pm. The numbness had disappeared by 2.30pm and I felt fine (but obviously had to remain bed-bound). Fitted with electronic, pulsating leg wraps which provided a continuous rippling effect (to counter potential blood-clotting?).
3.       As you might imagine, the medication regime continues, but I’ve been really impressed that the emphasis has been on “pain avoidance” rather “pain relief”.
4.       I continue to do all my daily physiotherapy exercises (pre-operation exercises were also set up) and they stress the importance of these in ensuring a speedy, effective recovery. The one negative aspect of my own recovery has been a very swollen right leg (thigh/knee/calf)… my right leg is currently 50% bigger than my left(!) - but this is apparently not unusual (see the note below).
5.       I’m due to have my staples removed next week (a fortnight after the operation) and I should be able to drive again after 6 weeks. I’ve got a final check-up (hopefully) at Emersons Green after 8 weeks… after which, all the raised loo seats and frames, crutches, leg raiser (my favourite!), reacher equipment will be collected!
ALL the staff at Emersons Green have been simply brilliant – professional and friendly – and this was from the cleaners and food servers right through to the entire medical team. I have nothing but praise for their efficiency and ATTITUDE (not just during my stay but also during pre-op period… and beyond)… and also their humour!
Photo: I’ve posted this to amuse those of you who know me well! I’m very much a list-maker/schedule-maker and so, of course, with ALL those daily exercises to do, it seemed only sensible to have a schedule that I could mark off on a daily basis! Sad, but funny!
Note: The Royal College of Surgeon’s website states this about swelling legs after hip operations:  Swelling of the leg is very variable and can be quite troublesome to some patients for several weeks. Swelling can cause the leg to ache and indeed make the leg feel very heavy. To avoid this, sitting for long periods is discouraged. In between frequent walks, it is better to be in a reclining position. Don’t worry if the leg becomes very bruised. This will settle in due course”. I hope so!

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