My Left Hip
for the past few years I've been juggling the responsibilities of being a Husband [the easiest as my wife is such a legend], a Dad to our 4 boys and navigating our small family business through the icebergy waters of COVID 19, and all that came with it.
Spoiler alert, I lost focus on myself and how I need to be a functional, healthy, happy person to fulfill any [let alone ALL] of these roles.
I'm now 54 and whilst always sporty, I've had limited capacity, time, mobility and [to a certain extent] inclination for anything much other than social bowls recently. Years of competitive football, tennis, squash, basketball, cricket, snowboarding, surfing, and jumping of random high things into small bodies of water etc etc have taking a toll on my body.
After 14 years of nursing my left hip through post surgery life and focusing on what I could do [surfing, cycling, bowls, limited walking] rather than what I couldn't ... I thought it would be nice to fill in for my son's basketball team and did so 2 weeks running ... surprise, surprise, this was more than my hip could handle and I was basically lame for the next month.
Many broken bones, 3 plates, 28 screws, multiple dislocations, 2 hip surgeries, 3 shoulder surgeries, 1 jaw surgery and the compounding wear 'n tear of someone who [as a young person] would often mix up his amberbilities & caperbitions ... culminated this year, into making some tough decisions.
So, despite the emergency extraction of 3 front teeth on Good Friday from a latent complication with the pre-mentioned jaw surgery, I bit the bullet and booked in to see a specialist Dr Andrew Johnson.
He was very matter of fact about the possible pros and cons of hip replacement surgery and confident that should I choose to proceed, the new hip would likely outlast me.
Once I'd decided to bite the bullet, the next thing was to meet with anesthetist Dr Geoff Dixon who laid out the pain management options of a Spinal v a General Anesthetic with the former being the plan A.
He described the Spinal as having a cup of tea in the kitchen, whilst able to here the builders working in the next room and reassured me that if i wanted to be 'less with-it' that I could request that as I'd be conscious.
This didn't sound too attractive initially, as I knew what those drilling, sawing and hammering noises were in terms of the operation. After speaking to my wife however [who'd had an operation under an arm block], she re-assured me that with the edge off, you don't seem to mind any of the audible operational carpentry.
Based on this and the shorter recovery times I went for plan A, and am very pleased about this decision. On the day of the operation after the catheter was plugged into an arm vein, the Dr Geoff said "that'll be as much pain as you feel for the whole operation" ... I took this comment with a grain of salt however thankfully he was 100% correct.
I don't remember too much about the operation except for asking a few questions along the way [they mentioned that I was very chatty], hearing all the mechanical sounds I knew I would and seeing some hip imagery on the monitors.
I was blown away how good I felt for the entire procedure and how they managed to complete it in just around 1 hr. As I listened to the biological tradesmen at work, I felt very good about what they were doing, and how beneficial it would be long term.
Within a couple of hours Post Op I could feel and wiggle my toes, and any anxiety I may have been feeling immediately dissipated.
Pre and Post Op, the message was the same "keep ahead of the pain, don't chase it" ... so not realizing it was a marathon rather than a sprint, I was off to the races, clicking the little green button attached to an IV drip of morphine like it was a Space Invaders fire button.
Needless to say this made me feel terrible [groggy and nauseous] so after day one I just relied on the oral meds which were fine, though did bind me up somewhat, nothing a little Nulax didn't take care of though.
The very next day I was up and about on crutches and performing my newly prescribed exercises. These were a challenge however I was amazed at what I could do so soon after the operation.
Day 3 was time to remove the urinary catheter which reminded me of my vasectomy back in the day, pulling strings felt best left alone. It wasn't too bad to be honest, I'm glad they installed it whilst the spinal was active.
In Friday and out Monday, I was very ready for home by this stage. Once home Nicole has been serving up hot cups of healing collagen rich Bone Broths which are going down an absolute treat.
I've been home just over a week now and the biggest challenge seems to be getting comfortable. Any way you sit on it it's painful, there is no magic wand for this one sorry.
I've managed to walk our dog Gidgee [on crutches] 8 out of the 9 days 'Ive been home. The cheat code to this being Nicole dropping us off at the oval and me throwing the ball to her and her friends. with them doing all the running. If only she brought the ball back ... she aint no retriever and Border-Collie / Kelpies don't have days off.
One of the surprising things was the constant Post Op headaches I had for around 5 days, apparently referred pain in the brain due to pressure on the nerves from to swelling around the operation site. I was super thankful when these finished up a few days ago.
Dressings off now and 1 big 1 small scar to show for it, all healing well. I have to inject myself with blood thinners every night for 35 nights to reduce the chance of any blood clotting. Thankfully I have plenty of spare abdominal tissue at present, so am not short of injection sites.
It's too early to be recommending this procedure to anyone however all I can say is "so far, so good". I have 3 non related surgeries that I will space out over the next couple of years and by 2025, this humpty dumpty should be put back together again.