November 8, 2023

Not all original parts

As I wrote about in this post and elsewhere, I found out I had arthritis in my right hip at the beginning of 2021. The pain and impact on my life increased over the next couple of years, and surgery was a matter of when, not if. I met with a surgeon in April of this year. His schedule was pretty well filled, but that wasn't a huge issue as I knew I wanted to schedule it around the beginning of November, the only time that it is reasonably quiet at work. The date of surgery was Friday October 27th, just under two weeks ago. 

I was a bit nervous about the surgery. There are of course various ways in which the surgery might not be completely successful, but honestly I was more worried about the extremely small chance of something going completely wrong and never waking up again. As I have mentioned briefly elsewhere, anxiety has become a part of my life in the past year, and as much as I "knew" I was going to be alright, I couldn't entirely quiet that inner voice. 

I arrived at the hospital at 5:45am. The next hour and a half was prep work, and meeting all the people who would be participating in the surgery. Along with all the other questions, everyone confirmed my name, date of birth, and which hip I was replacing. When my surgeon came by, just to make triply sure that there was no last minute error, he initialed my right hip. Everyone was kind, considerate and professional. I particularly remember being put at ease by Tim the anesthesiologist assistant, but everyone did their part in providing a calming presence. 

I was wheeled into surgery at 7:30, and I thought, "the sun isn't even up yet, and it is already showtime." Once in the surgical suite, they had me sit up on the edge of the gurney. I was already on an IV of some sort, but the next step was an epidural. Tim had me bend forward to spread out my spine a bit and give him access for the shot. A nurse was there in front of me to catch me if for some reason I pitched forward.  I know we chatted and joked with each other. The jokes are lost to the ether, but I remember feeling good about the team around me. I was surrounded by caring and helping hands.

Then they transferred me to the operating table. The table had these separate sections for the legs so they could be moved independently. After I was settled, someone pounded a couple of pegs into the table, a little too close to the crotch for comfort. "Be careful with that hammer, please!" Less than thirty seconds after that, I was out like a light. No need to count back from 100. They had warned me it was possible that I might come around a bit, or hear some loud noises during the surgery, but thankfully my sleep was deep. 

I woke up in a hallway with another nurse at my side to take care of me as I came around. Memory is a little fuzzy at this point, but I may have had something to drink, and maybe there was Jello? I do remember her asking me about my pain levels, me saying I was doing OK, but her reading the winces in my face and giving me something more for my pain. I am sure this helped with the pain, but it definitely made me nauseated. 

After maybe an hour or so, I was taken to Physical Therapy. There they took me through the exercises I would be doing for the next six weeks. Then it was (already?) time to stand up. They had me use my walker to shuffle around the room and the hallway. Then they had me go up and down two steps. Pretty incredible that they have you up so quickly after surgery. Still hard to wrap my brain around it. 

Martha, my friend and neighbor met me at the PT stage. She was there to listen in, being my designated "coach" for the first week of recovery. She is a retired nurse, so along with being a clearer set of ears for all the instructions, she was another professional along the way looking out for me. After taking my wheelchair ride to my car, she drove me to her and her sister's house where I would spend the first week or so of my recovery.

I remember from the days when I was looking for my first car, a Ford Mustang, and then later when I was buying a Harley, that many of the ads noted, "All the numbers match!" The vehicles were worth more money if they had all original parts, and all the serial numbers matched. I didn't much care about that back then, since I was buying the vehicle(s) to actually use, not as an investment. Now my body has some after-market parts, and I suppose I don't much care that it is no longer a stock version either. Just hoping the improvements will keep me on the road a little longer. 


Anonymous said...

So glad you are in the road to recovery!

Kathy Kail said...

Your surgery was so much better than mine I’m glad to hear! Up and out the same day, I’m jealous!