I’m now one week post-op for arthroscopic surgery on my left hip, so it’s past time for an update! Here’s a (not-so-brief) recap of how the surgery itself went. I’ll write another post soon about how the recovery is going so far.
Just like with the first surgery, I had to be at Vanderbilt at 5:30 a.m. on Monday. We stayed at a hotel in Nashville on Sunday night and arrived at the hospital right on time. Unlike last time, there were also a lot of other people checking in for surgeries/procedures, and it took a lot longer to get checked in. Once I got back to the pre-op area, I got into the hospital gown (which was purple-yay!). The nurse came to get my IV started, which unfortunately was a terrible experience and resulted in being stuck once in each hand and and gave me an awesome bruise for a souvenir. After that, I met the anesthesiologist and his assistant and answered the same pre-op questions several times for several different people. Dr. P. also came by, along with one of his assistants. I jokingly told Dr. P. that it was very important that I have scars symmetrical to my first ones, and he said he would do his best (Spoiler alert: they’re not symmetrical. Such a bummer, since I’m so wont to show off my upper thighs!). Stephen got to wait with me until they took me to surgery, which ended up being around 8:00 a.m. After I got to the operating room, they had me move onto the operating table and then I got the spinal injection. I don’t remember much after that besides the anesthesiologist placing the mask over my face and instructing me to breathe deeply. (I also remember talking with a nurse about her Fitbit and the fact that mine was going to spend some lonely time in a drawer for several weeks.) Last time I remember my legs going numb and watching them put the booties on my feet, but I think this time I was out before any of that happened.
Some time later, I woke up in recovery and was in pain and also found it hard to talk. My throat was really sore this time (and ended up being sore for about 3 days after surgery), and the nurse gave me some ice chips. My experience in the recovery room was not as great as it was last time. The nurse I had the first time was very compassionate and attentive, and I felt well cared for. This time, I felt like they were trying to rush me out of there (which they probably were since the place was so busy, but that shouldn’t be obvious to the patient). My nurse wasn’t mean, but she didn’t have quite the same reassuring bedside manner as the previous nurse. She removed my IV fairly quickly, and then I had some strong nausea and vomited and they couldn’t give me any anti-nausea medicine through the IV since she’d already taken it out. They ended up bringing me a pill to swallow instead. She only asked me how my pain was one time, and I remember being asked about my pain level several times last time. My suspicion that they were rushing me out was confirmed when we were able to leave the hospital by 1:30, whereas last time it was sometime after 3. My experience in recovery wasn’t bad, but it was a little disappointing given the stellar treatment I received the first time.
I also didn’t get to talk to Dr. P. after the surgery like I did last time, and even though the nurse paged him, he ended up being tied up with another surgery and unable to come. Stephen did talk to him after the surgery, and what he told me came as a surprise to me: when the doctor looked at my left hip, he discovered that the labrum on that side was not torn. He did shave down the bone on my femur to correct the impingement, but no labral repair was necessary. I go to see him for a follow-up this Friday and am supposed to bring along the pictures he took during the surgery so he can explain everything to me.
The reason I was surprised that the labrum was not torn is because my left hip started bothering me long before my right hip. The only reason I decided to have surgery on my right hip first is because at the time it was hurting more than the left hip, but the whole time I worried that I had made the wrong decision and that delaying surgery on the left hip would only make things worse. Fortunately, that turned out not to be the case (as is the case with so many things I worry about–life lesson there, friends!), and I’m very thankful that the left hip ended up being in better shape than the right hip. Dr. P. told Stephen that my recovery should be pretty similar to last time because he still had to shave down the bone, but I’m secretly hoping that proves to be untrue and that I will bounce back more quickly this time around.
It’s still hard to believe that I’ve now had not one but two hip surgeries at age 34, but I’m glad to have both of them behind me. I’m praying that by this time next year all that will be left to remind me of this experience are the asymmetrical scars on my hips and that I will be running again and free from pain.