(Almost) Six Weeks Post-Op

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost six weeks since I had my hip surgery. The time has gone by really quickly since I went back to work and started physical therapy. I’ve been going to therapy 2-3 times a week, which has been tough. My sessions have lasted at least an hour, and even though the exercises seem really basic, I’m worn out afterwards. It doesn’t help that I head right to work after I’m finished. Everything seems to be harder since my surgery, which I guess is to be expected as I continue to heal.

At this point, I’m still on one crutch. I really thought I would be done with the crutches altogether at this point, but it hasn’t worked out that way. Last week when I tried walking without them at PT, I felt a sharp pain, and I felt it again over the weekend, so I have tried to do what my physical therapist said and take it easy. I was able to walk a little bit better at my session on Monday and hope to have similar success on Wednesday. I have been frustrated at how slow the process of weaning myself off the crutches has been, but I know it’s better to do it slowly and without injury than rush things and end up doing more damage.

I have been surprised by how much I have had to fight fear and anxiety related to my recovery. I had no idea what a mental struggle recovery would entail. I have been so nervous that the surgery won’t work to relieve my pain and worried that every twinge I feel means something is wrong.  It’s easy for me to get worked up and think of all of the worst-case scenarios that can happen, so I find myself having to stop on a daily basis and remember that 1) worrying doesn’t solve anything,  2) I have no real reason to think anything is wrong, and 3) no matter what happens, God will meet me there. If my hope is based on my physical condition, I will always be disappointed. So I must hope in the Lord instead. On Sunday I was reminded of the beauty found in Micah 7:7, which says, “But as for me, I will look to the Lord I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” This verse encouraged me and reminded me that God alone is my hope and my help. Even if my hips always hurt, He will be faithful. And that will be enough. 

Three Weeks Post-Op!

I had grand plans of updating this blog regularly during my recovery, but it turns out recovering from hip surgery is really boring. My days were all very similar and involved difficult decisions such as: Should I start out on the couch or in the bed today? Which TV show should I watch on Netflix first? (Gilmore Girls. Duh.) Which coloring book should I color in today? Is it time for a new ice pack yet? So you can thank me for sparing you the mundane details of my post-op life.

We had a low-key Thanksgiving at our house with Stephen’s parents, since they were in town to help me after my parents left. I have to say, if you’re going to host Thanksgiving at your house, try to get injured beforehand and be rendered completely useless because then everyone else has to do all the work. 🙂

Monday was a big day for me, as I returned to work. I was really nervous about it but felt like I needed to come in, as we were going to be short-staffed that day. It ended up being a challenge, as I am currently still using my crutches, and by the end of the day I was completely exhausted and in pain. On the bright side, I have a renewed appreciation for my legs and how nice it is when they both work properly! I worked a half day on Tuesday, which was much better, and then I was off yesterday so Stephen and I could go for a follow-up with my doctor at Vanderbilt.

The good news is the doctor thinks I’m progressing nicely. He thinks it’s great that I’m off the pain medication and am trying to work. My incisions are healing nicely, and I can be little freer with my movements now. He said I can start increasing the amount of weight I put on my right leg, and then in a week I can ditch the crutches! After I ditch the crutches, then I can drive! This is especially exciting given the fact that we bought a new car the day before Thanksgiving, and I haven’t been able to drive it at all. I think I may need to have some sort of official crutch farewell ceremony. If I wasn’t going to need them again for my left hip, I’d try to do something destructive to them, but I guess that will have to wait. In the meantime, ideas for creative crutch destruction are welcomed!

I’m starting physical therapy on Monday and am anxious to begin the true healing process. I know it’s going to be hard and probably draining, but if I come out of all of this pain-free, it will be more than worth it.

Thank you to all of you who have supported me during this ordeal. I’m so grateful for the people God has placed in my life!

One Week Post-Op

I thought I’d provide an update on my recovery since I’m now a week out from my surgery to repair a torn labrum and shave down bone on my right hip. Overall, I think my recovery is going really well. The first few days were rough, as I was very sore, but each day has gotten better, and the stiffness I felt initially has improved. I even managed to go on my first outing on Monday, just 4 days post-op. I was feeling pretty stir-crazy, so my parents and I decided to try and go to Walmart. We found a motorized cart for me to use, so I puttered around the store while we got the things on our list. One of the things we got was a backpack purse for me to use to tote things around. I didn’t think I’d need this, but it turns out not being able to carry anything while using crutches is super annoying, and this allows me to at least carry my phone and Kindle and small things like that from my bedroom to the living room, and vice versa. And if I go back to work while still on crutches, I will definitely need this!

The outing went well, but I ended up feeling really tired after that and the next day also. I also saw an increase in my pain on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I made sure to take it easy and to take my pain medication if needed. I’m trying not to take it every four hours but only when I really need it. I do end up taking it every night before bed, in the hopes that it will help me sleep, but sleeping has been really difficult. I have yet to find the perfect comfortable position and wake up multiple times during the night. I’m not used to sleeping solely on my back, and I’ve ended up waking up around 4 a.m. every morning for an extended period of time before falling back asleep. I’m hoping the sleeping will get better with time, and I’m grateful for the chance to take naps whenever I want right now!

The hardest part of the recovery, aside from the dumb crutches, is feeling completely helpless. I can’t prepare my own meals or carry anything. I even need help to put on my pants and socks! It’s been very humbling. I felt really bad having to rely on my parents’ help so much while they were here, and now Stephen is my primary caretaker until his parents come Sunday evening. Still, while it is hard not to be able to do basic things for myself, I am so thankful to have people in my life to care for me and to do it gladly because they love me.

I’m really pleased with how recovery is going so far, as it has been much better than I ever expected! I hope the rest of the recovery goes this smoothly!

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Flowers from sweet friends!

FAI/Labral Tear Surgery and Early Recovery

I’m happy to report that I’m now a post-op hip patient! My surgery was scheduled for 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 12, and it happened right on schedule. We had to be at Vanderbilt at 5:30 that morning, which worked out fine since I woke up a little before 3 and couldn’t go back to sleep. 🙂 When we got to the hospital, I checked in and then waited for about 15 minutes before being taken to a pre-op room. I changed into the super-attractive hospital gown and put all of my belongings into a plastic bag that lucky Stephen got to carry around with him the rest of the day. Then I met a host of different people who would be assisting with the surgery or anesthesia. I took about a half a dozen different medications, and they did some quick blood work. I was there by myself for a while before Stephen got to come back and see me before they took me to the operating room. I felt anxious about the surgery and wondered how it would go, but praying helped me, as did getting some texts from friends who were up at 6 a.m. and thinking about me!

Once in the OR, I received a spinal injection to numb my legs and make them easier to maneuver, and it was really weird to feel the effects of that slowly take over. I expected my legs to feel numb instantly, but instead they started to tingle and then gradually grew numb. The nurse and surgeon started to put these special booties on my feet to help with blood circulation, and the anesthesiologist told me he would be giving me something to help me sleep. Then the next thing I knew, I was waking up! The first thing I remember doing is crying and then saying to the nurse, “I don’t know why I’m crying.” She laughed and said it was probably the pain medicine I had been given that was causing that, and that I must be a lightweight. Thanks, I guess? There were a few other moments where I randomly started crying, which was weird, but I was so relieved I had made it through the surgery. The recovery room nurse I had was very kind and helpful, and I was so glad to have her there with me. Nurses are the best!

I don’t remember a lot of that time immediately after surgery, but I know I slept for a bit and that my surgeon and another doctor who had assisted him both came and saw me and went over the pictures they had taken of the procedure. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to post those!). I didn’t even have my glasses for the first part of recovery, so I was happy when Stephen got to come back and see me, so I could not only see him but could make out shapes in general.

The surgeon said that he had found exactly what he expected to find: a torn labrum and extra bone on my femur. He repaired the labrum with sutures and anchors and then shaved down the extra bone. All I have as evidence of the surgery are 3 small incisions at the top of my right thigh. I was in recovery for about 3-4 hours, and then around 3:00 p.m., they discharged me. It’s crazy that I underwent an operation involving such a major part of my anatomy and didn’t even have to stay overnight!

The drive home seemed long, but I used a cold compress for most of the way home, which helped immensely. I put the seat of the car as far back as it would go, and sat on a pillow while also reclining it far back. We stopped for a quick meal at Sonic because I was starving after having not eaten all day, and it was the best tater tots I’ve ever eaten. 🙂

I really wasn’t sure what to expect regarding how I would feel after the surgery, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be. I had a lot of pain medication still in my system and was pretty groggy. I think I went to bed around 8:20 p.m. that first night. Sleeping has been challenging because I’ve had a hard time finding a good position. The anesthesia also gave me wildly vivid and slightly scary dreams the first 2 nights, but I didn’t have any like that last night, so hopefully that’s all out of my system.

Now that I’m 3 days post-op, I’m really pleased with how I’m doing. I’m not great at getting around on the crutches, but fortunately for me, we have a small house, and I haven’t had to travel very far on them. I have a lot of things within easy reach of me, and my parents and husband have been excellent caretakers. The pain has been manageable, and I’m trying not to take the pain mediation too often and am keeping the area iced regularly.

I’m so thankful to have the surgery behind me and to be able to focus on healing. A huge thanks to all of you who have supported and encouraged me along the way!