January 28, 2013 (The day before surgery)
The room was suddenly bathed in light as the shutters were opened and then that familiar voice, “time to get up, we’ve got a lot to do today. In fact, we should have been up for hours”. Now, to a pre surgery individual that could sound like Nurse Rachett from “One Flew Over the Coo Coo’s Nest”. No, it was the lovely voice of Florence Nightingale, alias, my Annie. She was right, we did have a lot to do to prepare for the following day. I staggered up and made it to the shower.
A half hour later I was nursing a cup of coffee and going over the list she had assembled that was to be the “work model” for the day. So, between watching Tiger Woods win a golf tournament in La Jolla, numerous phone calls, and a few hours on the computer, we made it to Nicole’s arrival. Nicole is from Ortho Xpress came to deliver a contraption that fits over the loo or next to your bed… and I need go no further on that subject. She also dropped off the “Cold Therapy Unit”, something that circulates cold water to a pad that you place over the swollen area caused by the surgery.
After some lunch it was off to the pharmacy for some ‘stool softener’ a back brush for the shower and some cough drops plus another item that saves you a trip to the loo at night (no need for further detail). From there to a Medical supply store where we picked up a gadget to help you put socks on. I know that sounds silly, but with this surgery it is difficult to lean over.
It was then back home where Annie had to run off and do an errand. I then started preparing the guest bedroom. The guest bed is much lower than the one in the master so we figured it would be easier getting in and out of that bed. The handy pamphlet they give you with all the pre and post information suggest a small table next to the bed. We didn’t have one so I took a luggage holder (the kind in hotels) and put a piece of plywood on it, covered it with a towel and guess what… we had a table.
They suggest putting on the table a small dish for pills, the TV remote, some Kleenex, a clock, that item that keeps you from having to go to the loo, the cough drops and a telephone. I’m sure I’ll come up with a lot more things.
Annie cooked some scrambled eggs, fried potatoes and mushrooms and I washed it all down with some ice tea (they suggest not having any alcohol the day before the surgery as it could inhibit the anesthesia.)
An hour or so more on the computer and then off to bed and thus, the day of preparation ended. I’m not sure I’ll be able to blog tomorrow but I’ll catch up eventually.
January 29, 2013 (Day of Surgery)
As you can imagine, I didn’t sleep that much during the night. I solved a myriad of problems and created a few. Somehow 6:15 a.m. rolled around and I managed to stagger into the shower, shaved, dressed and headed to the computer to check e-mail, etc. I was instructed that no food or drink after 9:00 p.m. and if I was to take my one pill it would be with just a sip of water.
So after some last minute adjustments we head for JFK Hospital in Indio. Upon entering we were told to sit and wait to be admitted. Shortly Ann and I were in a small office and I was signing and initialing all kinds of documents. Then it was down to the lab to draw a little blood to check its type in the event I need a transfusion during the surgery. Then Ann was led to Surgery Waiting while I was taken to Pre op. There I was asked my name and date of birth at least ten times by ten different people. I undressed and was placed on a gurney, wrapped in a warm blanket. During the two hours I was in that area I was hooked to a blood pressure machine and an IV was started. At that time Ann was called in from the waiting room and spent time with me until I was wheeled to OR. However, before that happened, the surgeon or as Ann refers to him, the handsome Dr. Boghosian came in and explained the operation again, put some marks on my hip and announced the procedure would begin shortly, but first, I would meet the anesthesiologist. Shortly after he left a lovely lady called Dr. Ball, appeared and introduced herself and asked me a few questions and then explained about the anesthesia.
Now I’m going to mention a little bit about this part of the operation as my dear friend, Cara may be having the same surgery and I want to tell her what my options were,
Dr. Ball uses two types of anesthesia. First, through the IV she feeds a potion that doesn’t knock you out, but puts you in a state where you don’t remember anything when you awake. I remember when I had my Lasik surgery I was given a weaker version of this because I could remember the doctors talking and could hear them working on the eye. The nurse here in Pre Op had told me earlier that most candidates prefer a stronger version for this anesthesia, as they don’t like to hear the sounds of pounding and the saw cutting bone. The second anesthesia is a “Spinal”. This deadens your legs from the waist to the toes. She said she would start with the first version and then do the Spinal and that I wouldn’t feel the needle nor know when she did it. I went into OR and was told to sit on the edge of the operating table, hold a pillow to my chest and lean slightly forward. This would be the position for her to introduce the Spinal. Little did I know that while I was being driven in and asked to sit on the edge of the OR table, that she was introducing version one of the anesthesia. I know that because the next thing I remember I was waking up in the recovery room.
I was told I spent about an hour and a half in the recovery room before being taken up to my room. Soon after I was in the room Ann was ushered in and informed me that I was looking exceedingly well for someone who just had a hip replaced. What she was looking at was a very happy junkie, full of drugs and feeling no pain. We had a nice visit but I’m not sure of what I said to her. I’m sure she will tell me some day.
I’m sure all of you have been in a hospital from one time to another. For me to now chronicle that experience would be a huge bore. If it were on television you’d change the channel. I will mention one thing though I know that all hospitals are not the same. A physical therapist comes in and they get you up the same day as your surgery and make you walk around.
I’ve been in this hospital almost three days and I’ll be leaving here shortly. The remaining blogs will deal with ‘life at home after a hip surgery’ or ‘a medical road to divorce’! I say that because my reputation as a ‘patient’ precedes me.
I’ve a couple of photos I’m attaching. The first one is me in Pre-Op. The second is a wonderful Pre-Op nurse who kept a smile on my face. The third is me back in the room after the procedure. And the fourth is my “bionic hip”. What lurks behind that horrible scar. I guess that is the end of my Speedo bathing suit days.
I’m back home so the next installment will be “adjusting at the house”.
January 29, 2013 (Home)
Though I start this chronicle today, it may encompass two or three days and they are the important dates in post surgery. I say that for the following reasons; When you are post operative in the hospital your diet and medication intake differ a lot from when you arrive at home. When I was in the hospital I was receiving a certain amount of morphine (whether needing it or not) because of the possibility of a lot of pain. During that time in the hospital the effects of the spinal are wearing off slowing, so they put you on morphine for the transition. When you leave the hospital they once again do a transition from the morphine to Oxycontin, a very addictive and strong pain remedy. So addictive that they only give you a three day supply. From there they transition you to Oxycodone-Acetamin, a pain remedy similar to Vicodin. So, by Monday I will be transitioned to Oxycodone and give you a complete report on how I am doing.
It is strange when you are on medication because you feel very good and you think, “…hell, I’m cured…!!!” The truth is that you are in this ‘false world’ that the medication has transported you to and the true test comes when you aren’t swallowing those lovely little pills.
So, at the moment, I am giving my Florence Nightingale a hard time because I want to throw out the walker. Now, I’ve only used it for two days and I’m saying to myself, “why did I buy this stupid thing, I could get by with just a cane.”
I think my ‘Florence’ is about ready to throw me out, much less the walker. I am not a very good patient. It is just because my father instilled in me a certain amount of “common sense”, which in some cases, trumps specifics. In fact, in the hospital I made an attempt to help the nurses, which I’m sure was not appreciated. Now, I’m sure you’ve all heard the term, “boiler plate”. It is a phrase that means, ‘one thing serves all’. When these doctors lay out a plan for rehabilitation, they use Joe Average as the model. Therein lies the problem; I’ve never considered myself ‘average’!
I must say though, I am getting around very well considering the hip replacement on Tuesday. Each day I seem to be feeling more confident in walking and performing daily tasks.
Today, a nurse came to the house looked at the incision and was very pleased with what she saw. Bruising around the wound is minimal, though some occurs further down the leg.
So, short of eating my words in a few days, I will close and send this out as a current status of my ‘well-being’.
February 2, 2013 (Four days after surgery)
Thus far I am extremely pleased with my progress, thus this may be my last Blog for a while, or until I enter another phase of rehabilitation. What is left now is to adhere to the prescribed therapy faithfully, finish up the various medications and then keep one’s fingers crossed that the bone will knit with the prosthesis.
My first day of therapy went very well. The lead therapist who designs the therapy program for you administrated it. He was somewhat astonished by my progress thus far and said I was ahead of the curve, whatever that means. He encouraged me to continue to use the walker as it serves as a deterrent to establishing a ‘limp’. It seems if you come off the walker too soon you end up with a permanent limp.
So, since describing the various leg exercises he has laid out for me would probably serve as a wonderful replacement for ‘sleeping pills’, I will sign off until some new phase of rehabilitation comes to the forefront. For now, in the words of our ‘hip replacement expert’, just be aware that “…I am ahead of the curve!”
PS After the surgery I slipped away from my room and did a 5K run. I forgot to take my OR hat off.