Sunday, December 31, 2006

Updates

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has been reading all along. I know what you're going through is hard, but hang in there! The surgery was totally worth it. I just had my official 6 month, post-op check up a few weeks ago and my surgeon said I could finally start my professional wrestling career! In other words, I am totally, rock solidly healed. The pesky soreness on the op side was a touch of bursitis, which has resolved itself with lots of stretching. Also, my "New Bad Hip" has stopped bothering me! We know that eventually, it will have to be PAO'd, but I hope to put that off for at least 5 years while I get on with my life.

Stay strong everyone! I know it seems like recovery will never end, but eventually, it does!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

6 Months Post-Op

Well, it's been 6 months since my RPAO. Here's the update:

I can now walk MILES at a time.
My right side is still sore and feels kind of bruised.
I have partial numbness over the entire front and side of my right hip, but this is way better than immediately post-op when I had total numbness in a large percentage of the area.
My left side is still giving me trouble, but only very sporadically.
In the last few weeks, my right side has also given me a bit of trouble, but not very often and not for very long.
I STILL can't sleep on my right side with making the bruised feeling more intense.
BTW, I have 5 screws in the right hip and my surgeon gives me funny looks when I ask about screw removal.
I feel fairly certain that I will have to do the left side as well, but hopefully its not for at least a few years.

That's about it. There's really nothing else to say. I absolutely advocate the surgery. I have no regrets about it. you can e-mail me with any questions at itsalikelystoryATgmailDOTcom.

Later.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Health Insurance Warning, Part 3,042

Wow. I hate Health Insurance. I mean really hate the whole system.

Our current plan was being raised to ungodly numbers (more than our current mortgage) so we have been trying to shop around for other plans. During the initial quote process, I was being quoted a little over $300 and Josh is being quoted about $200. Why is an older man with back problems less of a risk than little old me? Well, as I am female, Big Insurance immediately assumes that I can't wait for babies to shoot out of my vagina. Oh, the pregnancies we'll have! That will teach Insurance! Who came up with this? Oh, that's right - old white men.

Anyway, the initial quote is fine. A 20% increase would've been fine. After underwriting, Josh was fine. Me? My quote AT LEAST DOUBLED.

Why? Well, because now that my hip condition is "resolved with surgery" it is all the more likely to explode. That is the only possible reason I can think of for such a price increase. The hip requires no more surgery. It's inherent explosive nature must've been "tripped" during the PAO and now I am just a ticking bomb. Ticking bombs are cheap, the aftermath is a different story. THAT costs money.

Money I don't have. Hell, if I can't pay the $700/month they want me to pay in insurance, how can I afford having all of my hundreds of babies while frantically dodging my hip shrapnel?

You tell me!

Culinary School, Here I Come!

I am registered and ready. I start in January. Its about time! I think my hips will be up to it. The big test was about a week and a half ago. We had family in town and thought the local corn maze would be a fun Saturday activity. Well, the maze was over a mile long and as we got lost, we must've lapped that baby at least twice. My hip was trouble free the whole time. We were exhausted after words, but the hip was a-ok.

If I can get lost in a corn maze and still find my way out AND still walk then I think I'm ready for school.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

4 Month Update

Things are good. My operated side feels really good. I STILL can't lie comfortably on that side for any length of time and I have no idea why, but that's ok. I front half of the operated thigh and most of the hip is still numb but that, too, is ok. My other side, the "new bad hip" is holding steady. I decided to cook us a full fledged dinner last night, with heavy cast iron pots and by the end of it all I was limping on my non-op side. While it was temporary, that does scare me a bit, what with me starting culinary school in the spring.....

I have new and improved goals. I bought an elliptical machine (a really cheap one) and its fun. I am so out of shape, I can only do 5 minutes at a time before I feel like I am going to die. So, I figure if I can do 5 minutes a day, soon I'll be able to do 10 minutes a day, etc. etc. The elliptical is great b/c its super low impact on your joints. Its even better for your joints than walking and it doesn't bother either of my hips. I want to lose about 40 lbs. Getting the extra weight off of my hips will be sooooo good for them, it might even eliminate the pain I am feeling now. Also, it will put me well within the "healthy BMI range" which is someplace I don't think I have ever been. I hear it's nice. Warm and sunny, all the time. And its always bathing suit appropriate.

We'll see.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Finally Crutch Free!!!

Yesterday, day 97, I was FINALLY given the go ahead to lose the crutches. No cane, no crutches, just my own two legs with the following restrictions:

1. No running/jogging - this is soooo not a problem

2. No contact sports - you mean i can't continue my career as a NFL pro? OK.

3. No breast stroke in the pool - still no whip kicks, which is my favorite kick, but I can deal with that.

4. No "strenuous" yoga - only b/c my drs wife took a class obviously way above her level and did some sort of damage. He really didn't know anything about yoga, but that experience was enough to put him off. I'm still going to take yoga though. Having taken it on and off for years, I know what my body can and can't do.

SO, that's it! He wants me to start walking right away and he thinks my hip is healing really great. As for the other hip, or my "new bad hip" as I'm calling it, it is also dysplastic, but mildly so. Dr. said that if my op hip showed moderate dysplasia, than my "new bad hip" only showed mild dysplasia. This means, we'll be taking a wait and see approach to it. However, I asked him if it was common for the non-op side to start acting up after so long a recovery and he said absolutely. So that's good to know.

BTW, I just got back from a walk round my neighborhood. I walked (with hand weights) for 30 minutes, pain free. When we got to the end of our block, I asked Josh how long it had been since I had walked that far, we came up with 3 years. I kept walking for another 25 minutes after that. A little clicking in my op side, but NO PAIN.

Excellent!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

THIS IS NOT HAPPENING!

For the last 3 days, the old, familiar, grinding, limp-inducing pain has returned...BUT IN MY NON-OP HIP! That's right, in the hip everyone said would last me another 20 years before becoming symptomatic. It's the same pain. I haven't even been able to experience the pleasure of walking through the grocery store without crutches yet and it's the same bloody pain.

Josh says I should not freak out about it b/c it could just be from over taxing that hip for the last 13 weeks. That hip is bearing the brunt of my weight....but I know the pain. IT'S THE SAME PAIN!

I can't have another surgery right now. I need to work. I need to replenish my savings. I can't continue to pay the ridiculous premium my insurance carrier is charging me. I'm supposed to start school in January. I'm supposed to start my life.

I know life isn't fair....but COME ON! Most of you don't know me or my life so far, but suffice to say, I've paid my dues. For what I've been through these last few years, I should have good karma coming out of my ass. AARRGGHHHH!!!!!

There, I feel better now.

But my bloody left hip doesn't.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Scar Picture - Day 81


Updated Scar picture for you. I don't really see a difference. I have been applying Palmer's Scar Serum. It has Vitamin E, Cocoa Butter and the same active ingredient as Mederma.

How I Spent My Saturday




Sure, I almost gave myself heat stroke, but I am glad to report that my hip didn't hurt a bit. I just hope they all take. I'd hate to have to replant 30 mums.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Nothing Super Exciting To Report

Things are going well. I go to PT twice a week. Though I am still tired all the time, (more of a general malaise, really) my stamina is improving dramatically. I can cook dinner, do the dishes and bake bread in the same afternoon without breaking into a cold sweat and passing out from exhaustion, so that's nice. I'm getting back to normal. I can also sit at my desk, hunched over my computer screen, in a decidedly "hip unfriendly" position for hours on end. As that is basically what I'm paid to do, that too is good.

I slept terribly last night though. Couldn't get comfortable. Tossed and turned. Very weird. I did have a particularily difficult PT session earlier that day, so maybe that was it.

Oh, and I am sooooooooo over the crutches.

But yes, I am still forcing myself to use them, as ordered.

I have been drifting in and out of a post-surgical funk lately. I think I am just bored and frustrated and tired of the limitations. I was telling my PT guy how funny we humans are. Three months ago I was so sore, all of the time. I could barely walk. Now, my pain level is at zero and all I can do is think back on those "glory days" when i could walk without crutches. Sure, I was in abject and profound pain, but BY GOD, I WAS CRUTCH FREE!

Does nothing ever satisfy us? We are so impatient as a species, so quick to forget the reality of the situation and substitute one of our own making, one which will always leave us deeply dissappointed. What a self fullfilling prophecy we are. Our natures work against us.

Remember that when you are still on crutches at week 11+ and can't remember why. It might help you. It did for me.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Health Insurance Update

I am cool. BCBS finally came to their senses and paid my bills. For those of you who need to know, my insurance company was charged about 26,000$ for the hospital stay (4 days), $2400 for the anesthesia and $6,000 for the actual surgery. There were other numerous incedentals which probably added another $2000 to the total. I know cost is a BIG concern for the partially or uninsured. I am not sure if an uninsured person would be charged the same amounts. BCBS paid significantly less than what they were charged.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I Would Just Like To Say

That at 68 days out from surgery I can finally shave my legs in the shower. And I mean, the whole leg, from the ankle up! No more sitting near the bathtub with my legs cast over the side trying frantically to reach my ankle with a razor without slicing off any skin. Thank God!

Also, I started my PT on Friday last. It's fine. My first appointment was pretty lo-fi, more interview and stretching than anything. My last appt. was a bit more strenuous. They have this machine which is basically a seated eliptical machine. I was on level 6 of 10 and worked up quite a sweat. It felt so good to actually be able to move my body again and exercise. Then my PT guy stretches me out in about 20 different ways and ices down the hip. I have PT from now until the end of August, twice a week.

Insurance Update: I am now having to call my insurance company every few days b/c they STILL haven't paid my hospital and surgery bill and it's been over 60 days! Last week, they finally listed both as paid and this week they revoked that status until they can confirm that this wasn't a pre-existing condition. Well, its NOT! A pre-existing condition is something you've seen a doctor for in the past year. I haven't seen anyone in years. The last doc I saw was back in Philly and he told me I should just wait and see. Which I did. Sheeeesh! These guys!

Friday, August 04, 2006

This Is Funny

So, my brother is in town and we're having a grand old time. Yesterday, we decided to try the new Vietnamese place in town, Pho Bac. We get in there and the poor owner is trying to service about 10 tables himself. He brings our menus and explains to us that his new waitress called in sick and he's THE ONLY ONE IN THE ENTIRE RESTAURANT. He is both Cook and Waiter. The poor guy! We decided to stick it out. Well, after waitng a really, really, really long time, Josh's and my brother's food is brought to the table. Silverware, however, doesn't arrive. After about 5 minutes of us staring at their food, we see the owner walking toward us with 2 rolls of silverware in his hands. He stops short and gives them to the table next to us (they don't have food yet).

Finally, I can't take it anymore. I say to the table, "I got it!" and I leap up and take about 4 strides around the table when I freeze. I forgot my crutches. They are propped up casually next to my chair, shrouded in anticipation. For a brief minute, I even consider going on. I mean, why not, I was already around the table and I was in no pain. My good sense got the better of me. Suddenly, I blurt out, "I don't have my crutches!" and shoot Josh and my brother a rather panicked look.

It takes a few seconds for the ramifications of this statement to settle in to their brains, they too saw nothing out of the ordinary from my leap up. When it did, there was a shared, "OOOOOH!" and several request for me to sit down. Which I did.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Regarding Last Tuesday

To answer a few questions about my incomplete rant over continued crutches:

The doctor didn't really give me a reason for the continued crutches. He said I was healing really well and quickly, at that. When I mentioned to him that others, at this point, were moved down to one crutch with the status of "50% weight bearing," he told me "partial weight bearing" was impossible on one crutch. He also said that of the three cuts they make in the pelvis, the top one takes the longest to heal. Because of the rotation of the acetabulum, that top break has the largest gap to fill with new bone. Maybe, my acetabulum was rotated in an odd fashion that would make that top gap larger than most?

On the plus side, He did say that in all likelihood, after the additional 6 weeks on crutches, I would be able to walk crutch and cane free. So, with that knowledge, I choose not to bludgeon him.

And I told him so.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The 8 Week Check Up (and I'm still on crutches)

Holy Crap Weasels - I am still on crutches! I get to stay on crutches with partial weight bearing for ANOTHER 6 WEEKS. This means that I can walk using both legs, but with every step on my op side, I have to put about 2/3 of my weight on the crutches. The good doctor only wants 50-60 lbs. on my op leg at a time.

Yeah. I am freakin' thrilled.

I finally got to see my doctor after a 2.5 hour wait past my appointment time. (MUSC Bone and Joint Center is ALWAYS this behind schedule. Bring a book. Or twelve.) I was graced with my usual 10 minute appointment where he informed me of my "crutch situation". I tried to reason with him but we all know there is no reasoning with orthopedic surgeons. I even told him that in one of my last posts I promised to bludgeon him about the head with my crutches if he told me what he just did. Still nothing.

ARGH!

At least I can drive now. I am free to load up my trunk and back seat with crutches and drive myself (and my crutches) around town. Super Duper.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Week 8 Approaches

So I am only a few days away from the 8 week post-op mark and my "6 week post-op" check up. It's funny, my doctor wanted to see me at 6 weeks for a post-op follow up but his office couldn't schedule me until week 8. Now, for some people, this may not seem like a big deal. But for my fellow Dysplastics out there, we know that the 6-8 week mark means the beginnings of mobility! It means the potential to lose a crutch! It means weight bearing and it could mean WALKING!

Now, I am not an orthopedic surgeon, nor do I play one on TV, but I do know my body. I know that I am in zero pain and that I am quick to heal. Therefore, in celebration of week 8 approaching, I have been w-a-l-k-i-n-g (still putting a good chunk of weight on the crutches). Don't tell anyone! It just feels soooooo good. Zero pain. I've even tried walking with one crutch! Just short distances.....around the house.....slowly.....very carefully....don't worry Mom.

Tuesday is the appointment. Tuesday we do x-rays to see what's going on and on Tuesday my doctor will drop me down to one crutch. And if he doesn't I am going to bludgeon him with the other.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

In Dreams I Walk With You

For the last 2 weeks I have been dreaming of walking.

In the beginning, I would dream that I got out of bed and walked to the bathroom. I would then realize that I didn't have my walker and that I wasn't supposed to walk without it. Walking there would be no problem, but after my realization, I would be petrified of screwing my hip up on the walk back.

Then, last week the dreams changed. I would be farther away from the walker/crutches. I would get out of bed and walk to the kitchen where I would make my realization.

Last night, I dreamt I was at school, sorting out a financial aid problem, when I suddenly realized that I was walking without my crutches and had left said crutches at home.

They say when extreme drug addicts go into rehab they have vibrant dreams of doing drugs. For example, junkies dream of shooting heroin and they can really feel it, in their dreams. Usually they wake up in a cold sweat, afraid they've used again.

Me? I haven't been able to walk in 51 days. I haven't been able to walk pain/worry free for about 3 years. But at night, in my dreams, I walk without pain.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mederma Is Icky

Is there any alternative to this stuff? I'm using Mederma Scar Gel. After I rub it in and it dries, it peels off, like sunburnt skin - only rose-scented. Very strange.
Is Mederma the best option?
Are there others?
Anyone?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Few Relatively Major Improvements This Weekend

It took me 6 weeks, but I can now do a few new things.

1. When getting into a car, I can now lift my op leg in without using my hands. The leg finally moves on its own!

2. When lying flat on my back, I can do leg lifts with my op leg.

3. I can finally sleep on my side, just not the regular way. I don't put the pillow between my legs, as suggested. When laying on my back, I put the pillow on the outside of the non-op leg. Then I roll over and rest my op leg on the pillow. It feels really, really good.

Remember, when you have this surgery, live for the little things. You'll see improvement everyday at first, then later on, when you least expect it. Yesterday I was hobbling into the car when I just lifted my leg in. I couldn't do it the day before. Same with the leg lifts. Weird. Welcome, but weird!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Cane-A-Rific!


Check it out!

I just ordered this from Ebay and am I excited. I have to thank Jennifer for pointing this out to me. It looks like this cane works like the Millenial Crutches. And we all looooove the Millenial Crutches, don't we girls?

Oh, and it doubles as a "mountain climbing stick" or so it claims.

That way it helps with both my recovery and encouraging my lofty goals of extreme mobility!

Bad Ass!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

An Honest Scar Is Hard To Find


I think this picture is a little more honest. This what my scar really looks like. That last picture was just too much of a glamour shot for me.

So there, I am nothing if not honest.

This is what the scary scar looks like after being seated in a khaki skirt for an hour or two. That's right folks, city clothes. Not loungy, silky, soft PJs but rough, rugged, blue collar cotton.

Take that, scar!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Pinchy

Today I went to a store and shopped without a wheelchair. It was Office Depot, so a wheelchair wasn't an option but the home office needed a few things. I managed OK but my arms are sore and my palms are peeling. Very attractive.

My hip has been really pinchy lately. I tried to get on a pair of jeans but they made my hip even pinchier. The pinchy feeling isn't inside the hip joint either, like my pre-surgery pain was, but rather on the outside of the hip. It feels like its coming from about half way between my skin and the hip joint, in the fleshy bit.

Less than 2 weeks from my 8 week appointment. I can't wait to get off of these bloody crutches.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Scar Picture, finally.


Here is my scar now at 40 days after surgery. Sorry it took me so long to get it up there. The scar looks pretty good here. It tends to be a bit darker pink than how it photographed and it's a dark pink/purple after a shower or whenever I have to stand or move around a lot. Otherwise, I haven't had any problems with it.

I think its safe to start on the Mederma now. I have to apply that 3-4 times a day for 8 weeks to get optimum results. I'll post "scar in progress" pictures so we can see how well Mederma works.

An Observation

This weekend was fairly productive. I went grocery shopping and we even went to a party! I did notice something a bit odd though. When I push myself too far, it is not my hip that hurts. It's my butt and lower back.

So, in addition to being a pain in the ass, I now have a pain in the ass.

Friday, July 07, 2006

On The Importance Of A Good Mattress

So, I never really gave our mattress much thought. It was bought 3 years ago at IKEA when I bought our king size platform bed. It was really cheap for a king size mattress. I mean cheap. Less than 300 bucks kind of cheap, but it worked. It has always been extremely comfortable. I use to love my bed. I use to look forward to slipping into it each and every night. Immediately after the surgery, upon returning home, I realized that I wouldn't be able to sleep in my bed right off the bat. It was just too low. So, I slept in our guest room on our new twin daybed. I adjusted well. Then, at about week 3, I decided to try my bed again. This time I had no trouble sinking down to my bed's lower levels. Oh, the joy of feeling my own mattress again! I couldn't wait until that night when I could finally sleep.

Imagine my immense disappointment when that night was the worst nights sleep that I had had in years and years (and this includes my "lost years" as a New Orleans undergrad who drank like a fish)! Well, I told myself, I have been pushing myself more and more lately. It only figures that my sleep would be disturbed. Also, we had guests sleeping in the bed, thus ruining my trusty "ass-groove" that I spent the last 3 years cultivating. But still it got no better. After using up to half a dozen pillows in a wide variety of positions, I was still waking up between 5-7 times a night in discomfort. Not good.

Out of desperation, I moved back into the guest room expecting to slowly, perhaps over the course of the next week, ease into sleeping through the night again. Well, that night I slept like a rock. A rock on a twin size, daybed, pillowtopped mattress that was bought with our house guests in mind.

Our new, king size, Sealy pillowtop mattress arrives on Wednesday.

Boring anecdote or fable of some importance? I guess it depends what kind of mattress you have.

Take from this story what you will.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I Took It To The Limit...

And now I am SORE!

Yesterday was very exciting. I decided, enough was enough. If I spent one more days inside, in my chair, someone would die. So, I took a shower, got dressed and we went OUT!!! First to Bed, Bath and Beyond for new curtains, then off to lunch at The Bookstore Cafe (if you're in or near Charleston - stop by - the food is sooo freakin' good), finally to Publix for a bit of grocery shopping. We went home and then back to Bed, Bath and Beyond to exchange a faulty curtain rod, then home again. Now, before you are extremely impressed with my apparently massive upper body muscles, I used wheelchairs in both stores. However, I was boggled by how self absorbed people are. No one got out of my way, when I was on crutches or in the wheelchair, even when I asked! All of the handicap parking was taken up, often by cars with no handicap permit.
It was maddening and ridiculous.

And I am sooooo sore today. My arms are sore, my sides are sore and my operated side arse cheek is sore. so very sore.

So perhaps this 4th of July, I will gratefully and willingly spend the day inside, in my chair.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Week 4 Hump

Well, I am doing well. My pain level is practically nil and I can do all of my exercises with relative ease. Here is the issue - BOREDOM. My god, I am bored. A word of warning - be prepared my pre-op readers. Week 4 is one of the hardest weeks. Your energy is coming back, your pain level is diminishing, but you still can't walk.

On a considerably happier note, here are things that week 4 brought me:

1. no more scabby incision. I am now pretty in pink. (picture forthcoming)

2. no more potty chair as high toilet seat. I never thought I'd be so happy to sit on a regular toilet seat! The luxury of it all, it's so roomy.

3. I can shower standing up (with the walker). I can swim. All thing water related are go!

4. I can sit on the couch. Actually, I can lay on the couch. Either way, it's a lot better than staying in that bloody recliner that I've been living in for the past 4 weeks.

5. I went out to eat in a restaurant for lunch! Exciting, the little things...

6. Finally, I can wear regular clothes. Which is good, b/c I had been living in my workout gear (yoga pants and tee shirts). There was something really cruel about always looking like I was going out for a jog when I could barely get to the bathroom. The irony was killing me. I still primarily wear the workout gear, but its nice to know I don't have to anymore. I am all about options.

That's all for now. My camera is dead and I am out of batteries, otherwise, I would have a scar picture to post. Maybe tomorrow. I think my calendar is clear, although there is that marathon I was planning on running....

Monday, June 19, 2006

Completely Off Of Pain Killers

So, on Friday I left my doctor's office with a prescription for Hydrocodone (Vicodin) and that got me thinking. I have no concept of what my "baseline" pain really is. I have been in various states of medication since surgery, so how do I even know if I need the pain killers anymore? With this in mind, I decided to discontinue all pain medication. Its been a few days and my pain level is almost exactly the same as it was on the oxy-contin. I am a bit headache-y and a bit grumpy but that is most likely from discontinuing the oxy-contin "cold-turkey". Otherwise, I feel pretty good.

The only real difference is that I am no longer sleeping through the night. This is a real bummer. The first night I woke up at 11:30, 1:30, 3:30 and 6:00 - yuck. Last night I woke up at 11:30, 1:30 and 3:30 - yuck, but better. Maybe tonight I'll only wake up at 11:30 and 1:30. That wouldn't be so bad. And I have taken myself off of the potty chair at night. The bathroom isn't too far and I did make it just fine, even though I was loud enough to wake up poor Josh.

I am great at getting around on the walker, but I do bang it around quite a bit! I have to get better on the crutches. So far, I'm not awesome on them and the walker just feels so much more stable.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The 2 Week Check-Up

Okay! I had my two week post-op check up. It wasn't much of a check up. He poked my hip about 3 times and asked me if I had any questions (I had 14, I like to get my money's worth). So, I am officially off of Oxy-Contin, Oxy-Codon, iron pills, Senakot, Colace and the Lovenox injections (twice a day-I will not miss it!).

He left me with a scant prescription for as needed Hydrocodone (aka vicodin) and very few restrictions. I can go swimming (very carefully) but I still shouldn't cross my legs. I can go out to eat, but I shouldn't yet sleep on my un-operated side. Otherwise, if I feel comfortable with doing something, I can do it as long as I keep my op-side toe touch weight bearing only.

Doc said that my very fluidy swelling is nothing to worry about and may hang around as long as 2-3 months (bleh!). My mom leaves tonight and J's mom arrives on Tuesday. My mom has been amazing these last 2 weeks and I am really sorry to see her go. I know Josh's mom is going to show up and cook up a storm. I can't wait for that! It will be nice, though, just to have a few quiet nights to ourselves.

Otherwise, I am just reading a lot and resting. I do not plan on venturing out to any restaurants any time soon. I had enough trouble sitting in my doctor's waiting room for an hour in a wheelchair, I can't imagine how I would manage a regular chair in a restaurant! And I am going to hold off on swimming until my scabby bits have come off of the incision (which they almost have).

I promise to post scar pics in about another week or so. I am waiting for real progress to be made in that dept. I will say, however, that by the 2 week mark my entire incision is healed up and scabby.

That's it for now! So far I think I've been really lucky. It seems that my surgery has been super uneventful and easy compared to some. Contact me with questions!! I'm a captive audience!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Thank You For My Flowers!



Thank You Bea and Aunt Joan for the lovely bouquet on the left. Thank You Amanda and Sunni For the really sweet bouquet in the middle! Thank You Silversteins for the beautiful orchids on the right! Thank You All Again!

Swelling Issues

So I've had some swelling. Monday I had a substitute PT person b/c my regular PT guy was out sick. We think she pushed me a bit too hard b/c by Monday evening the top half of my incision site was swollen. I wasn't in real pain over it, it was just a bit disconcerting. All day yesterday I took it easy and we kept icing it down but it just wouldn't go away. Today it is still a bit swollen, but not as bad. My regular PT guy will be here at noon, so we'll see what he has to say.

This is interesting though. While I was doing the PT on Monday, I wasn't in real pain, but remember, I am still on some pain medicine. So how does one regulate the difficulty level of activity when our natural pain responses are muffled by pain meds?

Hmmm....not a bad thing or a good thing. Just food for thought.

Monday, June 12, 2006

12 Days Post-Op

Well, here I am, 12 days out from surgery. I am doing well and I thought I would share with you things of note thus far:

Last night I slept all the way through the night without waking up from pain/soreness/having to use pottychair/etc. It felt goooooood.

I am starting to (slowly) use my crutches. I hope to be off of the walker and fully on to the crutches in 2 weeks.

It took me 6 days after surgery, but yes, I was able to, eh...how shall I say this with dignity..."make a stinky?". I am pleased to report that it wasn't agony. It didn't hurt. It only took me about 15 minutes. So, take your stool softeners and eat a HEALTHY, HIGH FIBER DIET and you should be right as rain. OK, no more about that again, ever. yuck.

As I mentioned before, I am completely off of the Oxycodon. I do still take the Oxycontin but hope to be taken off of them on Friday at my 2 week follow up appointment. As a matter of fact, I hope to be taken off of the vast majority of pills I am on now, including my twice daily shot of blood thinner.

My incision is healing nicely and laughing doesn't really hurt anymore (but coughing still does, just not as badly).

Yesterday, I was even able to sit at my desk and work for about 15-20 minutes. It was tiring, but I did get to pay a bill or two so I felt productive.

Also, while my operated side was almost entirely numb, feeling is slowly starting to come back. I just started feeling the tingling of nerve regeneration on my numbest patches, so that is an excellent sign!

Next, I hope to tackle cooking. Obviously, I won't be able to really cook, but I'd like to get set up at the kitchen table and help make my mom's b-day cake! I can stir and measure and pour, provided all of the ingredients and tools are brought to me.

Using the walker is pretty easy now, but I do get tired quickly. I am getting a lot stronger on my operated side. I CAN NOT STRESS STRONGLY ENOUGH, DO YOUR PT!!!!!! The PT exercises are great. DO them as often as you can. They not only really, really help you gain mobility, they also are a great motivator, showing you how far you've come in such a short time.

That's it for now. E-mail me with any questions or comments. I'll tell you all I know!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Recovery Tip of the Day, or why drawstring pants are your friend.

I have decided that for my recovery from surgery I will be sporting the latest in draw-string, capri length, workout bottoms - extra baggy for both extra style and extra scar comfort. However, there is an added bonus with this fashion "do".

When you are using the ladies room, one can tie the drawstring loosely around the bars of the walker and then presto! When finished and standing, the pants aren't at your ankles where you can't reach them! They are hanging well within reach, thanks to your walker.

Surgery-Utility-Haute Couture

that's my motto.

Friday, June 09, 2006

A Word About Pain Medication

As I have mentioned before, my pain is very well controlled. The only real trouble I have been having is with nausea, indigestion and sour stomach - nausea being the biggie. For whatever reason, I seem to have a fairly high pain tolerance but an EXTREMELY SENSITIVE STOMACH.

I was sent home from the hospital with 2 types of pain medication. One is an extended release pill which I take every 12 hours called Oxycontin (the generic is 10mg of Oxycodon). The other is an immediate release pill called Oxycodon (5 mg).

I have gotten rid of all of the weird side effects just by eliminating the quick release Oxycodon from my meds regime. In addition to the stomach problems, here's what Oxycodon quick release did to me:

weird and unsettling dreams
inability to achieve deep sleep
irritability
muscle soreness (I know this seems weird, but I swear I was more sore on the stuff!)

If the breakthrough pain is too bad with out the quick release Oxycodon, I'm just taking tylenol. I haven't had to do that yet though.

Just a heads up guys. For me Oxycodon = Bad!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Big Bad Scar
















Hi Everyone. I know, you were saying to yourself.....Gee, I want to look at a 6 inch, 22 stitch gash in some strange chick's hip. Well! Today is your lucky day! These were taken today, which is 5 days post-op. Enjoy!

BTW I am doing great. Everyone seems a bit bewildered by both my ability to joke about stuff as well as how awake and aware I am. So, Keep a really positive attitude and it will pay off!
At least, that's what I am sticking too.

I am going to properly review my doctor and the hospital after I am a bit more recovered. I met with my PT guy today. He's cool, but I find myself having to inform and instruct A LOT of people about the fact that I DID NOT HAVE A HIP REPLACEMENT and that this is a very different surgery. Most people are willing to learn, so that's awesome. Otherwise, I'll post more as more develops.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I'm Back from the Hospital

Okay. I am back. I just got home a couple of hours ago and am really tired but I will try to post a scar picture tomorrow.

So far, here's the deal: I remember nothing about the operation. I had an epidural and a general but woke up from the anesthesia about 30 minutes after I was wheeled into recovery. When I woke up, I did hurt. But not as much as I thought I would. I just felt cruched over to the side. They gave me a morphine shot and I was fine and chatty a few minutes later. All in all I have been in very little pain. I did have a self administered morphine drip but I only used it occasionally. I was off of the epidural and morphine on Friday and on the oxycontin and oxycodon. The first day was a bit tough, but my pain never really got beyond a 5 and usually stayed b/w 2-4 (on a scale of 1-10).

Bad Stuff:
The only bad part was after they took out my catheter I got a UTI and peeing was agony. That took about a day to work out. I also got REALLY nausiated on Saturday. MUSC has the worst food I have ever been subjected to so I wasn't eating much. I mean, I don't know about you, but a steaming plate of smothered chicken and grits with cabbage does not do it for me the day after surgery. I pretty much had to live on PB and J. Pile on top of that a whole host of meds and I guess anyone would get sick.

Good Stuff:
Otherwise, I am pretty good. I am propped up in the recliner (which was absolutely necessary) and my pain is very very manageable. I am already skipping most of my oxycodon (I am allowed 1 every 4 hours and I am taking about 1 every 8-12 hours) but the oxycontin is necessary. I feel clear headed though. The only thing that really sucks right now is using the bathroom. We were sent home with a potty-chair which can double as a shower seat or triple as a bedside commode. It may have to be a bedside commode for a few evenings. The bathroom is pretty difficult to navigate with the walker. Oh, little recommendation, when on the potty chair or toilet, prop up the bad leg with something about 4-6 inches high (a flipped over trash can, a piece of tupperware, whatever) it really helps. Oh, and lean back. You'll see.

Weird Stuff:
My R Hip is totally numb in a large area. My doctor has the bedside manner of an orthopedic surgeon (pretty condecending and strangely non-chalant, no offense to any of the kind ortho folk I know out there), so when I asked him when I should expect feeling to return he told me not to worry about it but implied that it might never return. Nice, thanks for the heads up. Also, my scar which he said would be about 4 inches running across my thigh, instead runs about 8 inches from my upper thigh up to parallel with my belly button. Not exactly what I prepared for but I guess I don't really care so long as he got "perfect placement" and I can function like a normal person in 3-6 months. Right? Right!

That's it for now. Feel free to ask questions in the comments and I will respond as best I can.
Gross pictures tomorrow (hopefully)!

PS- Jennifer, It's not that bad. You'll do great.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Operation update

So here's what's up. Heathers surgery went well and she was actually
only in the operating room for 3 hours instead of the 4 they told us.
Her doctor said they got really good placement and there weren't any
problems. Fortunately she came out of the anaesthesia fine and when I
was finally let in to see her in the recovery room she was chatty and
awake. Unfortunately we had to wait 8 hours in the recovery room for
an available one to move her to. The nurses eventually moved her to a
semi-private room and I was able to stay with her instead of coming in
to visit every hour for five minutes. Her first day after surgery,
Friday, was fine and she had very little pain, they had her on an
epidural and a morphine drip. Saturday she taken off those and put on
Oxycontin and Oxycodone, one for long term pain relief and one for
short term. These have been working and shes had very little pain, on
the other hand since she is eating very little and the medicine tends
to make her sick. Saturday morning was the worst but today, Sunday,
was better. She did have some nausea but nothing like yesterday
morning. Her PT has been progressively getting better as she is able
to walk more and more with her walker. Overall shes done really well
and except for the medicine making her ill everything would've been
perfect. Tomorrow we'll be bringing her home and getting her situated
in her recliner. That's about it, I'm sure Heather will post as soon
as she gets home.
-Josh

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Final Run Down

OK. I have to be at the hospital at 6am. Surgery is from 7:30 -
11:30 am. That's right people, 4 hours and they're only doing one
hip! I'm in the hospital until Sunday so I won't be posting for
awhile. I've asked Josh to update here, but he's a lot less
concerned with this blog than I am. So, he might be a bit
preoccupied. Thanks for everyones support and good thoughts!

Incidentally, the crutches...


So, I forgot to tell you about my crutches! I'll be sporting the Millenial Medical Crutches available from Triad Healthcare. I have no grace or balance, so I feel I can give you a true review of this product!
I'll let you know how they go!

Still waiting for the phone call from the hospital telling me minor things like when my surgery is, where I have to go and what I have to do. Ah, the waiting is the hardest part.

Tomorrow is the day...

...and I just got a call from financial services at the hospital reminding me that IN ADDITION to the 250$ they already told me to bring, that I also need to bring an extra 300$ dollars. Why, you may ask? Well, apparently, the first 250$ is for my surgeon and the 300$ is for the hospital.

FUN!

At least this all goes toward my insurances yearly out of pocket maximum. So that's some consolation.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tester 1

Hi. This is a test to see if Josh can post to my blog via e-mail
while I am under the knife.
Hope this works.

2 Days To Go


Well Surgery is in 2 days and I am strangely calm. I started listening to Health Journeys, "A Meditation To Promote Successful Surgery" and I have found it quite calming. I've only listened to it twice but I do feel calmer and more ready. Its a bit new agey, but hey, I'm getting my hip chopped open, I'll take what I can get. Try it. This is what the cover looks like. I think I'm ready.
Although on the day, Thursday, I am sure I'll be freaked. I hope to post tomorrow with all of the details. After that, Josh should be updating on how the surgery went, etc.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

One Week To Go

Okay, we're down to the last week.

It was suggested to me last night that I might want to consider renting a recliner to recover in for the first week or two. You see, my living room is curiously devoid of chairs. We own a sofa. It's a rather large sofa. As there are only two of us, it seems to do the trick. However, I must agree that recovery on the sofa would not be pleasant. It is squishy and deep and really comfortable, provided you haven't just had your pelvis rearranged.

Here's my prepatory tidbit for you. If you need to rent a recliner, Rent A Center does offer a "lift chair" which you might recognize from that great old commercial where it literally lifts the old lady completely from a sitting position into a standing position in only 14 hours! However, I just learned that, in my neck of the woods, Rent A Center requires 3 weeks notice before they have them in stock. I would only need the chair for 2 weeks. You can do the math.
Also, all other recliners for rent are rockers. I can't imagine that being good for recovery.

So, the question is what do I do now? Hmmmmm.........

Thursday, May 18, 2006

2 weeks and counting

2 WEEKS AND COUNTING!! Holy Crap people! OK, freak out over. On to more useful topics.

I just received a call from the hospital reminding me to bring 250$ with me as my hospital co-pay. That's it though. There's been no talk of pre-surgical testing. I asked about pre-surgical testing and was informed that we did all of that already at my last appointment with the good doctor. Now, I always imagined pre-surgical testing involved drawing blood or something.

I am not to donate blood. I asked if I could, and I was told NO - believe it or not. The explanation given me was: There are just as many errors when you are supplying your own blood as when you use blood bank blood, therefore, there is no need to weaken yourself. Also, people tend to require more blood after they have donated blood. Hmmm......Logically, I can certainly follow the argument but I would sure feel a lot better if I could just donate the blood already.

The other weird thing is the incision. All of the PAO's I've heard about and read about had the scar running down the hip, parallel to the line of the leg. I have been told that my incision will run across the hip, perpendicular to the leg. Has anyone else had this or heard of this??

Now I know, I am hyper-educated about this surgery and what to expect. That comes from me being crazy and my incessant reading of the HipWomen posts. I would just feel better if this surgery followed the others I've read about. Maybe it's just nerves.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Insurance Update

Well, when there was that whole pre-authorization snafu last week I asked if my doctors office could send me some sort of verification that everything was all worked out. Thank you MUSC Bone and Joint Center! I just received a confirmation fax proving that I am pre-authorized for both hospitalization and surgery on the same date - 6/1/06! I have to say, that aside from that one error which I previously posted about, it has been a snap to get approval for this thing. BCBS of SC and MUSC have really been great so far.

15/16 days and counting. I forgot if I am counting today as a day or not.....sigh, I miss my mind.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Word About Insurance

This is just something to consider for your upcoming surgery. I have Blue Cross Blue Shield. My insurance requires "pre-authorization" or "pre-certification" (I've heard it called both) before hospitalization or surgery. My advice for you is to DOUBLE CHECK with both your insurance company and your doctor's office for this pre-authorization and get a confirmation number. Your doctor's office should have a "pre-certification nurse" who deals with all pre-certifications/authorizations.

I say double check b/c with my surgery fast approaching, it's a damn good thing I did! On Tuesday, (5/9/06) I was told that I was all approved and all set up. I asked for a confirmation number and I asked to go over the details just to make sure everything was all set up. I was all set up for 5/11/06. My surgery is on 6/1/06. That's not good. The nurse was a bit surprised too. She sent through the paperwork to correct the dates. On Saturday, I checked with my insurance company. My hospital stay was pre-approved for 6/1/06 - 6/4/06 (only 3 days) and my surgery was approved for 5/11/06. Obviously, this won't work either. So, after contacting my insurance company, everything is now corrected. I am still waiting for confirmation of that, but hopefully, I'll get that next week.

So, heads up. Odds are no one would've caught this error until I checked into the hospital, and that is soooooo not the time to have to worry about insurance.

17 Days and Counting....

Holy crap, its only 17 days away. It's really starting to sink in now. Friends were marveling at how well I was taking this up-coming surgery. I was a real trooper. Now, my mind is racing and I am starting to get scared. A wise woman once gave me a very important phrase/mantra which applies in this situation. It is to be repeated as often as necessary. "In _________, this will all be over." In 17 days, this will all be over. In 17 days, this will all be over. In 17 days, this will all be over.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What is a Hip Arthrogram MRI?

So, you're been diagnosed with hip dysplasia and they send you off to get a "Hip Arthrogram MRI". This recently happened to me. No one told me what to expect. Here's the deal.

I was sent to a hospital for this procedure. The arthrogram comes first, the MRI second. If you're claustrophobic, you might want to consider a sedative for the MRI portion of this event.

First, the arthrogram.

Basically, in a hip arthrogram, they will stick a needle in your hip and inject dye. First, I was stripped and put in a hospital gown. Then I had to lie down on a big table with an x-ray machine lookin' thing above it. Then, my joint was marked with a marker and the whole area was liberally painted with betadine. Your knickers will be destroyed ladies, betadine stains.
Then, an anesthetic was injected into my hip area. This just pinches a little. While the anesthetic takes effect, they will mix up a little dye/lidocaine cocktail to inject into the hip joint. This injection has to be perfectly lined up with your hip socket because the needle has to actually get into the hip joint. My guy had to do this about 3 times to get it right. I would recommend not looking at the needle. Yes, it is big. Also, Yes, this does hurt. It's not agony but is sure as hell isn't comfortable. Once the needle is in the right spot, the injection can start. This is good b/c there's another anesthetic mixed with the dye. This kills the pain you feel from having a 20 gauge needle in your hip joint.

Next, the MRI.

From the arthrogram room you will be wheeled to the big MRI machine. I have had 2 hip MRIs in 2 different machines. I am 5'8" and in the first machine I was ENTIRELY INSIDE the MRI machine. The MRI machine is a big tube which you lay on a shelf inside. The ceiling of the tube is about 3-4 inches from your face and you can not move. This was very uncomfortable for me. My most recent MRI was soooo much nicer. In this machine, My whole head and neck was outside of the MRI machine. I had no problem with this at all.
The first MRI I had was for both hips and it took about 90 minutes. This last MRI was only for my right hip and took about 35-40 minutes.

After effects.

The MRI has no after effects. I was very sore for about 2 days after my arthrogram, though. I had my hip arthrogram on a Friday and I was fully recovered by Sunday afternoon. My hip was just really, really sore. It also felt kind of bloated. weird.

There you go! That's what I know. Let me know if you have any questions.

-----------added 12/15/09-------------
Also - be sure to read the comments section. Apparently Hip MRI/Arthrograms are different everywhere and we've gotten a lot of really great descriptions of different experiences in the comments section of this post. Bottom line - its not great, but its not awful (unless you have a tech who takes 3 tries to get the needle in place) - you can do it!!! xoH

Friday, May 05, 2006

Maybe I Should Tell You My Story....

It took me 10 months and 3 doctors to get the proper diagnosis. In 2002 I was living and working in Philadelphia, PA. I walked 2 miles to work every morning. I didn't own a car so I walked or biked everywhere. I thought SEPTA (the transit system in Philly) was a total rip off. I was taking Vinyasa Power Yoga for about 3-5 hours/week. I felt good. I was never slim. Even as a child I was borderline obese, but for the first time in my life I was fit, healthy and my weight was under control.

I was walking to work one morning in the Fall of 2002 when, in mid-stride, I felt excruciating pain. So much so, that I almost fell over and had to balance myself against a building. My right hip felt ripped open. I hobbled to the corner, really confused and surprised at what was happening and hailed a cab to work. I had to get into the cab, arse first, and actually lift my right leg with my arms to get it in! Well, 10 minutes later I got to work and to my surprise, I was able to get out of the cab, no problem and continue on with my day. WEIRD!

Well, similar instances started to pop up. First, very infrequently and always solved by sitting down for a minute or two, then more and more regularly. I went to my doctor. My first doctor was Dr. Lizerbram. Having just become eligible for health insurance, I picked her out of my "preferred provider" manual as my new general physician. I explained to her that it actually felt like the pain was INSIDE my hip joint. I could feel it clicking and popping and the pain felt like something was torn. She immediately told me that it was impossible to feel pain inside a joint (my first red flag) and that I had most likely pulled a groin muscle in my sleep (my second red flag).

Well, I foolishly returned to her a few more times. The last time I was running/hobbling to catch a bus to her office, as I could no longer walk long distances, and I tripped and sprained my ankle. I did catch the bus and hopped on it. When I got to her office, my knees were skinned and bleeding and my ankle was the size of a football. She asked me, "what seems to be the trouble" (another red flag). She sent me home with nothing. No crutches, no prescription. Her office didn't even call me a cab. I never went back.

My new doctor was wonderful. Her name was Dr. Regina Baime. If you live in center city Philadelphia, LOOK HER UP! She took a thorough case history of my hip problems and immediately ordered x-rays which showed possible hip dysplasia. I eventually had MRIs done and was sent to Dr. Charles Nelson who informed me I had Bi-Lateral Congenital Hip Dysplasia.

He said I had 2 options. One, Have an incredible complicated and difficult surgery called an osteotomy (which Dr. Nelson did not recommend) or two, take the more conservative approach. Dr. Nelson recommended conservative so I opted conservative. He told me to "Lose as much weight as HUMANLY possible" (no, I am not kidding. That lined is burned into my brain.), "take glucosamine and chrondroitin and Aleve" (ok.) and "try not to walk much".
TRY NOT TO WALK? I LIVED IN CENTER CITY PHILADELPHIA?!?

and that's it. that was his conservative treatment. every year or two we would have xrays and MRIs again. wow. I was 26 and I shouldn't walk anymore. Technically, I was able to...but every step I took hastened me to an early crippling. awesome.

Then we moved away from Philly and started our own business. That means I lost my health insurance and couldn't get it back. I just got it back in November of 2005. The interim found me losing weight but limping more, walking less and realizing that Aleve doesn't do anything. My new friend became Tylenol Arthritis (V. Good, by the way). No doctors of any sort for almost 2 years.

Now, I'm in South Carolina. I am properly diagnosed and I am less than 3 weeks away from surgery. I tried the conservative approach. I lost more weight. I only got worse. After consulting with Dr. Hartsock I was told that surgery was necessary. He said that in another year I might miss my window for the surgery. There is a window to have this surgery done. You have to be in enough pain for it to really ruin your life but your joint still has to be in decent shape. That's a fine line to walk. So here I am. And there you go.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Adult Hip Dysplasia

I am starting this blog as a reference and resource for people like me. I was diagnosed with Bi-lateral Congenital Hip Dysplasia when I was 26 years old. I wanted to use this blog to post all of the resources I have found over the years and to track my progress as I undergo and recover from a Peri-Acetabular Osteotomy to treat my right hip.

My surgery is scheduled for 6/1/06. I will post full reports on the surgery, doctors, hospital, recovery, etc.