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