I’ve read so many horror stories on the Facebook FAI pages that I have a hard time believing how my situation is going to turn out. You could say that I have accepted that I probably won’t be able to do many of the wilder things I’ve been doing in the last few years. But, that’s not such a bad situation if that means one can do 90% (aka more normal things) of what they used to do.
However, this past week, someone from a snowy climate posted that they went skiing for the first time since surgery and indicated that their hips might have even been ready at 5/6 months post-op, if there had been snow. I was so relieved to read that post. It means I have hope that when this is all said and done, I will do what I want to do.
Surgery Day- wake up and take last shower for days where I also shaved my legs for the last time until further notice, arrival at outpatient, get into gown with a plunging back so low it looked like a hospital gown, get super warm and cozy blanket from the warmer, have super sexy thigh high Ted stockings put on, make joke with nurse about eating SPAM, kiss the husband good-bye, talk to anesthesiologist about nerve blocks and good knock-em out drugs, talk to Dr. Komanduri and ask him if he’s had his coffee yet, yes, that’s why he was late, go to OR, transfer to weird looking table then have all memories erased, ask husband three times “how long have I been here?”, finally come to – sort-of, attempt to pee in bed pan, continue to lose memories, fall asleep on drive home, too woozy to use crutches so I used a wheel chair, got into bed, ordered 10 piece chicken McNuggets meal, devour meal, sleep, use ice machine for 6 hours straight, watch This Is Us with K-man, say a cheery hello to my friend who made lasagna for us to eat, go to sleep, again.
Up to 3 weeks post-op
I don’t have the brain capacity to recount the last three weeks post-op chronologically so I’m going with the main points.
For me, the pain has been minimal. They said the nerve blocker would only last 12-24 hours. I couldn’t tell you when the nerve blocker wore off. However, I have malfunctioning nerve endings. Which means that there are plenty of times when I don’t feel pain properly and sometimes when I can’t feel at all. I’m not pain free, it’s just very minimal pain. I don’t think I’ve ever been above a 3 on the pain scale this whole time. I also used the ice machine for nearly every minute the first several days.
On the other hand, when I moved, I had someone help me move my leg so that I wouldn’t cause any pain or cause anything to go wrong, like, when I needed to pee, and that need occurred often in the first day or so. Over the following few days, I could tell my hip was getting stronger so I slowly transitioned away from needing help to moving it on my own.
When I was up on my crutches, I moved a little more. My doctor put me on 10 days no weight bearing restriction with a brace that only allowed me to bend my hip joint 70 degrees. I found that when I was on crutches I could swing my leg, just a little, without any pain or other indicators of illadvised movement. So, every time I peed, I made sure to swing my thigh back and forth and even in small circles.
I elevated my feet constantly the first 5-7 days. I did not have any swelling.
While I was laying about the rest of the time, I read up on blogs of others who have been throughout scopes for FAI. The post-treatment ranges on what patients are allowed to do. An example is some doctors saying no crutches are necessary to some saying 4 weeks on crutches. About the time I hit 5 days post-op, I was ready to move. I woke up in bed with an aching back. I decided that I would do two things. 1 I would do some of the exercises mentioned in blogs where PT started immediately after surgery. 2. I would make broccoli and cheese soup for dinner. 1. The exercises included things like slides, raise up on elbows, cobra, prone glute raises, etc. 2. The soup included so much cheese it might be better called cheese soup with broccoli.
When I finally got to start PT, I was so anxious, I called ahead of time to make an appointment for the same day as the doctor’s follow up so there would be no further delay in my active recovery. The follow up appointment was very interesting. The doctor walked in, asked me how I was doing then opened the door and told me to walk down the hallway. No brace. No crutches. I was not expecting that but I was excited to try it. I was as graceful as a two minute old foal. Doc gave me directions to use crutches as needed. I went directly to Walmart and drove the amigo while I shopped. Who wants to be a foal in China shop?
I am now one week pre-surgery #2. My right hip is doing great. I’m walking around home with no crutches. I’m still icing for hours every day to keep all inflamation at a minimum as I push to get stronger. The therapy isn’t what I expected but, today, my PT added some exercises and stretches. It feels good to graduate to the next level. I even drove to PT today which was 5 minutes away.
I’m beginning to think about everything I have learned from the first time around. I worry and fret that #2 is going to crash and burn or I’ll tear up #1 in the process. I’ve trusted my doctor thus far, I no reason not to now. I started working with my pull-up bar at home to strengthen my shoulders, arms and hands for a second go on crutches. I worry but I am ready.
At home exercises for PT–Flex/point toes, glute sets, hamstring sets, quad sets, squeeze a pillow between knees, pelvis rockers, bridges, seated leg raises, raise up while on stomach, slow buttkicker while in stomach.