So I had my Pre-op on Monday morning at Guys, the whole thing took about 3 hours, but that includes about 45 mins of waiting for very busy and helpful staff to come and see me. All the info below is specific to my surgeon and hospital, so don’t be surprised if there are differences from what you’ve heard or read before. I just tell it how I’ve been told 😮
First I had some MRSA swabs, and height, weight and blood pressure taken. Next was going through family contact info, medical history, and general health questions, followed by a blood test. (I still have the bruise!). I then saw the Orthapedic nurse, who is super lovely and patient and very knowledgeble. She went through lots of pre and post op info, and answered pretty much all of my questions. Then I saw the OT, who made me realise just how much of our house we need to tidy so I can get around! I have a form to fill in with measures of various bits around the house so they can make sure I have everything I need.
Here’s what I learned;
The surgery, whether just PAO or PAO and FO will take around 3 hours. I’ll have an epidural beforehand, and can ask to be slightly sedated before this if I feel really nervous – this is good news for me, as mentioned before the thought of my spine being pierced with some big arse needle, or even a tiny needle, does make me feel a bit sick and shaky. Obviously I will also have a general anesthetic, but the use of the epidural means they don’t have to pump me so full of the general which is better all round. After the surgery I’ll be taken to recovery and monitored before being taken to the ward. Where possible they’ll put me in an all female ward, but if this isn’t a goer they put all the girlies together in one part of the ward and all the boys in another.
I will be staying in hospital for 5-7 days, this timescale depends on how well I can get around. When I’m up on crutches and able to get up and down stairs they’ll let me loose on the world once more! During my time in hospital I’ll be seen by the Physio and the OT on the day of surgery provided I’m ‘with it’ enough, if not it’ll be the following day. At this point they’ll try and get me up and hopefully about a bit too. Apparently day 3 after surgery is renowned to be the low point of the whole affair. By this point I’ll be off the epidural and on pain meds, this change in medication and the fact that I’ll feel a bit better, but still not able to do anything and totally shattered leads to a bit of teary depression. Obviously this is not a definite, but as the warning came from the very experienced Orthopaedic nurse I’m willing to accept it as a high possibility!
I will be able to shower as soon as I can get up and about as the dressings used are waterproof.
There is likely to be nerve damage in my thigh so I’ll loose some feeling. In 95% of cases this is temporary and the feeling returns withing 6-8 weeks, however there is a possibility that this will be permanent. During the surgery they will cut through the hip flexor muscle and the only thing I can do to help at this point is stay as mobile as poss before the op. Other than that things will repair themselves as they see fit. Either one or both legs are likely to swell up after surgery, only if they become hot, red or inflamed should I begin to worry.
I may have to inject myself for 28 days after the surgery with anti-coagulents, this will thankfully only be once a day. Fingers crossed the new tablet version will be up and running by the time I’ve had my Op, so I can have a tablet a day instead of a needle.
I will be non weight-bearing (on crutches) for a minimum of 6 weeks, after which I will have a follow-up appointment at Guys when my new hip will be X-ray-ed. If the bone is knitting back together I’ll be allowed to bear weight on the operated side, on the other hand, if the bone is not knitting together well enough then I will have to continue non weight bearing for up to 12 weeks. During the non weight bearing phase I will be doing naff all. No bending forwards to put socks on, no bringing my knee up, no crossing my legs – not even my ankles, no twisting, definitely no exercise unless physio specified. I will be able to hobble my way around on crutches but have to be super careful. I can be a passenger in a car if I really have to, but this is best avoided as getting bumped in any way (even just going over a speed bump) might result in a wonky bit of bone floating around my pelvis! For the same reason I’m not allowed to use public transport. Obviously I’ll not be able to drive until I have the all clear to try and walk, even then I need to be strong enough to be able to do an emergency stop if needed.
In terms of aids in the home I have to measure the sofa, chairs, bed and loo to see how high they are off the floor. The measurement from my foot to my knee is around 19″ when my knee is at 90 degrees, so all the furniture has to be high enough for me to keep this measurement, anything less and I’ll be putting pressure on my hip joint. I’ll be getting a very glamorous riser loo seat, some cushions to bulk up the sofa and chairs, and may need a stool in the shower so I can sit down whilst washing my hair etc.. and I will have a ‘helping hand’ or grabber so I can put my own socks on (if I can be bothered to wear any!).
I received the confirmation letter to day for my surgery date, so it looks like this is it folks, countdown is progressing. Just a little over 6 weeks and I’ll be on the way to being bionic 😮
I’ve come to realise, through a lot of reading of other peoples blogs and medical accounts, that I am blooming lucky in the amount of activities I can do with my dysplastic hips. Don’t get me wrong, I do have pain, soreness and hobbling in varying degrees every day, but I can still go for a walk, kick box, go spinning and lark around in the snow – knowing full well it’ll hurt tomorrow but I’ll blooming do it anyway. Being fortunate enough to still be this active means I’m going to be really pissed off at not being able to do anything, not even put my socks on! It’s a short term pain in the arse for a long term better quality of life and being able to go about day to day stuff without any pain in the years to come…… at least that’s what I keep telling myself!