Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Hip Installed

I had my old hip removed and new hip installed on the afternoon of the 16th. The preceding posts explain the reason for it, so I won't rehash all of that.

On the 15th I was able to eat normally until midnight. I had to give up NSAIDS (anti-inflammatory) and aspirin for the week prior to keep blood from being too thin, and no alcohol 24 hours prior, although I stopped having any drinks a week prior, also. With a fairly major surgery I felt it prudent.

I continued elliptical work almost daily until the 14th. I figured I needed to stop and let my body rest at least a couple of days. I just hope I don't gain any (or at least much) weight during the recovery period. I'm not necessarily a health nut, more of an exercise nut, so this period of sedentary activity during recovery is going to be rough but it's worth it.

I was anxious all night on the 15th. I had a good dinner and slept pretty well until about 4am and then I couldn't get back to sleep. I got up and read some things online and got a few last minute work things taken care of. Didn't have to be at the hospital until 10am, so I had plenty of time for last minute prep.

My lovely wife took Bella (our Great Dane) to doggie day care. I showered and had to use some special soap called Hibiclens which is an antiseptic. I had to use the whole bottle, which was an effort because there was enough to wash an elephant. I even had to sign a form that stated that I bathed correctly and used the whole bottle. I felt like a kindergartner being told to eat my veggies. Anyway, I did that correctly and then finished packing my bag and was ready to go.

Only about a fifteen minute ride to the hospital. A little dreary and cool and I was finally getting a bit nervous. Not really nervous about the surgery itself, because I've had two previous surgeries on this hip. I just wanted everything to go correctly.

Got to the registration area, signed in and paid my share of the bill that insurance was not covering. My insurance has been great so far. Hopefully there will be no complications with all this, because it is quite an expensive surgery. My share reached my out-of-pocket max of $1,250. Well worth it to have a good leg again.

Only had to wait a few short minutes before the prep nurse came and got me. My wife had to wait in the waiting area until the prep nurse was done. I put my gown on and the process started. The nurse was my age (37) and was the first of many over the next few days to ask why someone so young was having a hip replaced already! She took some more blood and then started my IV. She also gave me some drugs to start getting me relaxed. Then she prepped my hip by shaving most of my leg and then washing and coating it with iodine. She also put TED stockings on my legs and some automatic air wraps to help with circulation for the next few days.

When prepping my hip she noticed a couple of blemishes, either pimples or ingrown hairs, one on my butt cheek and one on my leg a few inches from my previous incision scar. They were almost healed but any kind of nick, cut, abrasion, etc., near the incision can lead to a cancellation of the surgery due to the risk of infection. I knew the blemishes were back there but thought they were far enough away not to cause a problem. She said they were indeed close enough to cause a cancellation but they looked almost healed so there was a good chance the orthopedic surgeon (OS) would be okay with them. So, she circled them with a marker and called the OS to let him know that he needed to look at them. She told me they were more worried about fresher active wounds and these were closed up well, so that made me feel a little better but I was nervous until I saw the OS.

She finished the prep work and was ready to allow my family in to see me until it was time to go. Of course, I had to pee, so she helped me get down the hallway with IV in hand and butt cheeks exposed. You really have to leave modesty at home when you are admitted to a hospital. I've been through it before, so it's not a big deal to me. Besides, I've worked hard to get myself in shape, so I don't mind showing off a little. Ha ha. :-p

My wife, mother and father all came in and were able to chat with me for about an hour. It was nice and helped pass the time. I really have very loving and supportive family and friends. I'm the type of person to feel guilty about receiving any kind of help on anything, but this week I had to leave all that behind. I'm very blessed with people who care about me and it's been more than obvious throughout this entire process.

At 12 noon it was time to go to the next step. The prep nurse started wheeling me over to see the anaesthesia folks. On the way the nurse stopped and got me another warm blanket. That was great! I went into another area and saw four different people related to anesthesia. I had to answer another round of questions and then got my first tiny dose of anesthesia. Starting to feel good at this point. I was set for general anesthesia but they threw a curve ball at me. They asked if I wanted a spinal block which would help a lot with the pain. I had heard the term but wasn't really familiar with it. They explained how I would get a shot in the back and when they found the right nerve my leg muscles would start twitching. Sounded painful but I remember how much pain I had in the previous two hip surgeries, so I was all for it! I gave them the go-ahead and they found the right nerve almost immediately. They were pleased and I was too because it didn't hurt too much. I then met the primary anesthesiologist. Just a few more minutes wait and they wheeled me into the operating room.

I remember being wheeled in and parked and that's it. I've always had a bit more recollection but this one was almost none. I woke up and it was done. Holy crap! I couldn't believe it. I was groggy coming to but felt much better than in the past. I guess everyone did their job great, because I was in much better shape than even when I just had my screws removed. I had to stay in recovery for a bit and then was taken to my room.

My room was on the seniors floor. I was probably the youngest person by 40 years! Needless to say every hospital employee who came in was surprised to see someone so young. I had a great room but was still too out of it to realize.

So, backup in time a bit. My wife was given an ID number for me which would display on a monitor in the waiting area with my status. Apparently, the status never changed to show that I was ever in surgery, so when they went to get her to tell her my surgery was finished she didn't even know I had gone in! She thought I must have been delayed for some reason. She even asked the front desk people to check on it and apparently they were rude and wouldn't help. An unfortunate blemish on an otherwise fantastic few days at Washington Regional. The same lady wasn't real friendly when we checked in either, so it wasn't a surprise. Anyway, after the nurses got my bed setup they allowed my wife and family in.

I was in some pain but not horrible. I was fairly coherent at this point and had some nice conversation. I was freakin' starving because I had not eaten since 8pm the previous night, around 33 hours. With all my running the past 18 months I was on a steady 2,800-3,000 calorie a day diet. My body was going to have to eat something! The RN asked if I felt like I could hold something down, like a light snack and some juice. I told her I was ready for a full meal, and it happened to be just about dinner time, so they brought in a full meal. The nurse told me to take it slow and she left. I promptly began wolfing down everything. Nothing slow about it. Not on purpose, I just felt good and was very hungry. Didn't feel nauseous at all. The meal was turkey and dressing with gravy, a roll, some veggies and a dessert. Pretty darn good meal.

My wife had to go pickup Bella from day care while I was eating, so she did that and my parents and my brother stayed with me. She made it back to the hospital and was happy that I ate something. She also stopped and bought me some reading material. Mostly cycling magazines and books since that's going to be my new hobby (instead of running) when I recover. My parents and brother stayed a short while longer and then left for the evening. My wife went to the cafeteria to get something to eat and she brought it back to the room, so we were able to visit some more.

I was starting to hurt pretty bad so the nurse gave me some morphine (yay!) and my wife left soon after so I could get some rest. I slept GREAT for a couple of hours but woke up at some point and wanted a snack. The CNA and RN checked on me at various times during the night. They were both awesome! The CNA found a nice snack for me, turkey sandwich, Baked Lay's, and applesauce. She even warmed up the sandwich for me. She was my favorite new buddy :)

That wraps up day one, although technically some of this leaked into day two ;)

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