John 15

John 15
‘I am the vine, you are the branches'

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 6 - Leave Expectations at the Door - Post-Op Follow Up

Prior to my 6 week follow up, 2 out of the 4 girls who had surgery +/- a day from mine were allowed to ditch the crutches. And this is where my list of mistakes starts. Mistake #1, setting the expectation that the same would be true for me. Clearly we are all the same people (NOT), who have the same surgeon (NOT), with the same degree of dysplasia (NOT), and all bone cuts are alike (NOT).  There is nothing black and white about this surgery; even the scar location is different from person to person. Some people have it in their hip line, some people have it straight down there thigh, others have it on the outside of their thigh...

Let's continue with my list of mistakes

Mistake #2 Having my x-rays loaded for me to view in the exam room. Usually I dig this because I then have a chance to take pictures to spam the entire world. Instead I freaked and spammed them to all the PAO Warriors that have been through this frantically asking them for their thoughts.
Mistake #3 LOOKING at them.
Mistake #4 Almost passing out on the nurse when I saw big gaping holes. I can be daft at times and was expecting everything to be fused together.
Mistake #5 Expecting my husband to join my freak out session. After 11 years of marriage, I know that is not his style, but yet still expect him to hop on my bandwagon. Brilliant wife moment...

Doctors and REALITY

As the resident entered the room, I put on my "fake it until I make it smile" hoping that I appear calm while every cell in my brain was screaming WTF in four different languages. We then proceeded to play the question and answer game rating pain, movement, etc.

All the while I want to know about my X-RAYS... because what I am seeing is no change from my surgery day. Images of bone simulator machines are entering my mind along with future surgeries to help the bones fuse together. The fancy term for all of this is non union.

Let me be clear, I really like this resident.  We go way back to my first appointment day when I busted out crying explaining that I am 37 living like a 70 year old. Any doctor that manages not to get the "another woman crying look" wins the total confidence award with me.

Finally, X-RAY time... he affirms that bone growth is right on track and takes the time to show me that the very, very light haze is a sign that the bones are fusing together.  This light haze is similar to someone putting a few drops of glue into a water bottle and expecting you to notice it right away. Got it Sherlock.

Finally, the SURGEON comes in...  not only is he a great surgeon, but he has a great personality.
Strength checked out on track
Flexibility checked out on track
Bone growth checked out on track
But..... drum roll, I will still need to use crutches for the next 6 weeks. However, I can increase weight bearing to 50% of my weight for the next 2 weeks and then if tolerated, bump up to 70% of my weight for another 2 weeks, and then 80% for the last 2 weeks prior to my appointment.

After my husband reexplained that concept to me in the car, I calmed down. Essentially, by the time I go back to see him end of January, I should be done with crutches.

In hindsight, this is good. Considering how bad my hip and muscles were, this will allow time for PT to strengthen my leg while I slowly build back up. If I were to ditch the crutches now, I would repeat the vicious trigger point cycle since the strong muscles would become overworked compensating for the weaker muscles.

Lessons Learned:
1. Leave Expectations at the door... you are not like anyone else, nor will your recovery be like anyone elses.
2. Be happy with what progress you have made. We all heal at different rates.  Along with that, each surgery requires a different level of healing.
3. Just calm down. Don't try to read ahead and play doctor. You likely didn't go to school for 20 years (J/J... 7+) so let them read the x-rays.
4. Keep pushing on. Recovery will come.  If it wasn't for this surgery, most of us would live in pain until our joint eroded enough for a THR (Total Hip Replacement). Because we are all active people (yes, this is true- I have not found one inactive person on the PAO board), this surgery IS our ONLY options. It's not like we have 20 options lined up...
5. Smile on...

Below are my 6 week x-rays.  The areas circled in red are what still need to heal.





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