Saturday, March 8, 2014

In which we are happy that a hippopotamus came for the fun


"Hello, everyone!  I am Marissa Melissa Mirandapotamus.   
Welcome to our journey into modern medicine."

MMMpotamus was a recent gift from Sirie.  The wings were also a gift from Sirie,
more than a year ago.  For this procedure, it seemed appropriate to sew the two
presents together into a single flying Potapuppet and comfort object.

I checked into the hospital at 8am with a "resting" pulse of more than 100bpm.  


Can you say "scared?"  

 Yes.  Me too.

Prep room, complete with beautiful purple paper gown.
The hat was allowed in surgery--
they just put a paper surgical hat over the top!

Before sedation, we had a friendly visit from an old friend--one who rides a standardbred!

Suzanne got "Timmy" at Greener Pastures in Canada.
Timmy and Fiddle are distant cousins.
Suzanne described (once again) the process that would take place, and reassured us that this surgery was absolutely  commonplace, and that patients recover quickly after.

Then a nice man told me that he was going to make me very "sleeeee....." as I was wheeled out of prep and into the OR.  The next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room, completely numb from my belly button to my toes, and wondering when they would begin the procedure (which was already finished). 

The numbness lasted almost all day, which was nice--no hip pain AT ALL for the first time in 8 months.  

While I enjoyed the regional anesthesia and the good kind of sedation, everyone else scampered upstairs to get the room ready.

Not a "food bar."  This is a "feast bar"
courtesy of the Usual Suspects!
Jim and Sirie and my mom all hung out in the hospital room for the boring part of the day.  

Sirie brought food as well as comfort.  Good Kid!
Hospital food wasn't so bad, but friends supplied better options, including Jason's amazing pumpkin coconut curry soup (made from 2013 Haiku Farm pumpkin!) and good bread from the bakery.  
MmmMMM good

Not much appetite post-surgery, but a few nibbles and squibbles were very nice.

More visitors!
Dory and Tegan stopped by to say "hello" and to
catch me up on the latest barn gossip.

Duana showed up too, offering entertainment by playing new games with Marissa Melissa Mirandapotamus.

Marissa is a terrible flirt.  Du and the hippo became friends fast!
While on walkabout around the room, Du and Marissa noticed that the TP hadn't been decoratively folded.

So they did that together.
And then...

Squeeeeeee!

Du found the booklet of surgery porn included in the packet of information provided by the hospital.

The height of romance? Or brilliant comedy?
Interior illustrations show this pudgy white couple simulating
sexual positions while wearing their swim suits.
This was a not-to-be-missed photo opportunity.  

Note the elegant wool hat and suggestive off-the-shoulder hospital gown!
Jim sez: "Hooboy!"

Patty visited too, but she managed to dodge the camera every time.   She's a clever boots, that gal.

Low blood pressure is normal for me, and the narcotics lowered my BP even more.  The first two days after surgery got me intimately acquainted with the process of turning grey and tipping over.  

This is surprisingly not-enjoyable.

Finally they boosted my BP with oxygen and a change in meds, and stabilized me enough to begin my preliminary trot-outs for the local vets.

Grade-4 lame.  The physical therapist is hanging onto the gait belt
to help me fall gracefully if I can't stay upright.  I never did keel over
completely, but there were some very close calls.
On the second day I was a bit less woozy, and had a visitor:  a therapy dog!
Addie is a "Pet Partner" certified therapy dog.
I would dearly love to do this with the floofs, but
have't found the time for the training yet.
More walking practice in the hallways.  Sometimes I'd do great. Other times, I ran into that "turn grey/tip over" thing again.  

Not exactly "skipping down the bunny trail."  Sigh.

By the end of the 2nd day out from surgery, it was obvious that I needed to stay in the hospital an additional night.  My blood pressure was still unstable, I was still tippy sometimes, and I still had a LOT of pain that would be helped by hospital-issued narcotics.  Dang.

The extra time gave my mom plenty of time to mess around with my smart phone.

Mom vs technology--clearly, she is winning!

Until now, Mom has always been content with a dumb (flip) phone, but I think the techno-hook is strongly set now and we're ready to reel her in!

On the third day of post-op, my True Love gave to me...

This rig clearly needs decorations, yes?
Jim chose plain black so there would be plenty of room for shiny stuff.
a walker with a bling-able bag!

And finally, the day for discharge!
Hat on head, Potamus in basket, and ready to GO HOME!
Pain under control, I can stand and sit without assistance most of the time, and I demonstrated EDPP, though still lacking in the MF department.

Now that I'm at home again, my assignment is to continue with the exercises the PT folks gave me,  sleep a lot, and take short walks inside the house.

Floofs are good medicine.
Outside the house is all uneven ground and therefore a trip/fall risk to my uncoordinated self, so I'll need more practice indoors before I can walk down the lawn to the barn.

At least I can see Fiddle in her pasture through the windows!

FAQs and ANSWERS:
Why did you get a hip replacement?  You are much too young for that!
I was born with hip dysplasia (yes just like big dogs have--it means "shallow hip sockets"), and have lived with arthritic changes in my hip joints since I was 20 years old.  These poorly-designed joints held up much longer than any of the doctors expected.  However, when the surgeon looked at the parts he removed, he told my family that they were legitimately painful--jagged bone on jagged bone, and no cartilage remaining to smooth the joints left by the time he went in to fix them.

This was caused by a fall from a horse, wasn't it? Or an old karate injury?  'Fess up!
Nope. Nothing catastrophic, just a bad genetic design that finally gave out.

Will this surgery wipe out your savings account?
Nope.  I have excellent health insurance, and my total out-of-pocket will be under $1000.

How much did it hurt?
Ever broken a leg?  About that much.  The pain is steadily decreasing.  I even feel better this evening than I felt this morning.

So much for riding endurance now, huh?  You're going to have to be careful of that new hip for the rest of your life, and that means no more endurance rides!
Nope.  I need to be Very Cautious for the next two weeks.  Than I'll be assigned an additional 4-6 weeks of Careful Behavior.

The surgeon assured us that the joint he worked on is FIXED, and that no normal (or even extreme) athletic endeavor would be out-of-bounds after 6 months of routine recovery.  I could even hop up in the saddle today without damaging the joint--but between the remaining incisional pain and the opiates I'm taking for that, climbing onto a horse this week would be a Bad Idea!

Always, she is there for me

Also, the doc cautioned me that falling off a horse was no longer recommended, and that I should avoid doing that for at least six months.

Plastic?  Or titanium?
Both!  Ceramic and plastic for the socket, and a titanium ball and stem that looks like a very tiny trailer hitch!

When will they let you get out of bed and walk?
They had me up on the afternoon of surgery. Because of my blood pressure issues, I didn't get to go anywhere until the following day.  Today (5 days post-operation) I move around the entire house with my walker and on very short trips without it, with minimal discomfort.

What kind of drugs are they giving you?
I got the very strong stuff in the hospital, and some less-strong stuff to bring home.  I'm weaning away from all the opiates, and gradually switching over to ibuprofen (for inflammation) and Tylenol (for pain.)

When can you drive again?  What about your job?  
I can drive when I'm totally off the opiates and can drive without discomfort.  My truck has a manual transmission, which means it may be several weeks before I can work the clutch pedal without screaming in pain.  I've got plenty of sick leave on the books, so I will be able to stay away from work until I'm able to drive my 60-minute commute and am really ready to go back.

My cousin's sister's auntie's brother-in-law in Wyoming takes this herbal fish oil vitamin Z supplement with extra shark flavonoids made from organic free-range walrus glands, and it cures his arthritis.  Why didn't you do that instead of surgery?
Before submitting to surgery, I tried chiropractics, massage, acupuncture, OTC pain mends, prescription pain meds, herbal teas, a non-inflammatory diet, cortisone injections, physical therapy, and I forget what else.  Some stuff helped a bit.  But riding my horse hasn't been pain-free since last June and, as the surgeon said when he had the raggedy sawed-off bone in his hand, there is no supplement known to humankind that would've relieved the pain from that crunched-up joint.

What are you going to do with all that time off?
This week will mostly be spent sleeping, with short walks around the house for exercise.

Starting next week, I've got two writing projects to work on, and Monica will be visiting frequently so we can have "write-ins" and work on HER new project.

Got more questions?  Leave 'em in the comment box below.

Questions = good!