In which Total Hip Replacement 2 is going pretty well so far

I'm not ever going to say that a Total Hip Replacement is fun.

But I will say that this time is going much better than the last time (and the last time was pretty remarkable in terms of fast recovery and getting me back on my horse).

Rolling out of the recovery room.
Epidurals are awesome.

I should preface by saying that I went into surgery this time with a much less-injured joint, and supporting tissues that were not nearly as "angry."  

I could have walked into the hospital on Monday without my cane, in fact. 

The day before surgery we hosted a firewood moving party at the farm.
Lots of friends showed up to process more than a cord of wood,
and then feast on homemade pizza.  I helped move wood for about two hours,
then they made me relax and drive the truck instead.

I had several advantages this time:
  • I wasn't as terrified.  Sure, still not thrilled at the prospect of deliberately subjecting myself to time in a hospital, plus the recovery time at home and not on my horse.  But my fear level was significantly lower.
I had plenty of visitors in the hospital.
Will and Lisa both stopped by to say hi
and catch me up on their gossip.
  • I wasn't as injured.  The doc wouldn't let me have the 2nd procedure at this time last year, 6 months out from the first hip replacement.  But I was having pain on the other side at that point, we knew that it would only get worse--and it did.  When I consulted with the surgeon two months ago, I pointed out that I was only getting fatter and more sedentary because of the pain, and neither of those things speed recovery.  Also, it's not like my hip was going to miraculously heal itself, and there are no "miracle cures" for this kind of arthritis hovering on the horizon.  It wasn't a question of "if" I needed a replacement.  We just needed to set a date.

Sirie brought Thai food and coconut water, bless her!
  • We learned stuff last time. The most important trick we learned:  Sudafed is my friend.  My biggest impediment in hospital is chronically low blood pressure (90/50 or lower) which causes me to turn grey and tip over.  Sudafed raises my blood pressure and keeps me upright, which makes everything better.  More upright = more activity = easier recovery. 

My forays around hospital hallways were much more
frequent and comfortable this time.

  • We learned stuff this time, too. The nurse on duty the first night usually works on the gastroenterology unit, so she pays closer attention to metabolic stuff that should sound familiar to endurance riders, especially the part about hydration.  Turns out that hydration is also related to that turn grey/tip over thing.  Dumping huge amounts of saline and lactated ringers fluid into me, especially at night when I wasn't drinking as much water, scared away even more of the wibbly-wobblies.  Taking Sudafed also made me thirsty and thus more willing to drink quarts of water on my own.
And yes, this does have implications for endurance, especially at the longer distances I want to tackle next year!

  • I had a lot less pain this time around.  Last time, my pain rated a 6 or higher (scale of ten, where zero = epidural and 10 = it couldn't hurt worse even if you punched the incision site) while lying still in the bed at the hospital. That kind of pain deserved some pretty major narcotics.  This time, my pain didn't spike higher than a 3, and was controlled down below level 1 using ibuprofen and Tylenol!  Less pain = no narcotics = fewer drug side effects.

They sent me home on the third morning
after surgery with no joint pain.
The supportive muscles and ligaments
are inflamed and sore, but not nearly as
bad as they were in 2014.

My assignment until the end of 2015 is to rest and heal. 

I will start physical therapy as soon as I'm cleared to drive again (surgery was on my right side, so I need to regain pretty good use of that leg before I can drive safely), and the surgeon has approved of riding as soon as I feel comfortable swinging a leg over the saddle.

Not immediately.

But soon.  

In the meantime, I think I'll take (another) nap.


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