New Hip Day

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  • Licklelilly
    Licklelilly Member Posts: 29

    @Cazbaz and @Lilymary .....I wasn't given a raised toilet seat, they told me I didn't need it! However, my bathroom has a permanently raised toilet seat, and I've hated normal height toilets ever since! I thought I was napping in the day due to my painkillers, maybe I'm fatigued like both of you, it does seem some days I'm more lively than others. I too get left-hand cramp from using one crutch, can't wait till I'm crutchless! My partner pointed out that towards the end of the day I am limping, reverting back to my old habits from before my op, so most days I consciously tighten my muscles in my operated leg, as I walk to get a straighter gait. I'm still getting right knee pain intermittently, physiotherapy says it will ease with time. I find myself feeling guilty for grumbling about the pains at the moment, especially in front of arthritis sufferers who are in constant pain awaiting their surgery. Ach, moaning is good for the soul, I concur, stay positive and moan away!😁

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,223

    Feel free to moan, LM. After all, you're not a frequent flyer on Moan & Whinges Airlines.😉

    I don't really feel I can offer anything. Your body is clearly in protest mode but at what? Lack of sleep? Too much sleep? lack of exercise? Too much exercise? The stress of not being able to work as you feel you should be doing? The stress of feeling others are losing sympathy? The stress of the other leg joining in? The stress of the differently-colou red legs? None of this will help. But quite where to start I don't know. If it were me I think I'd be trying (a)the physio and (b)trying to get my sleep patterns more regulated - get up and go to bed at regular times regardless of protests and/or build in an hour's post-prandial snooze. Forget about getting back to normal and just set yourself very gentle, realistic, achievable targets that you can probably reach. But that's just me. Whatever you decide, I do wish you well and hope it works.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669

    Thank you all. I just needed a moan. It's consoling to know that other new hippies face similar issues at this stage. All I can do is accept that this is how things are at the moment and keep trudging on.

    I had my first appointment with a podiatrist today to give my long lost feet a service and MOT. As she's also trained in more general postural/medical stuff (given that dodgy feet can be the root of so many other musculo-skeletal problems), I was able to pick her brains a bit. She seemed to think I was doing ok for 11 weeks, and said when she had knee surgery a few years ago she could sleep for England afterwards, even in her 20s. So imagine how an older bird like me is going to feel. (My words, not hers.) Given how hard my muscles are having to work to get back to normal, and the tenderness in my thigh that suggests there's still a lot of soft tissue healing going on, maybe I should just dig deep and continue to roll with it.

    To improve my mood, I did a little gardening yesterday until it got too dark, clearing up the storm damage (which wrecked my roses 😥) and sure enough, my sciatic nerve moaned about it all night. However, at least I understand why now after this morning's consultation (piriformis across back of hip getting irritated by bending and nipping the sciatic nerve), and have some hope that it will ease off once I'm able to walk and exercise more normally. Unfortunately the exercises to stretch out the piriformis are also the ones that will dislocate a new hip, so that will have to wait. Meanwhile, I'll have to accept that gardening comes at a price and keep the paracetamol handy.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669

    Out for a walk this evening with my stick, not sure I can rise to this challenge yet!

  • Cazbaz
    Cazbaz Member Posts: 70

    @Lilymary that looks a lovely walk, you are doing so well with your walking keep it up.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669
    edited 14. Jul 2021, 13:48

    LONG POST ALERT! But some may find it informative...

    Well, I've just had a 12 week post op telephone consultation with my surgeon (as I was so rubbish at 6 weeks). He said the level of muscular disfunction and pain I’m experiencing is very unusual with modern posterior surgeries, as so few of the abductor muscles (ie those on the side of the hip) are disturbed, but it’s not not unheard of. The soft tissue pain at the front of the hip may be where one of the smaller muscles that connects there gets tight in arthritic hips, so this probably got irritated along with the psoas, (between back and in the groin, used for knee lifts) while hauling my leg around, the more so now while I’m trying to get them to work normally with a new “healthy” hip. He assured me that it will settle eventually, but it may take some months more, poss up to 12-18 months 😱. I know this was supposed to be reassuring, but it wasn’t really. He also mentioned I had some bone spurs near the socket, which often indicate long term muscle irritation, and which may be part of it. I know his were on his heel (allegedly), but I find it troubling to think I have something in common with Donald Trump🤡.

    Had I stayed with the first surgeon I was assigned to all this would have been even worse, as that’s the way he goes in, ie through all the muscles that have effectively switched off, so thank heaven I changed! (He’s the only surgeon at this hospital that still does that old method.) He caught me looking at my X-ray after he’d given me the (pointless) steroid injection into my hip (pointless as it’s intended to ease inflammation, but I had no cartilege left to be inflamed). I asked him about all the rough edges and knobbly bits I could see in the joint. He cheerily dismissed my concerns saying it was a perfectly well maintained joint. I didn’t think to respond with “well why am I here then and why the hell does it hurt so much??” till I got to the car park. By comparison, my current surgeon had my first X-ray in front of him today and said the hip was in awful condition, with flattening at the head of the ball joint, softening in the socket and rough edges and knobbly areas inside the joint, and no gaps between the socket and hip due to absence of cartilege. Honestly, I could still kiss that junior doctor who suggested I change from my first surgeon to this chap.

    So there it is, I’m one of the unlucky few who falls into this category. I’m in it for the long haul. He said to keep up with the exercises (he was impressed with my physio), don’t overdo it - ie if it’s getting painful ease off a bit. If it gets really bad they can offer injections to reduce inflammation but didn’t feel they were necessary just now, as the pain is much less than it was 6 weeks ago.

    To be honest the pain levels now are mostly bearable, certainly compared to pre op, so I rarely bother with paracetamol. My biggest issue is the wobbly gait, which is why I need the stick, and this is only going to get better with the right levels of physio and exercise, and time, lots and lots of time by the sound of it.

    i did of course overdo it massively yesterday. I did a slow, shortish walk round the village (c1.5 miles) including coffee and bacon butty, but the evening was so lovely Mr LM and I took my hip on a two-miler on footpaths through fields. All those tender bits are really shouting now, and using the stick so much has irritated old nerve damage in my wrist (from trying to break up epoxy mortar with a hammer and chisel - don’t ask) and plays havoc with my shoulder. The crutch did the same, so I’ll just have to put up with this, but it limits how far I can go more than my hip.

    I’m trying not to make a big deal out of this, it is what it is, it’s no one’s fault, it couldn’t have been predicted, it doesn’t happen often, it will eventually get better, and the only solution is to just get on with it. But there is a small corner of me that is trying very hard not to be really rather disappointed.

    On the plus side, he said my right hip is in pretty good nick, other than some minor arthritis, and should keep going a good while longer, if not indefinitely. I shall simply have to master hopping 😅.

  • Licklelilly
    Licklelilly Member Posts: 29

    Wow...you had a close shave! So had you stayed with the first surgeon, he could have ruined the weaker muscles further? Good job you questioned his placating answers! I think you should be relieved that you are going to get better rather than possibly not at all! Hey, you are walking country paths now, won't be long before you challenge those hills that you love so much! I'm still not ready to abandon my one crutch, despite the agony cramps in my left hand. I managed a bus ride and a nosey around Hereford shops last Thurs, been walking the country paths locally in the cool mornings and evenings. I'm too looking to get up my local hillfort, in a week maybe!

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669
    edited 14. Jul 2021, 22:53

    @Licklelilly , I was very happy to lose the first surgeon for all sorts of reasons, I wish to heaven I had chosen the chap who did my surgery from the outset, but didn’t realise you could choose, and thought they’d all be pretty much the same as the hospital is a centre of excellence for joint replacements. Had I not wasted time with the first one, I suspect I could have had surgery much sooner. We live and learn...

    it’s going to be a long while before I’m back out in the hills, but I’m no longer so limited that it’s pointless going away anywhere, and we may be going to stay with my stepson and his wife soon, my first trip away from home in about 2 years that didn’t involve a cannula and bedpans!

    Be very careful when you tackle your hillfort on crutches, I’d suggest lengthening them on the way down so you’re not leaning forwards too much on the descent. One of my friends attributed several of her new hip dislocations to falling over in rough ground! My hip was pretty grumpy after my field walk (when is it not?) and the surgeon commented that the rough ground would have challenged the new hip quite a bit.

  • Licklelilly
    Licklelilly Member Posts: 29

    @Lilymary Thanks for that tip! You may have prevented my first fall! Lengthening my crutch would have never occurred to me! Today I'm seeing my surgeon for my post 6 weeks, I have till 6.15 pm to think of some questions and write them down. I've been very good on the painkiller front, haven't had any codamol this week, I've let myself run out because the opioids were too seductive, I could see myself chasing the euphoric bliss! Got paracetamol, which I haven't needed .....yet! Dislocations will be one of my questions for the surgeon, its on my mind quite a lot and I'm I being timid as a result! Must write that down!😃

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669
    edited 15. Jul 2021, 08:00

    @Licklelilly , my surgeon assured me dislocations are very rare, I’m probably unlucky in that I know two people who each had four dislocations, but with one person people several of those were caused by falling over a lot while out walking (a fellow trekker too keen to get back to normal). As someone who fell over quite a bit even before my hip reared it’s ugly head, I am particularly cautious now 😱😅. I’m using a trekking pole now, which means I can change the length more easily, and it puts less pressure on your shoulders. But be guided by what your surgeon says, he’ll tell you whether you’re ok to come off crutches. It feels odd going onto sticks/poles afterwards, but I got the hang of it fairly quickly. You’ll find if you do extend your crutch for the downhill bits, you’ll have your shoulders up by your ears on the flat!

    Well done kicking the drug habit though. Pleased to hear you haven’t even needed paracetamol, that’s all good news.

  • Cazbaz
    Cazbaz Member Posts: 70

    @Lilymary Sorry to read you have problems still, you were lucky you have spoken to your surgeon, mine was going to ring me at twelve weeks due to the nerve pain and foot problems, I’ve heard nothing so I phoned my own doctor who to be completely honest wasn’t at all interested in my numb leg and foot just said it could take months to improve and like you just keep up with the exercises, it’s all very well saying that but doesn’t help much! I think I am one of the unlucky ones who has nerve damage, never mind like you I’ll try to be patient.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669

    @Cazbaz , I agree, it’s a bit of a b*gger, they tell you about the slight risk of complications, but you think and hope that you won’t be in that number, particularly when you come up with a few they hadn’t previously thought of. But the docs are right, we have to keep doing the exercises, it will get better, we just won’t be winning any prizes for rapid recovery, but we’ll have earned our “Hip Warrior” stars and then some!

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669

    Hurray! The last bits of flesh wounds where the surgeon's hand slipped have finally healed after 12 weeks! That gives you an idea of my body's healing capabilities. People reassure me that everyone's bodies heal at their own rate, but this is just taking the mick! Just got to sort the rest out now. 🙄😅

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669

    Out in the fields practicing off-roading yesterday. Two miles, two stiles, one stick. My muscles around my hip still feel dull and half asleep, and the nerve pain in my calf is almost constant (but just bearable). But I did it.

    I was speaking with my nephew today who in his late 20s had surgery for a labral tear and hip arthroscopy. He described very similar effects on his hip and gluteal muscles, ie, that everything had switched off. He also described the physio he did, much more rigorous than mine (poss alluding to his age, but also due to constant nagging by his mother, my sister, who is also an arthr warrior) and I realise I probably need to up my game a bit, if only setting timers to remind me to do it and to stop me spending hours at a time sitting down at the computer or telly. Even at his young age he said it took him well over a year to fully recover muscle tone. I felt vaguely comforted to hear I’m not alone in slow recoveries, even if it does look like it’s a family thing.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669

    For those who have been following this, I thought I'd give a quick update.

    I'm nearly 4 months post op. I'm getting round the house and garden without a stick and can stay on my feet for 2-3 hours at a time. I take my stick with me when going into town etc as the hip muscles are still only half awake and soon get tired and achy trying to walk upright all the time. I did a short shopping trip sans stick for the first time yesterday. It probably still looks like I'm limping a bit but I'm no longer lurching sideways thanks to continued physio. Fatigue and time still limits how far I can walk, but I'm up to about 2 miles still. I can still sleep for England - it's the only Olympic sport I could master. I can even do it free-style now I can also sleep on my operated side.

    I don't need any pain relief, which is a revelation after taking around 10 pills a day pre-op. I still get the occasional niggle, which I mostly ignore as they pale into insignificance compared to 3+ months ago. But my hip still occasionally reminds me not to push my luck getting into odd positions in the garden, which pulls me up short again. I'm yet to pluck up the courage to do ladders, so work is still very limited, but the cats and garden are loving all the extra attention!

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,223

    I'm sure your progress is much slower and more difficult than you had envisaged when you began this thread.

    However, the trend is still upwards and, frankly, I think, as a result, this thread will be of far more use to others than if all had been plain sailing. And I remember you started it in the hope it would help others.

    Well, I think others can now see that, even when things do not go quite as planned, with determination and commitment, (and a few chocolates😉) you and they will get there in the end.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669

    Thank you@stickywicket , it has been a long haul and I’ve a way to go yet, but the alternative was .... well, ... there wasn’t one. I've just had to dig deep and get on with it. I’ve tried not to feel negative (in so many colours) about how hard going this has been compared to my expectations. As I’ve been so fortunate as to not need major surgery before, I had no idea my body was going to take so badly to being reassembled. But this body has carried my brain on some difficult journeys over the years, so I know it has a level of resilience that I can draw upon. I’m still not sure where we’ll end up, but we’ll keep plodding along and hope for the best.

    I know I've said this a lot (and I know I repeat myself a lot - I have the memory capacity of a gold fish), but you lovely people on this forum and the VA team have made an enormous difference to how I've been able to get through this, and I simply can’t thank all of you enough ❤️

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669

    In a spirit of rebellion against my lot, I did a four mile off road walk, scrambling over numerous stiles yesterday, with Mr LM at the bottom to catch me if it all went wrong, followed my first scaffold today. (No Mr LM, just some very concerned looking builders). I think I may have overdone it a bit, judging by the number of paracetamol I've had to take since, but my leg hasn't dropped off. It's a start.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669

    End of month update, I’m now 4.5 months post surgery, and the snail’s pace recovery has gone up a gear.

    The post op fatigue (return of the CFS gremlins) finally seems to be lifting. (Yay!) This means I can start building up some general fitness and muscle strength again. I try to work in a walk most days and aim to increase how far I can go without my stick, a mix of off-road and tarmac, mainly level. Pleased to say I did just over 2 miles without my stick today, not too wobbly, less tortoise, more hare. The hip muscles were complaining by the end, but a couple of days reclaiming the garden from 18 months of neglect may have contributed to that. I’m ever mindful of avoiding hip dislocating contortions, but it’s a good workout. I suspect my physio would be wincing as much as I am if she caught me.

    The thigh muscles in my operated leg are still very sluggish going upstairs so we’re going to work some gentle uphill sections into the walks to start building them up again. I confess to neglecting my physio exercises (I know I need to keep doing them, I notice the difference when I do), but she did say that there comes a stage when daily life becomes part of the recovery.

    I still have times when my hip is painful, particularly in the early morning - sadly my leg isn’t as big a fan of lying down as is the rest of me I also stiffen up if I sit for more than an hour and find myself staggering across the room like R2D2 in a sandstorm. Post gardening recovery usually involves paracetamol, but it’s mostly eased by morning.

    The bad news is the OA in my right hip is starting to grumble - not much, but this is new. It’s been a sleeping partner up till now, and it wants it’s moment in the spotlight. 🙄 At least this time I know it’s coming and can build up muscles etc, so my body’s better prepared for the second act🤞🤞🤞

  • Thank you for telling the story of your recovery experience - I will no doubt return to it from time-to-time as I have recently been added to the THR list (for my right leg). I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis for around 15 years but that has not affected my hips, so it was a bit of a downer to start getting bad hip pain earlier this year only to be diagnosed with significant OA and impingements a few weeks ago. These are the legacy of a severe childhood injury (60 years ago). The ortho surgeon told me I can hope to be operated on in the first half of ‘22 assuming COVID doesn’t once again overwhelm our hospitals - I live in hope, as my hip is get more uncomfortable & less mobile week by week. Your experience reminds me that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train. Thanks once again for posting so regularly and with such good humour :-)

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669
    edited 14. Sep 2021, 22:42

    Hi @toneblueshawk , I’m pleased you’ve found it helpful, and entertaining. I’m sorry to hear of your own journey, and recent diagnosis. It can be a lot to take in. I hope your recovery will be smoother than mine, but even though it’s been a long, difficult and frustrating road, at least I’m pain free and slowly getting better, rather than getting worse and worse as I was pre-op. I hope you’re coping ok at the moment, and that you soon get a date for surgery.

    I skived off work yesterday and went for lunch and a bit of shopping with Mr LM away from our home turf. As we were going round, stick free, I remembered my last visit to those same shops, shortly pre-op, carefully parking as close as possible to the shops and pay machine to avoid those few painful extra steps, leaning on my stick at every painful pace till my shoulder and wrist hurt, going up and down staircases at an alarming angle to minimise pain, constantly dropping my stick and cursing and wincing as I bent down to retrieve it, and just feeling flattened with exhaustion at the effort of it all after just an hour. The grinding of bone on bone made walking feel like I was pushing against a wall at every painful step. While I’m still a way off pain-free full mobility again, yesterday made me realise how utterly awful it had been, and how much better life is now. The op isn't a pleasant experience, but it was worth it even for this level of relief. I’m sure you will feel the same too, before too long.

  • Coddfish
    Coddfish Member Posts: 85

    I joined the site yesterday after seeing the Panorama programme and the very sad tale of the lady awaiting hip surgery. I wasn’t previously aware of this community or charity. Thank you @Lilymary for sharing your story. I am 3 weeks post THR. To be honest I am glad I didn’t find it earlier as you seem to have had a very difficult time, and it might have put me off! I am glad to see things have improved for you now. I have been somewhat luckier as I have very little pain 3 weeks in, never needed the opioids, and am now completely off painkillers. But I am very aware I might have set backs - as it is, some days are progress days, others are frustrating. And as you will know, none of us go into this unless we really have no other option. My sister in law told me I needed a new hip last year, but I just wanted to keep on managing it. And you can manage it until one day it starts to become unmanageable. Once you have had surgery there is only one way to go…. Hoping you continue your recovery.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,669

    Hi @Coddfish , I'm so pleased your recovery from THR has been so much better than mine. I started off my thread thinking I'd be the same and I could offer hope and encouragement to all those still waiting. It was not to be - but now I worry that this thread has the opposite effect and puts everyone off! At least some people may be better prepared for a less than stellar trajectory post op, and the knowledge that with a bit of grit and determination things can improve.

    Today's update is a more positive one. I've just come back from a week in Northumberland, my first trip away in two years (there was no point up to now as I was in too much pain to do anything). We were lucky with the weather, so we did long beach walks almost every day, with some bridle paths and fields or dunes, and mostly without my stick. This was ideal for me - the flat terrain meant there was nothing to trip over and was easier on my muscles, so I could get up a head of steam. I absolutely amazed myself by doing over 6 miles on the first day, and over 8 miles on the last! Ok, it took ages, with lots of stops to look at things, but still... (Mr LM carefully omitted to tell me how long the walks were before we set off, and we always had the option of cutting the walk short or him abandoning me at a hostelry and trotting back to get the car.) I think the promise of a beer stop helped, but I also have to own up to taking a sneaky cocodamol towards the end of the longer days, as my weakened thigh muscles got very grouchy, but there were no ill effects the next day. My fatigue is still in remission - other than one floppy morning, I was ready to get my boots on the next day.

    This has really benefitted my hip, visible as a higher lift in my leg exercises (for the first time ever) and less wobble in my gait. I'm trying to use my pilates principles in "engaging my core" (aka standing up properly) and concentrating on making my thigh muscle do some real work instead of wilting under the effort. I've also realised my limp is partly due to me taking shorter strides with my operated leg, so I'm working on that too. I can't keep it up for long periods, not least because I get distracted and forget, but it also makes the muscles tire quickly, so I reckon just keeping moving forward will do the rest of the time. The down side is that it gives me the appearance of a retired Regimental Sergeant Major with a war wound, but hell, I'm walking upright, so I'll take that. 😊

  • Coddfish
    Coddfish Member Posts: 85

    Hi @Lilymary, glad you are getting well through this, even if it has taken longer than you had hoped. I think I have been really lucky, although I was helped by retaining a good level of fitness into surgery. 26 days post-surgery, I am really pleased with my progress I can walk about 4K with 1 elbow crutch, am not using any in the house, and haven’t needed any pain relief or ice packs for around a week. The last bit of steri strip dropped off my wound today, and once the last of the scabbing has gone, I plan to get back to swimming. I have always swum a lot and it was the last exercise I was able to hang onto as my hip deteriorated, and I expect it to fully restore me!