So these past few days have certainly been an adventure for me. As many of you know, I’ve been the lucky recipient of a new hip. As a nurse, I have both an advantage and disadvantage here. The advantage is that I knew what to expect in terms of the post-operative process, pain, fatigue, the need for pain medications and their side effects, and the disadvantage is that I knew what to expect….
Did I mention I also have no patience? I tell people that when babies are ready to be born, they get in the attributes lines to get the attributes they’ll have in life. I totally missed the line for patience. Saw a line, said “it’s too long, don’t wanna wait” and skipped it. So I came out of recovery and was ready to go directly to “I feel good and want to stand upright, have my leg straight and be pain free.” What I got instead was a dressing on my hip the size of Texas – because in your mid 50’s, doesn’t every woman want hips the size of Texas, FFS? – the ability to fall asleep in 2.3 nano-seconds thanks to Dr. Morphine, and a lovely wedge pillow to keep my legs in the correct but anatomically impossible position which will necessitate that this side sleeper sleeps flat on her back for several nights, a feat achieved ONLY with the assistance of the aforementioned Dr. Morphine and his lovely assistant Oxy. Cripes. (And don’t ask me to tell you anything more about FFS, other than it’s a little like “For Pete’s Sake” but a nearly safe for work variant on the ‘F-bomb’.)
Being a nurse, of course I know what’s best for me, and when I started feeling better I quit taking the drugs (‘cuz who needs em), and started using a cane instead of crutches the second the therapist told me I could…and promptly overdid it. Boy did I regret it about 24 hours later, as I laid in bed spasming at about 1:30 in the morning, poor hubby asking “what can I do?” I finally broke down and took the meds, and went back to crutches for a day to give my leg a rest. Time to take the nurse hat off and put the patient hat on, which is not an easy thing at all to do, especially when some of your closest friends are nurses too. They ask nursey questions, and holler at you in nursey tones, which are not unlike getting Catholic or Jewish mom guilt laid on you. You want to cringe, duck and cower in the corner. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I didn’t deserve it, I’m did…I’m just saying I didn’t like it. But the payoff was worth it, and I do feel better today.
On a serious note, I’m as good as can be expected. No complications, I’m walking on my own with just a cane less than a week after outpatient surgery for a total hip replacement. I should be ready to try driving in a couple of days, provided I am done with narcotics for the pain, and see the surgeon next week for a follow up visit. My Physical Therapist was pleased with where I’m at for a starting point today, which is all I can ask for. I no longer need the wedge at night as long as I keep an extra pillow handy for between my knees if I do try sleeping on my side. If this were 20 years ago, I would have been discharged about now from the hospital to a nursing home. Instead I’m comfortable in my own home. I feel blessed for just that, and even more so when I realize that there is one more thing from 20 years ago that I didn’t have to include as part of my post-op care: