Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Six Week Surgeon Visit

I went to see the surgeon last week for my six week visit. I parked, walked in then realized I'd forgotten my cane. They recommend you keep using walking aids, to allow the muscles to heal evenly, and avoid creating bad movement habits. I can walk easily without my cane, though I usually take it with me for longer walks, as my hip starts to get sore. My walker has become and extra seat for visitors, and a rack for drying towels. The crutches I borrowed from the Sooke Loan Cupboard languish against the wall beside the door. I haven't used them once!

I spoke with the nurse, Colleen, for a long time while waiting for the surgeon. She checked my incision and said it was healing well. She wasn't thrilled I cane-free, but watched me walk, and said it looked good. I feel like a bit of a rebel, but I have been doing my physio, yoga, and taking care to walk evenly. I'm working on getting my pelvis in line and my hips swinging. Hoping to join a Zumba class for fun, fitness and mobility.

Getting Moving
I asked her about impact, once I've finished my three months of restrictions and am onto getting moving again. Turns out she's an ex-pro skier, maybe a bit older than me. She said it's the impact that creates the damage, and that her knees were starting to go from too much 'mogul-munching'. She likened my new hip to a Ferrari. If I 'drive' it carefully, I'll get a lot more miles out of it than if I grind through the gears and race it on bumpy roads. Makes sense. I'm still hoping to get some jumping in on the dance floor, but I won't be running any marathons. I'm fine with that. 

I've been itching to get moving, and thinking of taking my bike for a ride on the Galloping Goose. The Goose is a former railway bed, now a nice, relatively flat and wide path through the woods. The nurse said it would be okay to ride it, the only danger being falling off my bike, tearing my healing muscles. We agreed the wise choice is to wait until my three months are up. Sigh. 

Heredity vs Lifestyle
We also talked about heredity as the cause of arthritis. She felt it was a large factor, but that a lifestyle including lots of impact was also a contributor. My younger sister, who has not had such an active life, has recently developed hip pain. We're hoping it's a result of a fender bender, not the first step on the path to hip replacement. Only time will tell. 

Colleen asked how my hip felt. I replied that my left leg feels a little longer than my right, but my physio had said it was probably a result of the healing in the joint. It does feel rather full and stiff in there. She said it might feel like that for up to six months, and that it takes at least a year for the various clicks and pops to fade away. 

Revision Surgery
I asked her about revision surgery. She told me that it involves chipping the prosthetic out of the femur. She brought me a demo prosthetic to show me the small holes that the bone grows into, one of the reasons for the restrictions in the first three months. I have heard of cemented versus non-cemented prosthetics. The cemented version could have more risk of dislocation, but be easier to remove for revision. The nurse, Colleen, said that hopefully by the time I need revision, in 20 or 30 years, they'll have some fancy new technology that will make it easier. 

Surgeon Says!
The surgeon arrived, he said my x-rays look perfect. He checked out my gait and pronounced it good. He re-iterated the three month precautions, and chatted a bit.Then just before he left, he dropped the bomb. He said my left leg is 1/2 an inch longer than my left! That if it stays like that, I can just wear a lift in my shoe. Not the best news for someone who spends a lot of time barefoot. He talks so fast, and I was so surprised, that I didn't manage to ask him anything more about it. I will when I see him again, in about 2 months. 

Today's quote, to celebrate Shakespeare's 400th birthday: How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?  William Shakespeare

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