PAO Surgery Milestones & Observations

For my recovery, I wanted to record how I felt, some observations in general and when I was able to start doing new things. I’m hoping this will help me for my second surgery and maybe help some of you be aware of what can happen and a timetable for recovery.  Of course, we’re all very different and this varies for everyone. I was 36 at the time of my surgery.

Post Surgery in hospital

  • I was in a lot less pain than I expected. Pain was well controlled with an epidural and a Dilaudid PCA pump.  I woke up from surgery in some pain, but they quickly took care of it.
  • I slept a lot – like all day.  I could hardly stay awake.
  • I was SO, SO stiff.  I described it as having steel poured into me and I couldn’t bend.
  • The internal clunking in my hip was very disconcerting.
  • I was very itchy all over and they constantly were giving me Benadryl and other drugs to help.
  • I felt nauseated the first day, but it was controlled with meds, too.  But, I told them ahead of time to load me up on anti-nausea meds.  By the second day, I was able to eat.
  • On Day 2, I sat up and stood for the first time and thought I would pass out.
  • On Day 3, I walked.  I walked all the way down the hall and back.  It was hard and totally exhausted me.
  • On Day 4, I was unable to walk any more? I couldn’t advance my leg.  I could only use my foot to inch it long or someone had to pick my foot up and move it for me.
  • Had some muscle spasms in glutes.  They gave me muscle relaxers.

First two weeks at home +

  • Very stiff
  • Numbness and nerve damage on op leg: inside of thigh and bottom of thigh ok, middle of thigh and top of knee are super sensitive to the touch, outer thigh is numb (from day one post-op to current day…no change); Also top of big toe on op leg is numb
  • Hard to lay down flat.  It would hurt at first until muscles stretched out a little.
  • Hard to sit straight.  It hurt and I was so swollen that I would tilt to the non-op side.
  • Crazy numbness in foot and calves at night.  This drove me crazy and would hurt and feel so uncomfortable.  I would sleep in the bed for like two hours and then go to the living room recliner for another venue and to help my legs and feet feel better.
  • Can’t sleep hardly at all.  Sleep for only two hours at time.  So, so uncomfortable.  Can only sleep on my back and I’m not a back sleeper.  Calves and feet hurt from weird numbness.  Leg feels “restless” and I just want to rip it off.  Strange, I know…it’s hard to describe.  Pain in hip from muscles not being stretched out enough.
  • Can’t sleep with the sheet and duvet.  It presses on my feet and hurts. I had to strip the bedding and just use blankets.
  • I could not have possibly imagined how constipated I would be.  Ugh.  Thanks, anesthesia and narcotics.
  • I felt really hunched in my pelvis area.  My butt would stick out and it was like I couldn’t stand up all the way straight. Plus, I felt tight when standing straight.
  • I used the wheelchair to get around since I still can’t walk at all. (For about the first two weeks.)
  • My hands would hurt so bad, from using the wheelchair and the walker.  My shoulders, too.
  • Would get cold and get a shiver and it would like roll around in my hip and thigh for much longer than a typical shiver.  Very strange.  (This was for about the first 6 weeks.)
  • My chest would feel funny sometimes.  Like heavy especially when standing or taking a deep breath.  This lasted for about the first 5 weeks.

Two weeks post-op

  • I was finally able to advance my left foot/leg forward.  Previously, I could only use my foot to inch it long or someone had to pick my foot up and move it for me. Started using the walker to walk around more.

Three weeks post-op

  • While laying flat, I was able to slide my op leg so that my knee was up and bent.
  • Was finally able to get into bed by myself.
  • Still taking pain meds every three hours, but only one pill instead of two.
  • Don’t feel hunched any more and look straight when standing in profile on op side.

Four weeks post-op

  • Was able to stop the coumadin and stop wearing the compression stockings.
  • Had my first post-op with my surgeon and they were pleased with progress. I have good bone growth on all of the breaks. My surgeon’s office is three hours away and I dreaded the car ride.  It wasn’t too bad.  I took lots of pillows. I went to five public restrooms on my own and even out to lunch after the appointment.
  • Taking pain meds every four hours, and went up to 6 hours sometimes.
  • Feel like I can bear more weight now.
  • Went up and down steps for first time with crutches.
  • Able to finally march in place now.  Previously I couldn’t lift my op leg at all.
  • Slept 3 hours one night and then up, another 1 hour, up and another 2 hours.

5 weeks post-op

  • My other non-op hip started hurting.  Yes, it’s dysplastic too, but the other one always hurt more.  Clearly it’s hurting from all of the compensation.  It got better after a few days.
  • Totally ditched the wheelchair and use the walker only inside the house unless I need to carry a baby from point A to point B.  Using crutches outside of house.
  • Finally able to lay on my non-op side.  It feels great those first few minutes just to know that I can be in another position, but it isn’t very comfortable and I can only lay like that for about 30 minutes.  Also, this is laying on my other bad hip that hasn’t been fixed and it wasn’t even comfy to lay on prior to surgery.
  • Taking 3-4 pain pills per day now.  (every 6-8 hours)
  • Sitting is getting easier.  Can sit for longer periods of time. Don’t feel tilted so much. Still hurts, but getting better.

6 weeks post-op

  • Feeling very depressed and going stir-crazy.  I had only left the house 3 times up until now – once to my post-op, once to the ER and once to my grandmother’s.  (NOTE: I have twin infants at home, so that had the majority to do with me not leaving the house.)
  • Taking 2-3 pain pills per day. (Every 8-12 hours)

7 weeks post-op

  • Only taking one pain pill per day now.  First thing in the morning when I get up around 4:30 – 5:30.  I feel awful in the mornings and both legs are achy and restless.  It helps me settle down and get comfortable.
  • Sitting became worse again this week. It really bothered me to be going backwards in recovery.  It got better after several days.
  • Took two major outings this week.  One to the grocery store — I used the electric cart!  And, one to my husband’s company Christmas dinner at a fancy restaurant.  We didn’t stay the whole time, because I was becoming uncomfortable, even though the chair was really soft and nice.
  • Still can’t wear my jeans — I’m still swollen (or my body has permanently changed?) and it’s too rough up against scar area.  I can button them, but they feel awful and tight.  Will I wear sweatpants for the rest of my life?
  • Sleep is still TERRIBLE.  This is making me crazy.  It might even be worse now!  Sometimes I only sleep for one hour at a time. I’m so unbelievably uncomfortable that it’s painful.  I can lay on my stomach, but it doesn’t feel good.  Nothing feels good pretty much.

8 weeks post-op

  • Ditched pain meds completely.  At least for now. Fingers crossed.
  • Feeling more mobile — able to do things that I previously could better.  Like getting in and out of a car is much easier.  In and out of bed.  Steps.  Showering.  Etc.
  • Able to help out more with household chores — like emptying dishwasher
  • Able to feed the babies without pain or weakness

 9 weeks post-op

  • Sitting is finally getting better.  I can sit in normal chairs and not be so uncomfortable. I can sit for longer periods of time.
  • I can get in and out of the car much better.
  • I can FINALLY sleep better.  I was able to figure out a way to sleep on my non-op side more comfortably.  Previously it hurt the muscles on my op side and my bad hip on non-op side that needs operated on.  I sleep half on stomach and half on my side with a pillow between my legs.  I’m not sleeping back to normal and not all the way through the night, but a million times better than before.

10 weeks post-op

  • Just feeling more mobile in general
  • Walking more without crutch or walker for short stretches around the house, with a major limp.
  • Only using one crutch outside the house.
  • No change to nerve damage and numb areas
  • Feeling muscles kick back in in my glutes

12 weeks post-op (3 months)

  • Lots more activity. Navigating around the house without walking aid — limping though.  Cooking, carrying babies…resuming normal life.

14 weeks post-op

  • First straight leg raise.  Not very far or pretty, but I did it.  This was a huge victory!
  • Returned to work – would have been at 12 weeks, but had an issue with permission from doctor to return because they cancelled an appointment.
  • Bone growth looks great.  My surgeon is happy with xray and exam.

4 months post-op

  • Feeling stronger and more normal, but still walking with limp
  • Able to get on the floor to sit and play with kids more regularly and get up better
  • Flexion is not what I’d like it to be but surgeon and PT think it’s great.
  • My knee and quad turns in when I bring my knees to my chest (or close to)

7 months post-op

  • Last PT appointment and FINALLY started walking without any limp
  • Had screw removal surgery because they were hurting me.