Hip Dysplasia

Post surgery

December 15, 2013

My big surgery was on December 2nd. I could not have dreaded it more.

Thank goodness it’s over. There were parts that were easier than expected and parts that were way worse.

The surgery was called a periacetabular osteotomy and basically involves sawing my pelvis apart and reshaping it to give me a better hip socket. I was born with hip dysplasia and don’t have good enough coverage in my socket. It’s like walking around with a partially dislocated hip all the time and had became very painful and therefore majorly decreased my activity.

The day of surgery, I was supposed to go at 10am, but they didn’t take me until around 4pm and surgery took five hours, so it was a long day. I had to sit around dreading it all day. They put my epidural in before surgery so they could be sure it worked ahead of time. Dr. Jiranek came to visit me and I made sure he was going to be doing my surgery and not his star intern.  He assured me of this and said there’s no way anyone but him is doing it.  Then I had to mark my correct leg and he initialed it.

When I started coming out of the haze after surgery, I was in pain but they quickly fixed that. I don’t remember much from the first couple of days because I was completely out of it due to the pain meds and because my blood pressure was low so I could hardly stay awake.

The day after surgery I got a transfusion, using my own blood that I had given prior to surgery. I also sat up for the first time that day and got transferred to a chair. I felt like I had run a marathon by just sitting up. Prior to this moment, I had no idea what the word stiff truly meant. I felt like someone had poured steel in my abdomen running down my left thigh and nothing wanted to bend. I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my pelvis.

On day three, physical therapy came and got me up and taught me how to walk with the walker. I walked all the way down the hall and back. I also took a shower — what an ordeal. Between those two activities, I was absolutely exhausted. I also got my epidural out and my catheter out. I hated getting the catheter out because getting up to go to the bathroom was such an ordeal.

On day four, I literally felt like I had been hit by a bus, and was so stiff that I could no longer walk. I got taken off my pain pump and switched to oral meds. At first, this was noticeable and painful. I was on oxycodeine and then switched to dilaudid. They talked about discharging me this day, but I said no. I wanted to make sure pain was under control and meds were adjusted properly before leaving.

On day five, I was discharged. The drive wasn’t too bad as I slept most of the time. When I got to my parents house, where we are all staying through recovery, I felt awful though. My aunt Vicki was there and later I asked my mom if she had been there. I thought maybe she had, but I thought it was a dream. It’s like I couldn’t see through the pain. The next day home proved to be the worst day so far. I was in so much pain that I was just in tears.

I am now 12 days post operation, and pain is fairly under control. Some times are worse than others.

I can never seem to get comfortable and I have two whole positions to choose from– reclined or lying flat. This is hard for someone who is a wiggle worm like me. I am swollen in my thigh, my rear and my hip. I can’t stand straight — my rear end sticks out. I call myself Hunchbutt. The whole bottom of my thigh is a bruise and the whole thigh is varying degrees of weird. I don’t have feeling in some of my leg, I have strange feeling in parts, I have parts that hurt just to barely touch. It’s very strange and of course I can’t move it, so it feels like I have a dead leg attached to me.

No matter which of my positions I’m in, my calves and feet fall asleep and get really stiff and painful. My hands ache from the amount of pressure using the walker and from wheeling myself in the chair. My shoulders and arms are sore from putting all of my weight there to help sit up or stand.

I can’t sleep much because I get extremely sore and uncomfortable after 2 hours. So, I sleep in the bed for two hours at night and then move to the living room recliner and dose in it for the rest of the night. I still get very uncomfortable. I hate nights! I’m frequently in tears because I’m so painfully uncomfortable and unable to move myself.

I can’t do anything for myself and it’s extremely frustrating. I have to be taken to the bathroom. I need help getting out of the chair or bed and I stand with the walker and transfer to the wheelchair. Then, I roll myself and someone carries the walker to the bathroom. Then at least I can do the rest.

I get to shower very infrequently because it’s such an ordeal and nobody has time to help me, I have hairy legs because I’m not allowed to shave because I’m on blood thinners. So, as you can imagine, I feel great about myself.

I’m extremely lucky that I have my parents and my husband taking care of me and the babies of course. And, at times, varying other friends and family. During work hours, it’s very challenging for my mom to care for all three of us by herself. Sometimes, my mom is tending to them and I’m in pain and need to be moved or need my meds and she can’t get to me. She has to juggle a lot.

I don’t know how they aren’t sick of dealing with me. I’m sick of me. My mom has provided things before I asked for them, cooked special meals for me and attended to me in every way. My dad has massaged my legs and feet when they are unbearably asleep and hurting and so much more. They both care for the babies around the clock. I feel so guilty for putting them through this. I feel guilty for taking over their house with our newly acquired massive gear — wheelchair, walker, pack and plays, bouncy chairs, etc.

I miss my husband because I never see him. He comes home from work and goes to bed because he has the night shift with the twins.

At times, the babies lift my spirits considerably. I try to hold them when I can. I try to occasionally help feed them, but it’s hard because I can’t move my body, I’m reclined, and I can’t sit them in my lap. Today, I was holding little man and having a hard time. He stared right into my eyes with his sweet little face and it just hit me –this is all for them. I have to be strong. I have to get well. I need to be a present and healthy mother for them. I don’t have a choice. And I just cried tears of sadness, love and understanding. If ever god spoke to me, it was then.

At 12 days post, I still can’t pick up my leg, so I can’t walk per se. I can place my foot flat on the floor and inch it along like an inchworm to advance, so you can imagine how long one step takes. I can pivot and I can walk backwards by sliding my bad leg backwards. I feel like I am making no progress whatsoever.

When people ask how I am, I feel required to say ok, but really I’m not. I’m not in excruciating pain, and for that I’m extremely grateful. However, I’m not “ok.”

This is going to be a very slow and trying recovery. While I know it’s pointless, I have been doing the “Why me, God?” thing. But, I know bad stuff happens to good people and Jesus is interceding on my behalf.

Your prayers are appreciated — for pain relief, for proper healing, for patience in my recovery and with the babies, for no problems with clotting and for the ability to walk soon. And, most of all, for this to be our final and last deep valley to get through.

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  • Oh, honey. This is positively brutal. Of course you are frustrated and overwhelmed. I sincerely hope that it all goes as smoothly as possible from here on out. May things only get better – I know it seems impossible to be kind to yourself when you can hardly do anything for yourself, but I hope at least most of the time you can give yourself patience and understanding. This too shall pass (though slowly, I realize), and will be worth it.

  • This sounds awful, I’m sorry. Glad you have so good a support system to get you through this.

    Btw, if your issue is that you have crazy tight muscles that are locking up, see if you can find anybody around that can do “intra muscular stimulation” or “dry needling.” This is done with accupuncture needles and is extraordinarily effective at causing insanely wound up muscles to relax quickly.. It would really expedite recovery.

  • Aah Whitney, get well soon! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and you are becoming a very strong woman of God. I also felt guilty when I was on bed rest for my pregnancy doing nothing while my mom did everything. But now I have a healthy boy. You’re going to have healthy hips so you can play with your two little miracles.

  • Emily

    You *will* get through this. There will come a time where you’ll look back, and the pain will be so far away that you can’t even remember it.

    Try to go easy on yourself. Way easier said than done, I know. But really–try to treat yourself as kindly as you can. (This advice is coming from someone who could have done much better in this area). Oh, and stay off of message boards!

    Best wishes and Merry Christmas!

  • Nadine Graham

    I would like to connect with you. I am thinking about having a PAO don’t by Dr. JIRANEK and would like to talk with you about your experience.