Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hip replacement - Three weeks

My hip replacement occurred three weeks ago.  Usually I would have seen a doctor after two weeks. Last week I contacted a Boise surgeon's office who told me that he wouldn't need to see me unless I was having problems. Then I called my surgeon's office in Utah.  The nurse told me after three weeks I could take the outer bandage off and start showering with my wound open.  The steri-strips that hold the incision together would fall off on their own.

I've been showering almost daily since the hospital with my wound covered by a plastic. Today I pulled off the outer gauze and with it came two of the six steri-strips. It was the first time I saw my incision which is about six inches long.  It looks like a purple marker was used to show the surgeon where to cut. It seems to be healing well. Completely closed, with no redness and no swelling. It was nice to shower without having to apply a plastic cover.  The AquaGuard plastic covers left a brown film of glue in a square that is about 8 1/2 by 11. It will take a couple of showers before that comes off and before the rest of the steri-strips come off.

Nexcare gives the following instructions for removing steri-strips:

"Peel the both edges of the steri-strips towards the incision. Once you peel the sides up, begin at the top and remove them gently from the top to the bottom of the incision. Some dead skin may come off with thesteri-strips. It is not recommended to remove steri-strips like you would a normal bandaid."

I'm now have nine pills left, enough for three days.  Maybe I can stretch them further.  My thigh stings almost constantly, although it is much better when I am rested. My ankle also hurts from the stress. Yesterday I overdid physical therapy and then strained myself closing a window when I got home. I was miserable for most of the day. At about 10 p.m. I was cold and so my son made me pepperiment tea and I got into bed.  I slept for a few minutes then watched some television.  About 11 p.m. I took a pill and ate a peanut butter and jam sandwich.  I still couldn't sleep so I spent about 2 hours grading.  Finally I fell asleep. Two hors later I was awake and in pain so I watched more TV.  I saw the 1941 movie "Yankee in the RAF" with Tyrone Power and Betty Grable.  His character Tim Baker was such a selfish jerk. Betty Grable as Carol Brown was as beautiful as ever, although she looked a little chunky and short on my flat screen.

When the movie was over I turned on BBC TV and learned that a plane had crashed in the French Alps flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. Last year my wife and I spent seven days in Barcelona, flying in from Paris and departing for Milan before going to the Balkans. It was surreal to see a plane crashing on almost the same route we flew.

At 7:30 a.m. I was finally so tired I went to sleep. I woke up at 9:30 when my wife called me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How to get into bed after a hip replacement

It's been two weeks after my hip replacement. I've become a lot more mobile and flexible. Because of that I tend to do a lot of things that maybe I shouldn't.  One is getting into bed.  

As I've gotten better and stronger I have tried going knee first into my bed. The resulting pain suggests maybe I'm not ready to do that. I still need to be goinng in bottom first. 

Here is a video that shows how to get into bed.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Day 13 - Hip Replacement

I changed the outer dressing on my wound. It appears to be healing. However, the pain continues. Not at the point of the surgery but inside my leg.  I guess that is a good sign. If there is pain it must be healing - right?

I had my operation in Provo, Utah and, after being released from the hospital, I traveled to Boise to stay with family while I recuperate. I had a 100 pills. Now I have 32 - enough for 8 days if I take 4 a day.  That is one every six hours.  The instructions said I should take 2 every four hours.

By the time it was 5 hours after taking the last pill, I was in real pain.  I had a hard time sitting on the bed. At 8 p.m. when I took a pill, I was watching news. I started to get drowsy and nodded off for most of the next hour. Hopefully, I will be able to get to sleep and I can sleep through the next period when the pain medication is wearing off.

(I keep forgetting how to crawl into bed. Knee first can be really painful.)

Because I am six hours away from my place of surgery, I won't be going back until the six week appointment with my doctor. I have been trying to find a doctor here who will give me post operation care. I was finally able to get my chilren's doctor to refer me to the surgeons in his group.  I spent most of the day today trying to get my Provo doctor's office to fax my records to the doctor's group in Boise.  When they see my records, they will assign a doctor, I was told.

Talking to people in doctor's offices is difficult. When you dial in your become part of a que and have to wait in line to talk to someone. Then they transfer you and you go through a series of prompts - press 1 if you are an insurance provider, press 2 if you are a doctor or hospital, press 3 if you want to talk to scheduling, press 4 if you are from a law office, etc. Hangup and call your pharmacy if you need a refill.   I pushed three and was asked to leave a message with my phone number. A half hour later when I called back, I pushed 2 hoping if I was a doctor or hospital that I would get a person to talk to. I got a recording telling me to fax my request for information. I had  a hard time understanding the directions and leaving my message. In fact, I finally left a message three times before I got a call back.  The medical staff are very nice on the phone, if only it was easy to talk to them.

I found out in the conversations that the medication I am taking can't be ordered over the phone or by fax, but that I have to have a perscription on paper. To get the perscription I would have to go back to Utah. It is unlikely the Idaho doctors will provide me the strong medication, I was told. The Utah doctor's office, when I run out, will be able to phone a perscription of a weaker medication, Tramadol, which isslightly stronger than anything I can get over the counter.  I can't take NSAIDS because in dealing with the pain from my arthritis, I got an ulcer. So now I'm allergic to NSAIDS.

Tomorrow I will have to phone the Boise office to see if they got my faxed records. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Day 12 - Hip Replacement

The pain today seems to be greater than in past days. The outside of my wound seems to be healing well but something must be happening inside.  I've taken my meds on time but the pain is still there.  I stayed home today while the family went to church and did some work on my computer.  I've arranged my computer to be by my bed. I can work a half hour but probably no longer before lying down.

I've been thinking about the day of my operation, Tuesday, March 3. My daughter and I arrived at about 8:30 a.m. and the operation occurred at about 11 a.m. I went from a pre-op room to a waiting room before going to the operating room .  The operating room was filled with equipment including the operating table.  When my bed was moved into the operating room, little room was left for maneuvering around. My bed was removed before the operation began. I was already asleep when I was moved from my bed to the operating table. I was asked to lean forward on the edge of my bed when I received a spinal block of morphine and anesthesia.   

This is what the oprating table looked like.