I saw my surgeon yesterday for my 6 week follow up. He said my x-rays look “beautiful” and everything is in place where it should be. He is impressed with the ROM I have in the hip, although it really hurt when he was quickly moving my leg around. He finally noticed that I was wincing and arching my back to brace myself. When he slowed the movements down they weren’t as painful. The worst is when he rolled my ankle side to side and when he brings my knee into my chest. He said it’s normal to feel uncomfortable as there was a ton of trauma in there recently and also from the screws. He wants my PT going further in the passive ROM exercises to get my body use to it since the movement is there, it’s just uncomfortable/painful.
I told him that I have been having really bad low back pain over the past week or so and the only change I can find is finishing my lyrica. So we’re going back on lyrica. I was taking it 3x/day per his last instructions, but he said that was a high dose. I’m actually ok with taking it 2x/day this time because the meds that are 3x/day are a pain in the butt to remember to take.
I have to take aspirin for two months. I asked him how long I need iron for and he said a total of two months from when I started it. Thank God I have a count down for that now because I hate taking iron. It is my first experience with it and the smell is absolutely heinous as is the taste and the stomach side effects. I told this to my doc and he chuckled and said, “yea it’s pretty dank!” I love his sense of humor and couldn’t believe a 60 something fellow was using the word dank. But seriously, for those of you who have never had the honor of taking iron, let yourself be so thankful. It’s awful and I’m sick and tired of gross things in recovery. (I’ll step off my soap box now.)
Three months post op seems to be the magic number from what I’ve gathered. I have to take lovenox shots every time I travel until three months post op to help prevent blood clots. I think around that time I will be able to start driving again. The requirement is to be off all narcotics and to be able to slam on the brakes with enough strength in the op leg. I’m thinking I’ll be walking unassisted or maybe with a cane by three months. I’ll be doing strength training in PT and maybe even some cardio exercises by then. And finally, my next doc visit is at three months exactly.
My 6 week post op recovery update:
- I have a keen sense of smell. I have no idea what that’s all about, but it really actually sucks and I am feeling for my prego friends. Smelling everything around you in great detail is just not cool. My other friend in hip recovery currently talks about having this problem as well and she carries around an essential oil bottle of sweet orange so she doesn’t constantly get nauseous when she’s in public. Great idea that I just might have to start doing. The other night, I asked Chris if the vanilla was open in the kitchen (he was baking). It wasn’t, but something around where I was sitting smelled exactly like sniffing a vanilla extract bottle. Bizarre I know! And NO I am not pregnant.
- It has been about a week without an oxycodone and I have noticed I can’t regulate my temperature well. I have been dripping in sweat in the middle of the night and other times I’m so cold that I have to bundle in so many layers and use a heating pad to not feel like I have frost bite. The cold isn’t helped when it comes after the hot because my clothes are wet with sweat. This all lasted for about 4 days consistently and now I seem to just be back on the cold side. I just wear a ton of layers when I leave the house because I’d rather tie the extra layers around my waist, then to have the possibility of being cold. Cold=pain.
- I’m barely sleeping on my back and spending most of the duration on my left side. I do not prop my leg up on a ton of pillows anymore. When sitting up in bed, I will roll a pillow either under my butt or under my knees so they’re slightly flexed to relieve some pressure in my back. The one consistent pillow used is between my knees/legs when I lie on my left side.
- I have been having a strong urge to lie on my right side. I asked PT if I could and he said as long as it wasn’t painful. I gave it a go and lasted for max 30 seconds. I tried slightly leaning to my right and I tried to lie all the way on top of my right hip. It was all a no go. I asked the doc at my appt and he said really I shouldn’t try it until eight weeks post op. I told him I tried, but stopped when I had pain. He said good because I should be gauging most of what I do on my pain and swelling. So I’ll wait another couple of weeks until I try it again.
- My thigh is still numb, hypersensitive or just weird feeling. He did some detailed assessments with the feeling in both legs and feet. He checked the function of the three major nerves around the op site because he operates just a mm or cm from those nerves. The good news is all three were working properly he things. The unsettling news, is he seemed a little worried about it and also said that it could take six months to get my normal feeling back. I explained that when standing up off the toilet, sometimes there’s a little pressure in my right foot and then I feel pins and needles in it. He thinks that is coming from my sciatic nerve. Lyrica will hopefully help with all this too and the positive thing is that I do have more feeling in my leg then when I saw him at two weeks post op. He also says there are probably hematomas in there and they could be irritating my nerves. I hope the aspirin and lovenox help to break those up.
- At the end of the appointment, he had me get up and walk with as much weight bearing as I could tolerate. I was shocked to not have pain when doing so, but my gait is so so so slow. He even commented that it looked good, but now I need to pick up the pace! The mini explosion I felt under my right foot happened with each step. It feels like knives stabbing or needles poking or an explosion under my foot. He said just to watch it and he’s hoping it improves as I get stronger and with taking the lyrica. I hate the feeling and hope it goes away soon. It’s more of an annoying uncomfortable feeling then something intolerable for now. I hope it stays that way! My heel was also numb all day. I thought with more movement, the feeling might improve, but it stayed asleep all day. I’ll have to wait and see what that’s all about.
- The two days prior, I had to take one oxy and one tramadol each day for pain. Kind of a bummer, but it’s also why I have them. With the help of my water therapist, I figured out why I had the increased pain when I didn’t have an increase in outings or activities. Over the weekend, I was sneezing a ton! I had been outside more often and apparently my sinuses needed to release. My body is no longer taking the sneeze away like it would a few weeks ago, from pain. But oh boy! They hurt so bad and I think the pain was from the abdominal contractions over and over from sneezing.
- I haven’t fallen for a couple weeks now. Yay! I’m still so bummed about the four falls I have taken. I told myself I wouldn’t be a patient that fell. I thought the people that fell must have just been careless or maybe they had a drop in blood pressure and got dizzy. Well jokes on me for judging because I have four under my belt and I’m not proud of them. I am just thankful that my screws are in place and I haven’t done any damage.
- Meds: aspirin 2x/day, iron 3x/day, oxy and/or tramadol as needed, flexeril 1 before bed and vitamins
- still using all my home gadgets
- mood has been improved since my beach visit and outdoor outings over the weekend
- two nights in a row without a sleeping pill and I slept well! So far, I have only taken the sleeping pill 4x.
- in water therapy this week, I got to do a quad and hamstring stretch! Baby steps people! The quad stretch was heavenly. My therapist used a noodle and I just told her more or less stretch. It felt so good. The hamstring stretch I did on the first step and then folded forward slightly. The first time it felt ok, but then the second I couldn’t do because it made my low back hurt. I also walked a bit better in the pool and did side to side stepping. I haven’t had any more pain after this week’s session, so all in all, I think my body handled the new exercises. Woohoo!
- I have had one day of slight butt pain. My groin pain is sticking around and causing quite a bit of discomfort. I’ve also had pubic bone pain that feels like bruising and abdominal pain as well as pain above my iliac crest. Although, the crest pain was only around for a day or two. Doc said the ab pain is normal and described what they did in surgery and why it would be healing still.
- a close friend started a care calendar for me so that people can help me with rides to all my appointments or to bring meals or come visit. It was so sweet of her to help with and I’ve had an outpouring of love. I think about half of the rides I need have been filled and several friends have reached out to bring meals and to come visit. I’m looking forward to it all because I’m noticing that when I don’t have visitors or something to look forward to in a day, my mood is lower and I am just not as happy. Thank you to everyone who has sent a sweet message of support, encouragement and love and who have also offered to help! Words just can’t express how grateful I truly am.
- I finally got brave enough to post my x-rays and incision pictures to social media in hopes that people would better understand what I’m going through. I think it has definitely helped and I feel grateful for having the advice given to me.
- my op side foot is less swollen finally
- there is still popping and clicking in my hip, but it is not as often
- I still can’t bend over, therefore I can’t feed Lucy. See the pic below as it’s quite comical how she had a small meal from me this past week. Poor puppy!
I think that’s it for the update. I have an upcoming trip and I am trying to mentally and physically prepare for it. It is going to be great to get a change of scenery and to feed my soul a bit. I just hope I am able to do it all physically and with no extra pain!