February 25, 2009
I was not able to find anyone in Atlanta with a good track record doing
resurfacings — so a very big “Thank You” to SurfaceHippy.info and the
fellow surface hippies on this site.
I started having unbearable pain around November of 2008. I called Dr.
Gross’s office in December after speaking with Mike from this site who had a
bilateral with Dr. Gross back in June. When I hung up with Mike I called Dr.
Gross’s office and on the first call had tentatively scheduled the surgery
dates pending me getting the package together.
I got the package put together according to the protocol on Dr. Gross’s
website and Dr. Gross called me to confirm I was a candidate. I drove to
Columbia from Atlanta on a Friday for my pre-op consultation and met with
Lee Webb and Dr. Gross (about 3-3.5hr drive). I drove back to Columbia the
following Sunday (Super Bowl Sunday ’09) and got to the Courtyard Marriott
in time to watch the game and get a good nights rest before Monday’s
Monday was very smooth at Providence NE. I went in a bit early and was in
pre-op in no time. The whole pre-op team was a lot of fun, the anesthesia
team, the nurses… it was a positive environment. The surgery was the
blink-of-an-eye kind of thing where I felt like I closed my eyes for a
moment and then I am coming to in post-op with the post-op nurses…. to
whom I am sure I owe an apology for some reason… and then after a while I
am being wheeled up to the room for recovery. I was late in the day so the
following morning the Physical Therapy team had me doing the exercises, and
walking the hall for the first time on crutches. Then the Occupational
Therapist showed me how to use the ADL (aid to daily living) kit. Those
OT/PT folks were a lot of fun and very helpful to get me started on the way
to recovery. The floor nurses were very helpful and good people, one of whom
is a fellow Dr. Gross resurfacer!
Wednesday was basically a repeat of Monday. They wheeled me down to pre-op
and started with the prep and again it was a very positive experience with
the anesthesia team and the nurses and “vampirella” the vampire lady who
loved my veins. Then in what seemed like a few moments I was coming to in
post-op — and probably saying things I shouldn’t have been — and then I
was wheeled back up to the room. The PT/OT team had me exercising and up and
walking on Thursday and then we did a little group PT session and practiced
stairs on crutches and walked the hall a couple of times. I was able to
shower on Thursday evening, standing up on the new joints.
Friday after breakfast I did a little PT and then was discharged by 11am. I
rode home to Atlanta and got out a couple of times to walk around a rest
stop and stretch a bit.
The one thing I would do differently is wear the provided ice packs on the
way home. It was cold the week I was in the hospital and some nights that
ice felt pretty cold so I was not to fond of the ice. So I didn’t use the
ice on the way home.
Well I got very swollen. This is probably the one thing I was not prepared
for from doing my research. Dr. Gross told me I would probably swell up and
I didn’t really know I would swell up so bad. I believe it may be normal,
maybe not, but the entire length of my legs were enormously swollen starting
on that Friday and increased through Sunday. So Saturday, Sunday and part of
Monday I spent with legs elevated by a couple of sofa cushions with the ice
packs running, laying on my back (for the most of the time) working to get
the swelling down. I called Lee Webb on Sunday and she told me to elevate
and ice and that the swelling was probably at its worst on that particular
day — she was right. On Monday (5 days post-op) the swelling had already
started to decrease rapidly and I was feeling so much better.
Crutches: I was doing my exercises as prescribed and walking on two crutches
until 9 days post-op when I felt like the crutches were holding me back at
that point. I had shifted to one crutch at 8 days post op and it was a bit
awkward so I decided to get a cane.
Cane: I shifted to a cane 9 days post-op and it felt more natural than the
crutches. I was glad to be rid of them.
Ten days post-op: Armed with a cane, I went to the Kiwanis Club’s pancake
breakfast fundraiser and was amazed how well I could stand up in a very long
pancake breakfast line inching around an elementary school cafeteria. I am
sure most folks with hip pain can relate — this would not have been
possible pre-surgery. I would have had to sit down every two or three
minutes to ease the pain. This is when it first clicked with me how well the
surgery/recovery was going.
Then I walked around Wal-Mart behind a shopping cart and picked up a couple
of items. Then we stopped by Lowe’s for a few things and I was able to walk
fine with the cane. I just had to take it easy and slow getting in and out
of the car so as not to break the rules prescribed by the PT team.
Eleven days post-op: Went to church. Walked in with a cane and everyone was
wowed that I had bilateral hip surgery and was walking so well. I have to
admit I have been pretty wowed by how well everything has gone — and I
thank God for all of it. And I thank Pat and all the helpful people on the
surface hippy website and everyone on Dr. Gross’s staff that were so
welcoming and hospitable, and all of the folks at Providence NE hospital
that were part of the process.
Day 13 post-op: Getting in an out of the car is getting easier. I still have
this pain that last about 20 seconds when I stand up after having been
seated for a prolonged period of time. I believe this will pass with time
and it is so minor compared to the pre-op pain I was having.
Day 19 post op: Walked 1/2 mile without the cane. My first walk without the
cane. I could tell I had healed considerably so I took the cane along in
case I might need it, and did not use it.
Day 20 post op: Walked the same 1/2 mile loop without using the cane. My
stride feels natural and I was able to move at a bit faster pace. I have
been doing the prescribed phase 1 exercises a minimum of twice per day. I am
cautious about not overdoing it — i.e. I would really like to go to the gym
and start my exercise routines again — but I am waiting for the appropriate
6-week release date. Getting up is getting a bit easier and the pain that
shoots down the front of my legs for about 20 seconds on start-up is gone
for the most part. I still have to loosen up in the morning and it helps to
start with the exercises first thing. I am still a little stiff on start-up
after sitting a while. The worst of the pain I have now is negligible
compared to the pre-op joint pain. Most folks on this site know what I mean
about that nasty joint pain.
I am 34 yrs. old and am in pretty good physical shape. I exercise at the gym
a minimum of three times a week. That is until the pain hit me really bad. I
remember the last time I was going to the gym and was in the parking lot. I
walked up to the door to go in and the pain was so intense I knew I could
not exercise so I swaggered back to the car.
I It turns out I had worn a large hole on my right femoral head
approximately 3 cubic centimeters. Dr. Gross told me that if I had waited
much longer I would have had to go with the THR — thank God I called in
time! He was able to graft the hole and “achieve an excellent press fit.”
Thankfully, I have really strong bone density and that made for a successful
I hope writing this will help someone else benefit from my experience –
since I received so much valuable help from folks on this site. Please let
me know if I can help with anything.
June 12, 2009
Today I am 128 days post-op. I have done so well that I
have been quite slack on updating this beloved group where it all started
for me. I have no pain whatsoever in the hips. The “clunking” is very few
and far between nowadays. I have a 5,000 s.f.+ garden that I have been
actively working in every evening without any pain at all. Yesterday I
strolled easily up the middle of a long flight of concrete steps to enter a
building (without touching the rails)! If that sounds like a miracle to you
then you are a surface hippy or a potential surface hippy! I have been back
in the gym at a low to moderate level of activity as I wait for the six
months to pass. I feel wonderful !!! I could go on and on about the things I
can do with ease…
When I read the Wall Street Journal article on last Thursday June 4th, 2009
“Doubts Raised Over New Type of Hip Surgery” by Anne Tergesen, I was a bit
disappointed with the negative tone of the article. Naturally, I fall into
the “perfect” candidate for the resurfacing being young with strong bones,
but I have heard prevailing positive messages from “less-than-perfect”
candidates on this site and other places.
I’m sure you know how these things work in word-of-mouth: the old rule of
thumb in business is “a bad experience gets talked about 11 times where a
good one gets talked about 3 times”. I believe it is the same with online
reviews and ratings – many times we only make the effort to put the bad
ratings and reviews up so as to help prevent anyone else from having a
similar negative experience. With this in mind I believe hip resurfacing’s
strengths outweigh the weaknesses or we would have a considerably more
negative feedback on this site and others.
I felt like the article’s title and subtitles set a dominant negative tone
and the positives of the article were mediocre in comparison. Oh well…
That article is why I said I better log back in and keep folks updated a
Please contact me if you have any questions about the surgery or Dr. Gross
or anything else I may be able to help with. In my case it became “no news
is great news!!!” over the last few months, but know that I remain happy to
help wherever possible! Do not hesitate to contact me!!