April 29, 2017
I have had a bad left hip for almost four years now. I went in for knee pain, and low and behold, I was told it was my hip causing the knee pain. I used to play lacrosse and basketball and run. That all ended about 4 years ago. I was still able to do the treadmill till my right hip started to go as well.
Here is the short version. I almost had a full hip replacement put in January of this year, but 4 days prior to them cutting me, a second meeting with my surgeon revealed that he too thought I should get my hip resurfaced. He did not do such a procedure, but encouraged me to investigate it. But the soft sell was still on to get the full hip procedure done. I ended up cancelling the full hip procedure.
I found that most hip surgeons in Northern California do not do hip resurfacing even if they advertise it on their website. Each phone call I made to a doctor who had “hip resurfacing” on his website resulted in a response similar to “I’m sorry, Dr. Suchandsuch trained in resurfacing back in (insert date) but he does not perform the procedure.” Wonderful.
One guy I interviewed in San Francisco had done 300 procedures. Yet, he told me that I might wake up with a full hip replacement due to the size of my hip socket (words to that effect). I know now my Birmingham device implanted four weeks ago is 49mm. I do not know why this would cause a speed bump. Needless to say, I had to look at surgeons out of state. I am sure there is someone in Northern California with a load of hip resurfacings under their belt. I just did not find that doctor.
So, I see Dr. Pritchett’s ad on this site. A LOT of resurfacing procedures. He is now above 5,000 I believe. I tell my wife I am going out of town to do this procedure. Out of state. Seattle WA to be exact. She thought I was nuts. Long story short, we fly to Seattle to interview Pritchett. I liked him right off the bat. His assistant Susan is good people as well. Pritchett tells me there is no chance I will have a full hip replacement when I wake up. I book a surgery date the day after I fly home.
As it turned out, my wife could not make it for the surgery. That was OK. My surgery was outpatient. No overnight in the hospital. But I had to remain in Seattle for three nights in case of complications, so I needed to hire someone to take me from the hospital to the hotel. And I needed someone on call or who could visit for a few hours each day to check in on me. And also, that person had to take me to the airport when I went home. I would not recommend Uber for that drive back to the airport if you decide to go out of state. It takes a long time to get in and out of a car when you are fresh out of surgery in week 1. I found my helper through Craigslist, believe it or not. A home caregiver who had a break in her schedule. If you want to have a resurfacing done by a doc who is out of town, and you are alone, it can be done. You just have to be creative.
If you fly Southwest, pick another carrier if you are tall for the flight home after surgery. The 90 degree restriction is almost impossible to adhere to if you are 6’3″. If and when I get my right hip done, I will have to find a carrier that offers additional leg room in business or first class. The bulkhead seats in a carrier like SW are worse than the isle seats. You cannot stretch any further with a bulkhead in front of you. At least in the row seats you can put your leg under the seat in front of you. And the emergency exit row seats, while ideal, are not available to someone on crutches who can barely hobble around.
I am now almost 4 weeks out. My recovery went as follows: 12 days crutches, straight to cane day 13, then you realize you can walk around without a cane. I went to my 2 week checkup without the cane. Mistake. Bit off more than I can chew. At the end of the day, I would have begged someone to give me a piggyback ride to my car in the Oakland airport…I flew up in the a.m., flew back in the p.m., and it was just too much without the cane. No more pain pills during the day after some time in week 3. Only at night. Two days short of a full 4 weeks, no pain pills anymore even at night.
For some reason, my calf on my left leg is still sore to the touch. Not sure why that is. But my limp has gone from a 10 to a 2 in the last few days. No more pain really, just a tightness in my hip..and the pain in my calf. My right hip is starting to go as well, but I am debating on when to get that one resurfaced…will likely wait, as the right leg will make getting back to driving that much longer. I am guessing no driving would be possible until the end of week 3, and more than likely the end of week 4 based upon how the left hip has recovered. But then, you are looking at a new set of the recovery clock if you have the second hip done. I see all the doctor recommendations for restrictions, and from my perspective, you need a full year before you start trying to do 400 meter sprints or play full court basketball. So, no matter when you get hip #1 done, you need to consider that year again after you decide on hip #2. I am in a quandary. My right hip is maybe 1/3 as bad as my left hip was. It is a big step.
July 18, 2017
So now for my update after approximately 14 weeks post op. I have a problem and am hoping others have seen it, heard of it, or experienced it, and can weigh in.
I have been saying nothing but great things about this resurfacing operation that I had in early April, UNTIL 3 days ago. I have been trying to get a rental house ready for a new tenant…lots of getting down on the floor, and getting up. That is how I describe it, as I am not able to really crouch, due to my newly operated on left hip, and also as my right hip goes under the knife in August. The right hip hurts, and the left hip just has a caution sign on it since the surgery..so I pick things up slowly, and sometimes use whatever is nearby to get up as leverage.
But now there is trouble in Dodge. After carrying around a bunch of bark bags (I had to look at the weight since my left hip is having searing pain – 57 lbs – yet, I thought I was carrying much lighter bags until the pain. But the pain made me check the weight of the bags. And this is that pain like when you get in a car and the leg is moving towards the middle of the body core. That severe, “ouch” pain.
After 3 and a half months?
It happened in the evening after a long day of moving bark bags around. Taking them from the truck bed, putting them on my head, throwing them over a fence. Not a care in the world. Then the stabbing pain happened (in the buttocks, at the surgery site) while I was shoveling/raking some bark over an ugly patch of yard. I stopped. I went home. I emailed my Doc. That was Sunday night. Response Monday that all is good, that he has heard it before and that in the long run it won’t be an issue. I assume I overdid it. Which I have read about, but DID NOT COMPREHEND MIGHT HAPPEN TO ME.
So, the next day, I am fine in the a.m., but around 6 pm, after getting down low to the ground to remove a pin from a door hinge so my boys could move a washer and dryer into the house, a minute later as I am moving around in the garage, BAMM, I get this severe pain again in the buttocks..the surgery area…a burning..like that leg movement one tries to avoid in the first few weeks when getting into the car.
So, I email Doc again, and lay on the couch, and am pretty much bummed…wake up in the a.m., no pain, walk around the backyard throwing tennis balls for the dog with a lacrosse stick..and then as I am moving sideways, BAMM, again, this acute burning pain in that surgery area..feels like someone stuck a hardball in there…and it lingers…it lingers now…
August 7, 2017
Hip getting better, but still slightly discouraged. Turns out I re-bruised a good portion of my leg from the back of the knee area about a foot in both directions up and down. Did not see it till a couple of days ago, so, what it looked like prior to when I had my setback July 16 is not known. Right now it is relatively faint, but it looks bruised just the same.
It gets confusing when you see the different doctor recommendations for restrictions. One should listen to their own surgeon, I get that, but, this site has a lot of info as well. One doc keeps the brakes on for almost 11 months, another takes off all restrictions at 3 months. And then I see a guy ran a marathon at 4 months post op, etc. Moving bark bags, getting up and down off the floor when doing a remodel, moving around a 5 gallon bucket of paint at 3.5 months… Evidently too much for me.
Going ahead with the right hip resurfacing despite the set back on the left. No more searing pain, just a tightness, like a squirrel tucked a walnut in my hip.
Hoping that August 21 brings good news, as I get a couple of X-rays on both the right hip to be resurfaced the next day, as well as my aggravated area, to see if the device has moved.
August 26, 2017
Had my right hip resurfaced Aug 22, and am home now recovering.
Nausea for 8 hours post surgery an hour after I came to. I had full feeling in legs unlike the first surgery, where it took about an hour to get feeling back.
Different Anesthesiologist than first time, but interesting conversation before the surgery. I told him I have a history of getting sick after coming out of general anesthesia, but that after my left hip was done in April, I had no nausea. He explained that since I got a spinal, I did not get sick. I had not heard this before, and found it interesting, and it sounded logical. Not so fast. So, as I said above, sick for about 8 hours post surgery.
That said, the surgery itself seems to have been a little more comfortable, but that could be the pain pills talking.
The flight home sucked, as I was airsick within the first ten minutes (this was from surgery/anesthetic…I don’t get sick on flights). So, I do not know what happened, other than, if I had gone through this misery the first time, I might not have gotten the second one done this year. I just happen to hate nausea.
Positives of 2nd surgery: I have less pain in the hip, though this could be subconsciously staying ahead of the pain curve with my meds. It is over with. I don’t have a 3rd hip that I know of.
Negatives of 2nd surgery: Nausea for 8 hours after surgery, and then again 3 days later on the flight home.
August 27, 2017
After posting a set-back for me about 5 weeks ago on left hip resurfacing (new pain after 3.5 months post resurfacing which was done April 2, 2017), I now have had my right hip resurfaced.
Pro’s for 2nd Surgery – Less pain, which could be due to better management of pain killers, or a smoother operation, I am not sure. Woke up with full feeling in both legs, unlike first surgery. Now the clock starts on recovery.
Negatives – even with a spinal, sick for 8 hours after surgery with nausea. Sick on the flight home, but just once. Was miserable overall during flight. No nausea issues related to first surgery, so not sure what happened.
September 9, 2017
Flew back to Seattle to see Dr. Pritchett for the required incision review and follow-up X-Rays on Thursday, 9/7. Surgery was 8/22. This time, I made sure to bring one crutch for moving around. Last time I went up in April for the left hip, I did it without a crutch or cane and it was a bad move. It is amazing how one crutch on your strong side makes hoofing around through airports so much easier. I didn’t really have a choice this time, since I had not achieved the point where I could walk without these aids, which meant that I was at least 3 days behind the recovery of the first surgery. However, yesterday, one day later, I did try walking around without any help, and since I was only going to be going to and from the car to my office, etc, I spent my first day sans the crutch. Big time limp, but, it felt good to give it a shot. Today, it feels even better, and the limp has improved by almost 50% amazingly.
Driving already? Yes. I thought that it would be at least a month before I could drive as this was my right hip, but, I was wrong. With the use of a pillow for sitting, and my left leg used as a sort of brace to keep me comfortable (avoiding the 90 degree thing), it is a lot easier than I thought. No extended driving. My office is 10 minutes away from work. No pain meds now during the day is the other reason I am OK with attempting it. Also, it is a pick-up, which lets me sit a little higher with better leg angles than my passenger vehicle. I would not drive my car, just the truck at this point.
Overall, the pain from the second operation is MUCH LESS from day one. During the first hip recovery, if my left leg started moving toward the center of my torso a little too far, I would get that “shooting nerve pain”, and you really appreciate a pillow between your legs for sleeping and you come to your senses real quick anytime that “event” took place. That shooting pain was the same pain that occurred during my relapse 3.5 months after the first surgery. And it happened multiple times after the first surgery in those first few weeks. This time on the right side, I have only sniffed that awful pain maybe once, and it was just a sniff…nothing like the left hip. In rationalizing why, it could be that the right leg and hip have been doing the heavy lifting during the left hip recovery, so perhaps my right leg was stronger that the left one was going into the second surgery, and it could account for the overall lack of pain.
Weight loss: I never really looked at my weight during the first recovery, so I cannot say how much weight I lost during that go around. The surgery creates a significant loss of appetite, probably due to the meds. I thought for sure during the first surgery, the antibiotics were causing the sour stomach and lack of appetite, and my Doc actually let me stop a little early on the antibiotics the first time. This time, I believe I was prescribed a lower amount of pills and finished them off earlier and well, the appetite is still not there after being off the antibiotics for I am guessing a week…it has to be the oxycodone and the Tramadol, which I am only taking at night now. I have lost approximately 15 lbs so far, and I don’t really have much more I can lose. I am 6’3″, 179 now, and was 195 prior to the surgery.
The pain I experienced in my left leg 3.5 months after surgery has apparently disappeared. It is doing the heavy lifting now for the right side, and all appears well.
As an aside, I viewed the video with Dr. Pritchett and Orland Williams, and, just to hear it more personalized, I did contact Mr. Williams a few days ago, via googling him on the internet. He was gracious enough to get right back to me, give me a little more detail about his recovery, and he really made my day, as sometimes when you are flat on your back trying to avoid slipping into what I would describe as a mild depression due to the surgery and the inactivity, hearing someone else give a glowing testimonial, and in this case having it personalized, was just the thing I needed. The optimism that grew from his email reply was perfect for me.
So, I am only taking one pain med at night currently, and walking without a crutch or cane – but only short distances – and the appetite is currently still about 50% of normal.
If anyone has any questions, feel free. Oh, and I did fly back from the surgery on Alaska in 1st Class, and the leg room was MUCH better compared to my first back and forths on Southwest during the first surgery. While it was more expensive on the follow up because I didn’t have a clear schedule on the follow up date and time, it was reasonable when I booked it a couple months in advance knowing my surgery and fly home date. If you are tall and flying to a doc somewhere for the surgery, you NEED to book the return flight in first class, otherwise you are fidgeting the whole flight trying to avoid the 90 degree thing with your legs and it basically just sucks.
I can safely say I am very happy I do not have 3 hips. The nausea from the spinal the second time around and the 8 hours of heaving/dry heaving really put a damper on this one. But again, the overall pain appears to be less, and now it is just a game of watching the calendar and looking forward to that 6 month point, where I can begin some light jogging on a school track, etc.
October 2, 2017
Six week update, second hip resurfaced. First hip was done April 2nd of this year.
Now that my 90 degree limitation is gone, I am at the gym, doing the stationary bike, stretches learned from first PT go round, and very light swimming, as well as typical free weight workouts…very light….
I have found that even a light workout on the bike and a very short swim, along with just a few sets of some free weight exercises can be a real killer as far as just getting pooped out.
I have lost 15 lbs with this surgery, and have gained only 1 lb back so far. That is not due to working out. It is due to lack of appetite which is just starting to come back. I had a crappy appetite the first go round, but did not track my weight loss like this time, which makes me think I did not lose as much weight the first time.
After the workouts, I find that my left hip is in almost as much pain as my right. I thought that the left hip would have been well past the “monkey fist” time frame – at least to the extent I feel after these “workouts” – particularly because I thought with all the heavy support work my left hip had been doing for my right hip now that it is in recovery, that the exercises I was doing with regularity but stopped doing after the second surgery, would be a good substitute. I am apparently wrong about that.
I actually tried to refill my pain medication after feeling the effects of the workouts, but, turns out my out of state prescription is not honored here in California for my pain killers, which is fine with me anyway. The pain seems to go away after a good night’s sleep, and I would like to get my appetite back to 100%. I am sure it is the pain medication that kills the appetite.
I am curious what the average hospital stay has been for those who have a doc willing to do both hips at the same time. The new person posting here got me to thinking how much of a baby I must be, since I have now lived through two recoveries five months apart (still living through them I mean), and both my operations were outpatient. While I have been worried both times about being careful with the recovering hip, those of you that have both done at the same time had to have endured situations that I can only imagine as being difficult. Which shows me again that this device is much hardier once implanted than I imagine. My hat is off to those of you who had both done at the same time. I went in to this whole thing wanting both done at the same time as well, but then was informed my doc does not do both hips at the same time anymore. All in all, I can only imagine that the first week is the toughest, but i am curious how long the hospital stay was in the case of a double surgery.