I had a left BHR on December 14, 2006.
My surgery was performed by Dr. John Rogerson, at Meriter Hospital in Madison Wisconsin.
One of the unique features of this procedure was the rehab. It is called “Hip Hab”. It’s a wonderful 5 day rehab program based on the Belguim model of recovery after hip resurfacing.
I started to have trouble with my hip in November, 2000 at age 40, about 1 ½ years after the birth of my son. My first symptom was a limp without pain. As the years went by the limp increased and my hip began to hurt. I saw a couple of different orthopedic doctors, none told me about hip resurfacing. They simply said I should wait 15 years or so for a total hip replacement.In 2005, I finally started using a cane. I quit many activities. No more walking around the farmers market. I didn’t want to sit through movies or anything that involved walking. I bought various shaped pillows to prop up my leg, starting taking prescription medicine to dull the pain and just quit moving whenever possible. I gave up housework and playing any kind of sports in the yard with my son. I went to work, had dinner, got my son into bed and then went to bed too. I worked very hard to go to water aerobics, the only exercise I could tolerate and although I really love the water, that was a chore too. I also got to the point that anytime I saw any doctor about any issue, I cried, because my life had become so miserable, painful and limited.
In April 2006 I went to a seminar at Meriter hospital about hip replacement, conducted by Dr. Rogerson. Instead, I learned about Birmingham Hip Resurfacing. I was not familiar with it and as Dr. Rogerson listed the symptoms and who qualified for resurfacing I said to myself, “Yup, that’s me, that’s me, that’s me.” I was anxious to get on the surgery list as soon as the FDA approval for the procedure came through a few weeks later. I found that my insurance covered the surgery and rehab, and I got my paperwork and x-rays to Dr. Rogerson as fast as I could.
Dr. Rogerson and his staff could not have been more welcoming and wonderful. First and foremost, here was a group of medical professionals who heard my issues, understood my pain and took me seriously. After a thorough exam and new x-rays I was scheduled to have surgery in September.
The day before surgery I discovered I had some heart issues. Until I could get those resolved with a cardiologist, my surgery was put on hold. Long story short – after being put on some new heart medication I was able to reschedule my surgery for December. It was a long three month wait because I was so ready to fix my hip!
Everyone at the hospital who greeted me that cold December morning was friendly and compassionate. Surgery went off without a hitch. I can remember waking up in the recovery room telling the wall “my hip doesn’t hurt anymore”.
My hip has never hurt again. There was the incision pain, but it was minor, as I knew I was on the road to recovery.
The first day I drifted in and out of sleep. I had a morphine pump, oxygen, and the pumping leg socks (sorry, don’t remember the technical name). I liked them, they were very warm. The nurses helped me to get up and to the bathroom, first on the bed pan and then on the commode. Dr. Rogerson came and checked on me and the incision. He told me my hip looked pretty bad before he put in the BHR and I certainly believed him based on how it had felt.
I had physical therapy in the hospital the two days I was there. The therapist got me up and walking the next morning. They showed me how to do the exercises and I walked on the three practice stairs to make sure I could do steps. The therapists were very encouraging and I felt good about my progress.
After two days I was off to Hip Hab!
From the hospital I went with a caregiver (my Mom) to Hip Hab, located at the Meriter Retirement Community, about 6 blocks from the hospital. My Mom stayed at Hip Hab with me and helped with the chores of daily living, getting dressed, meals, whatever I needed. It was nice to only focus on recovery and not worry about all the things that capture my attention at home.
I had orientation at Hip Hab before surgery so I knew what to expect. I had learned how to use the crutches, toured the facility, and gotten a chance to start my rehab exercises before surgery. That first day one of the therapists came right up to the apartment. She showed me some of the adaptive equipment I got to take home and made sure I was set for the next few days. The apartment was beautifully decorated, one bedroom with a pull out couch-bed in the living room. The bathroom had a walk in shower. There was a full kitchen with breakfast bar. There was even a box of snacks to welcome us!
I was very surprised by the number of medications I took after surgery. One of the prescriptions made me nauseous and I was thankful when I could stop taking it. I had to give myself shots of blood thinner for two weeks and I didn’t like doing that, but once I actually did it, it wasn’t so bad.
Each day there was some PT, OT or therapy in the pool. They used a waterproof, artificial skin to cover the incision before I got into the water. Pool therapy was an hour and felt so good. The therapists, Desi and Carolyn were wonderful. Helpful and encouraging, yet always pushing me to do just a little more. With the artificial skin on my incision I could go back upstairs and take a shower before I peeled it off.
I was amazed how easy it was to walk again. Even though I was stiff and sore, I was walking without pain after a day or two. What a delightful change of pace. Getting up and out of a chair was difficult, so finding a chair that’s firm, yet soft and not too low is really important. I had a favorite chair in my apartment at Hip Hab, and a favorite chair at home.
Naps were also essential. I had to sleep every day. Sleeping on my back was difficult the first few weeks. I would put a bunch of pillows under my leg and elevate it, that helped keep the swelling down. It took several weeks before I really got comfortable sleeping and during that time I experienced a terrible bout of insomnia that almost drove me crazy. I finally asked for a prescription to break the insomnia cycle.
I went back to work after 4 weeks and was walking without the crutches most of the time. I would still use them if I was going to do a lot of walking or go to a big event. I went to an event at the State Capital at two weeks post surgery and a Univ. of Wisconsin hockey game at three weeks post-op. The crutches reminded others to give me some extra space and made me feel secure. I have had regular follow up appointments with Dr. Rogerson and staff over the past 8 months.
This surgery has given me back my regular life. It’s been interesting to hear people comment on how my face glows and my smile is back. They tell me I look like a whole new person. I highly recommend that anyone who is experiencing hip pain and problems look into this surgery.
And don’t wait.