Deceember 19, 2014
Had my left hip resurfaced yesterday by Dr. Gross and Lee Webb. I was originally scheduled for 2 nights in the hospital but I was doing well so he released me today. I’m staying in the hotel across the street until Sunday.
Dr. Gross’ words today when the showed me the post-op xray was “perfect.” 38 degrees, 50mm head, 56mm socket. 4-inch incision.
They tried to get me up the day of surgery but my operated leg was still somewhat numb from the spinal and wouldn’t support my weight. Today was fine, though. Took a shower (as part of OT, which included how to put on socks, etc), did two PT sessions, and after leaving the hospital took a short trip to Kroger (a super-market) before settling in at the hotel.
Gotta say I’m really surprised how smooth this has been so far. The whole experience from the pre-op office visit to the stay in the hospital has been nothing but stellar. Everyone there is amazing. My girlfriend and I both felt like I was in very good hands every step of the way. I know there will probably be some more difficult days to come, but so far no pain. I’m “weight bearing as tolerated” on two crutches so I’m mobile (but still couldn’t imagine doing this without the help of my wonderful girlfriend.) This is the first time I’ve been able to stand up straight in many years. It’s a good feeling. My head is clear, minus some mild hallucinations from the narcotics (for example if I stare at the drapes for couple of seconds they look like they are moving, heh). I haven’t swollen up much if at all, but I understand that’ll come on days #3 and #4… and day #4 is my flight back, yikes!
It’s obvious that Dr. Gross has quite a reputation around town. The pharmacist reassured me he was a great surgeon. Several nurses said the same. The hotel manager saw me on crutches and asked if I was a Gross patient and said “he’s the man!” — he said they get patients from everywhere and said they come in with crutches and in no time walking out on their own. And the hip class we attended pre-op had a mix of patients from different doctors. She would tell them what to expect, then turn to us and say with Gross patients you will _____ (quicker recovery, in less pain, walking sooner, etc).
Thank you Pat, and to everyone who has posted here. This website has been an invaluable resource for me. Hard to say where I’d be if this didn’t exist.
February 9, 2015
Been meaning to post since my 6-week follow-up and I’m a little behind. I’m at 7 1/2 weeks now and doing great. Very pleased with how my recovery has been so far.
6 week follow up
So at one day shy of six weeks I was back in South Carolina for my follow up. Dr. Gross, Lee Webb and Nancy are all fantastic. And the staff. They really care a lot and it shows.
Up until that point I had still been relying on a single crutch for longer walks even though I should have been off it by then (really glad I had it at the airport though). I didn’t take it to the appointment, though a few times I almost wanted to run back to the hotel and grab it.
Had xrays taken. All was well presumably. They gave me the next round of exercises and stretching. The only meds I need to continue are the Fosamax once a week, and vitamin D + calcium. I’m cleared to bend past 90-degrees, just no deep squats or extreme bending. Still doesn’t want me rotating the leg inwards or crossing the legs, even ankle over knee. No lifting over 50 pounds. And no impact activities. All this only applies until I hit 6 months.
Prior to the my appointment I was really paranoid about fracturing the femur. They set my mind at ease. First, the xrays were fine (I ‘m assuming, I’m sure they would have said something if there was a concern). Second, he reminded me that they haven’t had a fracture in the last 2000 cases now that they have the new protocol to prevent it. As long as I adhere to the restrictions I should be fine. The pains I had experienced up until that point were normal. Said I will have aches and pains of various types throughout recovery, and maybe even beyond (he can’t create a perfectly normal hip — it’s close to normal, but not perfect). Though he did say to use the crutch if I had pain on weight bearing.
I asked about bone strength as I age. He said that my bone density is great now, and impact activities (obviously after 6 months) will keep my bones strong. Also said I should take vitamin D if my levels are ever low which makes sense.
No chiropractor until 6 months. No massages around the incision area until 6 months.
On exercises don’t bring leg up past 90 degrees, though if it slips past 90 degrees during normal activities that’s fine.
Don’t internally rotate.
Don’t cross legs. Not even ankle over knee. Use a small footstool for socks with knee out and ankle in (like half cross-legged position).
Said the leg lifts will get rid of my limp.
Incision looked great and I can swim, etc now if I want.
So that was the follow-up appt. Felt relieved afterwards and ready for the next phase.
Between 6-week and now (7 1/2 weeks)
Major improvement in just that amount of time. I’ve completely stopped using the crutch and flat out don’t need it. With the restrictions loosened I’m getting around pretty much normally, at least as far as day to day stuff goes. I’m putting my socks on. I even trimmed my toenails, though that wasn’t so easy. Feeling pretty normal. I’m still aware of my hip, though, and have little aches and pains here and there. Occasional slight limp. Lying on the incision can still be uncomfortable after 10-15 minutes or so. Feel it a little when getting up out of a low chair, but I can shake that off in a few steps. All of this is really minor, generally speaking this has been great.
Still get in and out of the car a little weird because when I try to do it normal I often slam the incision area into the door frame, ouch.
Also just starting to feel more confident with stairs where I can go foot over foot without a handrail. I’m still careful around stairs though.
One of the exercises is a psoas stretch where you stand on the good leg and pull the ankle of the operated leg behind you. That’s no problem, but when I switch sides where my operated leg is the only one supporting my weight, nope, not ready for that yet.
Getting out of a low chair is fine but still feel that the operated side is not very strong in that way, so I kind of assist it with my arms.
What I am having a hard time with is doing all of the physical therapy — just the amount time it takes. I really have to rearrange my life. But I am excited about working out regularly again. And I want to get back to the gym and do the stationary bike or the elliptical (both are great for the hips Lee Webb said). This will get me back in the habit of working out, which I used to love.
Got back to gigging (playing music) where I’m on my feet for the better part of 5-6 hours. No problems there either. I’m just careful.
There’s still a lot of recovery to do to get my full strength and ROM back, but where I am now is so much better than pre-op. As I’m running around (not literally, haha) and doing stuff I often remember how difficult these things were prior to surgery, but now it’s like a distant memory.
November 19, 2015
Just a quick update. I’m 11 months and two days. Couldn’t be happier. Completely have my life back.
One day I got in the car and noticed that I didn’t use my arms to help lift my leg in. I didn’t think about it at all, my leg just did it. Stuff like that happens often, I realize wow my hip is doing the right thing without me even thinking about it.
Last weekend I was in San Francisco with my girlfriend for our anniversary just to get out of town. Last year we wanted to go but I just didn’t feel I could manage the trip with my bad hip. So being able to do it this year was a big symbolic milestone for me. We mostly walked all weekend, from one end of the city to another. She couldn’t keep up with me, just like old times .
Earlier this week I ran three blocks to catch up with a group of co-workers and didn’t think twice about it (other than “how cool is this!”).
I still occasionally feel a clunk and some cracking with certain movements when I’m relaxed. It’s so minor though. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Though I am curious what that is so I’m going ask my doctor next month at my one-year follow-up.
Lifting my left leg to get into the passenger side of a car is still awkward. I may need to work on that.
Scar is looking really good.
I gotta be honest and say I haven’t been doing any regular exercise or any other therapy since maybe the 4th month. I hope that doesn’t limit me down the road, but so far I’m just pleasantly surprised how everything has naturally fallen into place.