I am 58 years old. I’ve had hip pain for the last 3+ years. I’ve used a cane for the past 6 months. I used to be very physically active. I had given it all up and was sadly postponing a THR until I could stand the pain no more. I used to snow ski the black diamond slopes of Colorado. I wondered if shuffleboard could ever take the place of screaming down a mountainside with your hair on fire. Thankfully for me, a coworker of my wife heard of my plight and shared her hip resurfacing story with me. I couldn’t be more excited! I went straight to this website. What a find!Dr. Ryan Nunley was my hip resurfacing surgeon. Our first meeting was an information exchange. I had lots of questions. He patiently and thoroughly took a lot of time answering them. I was looking for someone who knew what he was doing. I think he was looking for someone who would likely have a good outcome. I felt immediately comfortable with him. We were a good fit. I would highly recommend him. I would describe his surgical and post op recovery approach as “conservative.”
T minus 4 days – Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis provides a “Hip Joint Class” for all patients who will soon be receiving THR’s or Hip Resurfacings. The class was very informative. It lasted about an hour. Bring your significant other to the class with you. There’s a lot to remember. They told us what to expect during our stay in the hospital, and taught all of the do’s and don’ts for the recovery process. Of particular interest was the pain management lesson. The key take-away – Stay on top of the pain! (Catching up with the meds after it hits is much more difficult.)
D-day – Most significant thing to say here is that I remember nothing between pre-op and post op. (Thankfully.) They used a spinal block for pain control during surgery. Everything I’ve heard about nausea in association with traditional anesthesiology process tells me that the spinal block is the way to go. No nausea. Thoroughly “out of it” through the whole thing. No tube down the throat.
Later in the day of surgery – Dr. Nunley believes it is important to get out of bed before the day ends (in order to get the mind moving forward, I guess). I sat in a chair beside the bed for a half hour that evening. If felt good to be up. It also felt good to be back in bed afterward. Although surgery was completed by 10:30 a.m., most of the rest of the day was a fog.
Day 1 post op – You need not worry about pain management for the first 24 hours after surgery. You’re on a pre-set schedule. After 24 hours though, you call the dose. Stay on top of it! PT and OT was in the morning and afternoon, first with the walker, then later in the day on 2 crutches. Make sure you take your pain meds before the therapy. You’ll be a lot more productive.
Day 2 post op – PT and OT in the morning. Dr. Nunley visited again. Says all still looks really good. Gives his release to go home in the afternoon of day 2.
Day 3 – Walking with 2 crutches.
Day 7 – Walking with 1 crutch one mile per day. Back to work full time. (Desk job, minimal need to walk around unless my desire.)
Day 10 – Started driving myself to work.
Day 14 – Walking with only a cane one mile per day.
Day 21 – Walking unassisted for several miles at a time (and enjoying it!), no limp, no pain most of the time. No narcotic pain medications. The only difficulty I have now is sleeping well at night. I don’t sleep well on my back, and there is a hip “abductor pillow/wedge/large firm sponge” that you have to sleep with for 6 to 12 weeks (depending upon your surgeon). This is part of the hip precautions, and it makes it virtually impossible to sleep comfortably on your side.
4 weeks post op – There is only one daily task that reminds me that I’m not yet fully healed, and that’s driving the car. Surgery was on my right hip. I feel it every time I round a corner and lean from side to side in the car seat. It can briefly hit a “6” on the 1-to-10 scale. Fortunately for me, the drive to work is only about 10 minutes. I still have an occasional set-back day, where the number of not-yet-healed reminders I accidentally trigger are more frequent. It’s harder to get moving after I’ve been sitting for a while. For the most part though, I’m pain free. I am eager to get the green light for weight training and aerobic exercise. See you on the slopes!