February 23, 2011 I had suffered with pain in my right hip for a couple of years. It came and went and was a nuisance more than anything else. The pain would come on for a week or two and was EXTREMELY SEVERE. The pain was not related to movement and would hurt when just sitting or standing. Then it would go away completely for months. Looking back on it, I believe these severe episodes were a result of cyst growth and not real joint damage. I didn’t bother to go to the doctor about the pain, since it would go away in short order. However, about 1 year ago, the pain came and never went away. I saw a doctor and the joint was severely damaged by then. I went on an anti-inflammatory (Arthrotec) which dulled the pain and started using a cane. After a year of this, the pain was keeping me from sleeping and I could no longer walk for any distance. Any type of physical activity was out of the question. So, I went to see an Orthopedic Surgeon.
The first surgeon I saw recommended a total hip replacement and I don’t think he was familiar with resurfacing. In the mean time, I had researched my options and I was excited about the resurfacing option. I then researched other surgeons and decided to see Dr. Joel Wallskog in Milwaukee. Dr. Wallskog diagnosed me at Level 4 and indicated that I was a perfect candidate for resurfacing. BTW: I am a 53 year old male, 6 foot 1 inch and just a bit over weight. So, I decided to have the surgery. This is the best decision I ever made!
2/3/11 – Checked into St. Lukes in Milwaukee and was prepped for BHR surgery. They were very careful to monitor my vitals before surgery and paid a lot of attention to me. About 10am I was taken to the OR. A few hours later I woke up and was taken to my room with my new hip and a nine inch scar. I felt great, was in very little pain and spent some time watching a movie and eating a bit. Toward the end of that day, the PT guy came around and got me up on a walker. I was immediately zipping down the hall at full speed with him trailing behind. I slept very well that night after eating a full dinner.
2/4/11 – The PT guy showed up early in the morning and got me up on crutches. Once again I was zipping down the hall. We then climbed a dozen steps with one crutch, which went very well. He said I was doing great and left. Later that morning, Dr. Wallskog discharged me and I went home.
2/5/11 – Walked around the house with a walker and/or crutches. Very little pain.
2/6/11 – Went to my first PT session, which went well. When I got home, I called the Dr. to ask how much weight I could put on the operative leg and they indicated “as much as you can bear”, but no lifting over 50 lbs or twisting on the leg. So, I discarded the crutches and walker and began walking unassisted, working through the muscle stiffness and some pain. My condition and mobility seemed to improve by the hour. The next day I was walking and very little pain and almost no limp.
Current Date – I returned to my office job full time after 14 days. I have one more PT session next week, which will probably be my last. While my recovery has leveled off somewhat compared to the first few days, I am still getting better every day and doing my PT exercises. I could have returned to work after 4 days, but I work in a different city than where I live and commute on the weekends. Living alone during the week, I couldn’t change my own dressing and had to stay home with my wife until the staples were removed.
My entire experience has been superlative and everyone at work is amazed. I have always been a robust person and I always recover quickly. I also never seem to get sick for any reason. Given that, I doubt that most people will recover as quickly as I did. I feel GREAT and I’m glad that I hooked up with the right doctor and had the procedure.
February 24, 2011 I am 3 weeks post-op and am working through the pain. Remember, your muscles have been through severe trauma. For the first week or two, I felt like I had over done it at the gym and damaged a lot of muscles. I am a big fan of strength training and the only “natural” way to build muscle mass is to damage the muscle through activity and then let the muscle repair itself with new growth. Any time you over exert yourself and have sore muscles the next day, that pain is the damage/repair process at work.
I believe my almost total lack of pain at 3 weeks is significantly due to the light strength training. I alternate each day, one day I work on flexibility and the next I work on strength. This gives the muscles a day off between strength sessions to repair. Supporting a new hip requires new muscle mass and flex training won’t do that for you. Simple variations on leg-lifts and thigh-closes with a pillow between your legs are great strength builders for someone recovering from surgery. I also to deep squats, which are difficult and I support some of my weight on a chair.
Also, building muscle requires lots protein, so don’t ignore that. Upping your meat intake will provide plenty of protein for the muscle building process (and of course, eggs).
March 16, 2011 At 6 weeks post-op, I am 100% recovered. I have no pain at all and have full range of motion. I feel 20 years younger. The last pain I had was in my glute on the operative side – going up and down stairs fixed this quickly. I feel very lucky to have had such a quick recovery.
Yesterday, I went on my first commercial flight since the operation and of course I set off the metal detector. So, I got treated to a nice intimate pat down by TSA! On the return flight, I went through one of the full body scanners for the first time which was a new experience.
I can’t wait to get my motorcycles out this spring. I haven’t been able to ride them for two years because of the bad hip!