In that lovely Sepia Saturday photograph of Conway Castle in Wales, there’s a gentleman standing beside the door in the castle wall – he’s on two canes, and I’m willing to bet that he’s dealing with what I’ve been dealing with for a number of years! He’s less fortunate than I, though, for back in those days, replacing bad hips was far beyond standard medical practice.
As for me, I’m sporting a new one; my right hip was replaced on March 18.
I don’t remember much: I remember being in pre-op with David, my Official Coach (that man is going to heaven for his support and care).
I remember getting undressed and johnnied; the nurse checking my vitals (and commenting on how stable my blood pressure was!); the start of my IV in the back of my left hand. I remember a visit from my surgeon, who marked my right hip, gave me a grin; the anesthesiologist’s check-in, his assurance that he would guide me out and back in again.
And I remember a quick kiss from David, then being wheeled through the passageway to the OR. I turned my head and looked out the window at the pigeon sitting on the outside sill at
Maine Medical Center in , its head shimmering purple and green in the early morning sunlight. Portland
“Oh, look!” I exclaimed. “A pigeon!”
“That’s not a pigeon,” said the OR nurse, “that’s a mourning dove.”
I do not remember my reply (I was on my way “out”) but apparently everybody else in the place will remember it for a long time.
“Mourning dove, my ass!” I hollered enthusiastically...and was gone.
David was there when I woke up; he was there all afternoon as I struggled out of anesthesia – not ill at all, but just unable to come completely awake for a very long time. Every time I opened my eyes, he was there – sitting in a chair next to my bed, reading, dozing, working a crossword, patting my left foot.
He went home at 6:30 or so; came back the next morning at 9:30 to take me home. Gone are the four days in the hospital followed by a week in rehab – I was in the hospital for approximately 30 hours! This is the new routine: a total hip replacement and hospitalized for 30 hours! Astounding.
I had a friend who stayed with me 24/7 for the first four days (I slept for 12 of each 24-hour period), then another friend who spent days with me while I navigated nights by myself. Have neighbors who checked in on me first thing each morning and last thing at night; they made trips to the grocery store and ran errands.
And they put my socks on for me, at least until I had my 23 staples removed and could lean forward without them pulling at my incision. And that next morning, my first shower in 12 days – I can’t tell you how wonderful that was!
The hardest things?
Not being able to reach down to the floor (if I drop something, I poke it into a corner and leave it there until somebody comes to visit). Carrying things is impossible while using a walker; much easier now that I’ve graduated to a cane – at least I have one hand free! And everything requires such enormous effort: getting in/out of bed, getting dressed, moving across the floor.
But I’m gaining; making progress each and every day. I can stand upright for the first time in three years: I am nearly ½ inch taller! And my right foot, which used to point outward, now points straight ahead!
I’ve got a long way to go – exercises for strength and flexibility, learning to drive and climb stairs again – but I’m lightyears ahead of that poor gentleman in Alan’s Sepia Saturday photo.
I’m a hipster, a hippy, a hippo, a hipcat.
I’m a hip-chick, a hipper-dipper!