Friday, April 5, 2013


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 Portland, its head shimmering purple and green in the early morning sunlight.
          “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!

Hip-hip hurrah!


  1. Good luck with your recovery Deb. I recommend this for getting things off the floor!

    You'll soon be fit enough to walk up castles!

  2. Glad to hear about your new lease of life. At least your pre-med uttereance was fairly innocuous - just think what you could have said!

  3. Good luck with your new hip. I loved reading of your experience.

  4. That's a new, but perfectly valid and interesting, take on a sepia photograph. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  5. SO glad to hear from you. Need anything--just call! xo

  6. Very well written and good lateral thinking for this weeks topic.

    Good luck with your recovery. I hope that you are climbing castles stairs soon.

  7. Thank you to all for such good wishes!
    I'm not sure about climbing castle stairs, but I'm climbing my own -- can get in and out of my house. Doing short walks (I have to tell myself not to limp; my brain does not yet recognize I do not have to!).
    Onward, onward.

  8. I think you should win a prize for connecting hip replacement surgery with the prompt photo of a castle! Hope your recovery is speedy! My mom, who has dementia, fell and broke her hip and had to have replacement. Boy - that was tough as she couldn't remember that she had fallen or had surgery and therefore couldn't remember not to bend over and follow all the instructions. We watched her constantly, poor thing. They sent her home with a contraption for picking up things off the floor and that could be used for pulling up your slacks, although socks were too hard. She never really used it, but sounds like you could have used one.

    1. Oh, Kathy -- sorry about your mother! It's tough enough without the dementia aspect, so I can't imagine what your family's been through! As for me, I can now pick things up (carefully); put on my own looking foward to longer walks and more stamina! Thanks for commenting.

  9. Hi Deb! I am so sorry that it has taken me awhile to get back to you. I had no idea that you had surgery, but I am glad to know that you are healing well.

    I am home sick today with a bug; nothing like what you have been through, but it makes me appreciate my good health in general.

    Keep up the good work, and thanks for stopping by to see me.

    Kathy M.

  10. I wonder if you used Johnson's Anodyne Liniment. sounds like it could have helped. Soon we'll be able to take a walk together. in the meantime, kudo's for courage and a positive outlook.

    Now I hope I can publish. this is the third time I try.