Today….what I learned at my doctor’s visit, my concerns, and how I’m preparing for everything.
I was really shocked when I saw the CT scan of my hip. Here’s a little quick sketch of what I saw:
As you can see, in late September I had a perfectly round head on my femur, it looks normal. The CT I had taken on February 13th, showed the femoral head collapsing. It is amazing how fast this condition has progressed. No wonder the pain has progressed so much. As my doctor said, I’m have a square peg in a round hole. My leg is now shorter than the other, it is throwing every thing off. The pain in the joint is very bad. I haven’t talked about it, but I haven’t been able to walk much. I can’t walk at all without a walker supporting my weight. I spoke to a new friend who has this in a number of joints and she said this pain is comparable to bone cancer. Wow. I don’t think mine is that bad yet. Some days I think it gets up there though, but not all the time. It does ache all the time, I hover around a 7, it never goes below a 5…and that is rare…it does spike to a 10, but I’m lucky it doesn’t stay there long. It is a very sharp pain when I move or try to put weight on it. I can’t take narcotics. They make me feel like things are crawling on me. I can’t take NSAIDS because I’ve had an ulcer. The most I can take for pain is Tylenol, and I don’t want to take too much of that, it can damage your liver. So, I meditate, and I really baby my hip. If I could take narcotics I could probably move around and do more. As it is, just the trip to the doctor on Monday left me in so much pain I didn’t sleep much on Monday night, and Tuesday was so bad I couldn’t get up long enough to get myself lunch. I simply couldn’t do it. Luckily, Stuart had gone to work very early and came home early, so I got something to eat and much help for the rest of the day.
I got a LOT of information from my doctor. He told me that many people could have received the same amount of steroids I did and never acquired Avascular Necrosis (AVN). Guess I’m just lucky. *grin* Some people may just have a predisposition to it. Of course, thinking back, I have had a whole lot of steroids. He also said this is progressing fast. There are some other treatments for this, but most are just stop gaps and you end up having to have a hip replacement anyway, and if your femoral head has lost it’s shape, like mine has, you can’t do most (if any) of them.
So, hip replacement is a GO! I don’t have a date yet, waiting for the appointment setter to call. I’m sure it will be a little while out, because of things that have to be done before hand. I have a whole packet of things to be done, things to help you understand more about the procedure and things that are going to happen afterward…..it’s very thorough. If that weren’t enough, there’s a class, yep a class to explain everything you may have questions about; the procedure, home health care, physical therapy…just about everything. Don’t know how I’m going to sit through a class without excruciating pain, but I’m going to try. Stuart said he’d go alone, but I think I should go.
There are a lot of people who have joint replacements, obviously, for them to have a class. They have really thought of everything. There will be a home health nurse that will come out twice a week to check my blood because I will be on coumadin to reduce the chance of blood clots. This has to be monitored closely. (often they just put people on a high dose of Aspirin, but again, I couldn’t do that because of the ulcer thing) A physical therapist will be coming to our home to work with me instead of me having to try to go out to physical therapy. My doctor said that PT is mostly just walking. There will be post op services coming out to help set up the house for us, if I didn’t already have one, I’d be getting a walker (I may be getting a new one if they can get me one that fits in the bathroom), a tub bench, and a 3 in 1 bed side toilet. I wondered what the 3 in 1 was, that means it works a bed side toilet, or railing to hold on to use your own toilet, or to use as a raised toilet seat. Funny thing, I have one of these back in Durham, Stuart got it a long time ago thinking it might help when I have vertigo, but it didn’t, if I could sit up, I could go to the bathroom. (you can’t really sit up when the world is spinning like crazy!) I’ll also get a grabby thing to help me reach things so I won’t bend my leg more than a 90 degree angle. Also, a special thing to help me put on my socks and shoes. Stuart laughed, both of those things have been his job for a long time. Due to my dizziness I can’t pick things off the floor, I was shocked that my doctor knew this! I haven’t been able to put on my socks and shoes since September. So this will be a relief for Stuart, and make me feel much more independent.
OH, I forgot to tell you more of what my doctor said about the surgery itself. I will be in the hospital 1 – 2 days. I won’t have anesthesia, that doesn’t mean I’ll be awake during the operation, but I won’t be put under a deep sleep. I’ll have a spinal block. So I won’t feel all icky, I won’t get sick, and I won’t have to worry about them putting a tube down my throat. It’s kind of cool. He told me that most people with this condition tell him that the pain they have now is instantly gone after the surgery. How cool is that? He said I will be sore from the incision but I probably won’t hurt worse than I do now. He said first off there will be a lot of local anesthesia that will take a few days to wear off and that’s when the incision would hurt the worse. He has been impressed that I have been able to tolerate this much pain without pain medication, so I think I’ll be able to do it. However, I won’t be babying this, I’ll be working it hard with the PT. So much more Tylenol. Maybe a Tramadol now and then, but even that makes me feel funny if I take it too often, but I can take it every couple of days. He said he will make my legs the same length….yay! He said I may out live my hip replacement. All I can say about that is…..life is unpredictable, so no biggie. I could get this hip replacement and get hit by a bus in a week. No one knows the future. *shrug*
I’m not afraid of this hip replacement surgery. I really haven’t been afraid of the surgery itself. I’m afraid of the hip replacement surgery in conjunction with the rest of my stuff. Having a severe balance disorder with sudden vertigo that comes on without any warning could be a very big complication to my recovery. As my doctor said, we can try to plan and prepare for everything, but this is something we simply can’t change. It’s something we have to hope luck will be with us.
I’m already a VERY CAREFUL person. I use a walker all the time. I stay close to walls so if I do have a vertigo attack I have something I can grab and try to fall easy, just slide down the wall. However, I still fall, OFTEN. I fell the last week in such a position that if I was recovering from hip replacement surgery there is no doubt I would have dislocated my hip and possibly fractured it. I simply let go of my walker to sit on the couch and suddenly got dizzy…..WHAM! This wasn’t even full fledged vertigo, this was just a tilt of the world. If I was hit with bad vertigo there would be no keeping my balance no matter how hard I tried. I can’t tell up from down the world is spinning so fast all around.
This is my concern. Recovering from hip replacement surgery with Severe Meniere’s Disease…or “more than Meniere’s Disease” what ever they want to call it. A severe balance disorder and sudden onset vertigo.
Perhaps I should get a Bubble Wrap Suit??? Too hot? Probably so.
Stuart is going to take time off to be with me during my time in the hospital. Of course, if he’s completely bored he can work while he’s there. My doctor said the room I’ll be in is big and has a day bed so Stuart can stay right there. Since I have a special diet, we can pack me up some food and they will warm it up for us there. He said he wouldn’t trust the hospital to get it right. Yeah, I wouldn’t either.
Stuart will most likely be able to work from home for most of my recovery period. At least for the most difficult part. We don’t know yet, because we don’t know when things will be, or how long it will be.
Going to get our house more prepared.
Not going to worry about my balance problems and my recovery. I can’t control the future, so no need to worry. Just be aware and extra mindful of every step I take. Prepare as much as I can….but worry….no. Be afraid…no. One moment at a time, right?