Thursday, 28 November 2013

Well, 'tis done!

When the surgeon had mentioned back in July that I might be home within a day, I really didn't believe him. On Monday morning at 1130 Cath dropped me off at Airedale Hospital and I walked in ready for my hip replacement operation. At 1800 on Tuesday evening I was back home, done and dusted!

On admittance I got asked lots of questions, most made sense though the question about when I'd had my last period was a bit strange - apparently one bloke had replied "not since my hysterectomy!" I suppose they have to cover all the bases. A blood sample then it's a visit from the anaesthetist who persuades me to have a spinal rather than a general anaesthetic though I request that I be sedated as well, I'm not too keen on the idea of listening to an operation going on when I'm the subject!

At about 1300 the surgeon comes to see me, marks up my leg just to make sure that we get the right one then half an hour later I'm following the nurse to theatre and pre-op. I really wasn't looking forward to this part, the anaesthetist couldn't work out my logic in being afraid of a needle but not the surgery. Then it was through the doors in to theatre.

I can't remember a time in my adult life when I have been as frightened. I've soloed alpine routes and hard rock climbs but have always been able to rationalise my emotions, but now I just couldn't do it and was shaking uncontrollably. Well my top half was, my legs had gone to sleep and we're just lying there. A squeeze of the plunger and the sedative took effect.

I came to about an hour later with the operation still ongoing. On the other side of the curtain it sounded like the seven dwarves were at work hammering away at the insert. It was utterly bizarre to be lying there talking to the anaesthetist and his assistant whilst just a metre or so away the surgery was still under way. Another twenty minutes and they were done and I was wheeled in to the recovery room.

After half an hour here I was deemed safe to return to the ward which was only a few metres away. It was still only 4pm. By the time Cath came to see me in the evening the anaesthetic was just beginning to wear off and I could start to wiggle my toes. Half hourly blood pressure, pulse and temperature checks meant that I didn't get to sleep until around 2am so by morning I was pretty tired.

After breakfast the Physio arrived with a Zimmer frame. One trip around the room on that and it was straight on to crutches and up and down the ward corridor. "Just keep at it and we'll be back this afternoon to sort you out on stairs". The rest of the morning was spent doing increasingly long walks in and around the ward.

By afternoon I'd had another visit from the surgeon and the Physio had got me walking up and down stairs so once my latest blood test had come back I was free to go. One last thing was being shown how to self inject the anti-coagulant drugs then it was just wait for Cath to take me home.

Initially getting in and out of bed was painful but as the swelling/bruising has gone down then this has got easier. Having to sleep on my back is awkward as I'm not used to it so I'm getting fitful sleep at the moment meaning that I need naps through the day.

The impingement pain in my hip has gone, not just reduced, gone. There's still the pain from the op itself but that's easing all the time. Due to being restricted in the movements I can do for the first three months I don't know how the rest of the hip is shaping up, I'll have to be careful as otherwise it could dislocate.

I'm in awe of just how quick and efficient the whole day was, twenty years ago hip replacement patients spent two weeks in hospital now it's just one to three days.

The surgeon has done his bit, the rest is up to me.

1 comment:

  1. Just came across this (a bit late..), and was interested to see the bit about The Fear. I had an identical experience with my hip replacement, and, although I can't say I've ever climbed to the standards you used to I'd certainly have said I was pretty confident that I was able to control myself. I didn't feel frightened in a rational sense - I just started shaking. 'I'd better up the sedative', said the anaesthetist. A few years later and I had to have my knee replaced. No shakes at all. I figure it's like the old cliche: fear of the unknown is the worst fear of all.