Hip Replacement Surgery

I was born with a dislocated hip (right hip) – a congenitally dislocated hip.  Today this condition is more commonly known as hip dysplasia and old stiff German shepherds often come to mind.
No one knew I had this condition until I was one-year old and I started to walk.  So after a dose of X-rays and consults with pediatricians and orthopedists my condition was diagnosed and the remedy was initiated.  At this time, the remedy was to reset the ball of the hip into the socket via a hospital stay, anesthesia, and an orthopedist.  Afterwards, my legs were splinted in a spica cast; my legs plastered apart like frog’s legs.
Family snap shots attest to me sitting astride boxes on chairs and sprawled on boards:
baby_3a baby_1a baby_4a
After the time in the cast was up, I was put in a leg brace — a steel bar screwed to baby shoes that kept the hip in position:
Hip Replacement Surgery
May 18, 2014 – Tuesday — Day of surgery.  Long day.  Up at 5 AM to shower and wash my legs with Hibiclens.  Arrived, on-time — 6:15 AM, at Jefferson for check-in.  This is the first of sitting around and waiting.  Approximately 7:30 AM I was called back to prep for surgery.  I changed into a paper gown and bright yellow booties.  A technician shaved my right leg — not much hair removal was required.  A nurse gave me some pills — Celebrex, Tylenol, and something to lessen nerve ending sensation.  It was explained to me that by taking this medicine prior to surgery, less narcotics would be needed post-op, which would likely lessen the chances of nausea.   About this time a nurse came in my curtained slot and told me my doctor prefers cloth hospital gowns versus the paper gowns and thus I changed into a regular hospital gown.  I was told surgery was scheduled for 9:30 AM.  In hindsight, what they should have said is that I would be moved to the next holding pen at 9:30.  So more sitting around and waiting in the surgery prep area.  By this time I’m feeling a sense of sickening dread. But I’m also starving and feel like my stomach is eating itself.   I can’t wait for this to be over with so I can have a cup of coffee.
9:30 AM — I’m taken down to the 8th floor to the pre-op holding area.  A nurse puts in an IV and an anesthesiologist comes in to explain the type of anesthesia that will be administered: a spinal block to block pain and Propofol for mental sedation.  More waiting.  By this time I must have stated my name and birth date a hundred times.
Eventually someone came in and gave me a mild sedative.  He shot something he called “happy juice” in my IV and said it would feel like drinking a glass of white wine.  A few seconds later and I felt like I had drunk an entire bottle.  But the sense of dread was no longer present.
I saw my doctor out running around the area and was told he had one more procedure before mine and then he would come in and talk to me and autograph my leg.Finally the surgeon comes in. The first thing he wants to know is if I have family members waiting and then he proceeds to tell me how he disagrees with the entire surgical waiting game.   He believes it would be better if the family would drop the patient off and go home and wait for a phone call.   Anyway, he finally autographs my leg and I’m moved to the next holding pen.

This area is a small room where they administer the spinal block. I remember joking around w/ the techs (more “happy juice” was dispensed) and I think I remember being wheeled into the OR, but my memories of this time slot are a little hazy. I do remember not feeling my legs. I think I was wheeled into the OR around 11:15 or so.

I came to in the OR after the procedure was finished. Everyone was cleaning up and I had my arms restrained in a “Christ on the cross” position. A plastic sheet was draped in front of me and it was splattered with blood.

The next area I’m in is the recovery room. I stay awake for the next two hours or so. I remember hearing the surgeon calling Dennis and saying I was out of surgery. I touched my legs and they didn’t feel like they belonged to me. I also noticed the bandage on the side of my hip. I’m still hungry. And some time during the day, not sure when, I found out I would only be allowed liquids for dinner and absolutely no coffee until tomorrow.   Ugh. The nurse kept telling me they were going to move me to my room but time kept on ticking. Someone came over and took an X-ray of my hip and taped the paper copy to my bed.

Finally I’m in my room and yes, I’m asking about dinner. Dennis, Tracy, and my mother arrive shortly. And here comes the PT guy telling me I’m going to get out of bed, sit in a chair and walk down the hall. And I did, with the help of a walker. Dinner finally arrived and Dennis couldn’t tear the wraps off those Jellos fast enough. And I did have some weak tea.

Since I had a private room my mother decided to stay the night in my room on a recliner. Needless to say we didn’t get much sleep, due to the parade of nurses, techs, doctors, medi-copters landing on the roof, sirens, etc. But we didn’t expect a restful night.

Here’s the view outside my window:


Wednesday, March 19

I didn’t find the pain to be that bad at first. My main problem was low blood pressure. Around three o’clock AM I called the nurse, etc., to assist me in getting to the bathroom but I couldn’t get out of bed. I would sit up, start seeing stars and feel like I was going to pass out. So this was the first time in my life I used a bed pan. And that was not easy with the shape my leg was in. And then immediately after this I get a migraine aura (more stars and zigzags). But it only last for the usual 20 minutes and that was it.

Basically I feel like my right side has been hit by a bus.

Around 5:00 AM the parade of medical teams started poking their heads in the room:   the vascular team, the cardiac team, the surgical team, the physical therapy team. My doctor came in and looked at the incision and seemed satisfied w/ his work. He warned me that my leg would eventually turn black and blue; I’m glad he let me know this since I was now put on Warfarin to prevent blood clots. I would have thought I was having a bleed out.

Finally – solid food and coffee.

So a session of PT at 9:00 AM. I walked a little bit in the hallway but still felt light-headed. And I learned how to get in and out of a car, put on socks, get into and out of bed, climb stairs, etc. One more session at 1:00 and I should be discharged.

3:00 PM – discharged and home around 4:30. It wasn’t too comfortable when the car would hit pot holes.

March 20, Thursday

This evening the dressing came off and I had my first shower since early Tuesday morning.   Picture of incision follows:


March 21, Friday

Walking w/ the walker. Quite tedious but at least I’m getting around. Another successful shower. I’m off the potent pain medicine and am now taking something for mild to moderate pain. I can sleep in only one position: on my back. So at least the pain medicine makes me drowsy and I can sleep.


March 25, Monday

Without really thinking about it I graduated from the walker to the cane today.   And I’m taking only 1 or 2 pain pills in a 24-hour period.

Here is the before and after pictures of the hip:






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