Lessons Learned From a New Hip

Closing in on two weeks since I had total hip replacement surgery – and before anyone asks doing really well.  There are some lessons learned from a new hip installed that are worth noting (if not sharing).

  1. “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”  This is what most people who I know who had the surgery said to me going into it.  And generally I agree – I can say there was one minor complication in the hospital, but I woke up in the recovery room and for the first time in two years, my hip wasn’t bothering me.  I think for me, the timing was right – but I can understand why people ask themselves why they didn’t do it sooner.
  2. It’s really major surgery:  My only frame of reference for surgery was my ACL surgery almost six years ago and the less invasive MCL surgery I had six months after that (opposite knee).  Don’t let anyone mislead you – hip replacement may happen a lot, but its major surgery.
  3. Not sure the pre-surgery prep was on point: The doctor and hospital did a great job explaining the procedure, the expected outcome and even the path to rehab.  What they glossed over though was the actual surgical site and the reality of where they cut (right into your glute muscle) and the impact of that.  The only pain I dealt with was from the surgical site.
  4. I finally understand the opioid crisis in this country: I try not to take meds as a rule.  And certainly won’t take any high-end pain killers unless absolutely needed.  They start pushing narcotic pain killers before surgery. I managed to get through the surgery and post-op care without taking any narcotic pain killers.  Not everyone can do that.  I used Tylenol and ice to deal with pain and discomfort.  There was one night in the hospital the nurse spent 20 minutes trying to talk me into taking morphine – because they were going to start physical therapy (PT) the next day.  My thought process was: I just had major surgery, there should be some discomfort.  How am I going to differentiate pain if I am muting it all?  It’s a problem.
  5. I have great kids and support:  It’s not easy for me to ask for or accept help.  I want to be responsible for my stuff.  There are people who really helped out and got me through those first 5 or 6 days and I am really happy about that – and that I was willing to take the help.

There are probably more lessons from the new hip – but if I can go through this experience and come away pain-free and learn something – I’m ahead of the game.

Related Posts:

My Summer “Off”

My Summer OffAlmost two-weeks into my summer off (at least off from being a parent) and time is going by quickly.  Last summer, while the girls were at camp I was busy doing PT two-three times a week to recover from ACL replacement.  Nothing like that this summer, it’s kind of like having my summer off.

It’s not to say nothing is getting done, it is. It’s just a different feeling than last summer, or even two summer’s ago (the girls’ first summer at camp).  Two years ago, I was just starting my job so  there was a lot to learn and lot’s of running around.  Last  year it was all the PT.  This year, it’s actually time to just take a breath.


And coming off the year, at least the first six months of 2013 that we had, time off is not so bad.  Between my second knee surgery (and extended PT), 13.0’s Bat Mitzvah and 10.5’s break-out violin year-we did a lot.

So now I get letters 4-5 times a week from the girls, we talk once a week and we’re all able to just unwind-not so bad.

So yeah, I still have a lot of work to do.  I have a heavier travel schedule over the summer than I carry during the year and I’m still trying to get a few projects done around the house.  But in the end, so far, my summer “off” is pretty good.

Related Posts:

Been There Done That, Again

Get Dad the Single Guy’s new book, The Beginning of the Middle of the End of the Beginning now.  Available on all readers.

On iPad http://is.gd/wOkSdc

On Nook http://is.gd/7Y52rk

On Kindle http://is.gd/nBJSNe

been-there-done-thatIn what until now I’ve shared on a need to know basis only-I face another knee surgery early tomorrow morning.  In scale, this one is nothing like the ACL surgery I went through in June and spent the last six months rehabbing from.

In fact, my left knee is doing incredibly well after all of that hard work.

This time, its my right knee facing the knife.  As I was amping up my rehab my of my knee, I tore a piece of the meniscus off the bone in my right knee.  Normally, this is not something that would require surgery, except the small piece that broke off is in the joint and causing me pain as I get around.

My doctor (same one who rebuilt my left knee) describes this surgery as 15 minutes and I walk out.

My last knee surgery experience was 3.5 hours on the table, and rolling out in a soft cast with crutches.

At least via description this one sounds much better.  The timeline for rehab is about two weeks for this surgery and then I’ll need another two weeks to catch up for my left knee and I should be done with PT some nine months after I started pre-habbing my left knee.

So, off to bed early I go tonight, up and out for the train tomorrow and if all goes according to plan WALKING out of the surgical center by 10 tomorrow morning.  I’m counting on it.

Related Posts:

Re-Starting, Re-Focusing

The good news is on August 1 I am back on schedule-modified schedule but my schedule none the less.

The downside is the modified schedule is not quite what I had in mind for the summer of 2012, but beggars can’t be choosers and being back on my schedule (even modified) means I’ve cleared a lot of hurdles since mid-May when I tore my ACL and mid-June when I had the surgery to put a new ACL into my left knee.

So out went the Tough Mudder and out went the triathlon.  In came hours of PT and a lot of time on the couch to think about whats important and goals.

With the girls away at camp-and based on the pictures the camp posts and the weekly calls I get having a great summer, it was with a clear conscience I could set about re-setting my goals not just for the summer but for beyond.

I am months away from being done with PT and resuming the active part of my life.  The girls will be home in a couple of weeks-which I am so ready for, and I’ll be able to greet them without a brace.

During the “down” time I’ve had I’ve been able to think about what is important and how to achieve it.  Health club girl has helped a lot with that, sometimes you just get lucky (as I think) or our destinies were intertwined long ago (as she believes).  EIther way though, there are positives coming out of what could have been a negative.

So, with some of the home improvement done, some of the reorganization at home done and my slowly getting back onto a regular schedule, at midpoint of the summer of 2012 things are not as originally scripted, but going alright.

Related Posts:

Phase 1 Complete

As we reach the mid-point of the summer (and only two and a half weeks until the girls come home), I have finally managed to get phase one of this summer’s home upgrade projects done.  And when I say I was able to get it done, means I was able to hire someone to get it done, because I am pretty limited in what I can take on this summer.

Project one was to have the original wood floors we built into the house re-finished.  There was a point in time I was thinking about renting the sander and taking this project on by myself.  The knee injury interceded in that plan.  And probably for the best.

Until this week I had never experienced refinishing wood floors.  After this week, I could probably go a lifetime without experiencing it again.  The good news is the company I hired did a nice job protecting adjoining areas and cleaning up-but man what a mess and what a smell.

Because I was having the wood floors from the front door to the back door re-finished, for the first day I was actually captive in the house for more than half the day-waiting for the first coating of lacquer to dry. Fortunately I was able to sleep out the second night, coming home to my new floors.

I have a few more projects to finish.  I am hoping before the girls get home, but once again it will be close.

Related Posts:

Letting No News Speak For Itself

If you were to ask me in May (at least the early part of May) what my summer looked like I had a pretty good concept for a bunch of stuff-from a Tough Mudder, to a triathlon, to a short get away and maybe even hoping to find someone to share time with.

Fast forward to the back-end of July and in this case, three out of four is not so good.  But I have accomplished one of the goals, which is really pretty good.  Perhaps everything really does happen for a reason, I’m not sure still.

However, given that the day-to-day I am doing right now is all about rehab for my knee (by the way courtesy of my friend, my bum knee even tweets) and honestly that has a whiny ring to it when I blog about that over and over…

So, no news is good news.  The knee is getting better.  It’s a long slow process, but one I am sticking with.

Overall, life is not so bad and for now nothing new to report-which is also not so bad.

July 24 update:  So, I thought this was a very positive update and kind of let folks know that despite there have been few updates the last few weeks, all is well.  Health club girl is not so sure, so you be the judge.

Is this s positive post?

Related Posts:

Another Round of Changes

Within the last week another round of changes occurred in the quiet house-and much like last year at this time it’s not all that bad.

First, I got my new “activity” brace for my knee.  The nice thing about this brace is that it’s designed to wear while doing things, so I am now far more up and about-and that’s a good thing.  I could be back in the gym at some level by next week, but still months away from getting back to full activity.

With my new brace strapped onto my leg, it was off to visiting day over the weekend to see the girls.

Now I really do miss the girls a lot.  This year, being mostly stuck in the empty house and not being able to get done what I wanted to, even more.  Its three weeks into their summer camp and normally I would be out and about doing things, or puttering around the house doing things.

And with the new brace in place, it was back onto the Long Island Rail Road and into the office for me as well.  Back to the grind-and even that is not so bad.

This summer though, there is a will to get things done, and I’m getting there-but the results are slow to come by.  Think about all you do in a day and the ways your legs move around under you.  I had never thought about it until I could not move my legs.

But new brace, new capability and getting things done, not so bad-and seeing my girls priceless.

Related Posts:

The Camp Call and the Promise

At least for right now, and the next week and a half, rehabbing my knee and visiting day for camp with the girls will be intertwined.  And for better or worse, it’s going to be a very close call.

Last Saturday was the first of the seven calls I’ll get from the girls from camp.  All is well with them, they are making new friends and reuniting with friends from last year.  They sounded great, up beat and really enjoying themselves.

Then I made what could be a mistake.

9.5 asked me how my knee was doing and if I would be off crutches and able to go swimming on visiting day at camp.  I said, “Of course I will be, not to worry.”

Then the first dose of reality sank in.  If this weekend were visiting weekend I would not be able to go swimming and I would be on crutches.

The good news is I have a week and a half.  I see my surgeon Monday and there is no reason to think I won’t be able to get off crutches and out of the massive brace.  But there will be the hurdle of getting the new “activity” brace in time.  That will be very close.

So, I did what I do best.  I started planning now.  I’ve already spoken with two places about getting it to me.  I can certainly do what I need, and I can’t believe it won’t be possible.

Then the next hurdle, swimming.  Right now, there is one section of stitches that has not yet dissolved.  Again I see the surgeon on Monday.  So between now and then either they dissolve, or the surgeon will have to work some magic.

Then came reality dose number 2 today.  While I think I am making pretty good progress with my knee.  I can bear weight on it, I can get around without my crutches on it, I am walking (short distances) comfortably without a brace on it.  So I got on the exercise bike at PT today.

That was an eye opener.  I know it’s a long slow process, but I expected to be able to complete a full revolution of the pedal once in 10 minutes-forward or backward.  Hell, I’ve been riding bicycles of one form or another since I was two years old.

No such luck.  About 65% pedaling forward and 75% backward was all I could do.

So another ACL patient was on the bike next to me and shared it took her two weeks of work to get to a full revolution.  But still, I was hoping (maybe expecting) better.

So, the girls are good and I am still ahead of schedule on my road to recovery.  I just need to be more measured in my promises and my expectations.

Related Posts:

The Inverse Ratio

Under normal circumstances, the moments to sit on the couch and just “veg” are pretty few and far between for me.  With the girls and school plus events, working, commuting, keeping the house on track-the need for time management as I note here often is paramount.

I tend to think that near constant level of hustle and bustle actually helps me get more done.  Sure, I’d love to have more hours in a day, but I usual can fill a day pretty well.

Flash to today.   The girls are at camp so the house is quiet.  I’m now 15 days post surgery and doing well.  Rehab is on or slightly ahead of schedule and I can walk around some without crutches and brace.  But I also have to keep using the brace for another week (until July 9) which has created a whole set of secondary issues.

The brace goes from about mid-shin to the top of my thigh and it keeps my knee locked in straight position.  As I move around with the brace on, my ankle and calf take on a lot of the work normally done by the knee and quads.

That extra demand has left me with a grade 2 strain of my calf.  It was so bad at one point yesterday I just stopped moving completely.  In an effort to let it calm down and heal, I’ve tried to keep the brace off most of the day today and really tried not to do anything.

It’s been plenty of couch time.  But that has not inspired me to do anything else.  No writing (even this blog has waited all day until after 9 to get to).  There’s no pressure to get anything done-so I am not.

I suppose “every now and then” that’s not such a bad thing, right?  But at the same time I can’t help but think I should have gotten more done today as well.

The inverse ratio at play-the less I have to get done, the less I get done.

Related Posts:

What Champions Are Made Of

So a big week here.  In between trips to PT, the end of the school year, hosting a BBQ for the girls and their friends and getting the girls out to camp, 9.5’s softball team took the fields in near 100 degree heat to become the Softball Minor champs for the North Shore Little League.  Pretty cool.

Her team pretty much went wire to wire on the season.  They had probably the best player in the division, certainly the best pitcher which helps.  But the team really showed a lot of heart throughout, but gutting through the game Thursday night was no easy feat.

And needless to say, I am very proud of all 9.5 accomplished on the field this season.

This was the third season the girls did softball.  So in six seasons and figure close to 75 games, never before did I have to pack an entire cooler filled with water bottles (a 1/3 Gatorade 2/3 water mix) and really worry about it.  During the game at least four girls either had to sit out or come out because of the heat and dehydration.  None of it serious, but still…

Then there was dragging around my 9 pound leg brace and crutches for three hours in the heat.  By the time it was done, I looked like I had just played a game as well (I had one large water bottle with the Gatorade/water mix in it).

It was during the game I realized the biggest issue for mobility that I have right now is I have to think about every move very carefully and execute it precisely.  It’s a lot.

But there is no way I was going to miss this game since I had missed Saturday’s playoff game (day after surgery).  I’m pretty sure it was the first game I had missed in two years, and I felt bad.

So, way to be softball Yankees.

Related Posts: