Are we there yet? Tuesday 20th March

I think I’m okay now (was that a T’pau song? Or Kim Wilde perhaps?). It’s a world away from yesterday.

I had that serene feeling on the morning of the op that you get when you have to accept you are about to go through something tough and out of your control. The church bells and warm shards of sunlight contributed a pleasing wooziness.

It was much harder on Sunday night, when it was dark and hot and I had a sweat-soaked pillow all night. My skin prickled from the body wash, and even the inside of my mouth was blistering from something I ate.

But in the morning it didn’t matter anymore. I was ready way before my scheduled slot, so glad to be going in early.

The pre/post op bay was full: a line of beds with some very sick looking people in them. Probably how I would look when it was over.

My bed was parked at the end of the row and I met the anaesthetist, Dr Picard, then we went through my details and he told me the procedure, so far as I would be aware of it, from there on in; making sure I confirmed which hip was for removal. I had a line put in my arm, swallowed a pill and was given an injection. Then there was nothing.

Of course I’d researched the anterior replacement method, and been told about what happens. The incision is made on the front of the leg, then the muscles are pulled aside to get to the joint, taking care not to involve the femoral artery and femoral nerve. Membranes around the bone are then cut away and the femur head is twisted into a suitable position to be sawn off. A space is drilled above, into the pelvis, for the cup of the joint, which is then fitted. Then a rasp is used to make a shaft on the inside of the femur bone. The post with the ball joint at the top is fitted into the femur, then is mated with the cup.

At some part in this procedure the leg is twisted right around, and considering the forces needed I think I’ve been quite fortunate to have, so far at least, only one bruise above my ankle. What I hadn’t really grasped was that the curare, used to relax the muscles, would mean that I couldn’t breathe and would need to be ventilated throughout the operation. I probably just did not want to hear that, so didn’t.

When I was brought round I was freezing cold and my teeth chattered, so the lovely hot air blower was put under my bedsheet. It worked quickly. Dr Picard told me that my op took a little longer than expected because I’d bled quite a lot, so there was now a drain in the wound site. I’m now encumbered with a bottle of blood on a line from the hip that has to come about with me everywhere.

Leg drain after hip operation

Not that I’ve been going far! Until this afternoon I was confined to bed, with all the awkwardness that that entails. I remembered it well from my back break.

The attentiveness here continues to amaze me. I had a visit pretty soon from Dr Picard, and later in the evening from Dr Michaut. Then this morning the cardiologist came to check on me, then I was taken to x-ray, followed by physio! The nursing care is equally abundant. I want to say, in a way that doesn’t sound sleezy, how attractive in looks and manner the nursing and caring staff all are, many of them (at least half) being men. I think the best word to describe them is ‘elegant’.

I’m sitting in an armchair now, which is a lot easier than trying to sit in the bed. Now that I’ve had instructions from the physio on walking with crutches, taking all the weight off the new hip, I can start to move around, but I feel a bit nervous at the moment. What I’m not allowed to do is stretch the leg out behind me, for a month or so anyway. You’d think that would be easy peasy, but at soon as the physio left me alone I found myself stretching to get something from the other side of the bed and (almost) putting my leg out behind me for balance!

I’m waiting as patiently as I can for the wound soreness to lessen so that I can tell properly whether the hip pain is Over…Gone…Finis.

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