Here’s a post to capture more of the day-by-day experiences related to the surgery and recovery. Thought this could be helpful.
5:00 pm Sunday, January 19, 2020 – Picked my mom up from the airport. She insisted on flying down to help which I’m so glad I did. You really need someone on hand to help especially the first 8 hours post surgery.
7:00 pm Sunday – We headed for dinner at a local sports bar, Mudville Grill, for burgers. I made sure to drink a lot of water. Being hydrated for your surgery is important. This was my last meal as 12 midnight was my food cutoff time.
9:15 pm Sunday – Enjoyed my last good shower for a few days. Per instructions, I had to avoid perfumed soaps and scrub thoroughly with an antibacterial soap like Dial. I also washed, dried and flat ironed my hair. I noticed my hair was due for a dye again. That’ll have to wait until I can easily get in and out of the shower.
6:55 am Monday, January 20 – SURGERY DAY! I made sure to wake up a bit early to chug water. I was able to drink until 7:15 am. Surprisingly slept really well. I thought I would be up tossing and turning all night, but I wasn’t. I didn’t even take a melatonin to help sleep.
7:15 am – Took Hamilton on one last walk since I won’t be able to for several weeks. (If anyone wants to come by and walk him, I would be grateful. My mom will when she’s here thankfully!). I was hoping to walk Hamilton the whole half mile loop in my neighborhood, but my back was hurting me. We did to the end of the street and back which was about 0.2 miles. He peed on all the things.
7:45 am – I hopped in the shower for one last scrub down with the Dial. Didn’t wash my hair or anything since I had the night before. No lotions, no deodorant after.
8:50 am – I drove my mom and I to Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute for my appointment. They have several locations, but the one I’m going to is in San Marco which is really close to my house.
9:10 am – We checked in. I paid another copay. This one was $350 to Baptist because JOI is part of Baptist Hospital now. My JOI copay was $1000. (Feel free to venmo me @starpulp any donations or tips. Haha)
I have an IUD so I don’t know when my last menstrual cycle was. So she made me do a urine sample. Hydration was a success. Pee was almost clear.
They had me take off all my clothes and put on a hospital gown. I could not figure out how to tie the darn thing. I got into the bed and the nurse immediate came in with a nice warm blanket. She was on it! I met her and another nurse. They were both really sweet. I was given two Tylenol and two Gabatrol which is supposed to help me relax. There was a TV with Live with Kelly and Ryan playing. I must admit, I sill call this show Regis and Kelly. 🤷♀️
Another nurse came in and gave me my IV. I got it in my arm like normal. She said Dr. Freeman prefers them in the top of the hand, but my veins are too tiny there. My mom came back to hang out with me. This was nice because it distracted me.
Dr. Freeman came by and introduced himself to my mom and said Hi to me. My mom is awesome and immediately reminded him of my knee. I have a torn PCL in my left knee (good knee) that hyper extends and can cause pain. For example, if I prop my feet up on an ottoman, I need to keep them bent or move the ottoman close so it’s closer to under my knee than my feet. Otherwise, when I get up I’ll be in extreme pain. The reason being is my knee will sit hyperextended which I’m guessing puts extra pressure on all the knee things in there. (Not a scientific phrase) For the surgery, they put your feet in two ski boots. Your feet are dangling off the table near the hips. The boots actually put ten pounds of pressure pulling on your feet. I’m sure this is to open the hip joint so he can access everything easier. I was just really concerned it would set me up for a bum knee on my good, walking leg. When this inflames, it can last for weeks. Anyways, my mom mentioned it to him and started a casual nag. The doctor basically said that’s how they do the surgery and walked away. My mom was pleased though and said he may have walked away, but I know he heard me and he’s going to keep an eye on it.
My Anesthesiologist came by to say hi. I noticed the TV had switched to divorce court. Awful. The Anesthesiologist reviewed my past surgical history with me and then had me sign paperwork. When I went to get my prescriptions, there was an issue with the insurance on one. Florida Blue has denied the doctor’s request for seven days of Tramadol. My pharmacy was able to get it to go through for three days, at least. We mentioned this to the anesthesiologist. (Forgot to with Dr. Freeman) He said he didn’t deal with this and walked away, but we heard him mention it to the nurse.
Once he left, we realized there was no remote. I was stuck with my last memory being Divorce Court. Le sigh.
The nurse that put in my IV came back to give good meds. I realized I had to pee. We paused on the good meds and she helped walk me to bathroom flashing everyone. Peed with an IV. Crawled back to bed. She put the good drugs in my IV. At this point my Mom left. They wheeled me back not the OR. I hauled my okra butt onto the operating table. I tried to not look around. All I wanted to remember was the ceiling and oxygen mask. I got the oxygen mask. Calmly breathed into it. Nurses and crew made random jokes. Loved that.
~ 2 pm – Woke up back in the comfortable bed again but in a new spot in the hospital. Sat there a bit. Nurse offered me a beverage, I chose coke. BEST COKE EVER!. And offered me graham crackers or something else. I chose graham cracker. Nurse said I needed to mentally prepare to move to a chair. He wasn’t kidding. Two minutes later, I was in a sturdy wheelchair sitting mostly upright. My mom came back. She said the doctor spoke with her and everything went well. Doctor told her I had a surprise bone spur which he removed. She showed on her hand the size indicating from her knuckle to finger tip. So about two inches long and I’m assuming the size of a finger. Wowie. My mom snuck me a subway chocolate cookie. Yum. Mom left to get the car. Nurse wheeled me outside. I managed to get in the car (Honda civic CRV, I named The Silver Fox). It was uncomfortable but not awfully painful. I was able to already put a little weight on my leg.
3 pm – Arrived home. My mom backed the car in so I’d have a closer crutch walk. Slowly carefully managed the stairs. I had anxiety leading up to surgery about the steps, so I was glad at how easily I traversed them. I was able to put light pressure on my foot while stepping with crutches with minimal pain.
3:01 pm – I was totally surprised to find a super cute balloon and bag on my front steps. Totes for sure this was from Anne. She is awesome and so on top of things like this.
3:02 pm – We opened the house door and started to hobble in on crutches. Hamilton was excited and being a bit of an ass. He’s been known to run out the front door when people are coming in, so I try to keep him clear of the door when I come in. On crutches this looks a little different since i can’t push him away w a food. I tried to do this with a crutch and instead accidentally bopped him in the mouth. He was mad for a while. Now avoids the crutches, grimaces and hides when I’m on them coming near him. It’s so funny because he gets a look on his face. He’s fairly expressionless usually.
3:05 pm – I set up shop on the couch. I had planned ahead stocking a tray with chapstick, a notebook, pen, magazines, my current cross-stitch project and a backpack. The backpack was in case I ended up needing to carry something while using my crutches. I also had a notepad where I wrote each of my meds down and recommended dosage. On the second page, I would write the time I took each med as well as the next upcoming times. Then when I take it, I put a check next to it. This helps me plan ahead and stay on schedule. Getting behind on pain meds is not fun. It also makes sure I’m not taking them too often so I don’t run out.
My mom handed me the gift from the front porch which I opened. It had a card that showed it was Jake, Andrew, Anne, Leif and Sammy. They offered to come by and beat my butt at Monopoly Deal. I will definitely be arranging this soon! I love playing Deal! It also came with a book, crossword & sudoku books, amazing Harry & David chocolates. I mean, this was perfect. 🙂
4:40 pm – The afternoon was a little bit of a blur. I was sitting upright on the couch all afternoon. I had bought several new pillows from Target which were on sale for $4 each. Steal! I was really glad I bought extra pillows. My hip was hurting and sore. Around 4, it started a burning feeling so I was able to talk my mom into some Tylenol which really helped. My mom was being a hawk with the pain pills. My dad had an issue with pain meds, so I know she’s worried and just helping me but give me my meds! We discussed the meds and a schedule. I wrote down the times in my notepad. I had to wait until 6 pm for my first pain med. Then she argued that I didn’t also need the Advil. She insisted the Advil was for when I was done with the Tramadol. This is not the case, I won. Looking back as I write this now with a clearer head, they do want you to layer them. My mom was smart and had agreed to let me take the Advil, but staggered it. They’re both one every six hours, so i take one, then the next 3 hours later. Repeat. The reason for the layering is that Advil is more than just pain, it’s anti inflammatory. Anyways, this is a non-issue now. It’s hard to negotiate when your woozy from surgery drugs though haha!
6 pm – pain med time! I took the meds and then went pee. That was not fun. I have a small house. My mom took down a dog door I had up. It keeps the dog out of the back side of the house as well as out of the doggie buffet (aka the litter box). Made it to the bathroom, mom had to help ease me to the toilet. Oof. That hurt. When I made it back, I decided to lay down on the couch. My mom had to help and lift my leg. I found I had less pain if I did dead leg and didn’t try to help. I sat there a bit and realized I need a pillow under my knees. She helped with this too. Oh so much better. Here I was able to chill out and took a little nap while my mom went outside.
~ 7:30 pm – Joe my boyfriend swung by to see how I was doing and spend some time with us. He surprised me with these beautiful flowers and a bag of Cheetos! He’s a keeper, I tell ya! We hung out passing back and forth a crosswords book that Anne had gotten me. It’s something we started on a flight to Chicago at Thanksgiving. We each fill in one and pass it back. My mom would chime in and help if we were stuck on any at the end of a puzzle. She was helping me by taking all the prelit lights off the tree. Seriously, do not buy a prelit tree. They’re great at first but awful when the lights stop working. And the lights are impossible to take off. Joe took off about ten.
10:30 pm – I asked my mom for a sandwich. I really hadn’t eaten anything other than a brothy progressive soup and some of the delicious Harry and David chocolates from Anne. They had chocolate and caramel corn popcorn which I opened immediately. It also had chocolate covered cherries which we opened because my mom likes chocolate covered cherries. I really don’t care from them. Harry and David know what they’re doing though. I never should have doubted them. These were dried cherries covered in chocolate. No syrup. Totally legit! So good! Anyways, enjoyed the sammy. My mom put the pain pills I’d need for the night in a Tupperware. I’m always afraid the dog will get into stuff. I set some alarms for the meds. Used the restroom. Took a Tramadol and went to sleep.
2:30 am Tuesday, January 21 (1 day post op) – Woke up yo my phone buzzing. I’d slept on the couch and set my alarm to vibrate so I wouldn’t wake my mom up. I have a super small 900 square foot house. I was glad I’d managed to comfortably sleep that whole time. Took my Advil and played on my phone.
5:30 am – My phone buzzed again. Time for Tramadol and another nap.
8:15 am Tuesday – woke up to this dude hacking on me. Guess I’m up. My alarm buzzed a few minutes later. Advil time! I hung out and played on my phone until my mom got up a little later.
I crutched to the bathroom. Surprisingly well. Definitely putting more weight on the leg. Felt really good.
My mom spoiled me with scrambled eggs and Dave’s killer bread with peanut butter and jelly. Plus coffee with Bubs MCT Oil. Seriously y’all. So good!
JOI called after breakfast to check in. They seemed very pleased with my progress.
11:25 am Tuesday – as we were headed out the door this beauty was delivered compliments of my friend Jenni! She’s my adventurous hiking friend!
11:30 am Tuesday – We headed out on our first adventure today. This meant I needed to now figure out how to go DOWN steps. I’ve decided if I hang my bad food over the ledge, then put crutches down on lower step, slowly lower bad food down to step, I can then put my good foot down.
As for our adventures, we headed to Home Depot! When we pulled up at the Regency Square location, an employee saw my mom helping me with my crutches and offered to bring me an automatic cart. How fun! So glad I didn’t need to do the whole thing on crutches. We picked up a bunch of stuff as my mom is going to help me with some household projects as well as a shower bar and a shower seat. I have a regular fiberglass tub/shower, so I sprung for the seat that goes over the edge. Talk about adulting! Then we headed back home where I had a lovely lunch of an avocado, black olives and cottage cheese. Took an ibuprofen and now it’s nap time!
~ 8 pm Tuesday – After our Home Depot adventure, I tried to lie down to get some sleep but was unsuccessful. My mom tackled assembling my new shower seat. Wheee. What a chore though. It was quite a lot of work for her.
Tuesday was my first day of at-home physical therapy, so my mom brought in some bricks from outside for me. Essentially I stand with my good leg on the bricks and let my bad leg hang. Then I move the leg in circles, foot forward, to the right, to the back and back to the front. 30 one direction and then switch to 30 the other direction. These weren’t bad and it was good to get it moving around. I’m supposed to do these two times a day.
As for the rest of the evening, we enjoyed a delicious tuna noodle casserole thanks to my friend, Dana, with a side of broccoli and relaxed. I put on Season 1 of Jack Ryan to see if she would like it (she’s read all the books!), but it wasn’t her thing. I haven’t watched Season 2 yet 🤫, so watching the first season again would be fun.
I skipped my 5:30 pm Tramadol pain pill and was fine. I still took it at 11:30 so I could get some solid sleep. I’m still using crutches, but sometimes just one. If I’m in a small space like my bathroom, I’m just VERY carefully hobbling around. I’m still taking the 800 mg of ibuprofen consistently. It seems that’s better for pain than the Tramadol for some reason.
Overall day 2 was a success:
– went on an outing (Home Depot)
– started physical therapy
– started weaning off meds
8 am Wednesday (2 days post op) – Last night I slept in my bed. The night before, I stayed on the couch. I have a really low platform bed which would have been challenging the first night. I’m typically a stomach sleeper, have been since college dorms, so sleep was interesting. I used the extra Target pillows. One under my knees, three for my head. I slept elevated. I was fine for the most part until my butt started getting sore around 5 am. I rolled surprisingly easy onto my left side (good hip). It was when I rolled back onto my back my dumb ass attempted a millimeter leg lift and it felt like my leg ripped off for a second. Not doing that again! Haha
Woke up around 7 am to my cat sleeping on my lap. She kept trying to do this at night when i first laid down but I brushed her away. She was more on my left hip than my right, so it wasn’t bad. I pet her a few times. Then I asked her if she was using her healing powers on me. She sat straight up, paused, gave me a really weird look and ran off. The Egyptians were onto something, so hopefully that’s what she was doing. 🙂
I still used my phone alarm on vibrate throughout the night for meds which helped. I’m going to see if I can not take the Tramadol during the day today and save it for evening at 11:30 pm.
Today is a big day! Two days post-op, I’m supposed to:
– continue standing leg circles a minimum of 2x a day.
– ride my indoor bike a total of 30-minutes. I have a Peloton which I love! The doctor was very pleased when he heard I had one. I’m supposed to ride without resistance with my left leg doing all the work and my right just along for the ride.
– remove bandages. I have one very large bandage that covers the entire surgical area and incisions. I’ll get to remove this and keep it off. Another awesome thing is my Doctor didn’t use traditional stitches, so these will not need to be removed. I’ve read many stories in the Facebook how painful stitch removal can be.
– shower! Yay! I take my first shower after I remove the bandages. I’m supposed to let the warm, soapy water rinse over the bandages, but not supposed to touch or scrub the area. That is fine with me!
To help keep me on track each day, I set up some reminders in Asana. As I get more mobile and busier, it may be easier to “forget” to do some of the physical therapy. So I set two hip circle reminders, one AM, one PM. I also set 3 reminders per day for riding the bike. I need to do 30 min per day, but can break it up however I’d like. Maybe I’ll do all 30 min at one time, maybe not. I’ll have to see how it feels.
So before lunch, I hope to enjoy my coffee, tackle my morning hip circles, watch some Seinfeld (never really seen it other than a few episodes, so it’s my current binge show), and accomplish getting on the bike and riding one ten minute scenic ride. 🤞
11:11 am Wednesday – This morning I made coffee and put away dishes myself. My mom made us breakfast again, and I helped with the dishes after. My mom was heading out to walk Hamilton on a half-mike loop around the neighborhood, so I decided to try riding the bike. I grabbed the crossword book Anne gave me for entertainment.
It was easier to get on the bike than I expected. I’d prepared over the weekend and snapped the shoes on the bike. The plan is to just slip my feet in the shoes. I’m not doing any crazy riding, so I should be fine without “tying” them. (It’s really Velcro, not sure what word you use for that?).
I did two rides. To make sure I could manage, the first was a ten minute scenic ride through Reims, France. As long as I sat up and didn’t put my arms on the handlebars, my hip did ok. I’m to peddle with my left leg and the right just along for the ride. There was a little pain as things loosened up. It was a slow peddle, so things would get tricky when the left peddle would come around to the bottom. I needed to make sure there was enough momentum to carry it around, or my right leg would want to instinctively kick in. Things were a little crunchy, and as long as I kept good form, things seemed to go well.
I did fine on the ten minute ride, so I decided to tackle the 20 minute Oregon coast ride. As you can see from the photos, I had one fail. I forgot to dial the resistance down to zero. Duh! I’ll fix that before tomorrow. The bike seat was a little bothersome. Hope it gets better as I ride consistently. I have swapped it out for a cushier seat, but it’s still annoying. If it still bothers me, I may swap it back to the original Peloton seat. Who knows.
Now I’m back on the couch taking it easy. I’m going to see how that affects my hip. I’m sitting on one ice pack and have another on top of my hip. An ice pack Sammy.
~ 11:30 pm Wednesday – Today was a success! Got my at home PT exercises done, rode the peloton for 30 minutes, removed my bandages and showered. Also got my new washer and dryer delivered. Both stopped working last week, go figure!
I also managed throughout the day with just the 800mg ibuprofen every 6 hours and not the Tramadol. I have an internal clock that reminds me when it’s Advil time. My throat is still irritated from being incubated. When the Advil runs out, I start noticing it more.
Whew. I’m settling in with a nice Tramadol before bed. Tomorrow I hope to work from home and have a chill day. Will still need to do PT and ride the bike though. Hoping tomorrow is another progressive day!
10:00 am Monday, January 27 – I’ve made it one week post surgery! Yay! I’m completely shocked with how much I’ve progressed. I thought I would be stuck to crutches for four whole weeks, but that’s not the case.
At home, I shuffle around without my crutches but keep one near at all times. Sometimes once I stand after sitting a bit, I need a crutch or both to help for the first few steps. It’s as if my hip tightens up a bit, then once I get moving it’s fine.
I’m no longer taking the Tramadol, not even at bedtime. I am still taking the 800 mg Advil, though, not necessarily for pain, but for the anti-inflammatory benefits. A tip I may not have shared earlier, I keep my meds in the original prescription bottles on the counter, but portion out a few at a time (especially to have overnight on the nightstand). I keep these in a Tupperware like this so the dog can’t get into it in case the cat knocks it off the nightstand.
I’ve enjoyed a few nights at home playing card games with my mom and boyfriend, Joe. I even enjoyed some wine over the weekend. It took me a few days to get to this point. The first several nights after the surgery I was just too tired to socialize much.
The dogs are also struggling to stay awake. They are not used to someone being home and so much activity throughout all day.
Hamilton was so tired, he fell asleep ON the table Saturday night. You can see Sydney’s back paw as she hid away on the dog bed to sleep.
I ventured out on Sunday for my first outing! I took Hamilton to the dog park and to brunch with my friend, Jenni. He loved it!
I’m still working hard on my physical therapy doing leg circles two times a day.
I’m also riding the Peloton bike for 30 minutes a day. I took a photo of the shoes. I leave the shoes clipped into the pedals. I don’t even snap the shoes to my feet, I just slip my feet into the shoes and start slowly riding away. I’m not going very fast, so this works just fine.
At this point, my next major milestone will be my first doctor visit post op which is this Friday. At that point, I expect to be released to begin physical therapy next week! Can’t wait!
Friday, January 31, 12 days post surgery – Finally has my post-op surgery appointment. My brother, who was visiting, drove me to the appointment.
I used one crutch to walk in. Dr. Freeman saw me walking down the hall and smiled. To see your doctor visibly pleased with your progress is pretty cool.
Before the doctor came in, I did a quick mental recap of talking points I was hoping we could discuss so I wouldn’t forget anything. 4 things. Crutches, PT, leg lifting and pain review. The first two are fairly obvious. The third, leg lifting refers to the lack of strength I’m noticing. A good way to explain it is sitting in a chair at a table. I can lift my good leg and touch my knee to the underside of the table, essentially lifting my leg up. I ask my surgical right leg to do this and it barely budges. That’s a little concerning in that something that happens so easily with the one leg barely exhibits a response. The fourth item is random pain as I occasionally still have sharp pain in my hip near my “no no” area. (Inner thigh). I also have pain along the back near the middle of my glute.
The doctor came in, started off by saying, “well let’s go over the good news first…” pulled some X-rays up on the screen of my hip joint before and after surgery. This showed the pincer before and after and the amount of bone he removed.
He then went over pictures from during surgery. He spent time showing the torn labrum and progress of the repair.
He asked me questions of my pain levels. The chairs in the rooms at JOI are absolute trash, so I was mostly standing the entire visit with the crutch up against the wall. I explained I was no longer taking any meds, I was biking daily and doing the hip circles. That I was using one crutch to get around and no crutch around the house for small movements. I asked him about the lack of upward mobility and he said that would resolve with time on its own and at physical therapy. I mentioned the pain in the glute and said I assume that’s because you messed around in there? He responded “yes I was all up in there and everywhere around. That pain is normal and can be caused when blood starts to pool in an area” uh…yuck.
He said that things looked great, said I could ditch the crutches, I should start physical therapy soon, and I can now sleep however I prefer given I had no pain. As a stomach sleeper, yay!
I was handed a packet that is their physical therapy game plan. It’s kinda cool that I can see what exercises I will be doing and how everything will progress in difficulty over the next eight weeks. After my appointment, I went downstairs to JOI’s rehab and immediately scheduled my first physical therapy appointment.
I walked out of the building on both legs carrying my crutch. What a great feeling!
JOI San Marco has a huge parking garage where the bottom floor is mostly empty. I took the opportunity here to do a little test drive. I did fine do I drove a few blocks in the residential area to a friend’s house where I needed to pickup a yard sign. Once here, my brother and I swapped so he could drive.
We were headed to Target next and that involved hopping on the highway. I felt great driving, but better safe than sorry. From here, we went to Target and walked all over looking for a few things we needed. I did really well pain free throughout the store.
It wasn’t until a few hours later my brother mentioned how the doctor brought up discussing the good news first, but never went over any bad news… I’m hoping this was just doctor humor! 😳