I am 49 (just turned in May) and an ex-dancer... injured myself in high school at 16 when I fell out of a flying split on linoleum tile and landed right on my left joint, cracking the head of the femur. Of course, at the time, I had no idea how bad I had injured myself, only that it hurt like mad, and I couldn't sit properly (on the left side of my bumm) for six months.
FF to 2001. I had been running for 4 years (nothing big, about a mile a day), and was driving a 5-speed Jeep Wrangler. Every once in a while, my front left hip flexor would hurt. A few years later the regularity of that would increase, and a few years later, I developed piriformis syndrome on my left side. Had some x-rays taken in the fall of 2006. Both radiologist and first orthopedic surgeon saw nothing except outline of cycsts on the left joint.
Pain began to worsen (especially in bad weather and low barometric pressure.) PCP sent me to a different orthopedic surgeon because the first one was out having surgery himself (for which I will be forever thankful!)
New Ortho Doc took one look at my x-rays and said, "hmm... this shadow over here on the top of your left femur looks like it could be necrosis. Do you have your MRI slides with you?"
ME: "I haven't had an MRI."
Doc: "You're having one tomorrow."
(I am on an HMO and have the BEST medical group on the PLANET! Any of my Drs want an approval for something - they BLINK it into existence like Jeannie! (Frak, I'm old!)
MRI showed two hairline fractures at the top of the femur - which had taken 30 years to slow the blood flow down and kill the top of the bone. I've since been told my case is very rare since AVN rarely effects just one hip.
Doc said - "whenever you're ready, let's do it. You want to wait, fine, you want to do it tomorrow, fine." At first, I thought I'd wait until the end of the year after a trip DH and I had planned to go to the UK, then in February we took some friends to Disneyland and had an OMG moment. I'm an ex-employee, so I knew that walking the distances we were going to would not be easy. I went out and bought a folding cane. I really had to battle my ego and convince myself I was HOT BABE with cane, not old woman with cane. Once I got over my pathetic ego - and began using the cane regularly, 90% of my pain subsided.
I also realized I didn't want to be dragging my bumm all over Heathrow with a cane so we postponed the trip and I scheduled my surgery.
My surgery: minimally invasive, anterior approach on the Magic Ski Boot table. Implant is non cemented, titanium stem with ceramic ball - titanium with polymer lining cup. Surgery was a week ago today at 7:30am. Procedure took 3 hours. I opted for full anesthesia not an epidural. I didn't leave the bed that day, and was on a morphine drip with catheter (small slice of Heaven until everything makes you itch.) Thursday I got out of bed still attached to all my accouterment on a walker. Later on my wound drains were taken out.
Incision runs from the front point of my hip bone at an angle to the side about 4". (Must find some sexy tribal tattoo to cover in a year.) All stitches are subcutaneous and I have liquid stitches covering the length of incision. (Blessed is the shower.)
Friday I was detached from everything, put on oral pain meds. PT in the morning I got out on a walker - successfully went to the restroom, sitting normally, no problem bending 90 degrees - woohoo! Afternoon graduated to a cane. Made such an impression on staff that Doc came over and said, "I heard you were running up and down the halls on a CANE! Want to go home?" HECK YEAH!
Since I got home Friday night:
Have been on Norco (10mg Hydrocodone/325 acetaminophen) every four hours - yes I need it - more on that in a minute. Also have learned to give myself a shot of Lovenox every morning (HUGE for me, since I can't stand needles.) Also taking a stool softener Rx.
Use walker to get out of bed with usually.
Use cane to get up and down stairs.
Beyond that I can walk without assistance, just taking it slow and concentrating on correcting my gait. My left leg had so deteriorated that it being shorter than my right leg felt normal. Now that they're even, the left leg seems longer - so I have to really concentrate on not walking with a limp, which means using different muscles in my right leg as well.
Was horribly constipated until Monday night. The stool softener they gave me didn't do ANYTHING. I normally drink Chinese Mallow tea every night. I went back to that and now all is well.
Also learned to sleep on my back - trying to get on my side with body pillow, but still too painful.
I have had one visit from a PT on Monday, and she is coming again today to show me exercises.
I do not have the pressure stockings. No one has even mentioned them to me. I did wake up from surgery with the inflatable leg massagers which were awesome at first (when I had freshly shaven legs) but became unbearably itchy and sweaty within 24 hours.
I have more pain at night than during the day. I can feel my piriformis muscle tightening up to protect the trauma the joint has undergone, and it's pinching my sciatic nerve - not fun. The joint is tight, and bruised (nothing was cut, everything was moved and stretched so no surprise there.) It's just frustrating to read about people throwing away their pain meds immediately when they get home, but the people I know who've done that had major THR and were not putting any weight on the implant right away... so maybe I have to give myself a break.
I am icing it three to four times a day. This helps a lot.
At night I am taking one tylenol with my Norco to calm the pain.
Every day I discover new flexibility. I've been told the only restriction I have (for now) is no lotus position - basically do not get my left foot higher that my left knee if left foot is above right knee.
I drove Monday 1 mile to pharmacy (in between pain meds) to pick up the rest of my Lovenox (11 days total.)
I'm hoping I can be off pain meds for a few hours Friday day - have a hair appt! Very important!