I had a total hip replacement 5 weeks ago. I had an excellent surgeon, and I no longer have any pain in my hip. So I'm really glad I had it done, even though having to deal with all the restrictions is hard - especially since I feel so good.
I have experienced a couple of strange things, though - and I wondered if anyone else has had similar experiences.
When I had the THR, I had a spinal - and then they gave me something to put me to sleep. Well, I am a very light sleeper, and I kind of woke up during the surgery. Pretty much out of it, but very aware of what was going on. Actually, I think the noise woke me up. I heard the saw, then I heard the tapping. I had done a lot of research about the operation beforehand, so I knew exactly what they were going to be doing, so I wasn't frightened - I just found it really interesting. I could tell I was totally numb from the waist down, and I can remember thinking - oh, I know what they're doing now... I don't know if the anesthesiologist put me back to sleep, or what, but I don't remember waking up in the recovery room, or even being brought to my hospital room. Except for that brief period of time, I was totally out.
The other strange thing I experienced was something the physical therapist referred to as "butt drop". Evidently when they were putting me on the operating table, my doctor noticed that I had no - or very little - support from the muscles in my butt. When I went to a rehab center, when they first were having me start to do some physical therapy, I couldn't even lift my right leg an inch off of the table. I was so frustrated I just burst out in tears. Now that I am no longer putting all my weight over to my left side (supporting myself with a cane) to try and minimize the pain I was having in my right hip, I am distributing my weight more evenly, and the right side is starting to regain some of its strength. In getting there, though, I have had some horrible muscle spasms in my right butt (the therapist said it is probably the piriformis, judging from where the spasm is originating from, and how deep it is).
My doctor says these are all things that will disappear with time - that I just need to obey the rules about bending, twisting, etc., and walk, walk, walk. Right now my right hip feels like it has a mind of its own - I don't have good control over the muscles yet - but it is improving very well.
Have any of you had similar experiences during and after your total hip replacement surgery? I am just curious.
Last edited by Tori60; 11-10-2008 at 09:31 AM.
Reason: wrong word (drop not droop)
Had muscle spasms in the front inside of thigh from the time I woke up after surgery regular like labor until my primary care physician told me to take my Xanax as often as I needed till I got through this. I had been afraid to take more than one a night. Then when PT started the second week, the spasms began to diminish.
Also, I could not lift the sugery leg up off the table by myself either. This quickly improved with PT. Am 15 weeks post surgery and can get around better than before the surgery but still not good at the walking we are supposed to do. Lots of discomfort in my lower back kicks in if I walk much and I think it is from arthritis in that area. Just do what I can and hope it is enough. OS does not seem concerned about it.
Hand in there, all will get better.
It sounds like you went through a lot of the things I am going through now. My surgeon also did not seem concerned - said I was healing beautifully. When I told him about the different things I was experiencing, he said they were all normal responses to the surgery and that they would go away (or get better) with time.
I guess I understand that now, and even after only being 5 weeks post-op, I also feel much better than I did before the operation. I am mostly walking on my own now. I'm not using a walker anymore and pretty much keep a cane with me just for security - in case I start to stumble or get dizzy or something like that. I don't have a lot of stamina yet - I get pretty tired sometimes and then I seem to ache all over (mostly in my back and hip area - and that's when I get the muscle spasms, but not until I lay down to relax). I definitely need my cane when I get tired like that. So I know I'm getting better all the time, and that this is all going to be definitely worth it.
I did a lot of research about how the operation was going to be performed, what precautions I would have to take, etc., but no where did I run across anything that described physically what I might experience after the surgery. Muscle spasms, numbness in my thigh, swelling, unstable emotions, and lots of other little things were never mentioned. So I have been totally ignorant about the different things that have come up. I don't like that. If I am aware that this or that may happen, and that it is a normal response to surgery and will go away as I heal, I wouldn't feel anxious about it. But that's me - I want to know everything. I don't understand why they don't cover that in all the literature and web sites I have seen. I even went to a patient education class sponsored by the hospital, and they didn't talk about it either. I understand that every body is going to heal differently, but they could list all the different things that may happen - and if your particular symptom is on the list, you would know that it is simply a normal response to healing. Maybe I'm being naive. This is the first time I've gone through any major surgery, so I simply have not known what is related to the surgery and is quite normal. I think they could offer some better education on that. I don't like not understanding something.
I'm going back to work on the 17th, and I guess I just need to accept that things are not going to be quite the same as before my operation. Many things will be better, but there will be some things (like my stamina) that may be different - at least for a while. I have a very understanding boss, though, and so I don't anticipate that being a problem.
Thanks for your input. It helps to know I am experiencing the same things that other people have experienced, and that it is nothing to worry about. What is it they say? Something like time heals all wounds. I guess that's really true.
Just wondered if you had read the "stickies" at the top? There are lots of different reactions to the surgery and you will find that everyone is different and yet alike. You may be pushing yourself to go back to work so soon- only you will know that. I have found that age seems to make a difference with the recovery time. Just sort of come to that conclusion from reading all the different things here and on another support group.
Hi. I went back to work after 6 weeks off and really did ok. I was tired at the end of the day but not wiped out. It was manageable. I found that it really helped to have a reacher in the office because I drop lots of stuff. Now I can bend using some modifications to my stance to pick stuff off the floor, but I still find the reacher handy. Now, my coworkers borrow it from me. I also got a nice pillow that I used the first two weeks or so for very low chairs or our very uncomfortable, non-ergonomic conference room chairs. I have very few restrictions now and they don't bother me very much. I still am very conscious of bending and don't violate 90 degree rule. I bend down and pick up things the way the PT showed me to do it. And I'm very conscious at work, gym and home about not letting operated leg go past the midline and conscious about not twisting hip, etc. I was released to go to the gym at about 8 weeks and told to be careful about some abduction exercises, twisting, going past midline, etc. Also was told not to use mechanized equipment for cardio--nothing that could throw me off...so I do cardio on bike with seat raised high enough to avoid violating 90 degree rule or, more often use elliptical machine. Otherwise, I can do almost anything at the gym. Dr. wants me to wait a little longer before riding my mountain bike, but assures me I will be able to do it soon. I'm currently at 13 weeks post surgery.
So, hang in there. It will get better and life isn't restricted too badly for too long.
Thanks, "guys". This is my 6th week off and so I will be returning to work on the 7th week. I guess only time will tell as to whether it is too soon or not - but if I get too tired I will just go home or take a quick nap in my car to revitalize myself.
Yesterday I had a busy day - I was out and about all day but didn't really do a lot of walking, and I felt OK but tired - but tonight when I went to bed I woke up a couple of hours later with a terrible butt ache. I guess it was the gluteus maximus muscle from what I could tell. I did some stretching to try and work out the kinks, but that didn't work too well, so after about 2 hours I took a muscle relaxant and now its better. It seems I can only sleep about 2-3 hours at a time before I start to stiffen up.
I think both of your reminders that everybody is going through pretty much the same thing is a good thing to remember. I know I've got to have patience (not my biggest virtue), and look forward to the end results. But I've been pretty much isolated over the last few weeks, which can really screw with your mind - especially when you don't know anyone else who has gone through this. That's why I looked for a forum. It helps to talk it out with people who understand.
I found it interesting that you (Larimergirl) took a reacher and pillow to work. That is exactly what I was planning to do. I've found at home that sitting on a pillow at my computer (I use a memory pillow) makes it much more comfortable, and I will be doing a lot of sitting at work. I know it's not a good idea to stay in one position for too long, so I've decided to try setting a "reminder" on Outlook for every hour to remind me to get up and take about a 5 minute break - walk to the restroom or something - anything to get me moving around for a few minutes. Otherwise, knowing me, I can get involved in a project and 3-4 hours could go by before realizing it, and I know I'd be really stiff and sore when I got up.
Also, I'm going to try to get a 20-25 minute walk in at lunchtime. My doctor is a big believer in walking to regain strength and stamina (everyone at the hospital knows him well, and they all said the same thing - that he just says "walk, walk, walk" when asked about therapy) - and now that I can move again without pain, I also have a lot of weight to lose. I know I'll have to work up to the 25 minutes - otherwise I'm sure my weak muscles will go into spasm - but that's my goal.
Thanks for your feedback.
(The "60" is my age. I turned 60 just 2 days before my surgery. I told everyone that I was getting my new hip for my birthday - what else could I get that was so personal and special and something that I could keep right with me for just about forever? I got a lot of weird looks, but I've found that having a sense of humor really helps pull you through difficult times.)
One additional note--When my hip and/or lower back starts to bother me--as they do if I walk a lot--I use an ice pack, 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. Ice always helps me with aches, pains and spasms. So, you might want to try that. My doctor said the same thing about therapy--just walk. I insisted on one session with a PT when I was released to go back to the gym to make sure I really knew how to get up and down properly, and how to modify certain exercises, etc. It was more a hand holding session than anything else--the PT asked me what I was afraid to do and then showed me how to do it. Dr. had told me the same things, but telling and showing are two different things. I needed to see how it was done and try getting down on floor etc with somone watching.