Friday, October 07, 2016
Okay, this is hard, painful, discouraging and completely exhausting, and yet I'm very happy to be getting through it. I'm one week past my hip joint replacement surgery and am actually doing pretty darn well. It's been a rollercoaster for a couple weeks. I had to use all my courage to face down a very scary surgery.
First off, if you're looking at joint replacement surgery good for you. I'm sure you've carefully considered the implications of a drastic, life changing surgery. If you know someone heading into any kind of joint replacement please listen up. Do not tell your friend not to be scared, bullshit! What's not scary about having the top of your leg sawn off and a gigantic metal prosthesis shoved down into the bone? If you're not scared you're either nuts or taking way too many pain pills already.
Don't tell them they should do this method or that method. Save your wikipedia medical knowledge for when you're playing a doctor at Halloween. If you've had the Anterior method I'm glad it's working for you. Do not tell me that I'll be sorry if I don't do it your way and that I should pack my bags and travel to another state to have this done. Really? Are you gonna take care of me while I'm there? I'm smart and I have a background in the medical field. At 20 I was sticking needles in people, dispensing meds, checking iv's, suctioning trachea's, changing dressings on brain surgery patients and ever since then I've read Medical Journals for fun. I know where to find information. I know what a good study is and what's a bogus bunch of crap. I've talked to several docs and gotten info from the source. I also don't have time to interview 12 doctors. I want the doc who is so busy putting new joints in people that he doesn't have time to waste. Yeah, him...
Don't blather on about how this is done everyday and that this is the easiest of the joint replacement surgeries, again, see above, cut top of leg bone off....
Do tell them that you're proud of them for being courageous enough to want to take their life back. Courage is being afraid but doing it anyway. Do tell them that you'll be there to listen to them cry at 11pm at night when they just can't face another night of pain. Do stop in to visit if they are ready, bring some lunch and a cookie. Do send them a text once a day just to check in. Do offer to bring some tasty tidbit for late night snacking. Do keep them in the friend/family loop, so they have something to look forward to.
Do not bring them the latest fad from the local witch doctor. Do you know exactly how that herbal interacts with the combination of opiods and beta blockers and salicylic acids? Just don't, really.
Do remind them that the end product has to be better than the constant, endless pain and missing out on activities they love.
Because sometimes it's a bit hard to see around the big fat elephant of pain and loss and fear that sits on your chest late at night, the endless loop of...ouch, is my leg warm, is that a blood clot forming, ouch, damn, have to get up and pee again, dammit - ouch - fuck - hurt, can I have more pain pills, have my bowels packed a suitcase and gone to China, oh no - I'm getting a cramp in my foot, my foot is cold, is that a blood clot, ouch - shit - ow, no - don't move like that, back hurts now, hmmm - drugs are working, did I take too much, am I gonna sleep or quit breathing, oh man - wish I could sleep on this incision, ouch - ow - really - ow, no crossing legs, will I ever walk normally again, what color pads should I buy for my crutches, eek - holy shit - now it's the shooting nerves, I'm thirsty, pondering moving vs a mouth a camel pooped in....ouch, ouch, ouch...
I did it, it's done and gratefully I have the best caregiver imaginable, loving and giving and wrapping me up in big old hugs, teasing me out of my mini Pity Parties, rubbing my sore legs, feeding me, bathing me, just caring in incredible ways, being there in every way. I could not do this without him, my rock.
And all the fine people who make my life such a rich tapestry, checking in on me and being so giving of their love and time.
I'm so glad I did it. I can't wait to get back to hiking my beloved trails. This will be harder and longer than I imagined, but that's okay, the end product will be the same, less pain and more fun.