I’m back! Yes, it has been a long time. Some sadness, joy, lots of exploring and adventures since I last posted. The latest news is that I had hip replacement surgery on December 27, 2016. So, I will no longer be running or entering races yet for now the focus of this blog will not change. The mantra remains the same: Keep moving! I believe that is the secret to a healthy and happy lifestyle!
Since many of you have asked, let me share the hip surgery experience with you and offer some suggestions if you should ever have the need for this course of action. A few years ago on a walk around downtown San Francisco, I felt my right leg give out and I experienced the worst pain. I couldn’t fathom what had happened and just chalked it up to another running injury. Once I determined where my hip actually was (don’t laugh!), I decided it was out of alignment and had a few visits to the chiropractor. But, it wasn’t getting better – time for a doctor’s visit – and the x-ray machine. Verdict: acute arthritis and I was suddenly on the short list for hip replacement. But you know me – I thought “I can beat this”. I stopped running (last race was the SF Giants 5K, August 2015), went to PT and diligently did all the exercises; to no avail. The pain was increasing and now occurring during the night – it wasn’t getting better. Several people I know had waited too long and were in constant pain and on narcotics for months before their surgery. This, I didn’t want (first words of wisdom: don’t wait until pain is unbearable – surgery dates are often months out). I called the orthopedic surgeon and set the date for December.
My health plan is with Kaiser and they require a class taught by a physical therapist prior to surgery as their philosophy is to minimize your time in the hospital. In this class I was given more exercises to do prior to surgery – DO THEM CONSISTENTLY (more words of wisdom) especially the arm exercises. The exercises are simple ones, but you will be amazed after surgery how important they are. I also recommend supplementing the arm exercises with weights and walk/hike as much as you are able. Be in the best shape you can.
You will need a walker, cane and raised toilet seat. I bought a sock assist tool – I could have never gotten my socks on otherwise. Think in terms of pants that you can get on/off easily and are loose fitting (you will be swollen and bruised). I recommend pajama bottoms as the clothing of choice when you leave the hospital. I also bought a couple of pairs of scrub pants (KOI brand through Amazon) as they are roomy with lots of pockets. I did not take my knitting or a book to the hospital as I thought I would be drugged and sleeping – big mistake! I was extremely alert, exercising with a PT hours after surgery (including stairs) and in need of entertainment. I could not eat the hospital food; if possible arrange for some food to be brought to you – essentials for me were green smoothies, Gatorade and chewing gum.
My recovery was fast (I attribute this to being in fairly decent shape and doing all the exercises several times a day)- I went home the next morning; took no narcotics once I left the hospital and was out walking around the block four days after surgery and back at work on the 15th day. Since my leg was swollen and bruised, I did take internal arnica with the permission of my doctor. I applaud Kaiser for their efficiency and their home health care (physical therapists) for their expertise which definitely kept me on track. I was overly cautious not to dislocate the hip since I tend to move quickly though I am told that is very rare. I read 7 books in two weeks.
On a final note, be prepared for anything you touch to fall to the ground taunting you to pick it up. Seriously, anything. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? I thank my friends, Linda and Gary, for sharing their experiences with me; their information was invaluable.
Any questions, please ask. I would love this forum to be a way of learning, sharing and networking with each other as we navigate our course in life. Here’s to new beginnings……….. Be kind!
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