Today marks the two-week period since Henry Warner’s operation. It is my plan to continue posting on the subject of my hip resurfacing weekly, or less frequently, as I continue to recover.
Several major milestones occurred this past week. The dressing came off on Day 8 and the wound looked “good”. That is, there was no bleeding, oozing or any other nasty thing happening. The bruising around the incision had disappeared by around Day 7, so all-in-all the incision looked healthy. It did look ugly, though! Kind of the classic Franken-hip look.
I switched pretty much to just using a cane around Day 11. As of Day 13, I am even walking around with no aid of any sort. Admittedly I walk slowly and tend to favor the operated leg, but a big part of that is just mental. There is absolutely no feeling of stress or pain on the hip when I step onto the operated leg, but my mind sort of “cringes” a bit in the anticipation that something painful might occur. Strangely enough, my knee and thigh are actually more sore than the hip. This is not abnormal, per Dr. Pritchett. I have to force myself to consciously walk smoothly and normally, which I can then do. I am definitely trying to not be too aggressive. I am taking everything one day at a time and advancing as I feel comfortable.
My routine continues to be that I go for a two mile walk in the morning, ice my hip and leg, rest a bit in the afternoon, then do an easy thirty minute spin on my bicycle trainer in the late afternoon. I am bicycling with very low resistance and a slow, comfortable cadence. By the end of the session I am sweating noticeably, which I interpret as a good sign that I am hopefully getting at least a little bit of a cardio workout. I also ice after the bicycling and again later in the evening while on my recliner. On average, I am icing at least three times a day.
While I do not feel any pain while walking or riding, my operated leg does tend to “ache” towards the end of the day. It is hard to describe the feeling. I tend to get a little relief from the aching by standing up and trying to stretch my quadricep and hamstring, but these do not give total relief. Usually I go to bed with the leg aching, but it feels fine in the morning. Maybe it is just getting tired at the end of a long day.
I continue to take only aspirin and acetaminophen, usually twice a day. However, today, on Day 14, I took two acetaminophen tablets in the morning, but no aspirin. At dinner time, though I took two tablets of each (500 mg and 325 mg). I am taking the aspirin at least once a day to make sure I continue on the blood thinning that I am supposed to be doing for the first month.
On Day 12 I actually went for a short drive. The biggest challenge was just getting into the car and behind the steering wheel. Actually operating the gas pedal and brake (an automatic) was no challenge. Luckily Dr. Pritchett cleared me to drive today (Day 14), so I am good to go – ha, ha!
My two-week checkup with Dr. Pritchett went well. I walked to the X-ray room unassisted and Mario, the technician, asked if this was my first post-op visit. I said it was. He remarked that I was walking “remarkably well” and that I was “in the top 10%” of people he has seen at this stage. While that sounded encouraging, I figured that he probably sees a lot of older folks who have had total hip replacements, so it’s not like the sample group consists of young Olympic athletes. But nevertheless, I can’t complain. I definitely feel much better in general than I did the first few days after the operation!
My actual session with Dr. Pritchett followed next. As soon as he entered the room I walked over to him and shook his hand. I told him that I wanted to congratulate him on a job well done, as I was feeling pretty good and healing nicely. From the expression on his face, I think I caught him by surprise, but he quickly warmed up. He basically said if I was feeling good, he had no questions for me. Luckily I came prepared with a list of questions, or the session would have been over. Suffice it to say, if you are meeting with Dr. Pritchett make sure you come well prepared with your list of questions.
We reviewed my hip X-rays and I told him that I had read that everyone asks what their “angle” is. He confirmed this and proceeded to pull out a protractor that he keeps next to the screen. As I watched him maneuver the protractor I asked him what he was using for a reference line. It quickly became clear that where he was spotting the protractor was somewhat of a judgment call. He confirmed this too, then pronounced that my “angle” was somewhere between 35 and 40 degrees. As I have read elsewhere, he confirmed that this was a favorable angle range and that anything around 50 degrees or higher was bad. He said mine “looked good”. Watching him measure my angle, though, left me skeptical of other blog postings where people have published their angle measurement to the tenth of a degree.
I also asked him about my other hip, which he had stated did not look too healthy during our initial consultation meeting. He pointed out on the X-ray that I still had some separation and the hip was not as bad as my operated hip, but that it was not a “good hip”. I asked him how long it might be before I needed to do something. He joked that he was pretty good at predicting the past, but not too good at predicting the future.
I left with a prescription for physical therapy (twice a week for 4 to 6 weeks), and an appointment to see Dr. Pritchett again in two months. All in all, Henry Warner is pretty satisfied with where he is at two weeks!