Tag Archives: Surgery

Choosing a different Street

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Street

It has been some time since I last wrote, and much has happened in that time. I felt quite low after the dislocations in October 2015 and was waiting for some surgery to revise the failed hip and make life better again. Sadly this was not to be.

At the end of February 2016, almost a year to the day, and once my blood pressure reduced to an acceptable level, I had revision surgery on my left hip. Unfortunately the wound did not heal and 10 days later I was taken to hospital with a serious joint infection. I was in hospital almost a month with e coli mutations and on IV antibiotics through a PICC line. Low Hb meant doing further surgery was difficult.

It was April, and after a month of IV antibiotics at home and daily dressing changes for a copiously weeping wound with 4 sinuses, I went back into hospital for a Girdlestone procedure where the hip joint was removed completely. My surgeon put in a spacer to still give me a joint, but unfortunately this dislocated before I even got out of bed post x ray 48 hours later. Also, there were Gentomycin beads to try to target the infection. We looked forward to three months later when, hopefully, all would be well and a new joint put in.

In this time I kept quite optimistic and we even went as far as to book a holiday cottage which was wheelchair friendly. My bedroom had been moved downstairs to my office (The Growlery) and I had the company of my husband and mother-in-law for much of the late spring and early summer.

This also did not turn out as planned. Another sinus resurfaced and at the end of August I returned to hospital with a whole new set of infections in the joint – Klebsiela and Strep B. and another lengthy stay following surgery to remove the dislocated spacer and remaining beads – those that had not exploded all over our hall floor the night before, resulting in yet another trip in an ambulance. This time we had to cancel our holiday and I fell back into the black hole.

We hoped for three months of infection free and antibiotic free from the end of November, when the IV antibiotics finally stopped again and a promised date for surgery to put another new hip in and get mobile again. This is also not to be. I have little bone, tissue and no adductor muscle left after the many surgeries to clean out this joint. My surgeon is cautious at this stage about the increased risks of infection with no muscle protection, the difficulties of surgery and the possibilities of things going wrong at my (tender!!) age. He wants to do a biopsy to find out why fluid is yet again building up in that space, but won’t attempt a new joint again for at least another three months. This is the fourth lot of three months we are waiting.

Perhaps three months seems a sensible time for him to think we can wait. However, this time we are holding out little hope for anything being done anytime soon. Hopes being dashed so many times have left us all drained. So, with that in mind there are two choices. Go back down the same road and risk falling into the same black hole again, or choose a different road.

I think a new street, with different views is in order. Maybe it is a road I continue to take in a wheelchair. If so, then we need to find a house I can access on my own and not be confined to bedroom, living room and kitchen. I can’t even get in a shower without my husband – and that is in the downstairs guest room – and haven’t seen the upstairs of my own house since April last year. I need to live somewhere where I can get out on my own, with no steps and no need to be lifted in and out, so completely reliant again on my husband. He is at work 27 miles away full time, so a lot of time is spent alone. I have businesses I can partly run online, so will concentrate on those parts. I will try to write every day and maybe one day have the courage to write the books that I have thought of for so long. I will look for holiday cottages that have wheelchair access so we can go away together this year. It may not be Italy as we hoped and it may be booked the weekend we go – just in case! – but it is part of the plan.

So this new street has estate agent windows to look into, travel agents, books to read and research, people to talk to online and anything else that will help me lift my mood and look forward to my life as it is now.

The Owl and the Pussycat

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I’ve just heard today about a distant in law family member who had hip resurfacing 12 1/2 years ago and says it has been the best thing for him so far. I’ve also heard from another lady I contacted yesterday who had some problems with the muscle coming away from the bone post op and having to have further surgery – and found that she is finally improving too. All good news generally.

The resurfacing procedure will not take away the top of the femur just yet, so long as it is good condition. This will leave it intact for future revision and full replacement, which will hopefully be the case. However, I also heard today that anti-inflammatory tablets over a long period of time will soften the bone. In addition I know there is osteoporosis in my family in addition to the osteoarthritis I have apparently inherited so it is quite possible my surgeon is going to get in there and find my bones are falling to bits. Let’s hope not though!

I suppose this first hip will at least give us a very good idea about how the next op and recovery will go and also then I will find the knee replacement easier. I’m told there is a better success rate with hips and more obvious improvement altogether, and so more motivation to carry on. 

I’ve bought heat packs. I know summer is supposed to be coming up – but it’s cold, wet and windy again. My husband is going to have a fit when he realises the heat pack covers are an owl and a pussycat. I’ve also been looking at walking sticks – I quite like the green and silver with ivy growing up it. Difficult to make a wheel chair look pretty though – but also buying or borrowing one of these might be the only way of getting out of the house and avoiding cabin fever!

Measuring the height of furniture this weekend! I know how to have fun smiley wink

Sunshine on a rainy day

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I’ve found a website http://www.patient.co.uk/forums/discuss/browse/hip-replacement-1109There are loads of people there who have been in my position looking towards and working through their first hip replacement.

I must admit, I was a little doubtful about searching the internet for other’s stories in case I found things that were going to terrify rather than inspire. There are some stories that concern, and certainly my greatest fear just now is the new joint dislocating. There are also people talking about 12 week or more recovery rather than the 6 I’d expected, but I guess it is an ongoing thing. I am reading about major muscle being cut to do the operation, which i suppose I should have realised before, and how long it takes for that to heal. There is a lady who works with horses talking about how long it takes horses to heal after muscle, tendon and ligament damage, so I wonder why I would expect a human to take less time.

However, on the whole most experiences are very positive. Many people write about choosing resurfacing rather than replacement because of their age. The joint replacement will need to be replaced and so it is easier to replace a resurfaced hip rather than revise a replacement. It is apparently the same operation pretty much, without the head of femur as yet removed, just resized to fit a metal head and a metal cup fitted into the socket. A lot of these though have gone into surgery for resurfacing and come out with a complete replacement because, once work had begun, the bone crumbled anyway. I know I have been asked to consent to both and the decision will actually be made during surgery.

Most people say that, other than the night of surgery, they  no longer have any pain. They expect what they have had for so many years and find there is nothing. They are talking of a new lease of life, and being back and work and doing things they haven’t done in years.

So – some rays of sunshine, and that applies to today’s weather too! smiley happy