So... you’re probably all wondering how I am coping with my new status as a bionic woman?! Ten days ago I was wheeled into the orthopaedic unit at Warwick hospital to be put out of my month long misery with a collapsed hip. The previous night, ironically, had been the worst night I had experienced in a long time. As I wasn’t able to take any pain relief before going in, I was in utter agony with not only my hip but every joint in my body. It was excruciating pain, pain I hadn’t felt in a while. I think the anxiety of going for the operation maybe had something to do with it but all I can say is I’ve never been happier to get to hospital and finally move things along.
The morning seemed to go very, very slowly. Waiting and hoping for a doctor to come along and tell me it was ‘time’ was a bit like hell. Of course, still being in RA agony didn’t help. I was uncomfortable, exhausted and frightened. However, I was lucky to have the boy with me, comforting me with comic stories and conversations to keep my mind off things. I don’t know what I would have done without him that morning to be honest.
Finally, when my bed was ready three hours after I arrived (Joys of NHS wards); it wasn’t long before I was taken to theatre to make friends with the anaesthetist and his crew. There seemed to be about ten people in the room and I didn’t have a clue what they were there for. They checked, and checked again, that they knew which hip to replace. The funniest thing is that the giant black arrow on the correct leg wasn’t a clue enough for them (I suppose I should be grateful that they were thorough).
Everything was a bit of a blur from that point on, understandably as I was pumped full of drugs to ensure I didn’t have front row tickets to my hip being dismantled (not a show I would pay to see). I do remember waking in the recovery room where I, now what’s the word... oh yes, I ‘flipped out’ and the doctors didn’t know what to do as I was about to ruin their fine work by rolling off the gurney. So I was then put back to sleep to relieve my panic. I don’t really remember why I panicked, I suppose it was just the confusion of waking up and feeling something was different about my hip and there were ten masked medical people staring over me. That’s enough to creep anyone out.
Anaesthetic is a wonderful thing. It leaves you hovering in a dream land where you feel pretty much nothing. When it starts to wear off, you then get a whopping dose of morphine for your troubles so really, I am surprised I even knew my own name that day. I don’t recall who came to visit that night after the surgery, I just know I wasn’t alone and that was enough for me. Blurry shapes held my hand and stroked my forehead but to be fair they could have been anyone and I wouldn’t have noticed. But I knew deep down, underneath the druggy fog, that it was my family who were there to make sure I was OK. I was strapped to some kind of triangle to ensure I didn’t move my hip out of place and there seemed to be a forest of other machinery around me... oxygen tanks, for which I had a mask over my face to try and clear the anaesthetic fog, obs machines to ensure my stats were ok, leg brace type things to keep the blood pumping in my lower legs to stop me from getting clots and other things that I couldn’t tell you their purpose.
Through all the machinery and drugs though, I knew I was going to be ok, I knew I was safe. The best part was that I knew my hip was better already over the next few days. Yes, I still felt pain, but it was a different kind of pain as the pain killers became weaker. It was sore and achy but nothing like the stabbing, excruciating pain I had felt the past few weeks every second of every day.
I am excited and hopeful about my bionic future. Maybe I should just get everything replaced if it feels this good? I’d bank on the fact I wouldn’t get in any severe RA states again. But I suppose the new hip will do for now. In the mean time, I plough through my recovery time at home, finding mundane things to do. It’s no fun being taken care of after a while; it’s just plain frustrating watching others do things for you when you want to be able to do it yourself. I feel like a child again being helped into the shower, helped to get dressed, cooked for, all my washing is done and mum is even cleaning my house! Great, you might think, well... yes but I hate to see others doing stuff for me and running around after me. I feel guilty and useless.
I am doing well with my recovery you will be pleased to know. I have been a very good girl and followed doctors’ orders, doing my physio regularly, remembering the ‘rules’ (you cannot cross your legs, break the 90 degree angle with your hip and you must sleep on your back for 6 weeks). It’s not great, but you get used to it. I have all these adaption’s and aids in the house to make life easier, crutches, toilet seat raisers (glamorous), bed and seat raisers, something that looks like a litter picker and high stools for washing at the sink. The most glamorous part of my recovery has to be my sexy white, knee high, bed socks though. They are the kind of thing you wear when going on a long flight to stop DVT. They are most fetching... and have to be worn for six weeks... every minute apart from a saving grace period of half an hour when I can give my feet a break. Yep... white socks, every minute of every day... for six weeks. They don’t go with anything in my wardrobe before you ask and I look nothing like Britney in her ‘Baby one more time’ video. Shame.