Hip FAI Surgery

On Wednesday 13th August I finally had my surgery to remove the impingement in my hip (FAI). I had to call the booking office the night before surgery and was told to arrive at the hospital for a 7am checkin. At this stage I was still pretending that it was a holiday and I don’t think reality hit me until I woke up the next morning. This was good, less of a chance for the nerves to get the better of me.

I live so close to the hospital that I was able to walk there which I thought was amusing given I was going in for a hip operation. There was a handful of families also waiting to be first in line for surgery on that day. I was alone but this  didn’t really bother me, surgery is less scary the second time around.

I was one of the first patents called in; I chatted with the nurses and anaesthetist, got changed into a hospital gown and given a warm dressing gown to wear.  I had to wear a hair net and silly smurf slippers over my feet which cracked me up.  The surgeon was late, so I spoke with his registrar and waited in the pre-op area for ages.  The anaesthetist and I decided against the spinal in the end, so went for general anaesthetic and an infusion of something that would to help prevent pain complications (ketimine or licocane – not sure).  I wasn’t as nervous or scared as I expected to be, but I was grateful I got knocked out AFTER speaking to my surgeon and BEFORE going into the operating room.

Before I knew it I was in post-op recovery area and waiting to go up to the ward. I think I got up to the ward by noon and don’t really remember much of that afternoon.  I was in a fair amount of pain, but it was well managed.  I was given pain relief by IV and was able to control when I got it by pressing a button. The best part was turning my phone on and getting so many text messages from friends, workmates and family, including some lovely photos from my family in the UK. The worst part was getting up to go to the toilet numerous times that first night, I had to use a zimmer frame and every time my body would shake uncontrollably which made peeing very challenging. My body has a thing when it is in an excessive amount of pain that it shakes uncontrollably and I get really cold.

I was in hospital for 4 days and the time on the ward wasn’t overly restful as I was sharing with three very noisy old ladies. This was especially challenging when we changed the pain medication and the central sensitisation went a bit haywire.  Bright lights and noises are a problem for me, especially when I’m in pain or stressed. Hospitals are very bright and noisy places,  my ward was chaotic and the old ladies had a lot of visitors who ignored visiting hours.  Thankfully, the pain team  did a good job and got my pain back under control fairly quickly and I was able to go home just in time for my birthday.

The surgeon was light on details but he said the operation went well. When I asked about the number of holes in my leg (more than I was expecting) he said that he wanted to be sure they got all of the impingement so that gives me confidence. I noticed the feeling come back in my foot almost immediately and the pain in my hip feels different. It is still early days, but I am feeling really hopeful about the surgery.  I know I’ve got a lot of work to do to make a full recovery, and I know its not going to be easy (or happen very quickly), but I’m feeling really hopeful and am ready to put all this behind me. I’m very relieved the worst is over now and I am on the road to recovery.

I am partial weight bearing on crutches (allowed to put a little bit of weight on my foot, but not much) and am resting at home for at least 2 weeks. At the 2 week mark I will see the surgeon for a follow up and to get my stitches out.  I’ve got some very basic physiotherapy exercises to do and will start the rehabilitation when the surgeon gives the all clear to get started.  I’ve also got an appointment with the pain specialist in October to discuss the plan forward from a pain management perspective, the pain clinic have been very clear the expectation is that surgery will improve my function but is very unlikely to make me pain free.  Regardless, I’m excited about the future and looking forward to getting on with the rehabilitation. Its going to be an interesting few months.

My surgical holiday

I’m booked in to have my surgery tomorrow morning, it’s all systems go.  As soon as it was confirmed I’d be having my surgery I started getting myself ready.  I’ve got a phobia of hospitals so have been tricking myself into thinking I’m going on holiday.  Its a great strategy and worked a treat to keep the nerves at bay.  In fact, until I confirmed the time for my operation, I don’t think I actually believed it was happening!  Funny.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve done pretty much everything I would before going on holiday, I’ve:

  • Booked 3 weeks of annual leave
  • Handed over my project work
  • Waxed my legs
  • Cut my nails (it will be hard to reach my toes for a while)
  • Had my hair done
  • Thought about what to pack (my stripy PJs for sure)
  • Downloaded some audio books for my iPhone
  • Loaded some movies onto my laptop
  • Bought some snacks for the journey
  • Picked up my repeats from the pharmacy
  • Got some more books for my kindle
  • Done a ton of washing, tidied my room and changed my sheets

Unfortunately while the ‘to do’ list is simliar, the passport is staying and home and I don’t need a visa for this holiday.

A few non holiday things I’ve done to get ready for my surgical holiday:

  • Bought more ice packs and added them to the already healthy pile in the freezer
  • Took the crutches out of the wardrobe
  • Rearranged my room so it is more suitable for crutches
  • Stocked up on laxatives, prunes and kiwifruit  (pain relief is great, but very blocking)
  • Moved a reading chair into my room (hoping I will be able to sit after the op, but might be a bit optimistic)
  • Rented 10 DVDs for 2 weeks (a bargain at $2 a pop)
  • Lined up friends for support for the first week

I am actually feeling strangely calm about surgery, I guess all that work with the pain clinic to deal with my intense fear of the hospital has worked. I think I am also feeling better because everything is very controlled.  I saw a pain specialist a few weeks ago who has been liaising with the surgical team to provide input, the hospital are clearly taking the history of CRPS very seriously and doing everything they can to prevent another flare up. I trust I’ll be well looked after if the pain goes crazy which I really hope it doesn’t.  I’m not particularly looking forward to the first week after the surgery, but I think I’m ready for this and am looking forward to the recovery and rehabilitation. I’m also looking forward to having 3 weeks off work!

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