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.


A little pre-op hospital tour

Today I had a little hospital tour to try and desensitise my fears around hospitalisation prior to my operation. I’ve had a few terrible hospital stays so have developed quite a phobia of the place. The lovely nurse from the pain clinic gave me a tour (I followed her around while she did a few jobs) and I’m now feeling A LOT better about my stay there… phew.  I was feeling very nervous about the idea of the visit, but once I was there it wasn’t so bad.  I used mindfulness techniques to calm myself down and it worked a treat.   I’m now feeling 98% ready for this operation and am looking forward to getting it over and done with!

Today I was shown the waiting area for pre-op, the rooms where you get ready before the operation and then we went up to the ward.  The plan is for just one night in hospital and they have put measures in place to plan around the CRPS and ensure the pain is well controlled before I go home.  I think the hardest thing about being in hospital is the fact that I have to take a back seat, not something I’m used to doing.  I can’t control what happens when I’m in hospital and I can’t control how I get treated. All I can do is be mindful about how I react to the situation. I have to trust the surgeon and the hospital staff have my best interests at heart, and that I will be OK.

After today I’m feeling ready for my surgery, calm and relaxed.  Now I just need a DATE!  Agh, waiting lists suck.


A very successful pre-op assessment

On April 30th I had my pre-op assessment.  I was a bit nervous about it, but had no need to be.  The hospital staff were lovely and my concerns about the complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) were taken very seriously.  It ended up being a day of back to back medical appointments, pre-op assessment in the morning, physio in town, back to the hospital for x-rays and then pain clinic in the afternoon!

The morning of pre-op assessment involved getting key measures taken by a nurse, a meeting with the anaesthetist, then the house surgeon, another chat with the nurses and then blood tests.  Given my history of ‘suspected CRPS’ (crazy stupid pain) I was most concerned about the pain management aspect of the operation.  When I woke up last time the pain was bad and that caused a bit of chaos, the pain wasn’t well controlled post op and I ended up having to stay a 2nd night in hospital because of it.  Since then it appears I’ve developed CRPS and I’m afraid of another flare up of that, CRPS is horrible and takes a long time for me to bounce back from it. The anaesthetist was brilliant, he’d clearly read my file and took the time to address my concerns and even answered the questions I had about CRPS.  The suspected CRPS is pretty much confirmed CRPS now, but I’m grateful my symptoms are under control and pain levels are manageable. It turns out this is a condition that I’ll have to live with, but once the hip impingement is addressed the pain levels should resolve.  Fingers crossed!

The meeting with the house surgeon didn’t go so well, she was a bit of a cow.  She didn’t really know what was going on, didn’t answer my questions and tried to bullshit me. I wasn’t impressed, but it doesn’t matter because she won’t be doing my operation. According to her I’ll be on crutches for a couple of days and shouldn’t need any physiotherapy.   I don’t think so, but will remain cautiously optimistic.

The nurses were lovely, made sure I had a way to get home and someone to look after me for the first 24hours or so.  They gave me pre-op instructions (which in hindsight is very premature I’ve already forgotten what I was told) and advised me they’ll touch base with me the day before surgery.

So that was my pre-op assessment, now all I need to do is wait for a date.  Its been over a month and I would have expected to have one by now, but alas the waiting continues.  I am hoping for early July (would be good timing for work) but aware that it could be anything up to mid September.  Regardless, its something I’ve got no control over so I will have to go with the flow. It will happen when it happens!

A doctors view on chronic pain/illness

I stumbled upon this link via my twitter feed today and it is the most helpful thing I’ve read online in a long time. A doctors view on chronic pain/illness and what they think of us patients. It is a very well worded reminder that doctors are human and that we can be a little scary. Yeah… I get that now, I wish had read this 3 years ago!!

The hospital diet

Today I had my first swim in almost 2 months and it felt soooo good to be in the pool. I’ve been lugging myself around on crutches, so floating in the water was absolute bliss.

On the way home from the pool bought a new new skirt as most of my clothes don’t fit me anymore. While in hospital I had a bad reaction to the medication and lost 10kg. I’ve since put on a few kilos (which is good) and I’m getting stronger and stronger everyday. Who needs the gym for an upper body workout when you’ve got crutches!?!

Here’s a photo of my new skirt (size 10) and my old skirt (size 14):


It’s been a while….

It’s been while but I’m doing oK. Saw my GP on Monday and we have a sensible pain management plan to get me through the week without any dramas.

We have also set two shorterm goals…
1.Singing in a concert this month
2. Travelling to Thailand to have a holiday.

I had my MRI yesterday, now it’s a case of resting and waiting to see the specialists next week for a firmer diagnosis. As you can see I’m very pasty so am starting to work on my tan!


Another fun night in the office of pain!

I am so embarrassed. Because I over did it today, I’ve ended up in horrific pain (again) and I’m too scared to sleep (again). Because I have no one to call for advice (I’ve worn everyone out), I’ve had to call Healthline. Twice.

First time they told me to rest, relax and if it gets worse call back. I decided to go to choir (in hindsight a silly decision), hung out with my flatmates (trying to be sociable), had a shower to warm up (too cold) then got ready for bed. For reasons I won’t go into, I was too scared and in too much pain to take a sleeping tablet. I knew I would have been fine, but some doctor today told me to be cautious.

Once again I’m in too much pain to make decisions for myself.

My biggest problems are the hip/leg pain (obviously), gastro issues (worse at night), insomnia caused by pain and then that horrible feeling of exhaustion. I’m struggling to breath but no one seems to be concerned. I am a singer.. I had a great set of lungs.

Jeeeze….. when the fuck will I learn how to cope properly with this godamn pain? I thought I was coping, then this “episode” happened.

Anyway… The ambulance folk were brilliant, quickly calmed me down and established the best thing to do is take a sleeping tablet and sleep. They helped me get to my bed and I’m almost feeling calm enough to sleep.

Thank god. I really cant handle going into hospital again!! If only the Healthline nurses were able to make that decision for me when I called.

I’ve learnt (the hard way) that you have to know how the medical system works… I’m still baffled, but I’m learning.

I need to face my fears (of the medical system and the hospital)… I feel like a fool. I’m still in way too much pain to sleep. Waiting for ice to numb my leg so I can take the tablet and sleep. I have been told to call the GP tomorrow. If I can’t cope I’ve been told to get a taxi to the emergency room.

I’m back down to hours…. I’ll wait until 9am before I call the GP. I can do another 24hrs of coping on Panadol.

Everyone is doing the best they can. It’s just too slow.