Out and About

Today was the big day - my first post-op check-up.  It also marked the first time I've gotten out of the house and gone further than our street since I got home from surgery - 2 weeks ago.

I love our home.  It is a cozy, comfortable place filled with warmth.  Each room has been lovingly decorated with our favorite items, each room telling a story about our lives.

And after 2 weeks trapped inside these 4 walls I gotta say - our lives were getting pretty boring.

Getting out of the house and into the Jeep - heading down the road on a gloomy autumn morning; was like stepping into the Caribbean sunshine to me.  I felt liberated and free - even if I wasn't doing the driving.

Up first - x-rays of the new hip and then of both.  Then off to the exam room to be greeted by my surgeon's uber-adorable, uber-sweet physician's assistant, Chris.  Like my surgeon, Chris is friendly, funny, sweet and completely compassionate. They make a formidable team and I was reminded again this morning how incredibly fortunate I am to have found them.

My x-rays were the first things to be reviewed and ... I know I have said many times before that I will never get used to the x-ray of my own artificial hip.

Please allow me to correct myself today.  After seeing the single x-ray of both of them I was - overjoyed and in awe.  That I live in the 21st century and the technology is available that allows for this kind of surgery in someone as young as I am.  That, as I stated before, I am so blessed to have such an amazing surgical team so readily available.  And that all of this combines to give me the freedom to live and enjoy my life free from pain.

The x-rays are breathtaking - and digital.  I'm going to try to get them to e-mail me a copy so you can see it and so that I can finally have a record of what my body has been thru, from the inside out.  The prosthetics shine like the sun - and they are both seated perfectly. The newest one is already fusing to the bones in exactly the right place at exactly the right alignment.  By 6 weeks post-op both of my legs will be the same length; right now the left one is about 3/4" longer which is normal.  Odd, but normal.   By 8 weeks post-op there will be no trace of surgery except for 2 incisions on either side of my body.  No limp, no hesitation, no outward sign that the original manufacturers' parts have been replaced.

All of my questions were answered by Chris with grace, candor and humor.  My left hip was "ready to go" he said; while there was evidence of arthritis on all conventional x-rays, there is no way to tell the true condition of the joint until they get inside.  And once there, he said my left hip was truly a mess. Nothing like the right one but - on its way.  In particular he said my femoral ball - which should be nice and round - was compressed and flattened.  That is as much to do with the malformation of my hips since birth as it has to do with the arthritis that had set in.  And the socket wasn't in much better shape underneath either.  We never doubted that it was time; it's nice to hear that we got it all done before truly life-changing pain set in.

There had been a question on the amount of time I'm supposed to be out of work for recovery.  My company's short term disability provider gave me approval for 6 weeks - which has given me heart palpitations, nightmares and a queasy stomach.  For those not keeping track, that is 3 weeks from now.

Heart-stoppingly soon.

Chris agreed and was shocked that it's all I got.  We are going to get that revised to at least 10 weeks - which we don't believe I will need.  8 weeks is what I planned for - both at home and at work - and that should be just right.  I will return to my high-energy job well-rested and fully recovered.  There is no way to express my relief at this.  I feel like I've been given a reprieve of sorts.

Which is no slam against my employer's STD provider. They are enormously generous with paid STD and once again I am confronted with the enormous blessings in my life.

I have another post-op in 6 weeks (or less if I deem it necessary) for a final evaluation and a return to work authorization.  Until then...I just keep up with my P.T. and move about the country.

Gently, slowly and with all due caution of course.