With all the drama finally over I was able to relax and recover. PT came Friday afternoon to do their evaluation and promised to start coming the following week. I continued to take pain medication fairly regularly and didn’t try to be a hero. I have told I don’t know how many patients, family and friends not to wait until the pain is a 10 and for once I took my own advice.
I spend most of my time reading, / crocheting and not doing much. I continued my exercises over the weekend and started to do them standing, using the weight of my leg to make them harder by Monday or Tuesday. Pt came twice that week and by the end of the week I was itching to go home.
I didn’t get to see the boys much when I was at my mom and dad’s because football practice had started and things were getting busy at home. By then end of the week I was getting around well with the walker and able to come home on Friday of that week for the long Labor Day weekend.
I have continued to recover really well and faster than anyone thought. By the end of week 1 I was starting to use a cane around the house and by the end of week 2 I had pretty much given up the walker indoors and out.
When I saw my doctor for my post-op appointment right after labor day they removed the staples. He was pleased with my progress and said the implant looks great on x-ray. He did caution me about maintaining partial weight bearing, not bending or twisting and the rest of my precautions until 6 weeks post-op. He said I probably should still be using a walker but said he was okay with the cane as long as I don’t overdo it.
I am now walking around the house without the cane and I take it with me when I go out in case I need it but I really don’t use it. PT says they will discharge me next week and I am now walking pretty normally.
As for pain…After week one I started taking half the dose of oxycodone and every 6 hours rather than every 4, although I continued to take the larger dose before bed and woke up once in the night for the smaller dose. I’ve had few nights here and there where I have been woken by muscle spasms and pain requiring more medication but those are also decreasing. Mostly that’s after PT increases the difficulty of the exercises. Now I am taking Tramadol during the day and the smaller dose of oxycodone at night.
The severe pain has been replaced by aching, muscle fatigue and spasms. And I feel a little better every day. I still limp when I get up in the morning and usually require the Tramadol and some time to get moving but the stiffness is getting better too.
Probably the most positive “side effect” of this whole experience is that my lower back pain that I’ve had every morning for several years is gone! I haven’t woken up with a back ache once since surgery. To me that makes it all worth it. I guess I’ve been walking around with a hip problem for quite some time now. I’ve had problems with my lower back for at least 10 years.
I go back for another follow up on 9/28 and I hope to be released back to work for 10/3. I still have a ways to go and I still have strength and stamina to build but, with time, I know I will feel so much better. I’m very glad I decided to do this surgery because I can now get my life back and do the things I want to do with my kids and family.
As with everything in life, it’s a give and take. My skiing days are probably over and I won’t ever be able to run. But I hate to run anyway! The fact that I can hike, bike, swim and go through every day life without pain to me is amazing and totally worth the loss a few little things.
The decision to have such a big surgery at a young age is a deeply personal decision but for me it was the right decision. I wasn’t willing to miss out on hiking, camping and being active with my kids for the next 10 years in favor of putting off surgery until I am older. I decided I am willing to risk a possible second surgery in the future in order to get rid of the daily pain and misery I’ve been living with intermittently for years and daily for 6 months. I did research on prescription anti-inflammatories and the effects of taking them long term and decided surgery was a better option than those effects. 40% increased risk of hearth attack and stroke? No thank you! I discovered that a chronic back ache that I had learned to live with is all but cured and I hope it will stay that way for a long time to come.
Also of importance were functional issues such as my leg collapsing, limping, and falls. I wasn’t willing to risk falling down a flight of stairs because my leg buckled underneath me. I was having a had time walking and just doing every day tasks at work and at home. The surgeon was hesitant to perform the surgery on a person as young as myself but after hearing my reasons he agreed.
None of us knows what the future holds. All we can do is make the best decision possible based on current circumstances.