Days 11-18: A Turning Point Hip Preservation Post-Op (Post 7)

Yes, a turning point, but I'm not quite a ninja. Yet. #thinkingpositive

Yes, Days 11-18 bring a turning point, but I’m not quite a ninja. Yet. #thinkingpositive 

If you have missed the other posts in the series, catch them here:

Day 11

A turning point.

I took out my sutures yesterday, and edema continues to diminish. I have a small strange silver dollar sized pocket of edema remaining, but light massage over and around the troubled suture area helps. Two incisions could have used 4 sutures instead of 3, but hopefully it won’t heal too badly. I can now transfer in/out of bed with minimal assist +1, and in a good moment, I can do it alone. I saw the beach for the first time since surgery today (the golf cart got fixed), and that was healing in itself. The power of nature is amazing.

Day 14

After spending an entire day in bed due to doing too much (which included climbing three flights of stairs in house at least two dozen times, and having multiple visitors all day long which required me to sit or stand), I recovered and by day 14, have gotten 90 degrees of NWB (in CPM) flexion. WB/seated 90 degrees flexion is not possible with sharp, stabbing groin pain.

NOTE: Remember to recalibrate knee CPM for hip angles. I calibrated mine and 90 degrees flexion and 0 degrees extension equated to 80 to -5, respectively.

Day 16

Still can’t be up for more than 3 hours a day without pain and swelling

Day 17

The Hobbit PartyTrying to throw my middle son an (epic) outdoor birthday party (with over a dozen children) today (in 95 degree weather) left me with new pain, plus the resurrection of the old pain. I’m beginning to forget what it’s like to have been able to live without hip pain. I guess I should correct myself. It’s been 3 years plus 17 days since I’ve walked, or slept, or did anything, without hip pain. I’ve spent the entire afternoon (now it’s 6:30 pm) paying penance, for trying to be a good mom this morning for the “Hobbit” party,  laying in my bed connected to a compression/ice machine with my leg elevated. Lots of tears today. Feeling hopeless because the old pain came back hard – mixed with the new pain. My entire leg swelled without even taxing it that much.

IMG_1102Yet, an afternoon of time alone with my husband has eased my pain too. The power of relationship exacts its own analgesic effects on pain perception.

Day 18

Lots of pain yesterday gave way to another restless night of trying to sleep in the CPM. Reality is not kind at present. I need an escape. Today and yesterday’s escape was Parade’s End, an HBO miniseries. How horrible their reality was in WWI – conforming to cultural norms of the day, which made everyone miserable and ill at ease. I never watch TV, but I’m giving myself a pass today to take it easy and literally put my feet up. The Game Ready is at hand for edema and pain control, once again.

But oh yes, back to the turning point!

Today’s positive message is getting into the hot tub today gave me an out of body experience. I felt normal, to a point, for the first time in a great long time. So I guess you could call today – Aquatic Therapy Today combined with the last 2 episodes of binge watching Parade’s End – it’s the closest thing to ecstatic normal for some time to come. And that is okay.

Aquatic Therapy*

  • Knee extension
  • Hip neutral (0 degrees)
  • Hip adduction in seated and kneeling
  • Can-Can (Pilates) without knee extension (just trunk rotation component)
  • Left hand to big toe in seated
  • Staff – can reach big toe without compromising 90 degrees hip flexion in seated
  • Kneeling weight shift, knee flexion (both sides)
  • Seated gate pose for QL
  • Left reclined tree
  • Supine floating with knee flexion
  • Thunderbolt – God, this felt great but magnified the global LE edema
  • Reclined thunderbolt (posterior tilt and – God, this felt even better
  • Marma points – calf/digestion, iliacus, psoas, piriformis/ER – much less tender with warm water immersion

*Aquatic therapy can only be undertaken with the approval and oversight of your PT and orthopedic surgeon. Precautions and ambulatory guidelines must be followed whether on land or in water. This program is not a substitute for medical guidance and should only be undertaken under the care of a PT. 

Clinical Pearls

  • Don’t underestimate the power of getting outdoors in nature. Not just for vitamin D synthesis, nature can facilitate feelings of relaxation and promote healing in ways we can’t yet quantify in biomedical science.
  • FOR CPM USERS: Remember to recalibrate the knee CPM for hip angles. I calibrated mine and 90 degrees flexion and 0 degrees extension equated to 80 to -5, respectively.
  • Just because you have an event to attend or are just having a good day – don’t try to conquer the world and stay up for an entire day. Take breaks, and ask for help instead of trying to do everything yourself. And remember – use RICE! Rest, Ice Compression, and Elevation to control pain and edema and facilitate healing.
  • Set aside time to just be with your significant other or a good friend. The power of relationship exacts its own analgesic effects on pain perception, not to mention getting the benefit of just spending time in the encouraging presence of someone you love.
  • Cut yourself some slack. I am not the kind of person to do this, but after trying to do too much, I realize it’s exactly what I need. Don’t feel guilty either, you are setting boundaries for self-preservation and self-care – exactly what you need to get better and recovery completely.
  • DON’T FORGET! After your sutures come out and are completely closed, talk to your PT and surgeon about doing aquatic therapy. The buoyancy of the water can be a real life saver for improving functional mobility and addressing other areas of the body that get debilitated because of the movement/ambulation precautions.
  • Lastly, keep on breathing and take some time for quiet reflection on whatever brings you peace. Meditation and breathing are proven powerful agents for pain management and healing, changing your brain and gut’s stress response in order to improve everything from gene expression to metabolic function. Practice now


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