Call me Robo-Man. I’ve got a matching set of these suckers.
Three weeks ago, I went under the knife for my fourth hip replacement surgery in five years. Arthritis was the cause for the first two total hip replacements, faulty equipment was the cause for the subsequent “revision” hip surgeries. Seems that the parts they put in me tend to flake off titanium bits into soft tissue, blood and such. I’ve got very high levels of cobalt chromium in my blood. Heavy metal is fine for listening to, not so much to have coursing through your body. Now it’s up to my kidneys to purify my body to its former temple-like self.
Spo dee oh dee oh! At least I’m on the right side of the soil. I’m very thankful for that.
The good news is that if you get enough hip surgeries, you eventually get a free 12″ Quiznos sub, large beverage and free Blockbuster movie rental. Actually, the good news is that if you undergo the same surgery enough times, your body will get better at rehabilitating itself. Practice, practice, practice!
I’m on the mend, faster than the previous three surgeries, and I’ll soon ease back into society. The Lint Screen has an entire category dedicated to hip replacements, begin the story of surgery #2 here. Here are some closing thoughts about the entire ordeal (that I hopefully will not have to experience for 15-20 years) that you may find helpful should you ever have to go on a surgical vacation.
— It could be the meds or your body’s self preservation, but your very painful experience will be softened in your memory. Rest assured, the pain that you do remember was pretty damn painful if you recall it.
— During this last surgery, I had a catheter inserted when I was under anesthesia. In other surgeries, I did not. Anesthesia causes your body to shut down, but medical science wants you to expel your wastes. So, if you cannot pee on your own after some time, they will insert a catheter post-surgery. This is a pain that you will remember all your days. I was relieved I had a catheter in place when I awoke from surgery, but eventually it must be pulled out. This experience results is another pain that you will remember all your days, along with the pain of trying to pee for hours on end with great difficulty doing so. Enough about #1, let’s talk #2.
— Anesthesia and pain killers also constipate you. It’s a horrible experience to have bodily functions you desperately want to do but cannot. Your body is upset with you (“WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?!), and you’re upset with it (“WHY WON’T YOU DO WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO?!”). It’s going to take awhile to sort this out…
— The term “painkiller” is false advertising. At best, they are “take the edge off my goddamn pain!” pills. These little white wonders also have nice side effects like constipating you. They also can bring about depression (as if you needed medical help to lower your spirits after this ordeal). Yes, you need these pills, they do do some good. But they also do some evil. When you feel you can get off them– do so and downshift to OTC meds.
— And another bad side effects of painkillers is this: they make you itchy. As you can imagine, itching and pain do not mix well.
— Sweats are your friends. Screw fashion. You’re homebound for awhile. Keep loose, baby.
— Try as long as you can to avoid looking at your scar. You will see it eventually, and when you do you’ll know why you hurt so much. You’ll also see why hip surgeries really are a royal pain in the ass.
— Some surgeons use surgical staples to bind the wounds they make. Others use surgical glue with a clear protective cover. Surgical glue is much easier on the body. Surgical staples have to be removed and that’s not fun.
— Physical therapists all have their own style, but for God’s sake do what they tell you to do. Yes, physical therapy hurts, but if you don’t strengthen the surgical area, you could be in for a lifetime of pain and suffering. Do the work now to avoid trouble down the road.
— Your body is not 100% and your mind is nowhere near 100%. Don’t think you can think very well even if you think you are thinking well. You’re on drugs, remember? Rest up, champ. Give your mind and body a break. Neither is up for much of a challenge.
— It’s hard to look cool when you’re ambulating in a walker. Who knew?
— Your cane is your friend.
— Never, ever, ever, ever fall. Be very careful on stairs. You can very easily muck up all the medical science applied to your healing body, and the last place you want to go again is a hospital. Be careful out there!
My final word of advice, avoid surgery if you can, but if you are living in constant pain, well, bite the bullet and get the surgery. Just ask the anesthesiologist for something stronger for pain relief than a bullet to chomp down on during the procedure.