Thursday, August 23, 2012

9 weeks, 1 day

Well hello!
I know I was supposed to be back on here and write you all after my surgery consult on August 6th, however (and I know this will be surprising), that appointment was cancelled. He “wasn’t going to be able to make it” that day, so we re-scheduled for August 20th. I was none too pleased, needless to say. I was mostly concerned that I was not going to have enough time between my surgery consult and the surgery to get everything I need to get done, done.
With that being said, I still love Dr. S. Two of the three times he re-scheduled, it was out of his control. I cut him some slack.
I DID have my surgery consult this past Monday, the 20th, and here is a summary of what I learned:
Overall, Dr. S. is not overly concerned about me using the crutches or not using the crutches prior to surgery. He said it’s not generally his protocol, but that I can use them if it makes me more comfortable. He also said that he doesn’t believe it will make any difference either way on the outcome of the surgery.
I can (and should) get a handicap plate if I will be more comfortable afterwards. I will start this process within the next couple weeks. It’s (apparently) very easy, just a form you fill out and your doctor signs it confirming the need.
I do not have to do the Autologous blood donation (where you donate blood to yourself) because Dr. S. uses a machine called an Intraoperative Cell Salvage Machine, a.k.a. “cell saver.” This may be graphic, but I think it’s super cool so deal. The machine uses suction to collect the blood I lose during surgery, it then washes and filters it so it can then be put back into my body. It’s like a conveyor belt of blood. Science is amazing, isn’t it?
The actual procedure, performed by Dr. S. and a fellow at Rhode Island Hospital, will take approximately 2-3 hours depending on how much work they do on the labrum while they’re in there. Dr. S. may have his partner from Texas fly up to accompany him with the surgery, but he’s not sure if he will do that yet.
Once the surgery is complete, I will be in the hospital about 3-5 days. I will start moving and flexing the joint post-op day 1, but I will be non-weight bearing for approximately 8-12 weeks. When the bone finally heals completely, I can start the more rigorous physical therapy and can pretty much go as hard as I can on it (in terms of PT). I will need to do about 2-3 days a week of PT. I will be visiting the PT office at least once a week, but I can do the additional day or 2 at home on my own. I can return to work around 8 weeks after surgery, depending on my progress. I will be on TDI in the meantime.
After about 6 months, I should be feeling really great. However, he doesn’t expect me to be completely “normal” (or as close as my crazy self can get) until about a year after surgery.
The surgery will not influence my ability to carry or deliver a child, the only stipulation is that I cannot carry a baby until after all of the bone has healed. That’s really a non-issue for us; we’re not ready to have kids yet anyway.
Those were all the good things I learned, things that made me think “maybe this won’t be so bad after all!” There were two issues that came up during the conversation that had me a bit bothered. The first pertains to the activity level for me once this surgery is complete. Dr. S. came right out and told me that patients that undergo this surgery are almost always instructed that they cannot return to ANY athletic or strenuous activity, whatsoever, after the surgery. Ever.  As in, never again. That did not sit well with me. I basically told him that he couldn’t be serious, to which he replied: Patients are only cleared to walk and MAYBE light bicycling. What the crap? Talk about a blow. He said he knows that that is not always a realistic plan for people. I told him that there was no way that I was not ever going to do anything athletic or “strenuous” ever again. He gave me lots of “Will you please just listen to your surgeon?” looks and after a few minutes of discussion he said that he would be fine with 1 day a week of any given activity. So, for instance, I can play volleyball, OR, I can line dance. I can go for hike, OR, I can do a short jog. I can only do one thing a week that puts any kind of stress on the joint. Otherwise it’s walking only. No running, no treadmill (which I hate anyway), no long bike rides, even swimming is going to be a no-no. LAME. I am unhappy.
However, I keep trying to tell myself that things could be SO MUCH WORSE. The past few days, over here in New England, the Jimmy Fund has been having the Jimmy Fund Radio-telethon. They’ve been having TV and radio interviews with all of these cancer patients whom, I’m sure, would trade places with me in a heartbeat. It’s unfair and childish for me to complain about something so trivial when there are people out there with real-for-real health issues…issues that can’t be fixed with just a few cuts of some bone and a couple steel pins. I have been extremely blessed with a healthy and outrageously happy life so far (with a few obvious exceptions). I have a family I wouldn’t trade for the world and a husband that drives me crazy but I just can’t live without (hehe ;o) ). I have a wonderful life, so I’m not going to stress over a little, itty-bitty issue like this.
Moving on. The second thing that bugged me about my consult was that Dr. S. said he may not fix the labrum while he’s completing the surgery. He explained that he wants to complete the surgery with as little trauma to the joint as possible. Considering the surgery already includes a bone saw, I’m thinking we’re probably going to not be getting the labrum fixed. However, he did say that he’s gonna “take a peek in the joint,” whatever that means, and see if it’s an easy fix. He said if it’s something he thinks he can fix easily and not be an extensive part of the procedure than he’ll go ahead and take the joint apart to repair the labrum. He also soothed some fears by saying that a lot of times with patients that have DDH like mine, once you fix the structure of the joint…the labrum pain subsides and becomes a non-issue. That is another reason why he’s not sure he wants to take the time to repair it while I’m under anesthesia, he’d rather have me under for as short of a time as possible.
The surgery is still scheduled for October 26th. I need to go within 30 days of the procedure to have all of my pre-op bloodwork completed. This includes a coagulation time test. Um, I’m sorry, what? The things you’d never even think of.
Also! The day before the surgery the hospital will deliver a Continuous Passive Motion machine. This ought to be fun. Google that sucker, tell me if you don’t chuckle. It looks absurd!
“Continuous passive motion (CPM) devices are utilized to keep a joint in motion without patient assistance. CPM is being evaluated for treatment and postsurgical rehabilitation of the upper and lower limb joints and for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions.”
I can’t wait to try this thing, how awkward is that? It moves for you. I will, most certainly, be posting video of that thing once I’ve got it.
In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted on any and all new info.
Thanks for reading!