Monday, June 17, 2013

Off the Grid

Have you ever been rolling merrily along without a care in the world, only to receive an unexpected and unwelcome bit of news that sidelines you for a while?

That's what happened to me one month ago after visiting my orthopedist who originally replaced one of my two artificial hips.  He informed me I needed another new hip.

Yeah.  It's like this.
I was on a short vacation with the spousal unit.  I heard squeaking.  It wasn't the bed.  It was me!!  (Yes, I know what you're all thinking but it wasn't even during THAT).

WTF!?  My right hip produced a faint squeak if I moved a particular way. I could feel it too; the way one feels a cell phone on low vibrate.

I telephoned the doctor's office who had me scheduled the following week for X rays and a meeting with the doc.  I was hoping I had something that was nothing.  I knew better.  Squeaky parts are not consistent with functioning replacement prosthetics.

Three weeks later, I'm on the operating table, about to have the original prothesis removed and replaced in what is known as "revision" surgery.  I hadn't had time to process any of this.  I just accepted the urgent nature of the problem, a loosening prosthesis wearing unevenly on a polymer shielded hip joint with potential for fracture of the ceramic ball atop the femur.

I have been off the grid since early May when this began.  I wanted to write but heavy drugs don't stimulate creativity regardless of what some folks say.  As of last Wednesday, I weaned off the opiates and  am hoping Tylenol will hold me til I see the doc this week on my 4 week post-op follow up.

All I can say is, at the tender age of 61, three hip replacements and a knee replacement are not what I foresaw when I imagined growing old gracefully.



Rob Hatfield said...

There are numerous class action lawsuits against the manufacturer's of said prothesis.

bill lisleman said...

wow 3 hip replacements - I do joke around in comments but I really don't understand many details of this. Each side counts as a hip? So both sides and one side twice?
I certainly don't like the fact that a joint replaced with an artificial part would ever need replacing. Why install something that's not going to last? Is this all some big expensive painful experiment?
Don't know how receptive you are to humor at a time like this but asking you to hip shake with me would probably be verboten.
Wishing you a quick recovery.

California Girl said...

Hi Rob, I appreciate the comment. I have followed the "recalls" from the beginning. I've researched on the internet. I didn't want to go into much detail in the post. Loosening results in uneven wear on the polymer shield. It becomes the primary reason for revision. My original procedure is known as a "lateral" incision. They haven't used that approach in years (probably 11). 10-15 yrs was the avg & I did not beat the house.

California Girl said...

I'll tell you what Bill, this recovery knocked me on my ass. It is not the speedy recovery of a brand new hip replacement because they have to go in the old way (through the old incision) and the op lasts longer because they don't know what they're going to find when they go in. In my case, two screw heads had sheared off & were in scar tissue. Or, as my husband tells it, I had "two loose screws."

Yeah. Humor works.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Ouch! Sorry you have had to deal with all that. I'd heard that recovery is difficult, but not that it's even harder the second time around. Hope you're up and around and clear-headed and pain-free soon. Or as clear-headed and pain-free as one can be after 60. :)

California Girl said...

Thank you. I am clear -headed now. No more meds. I do look fwd to being allowed to once again take ibuprofen. They stop that because they have me on a blood thinner. I chewed a cuticle one night early on, and it would not stop bleeding. It was almost as bad as Dan Ackroyds Julia Child cuts her finger skit on SNL.

injaynesworld said...

Crap, girlfriend. You have been through a lot! Hope you're well on your way to catching a break now, my friend. And really, being bio-degradable is highly overrated.
Glad you're back in the blogosphere.

California Girl said...

Hahahahaha! "...being biodegradable is ...overrated." Thats friggin hilarious! My poor sons. I planned to be cremated. What size container of ashes will I produce.

Thanks for the laugh.

DJan said...

It's funny, I didn't know I missed you so much until you came back! Your sense of humor through all this is invaluable. Oh, and the meds. Glad you're getting free of them, though. Sending you healing vibes, Cali. :-)

California Girl said...

You could not say a nicer compliment! Thank you

Marguerite said...

Oh my dear friend, I'm so sorry that you had to go through a second surgery. You should sue the heck out of them! :)

I had to have emergency surgery for a detached retina back in September and couldn't see or drive for 3 months!!!

Life can be testy at times. Hang in there and get well soon! You are in my thoughts and prayers.

California Girl said...

Marguerite! So nice to hear from you. My husband had his 1st hip replacement last Fri & he had the newest procedure which I couldn't have because mine was re-do. He's doing great and I'm quite envious.

So, when you have a detached retina repaired, you have to wait 3 mos to see?


by Cole Scott