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Hip & Knee surgery-My experience.

My first surgery to correct my hip & knee was in Feb 2010. (Sorry it's taken so long to update!) The surgery lasted nearly 15 hours. I was in the hospital for 9 days & I had so many plugs and drains in me that I lost count. I was in ICU the first 3 days. My incision starts at the top of my hip and goes down the side of my leg wrapping around my knee. I had to be lifted from my bed to a stretcher twice a day to lay in an oxygen chamber. The first 3 tries didn't work because the pressure in my ears caused too much pain. I had to have an additional surgery just to have tubes put in my ears. It was completely random & completely unexpected. We tried again. Twice a day, 2 hours at a time I spent in that BORING chamber. Sometimes I would sleep, sometimes I would watch TV. The chamber was meant to help heal my incisions.

I remember a physical therapist coming by the room once a day. She got me to sit up on the side of the bed. We started slow. The next day she had me try to stand up on my walker. When I took that first step up it felt like a knife had stabbed me in the hip. (This was the start of my anxiety) I was surprised at the pain, and surprised at myself for crying over it. I usually handle things really well. I was embarrassed & upset that I couldn't hold my emotions back. I sat back down. I started wearing a brace I had been measured for while I was in ICU. It was bulky & I hated it but it protected my fragile leg. The first steps on my walker were from the bed to a nearby chair. By the time I finally sat down I starting having a panic attack. I didn't know why I couldn't breathe and that made me panic more. I couldn't talk to tell anyone what was wrong, but I could cry. I had to start breathing treatments.

Another day one of my drains was ready to be removed. It was a long tube inserted at my hip area that went far down inside my leg. The PA told my sister to hold my hand. I didn't expect it to hurt but he pulled it out fast and I yelled. It burned so bad. I started to build up anxiety about my other tube in my side being removed. It wasn't ready yet but I knew it'd be soon. One day when I was being transferred back to my bed from the chamber, mom was there waiting. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I started to cry, the more I cried I felt the panic start to set in. I couldn't breathe again. I wanted this to be over. Mom finally got me to calm down. The day came for my second tube to come out. I was scared to death. A different PA came this time. He said "Breathe in through your nose & out through you mouth & on the count of 3, it's coming out." Before he could finish his sentence it was out. I didn't feel a thing. :)

I was finally discharged from the hospital on what I believe was a Saturday. I was feeling better by that time, still fragile but so happy to get out of the hospital. I started physical therapy the following Monday. Geez it hurt. It was a hurt I could handle though, because I knew how great the outcome would be. That's all I was worried about.
I went back to work after being out for 7 weeks. I was on crutches and still hadn't gotten my new prosthetic. It was scary & I felt awkward. It was weeks before I finally got it...& 4 more months before I came off the crutches. Even then, I wasn't strong enough to walk without limping. It's also really hard to adjust to a new prosthetic.

It was supposed to take a full year from the time of my hip & knee surgery before I could go ahead with lengthening but in June Dr. Paley was looking over my x-rays & noticed how my bones had completely healed up! He said if I wanted I could start lengthening that September. (The only thing stopping me was work.) I scheduled my surgery to have my fixator put on for November 2nd. I will write another post about THAT experience next.

I hope this helps give a general idea but I don't want it to scare anyone either. Remember that everyone has a different experience, no one will go through the same things I went through, some will be much better & others may not be. I dont regret starting this incredible journey & I know that I won't in the future. I'm halfway there!


Hi Juliemn,

I just wanna say thank you for sharing your experience. My little one is some time away from lengthening he's only 11 mth old but it's so good to hear from someone that is going through the whole process I wish you best of luck and hope the other half of you journey is as list painfull as possible. You are an inspiration