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Straight from the hip

Dotti's Hip Replacement Story

Back On Track

By Al Coon
June 29, 2011

It has been 2 weeks and 2 days since Dotti went in for surgery, and I just had to let you know that, as of yesterday, Dotti is “dismissed” by the physical therapist, and by the visiting nurse. She had her final staples removed from the wound yesterday as well, and everything is healing up very well. She has been going up and down our stairs without assistance (other than a cane and the handrail), although I insist on standing on the step below her as she is doing it for now, just to make sure. Her arm is very steady on the cane, and she could be walking with the cane alone rather than the walker, but the walker is more stable and we are waiting for the doctor to give the okay on switching over to the cane. In the meantime, Dotti is walking around with her walker on her own all over the house, and getting up and down from the bed on her own entirely now. She has been cooking dinner since the first day home two weeks ago.

I had a routine doctor’s appointment today, with our family doctor, and Dotti accompanied me. Our doctor was surprised that she was ready to make the trip, and very pleased to see how far along Dotti has come, and the nurse said she was very happy to see Dotti walking without that nasty popping in the hip.

What is most incredible is the decrease in pain. Dotti can stand up, and get into the car and out again without pain (and therefore without crying out as she did before). She is smiling a great deal these days and it is a joy to see.

Dotti and flowers. We stopped by Safeway the other day and I took this picture of Dotti. Actually her walker is between her and the shopping cart, but we thought it would be fun to take a picture where you couldn’t see it. (Our cat Frostbyte was happy to see we remembered him as well.)

Dotti and flowers. A week ago today we went to see the hip specialist as a follow up to the Father’s Day ER trip, and I snapped a picture of a display version of the hip prosthesis in the doctor’s office. The clear plastic represents the pelvis and femur, and the artificial hip joint can be seen as it is mounted.

The hip specialist said that he felt there was probably no fracture, but just in case, he wanted Dotti to continue to walk with only 50% load bearing on the left leg for a time. It is highly likely that the pop was actually a tendon that would recover without intervention. Other than holding back on the loading on the left leg for a time, everything is continuing on track. The professionals who have been working with us have all been very pleased with Dotti’s progress and several have commented on how happy and eager to move forward Dotti has been.

One other piece of good news, Dotti went to Weight Watchers on Monday, only missing two meetings because of the surgery! And she lost 3.5 pounds over that two weeks. Her goal is to lose twenty more before her next surgery in September. Losing weight and getting lots of exercise will help in making the next recovery even easier than this one has been.

So far we have been overjoyed with how it all as gone, despite the Father’s Day setback. Just seeing Dotti go through her days without all that pain is wonderful for me. We hope that things will continue as they have started and soon Dotti will be fully functional on the left leg. We will then redefine what is her “good” leg and her “bad” leg, as the right hip will be the one most problematic. Today, some of that started already, as the right leg was hurting some. But we are focused on the end of the year when we hope all of that will be over with and she will be walking on two good hips! And with her weight down, her knees will be much safer from having to go through anything like this.

We are feeling very positive about how things are going and have high hopes for the future!

Tomorrow, Tomorrow  /  The Knife  /   Homecoming  /   Setback  /   Back on Track  /   You Go Girl!

Part Two: The Next Step