That’s All She Wrote

Wow. From Monday, April 17th- today, I am very positive I have never experienced such a wide range of emotions.

I will never be able to put into words how appreciative and grateful I am for everyone who sent me texts/messages, letters, cards, flowers, gifts, positive thoughts, and prayers. I needed them and they helped so much. Thank you for making me feel so loved!

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The whole surgery approval thing is such a long story that I won’t even bother going into. On Monday the 24th I got a call around 5 saying that there was an opening on Wednesday the 26th so I took it! The next 48 hours after the 24th were crazy, because I had to pack up my whole dorm room within 24 hours, do dorm room check out, finalize assignments with professors, and say goodbye to people! On the Tuesday night before my surgery, my cross country team went out for ice cream. There were at least 25 people there and that was so special to me!

The medical term for what I had done is: “Right hip arthroscopy for labral repair with femoral neck osteochondroplasty”. Basically what it means (I think… not an expert, though) is that there is cartilage over your hip joint called your labrum. My bone was irregularly shaped, causing the labrum to tear so then the bone of my hip joint started rubbing against my hip socket (bone on bone… arthritis). So, Hermanson stitched up the labrum and shaved off my bone, as well as cleaned out frayed cartilage and the other damage that had been done. It is unbelievably fascinating that doctors have the tools to preform a somewhat major surgery through two small incisions. I am not a fan of science classes but I am SO THANKFUL for science and medical technology. I actually watched a Youtube video of the surgery beforehand, which was super cool!! Here is a link if you’d like to read about it from medical experts.

We had to check in on Wednesday around 12:30. I believe I walked to the OR around 2pm. One of the last things I can remember is the nurse sticking my IV in me, which all went really smoothly, and then saying “That’s all she wrote!” before I went under.

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While I was asleep in the PACU, Dr. Hermanson spoke with my mom about how everything went. He was so happy with how things went, so obviously that makes all of us happy. He also told her how imperative it was that I take things very slowly after this surgery, because he knows I am a “go-getter”. Not sure why but it made me feel good to know he said that to my mom, because after being injured for so long, I am constantly worried that other people think I just don’t care anymore. Because I do care!

Here are some pictures of before and after the surgery…

The arrow in the picture on the left is pointing to one of the large bulges in my bone that caused the torn labrum. There were others but I can’t pick them out. Then the pic on the right shows the shaved bone.

 

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This is a pic of the torn labrum, which you can see is kind of the lighter white towards the left middle.

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This picture above the 3 shows some frayed cartilage and other damage.

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Here is the labrum all nice and clean and stitched up! He put 3 stitches in.

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You can’t really tell in this picture, but the pic above the 6 shows how my bone is coming out at you when it shouldn’t be. Towards the left it also shows some more frayed cartilage.

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The picture above the 8 is what the bone looks like now after it is shaved off. Obviously, it won’t look bloody like that forever.

I believe I began to wake up in the Post-Anestesia Care Unit (PACU) around 5pm and it occurred to me almost immediately that my knee surgery/recovery from it was going to be a breeze compared to this hip surgery. I am not disputing the difficulty of that surgery and the pain, emotions, struggles, etc. that came along with that recovery, but it was so much different. The surgery took about two hours and then waking up took one.

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It doesn’t look like it, but you have no idea how hard I was trying to smile and open my eyes in this picture. Haha.

First of all, the pain was like a monster. From 5pmish-8pm I don’t think I opened my eyes for more than 30 seconds at a time. I was just so groggy. Also in that time frame, I don’t think I had dry eyes at any moment. I just had tears almost constantly pouring out and it wasn’t even because I was sad; I’m sure it was because of all the meds/pain. I can remember eating supper with my eyes closed haha.

The first few days kind of went by in a blur. I was so, so, so tired and in an incredible amount of pain. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone for quite awhile, which again indicates the huge difference between this surgery and my knee. I really felt awful.

I was starting to feel more up to visitors by Saturday, so it was nice to have some interaction with the outside world haha.

By Sunday I had begun to go a little stir crazy, but I was still in that stage where I wasn’t allowed to be up and moving, and I also still felt terrible, so all I could do was sit there. Monday and Tuesday were also both really frustrating for the same reasons.

I don’t think I could have anticipated the pain that would come along with the surgery, but I also never could have imagined how lonely it would get! After my knee surgery, I was going out for lunch and then hanging with friends the very next day and went to my college orientation two days later. So, it was quite a shock to me with this surgery when I couldn’t even leave the house for seven days and didn’t go outside for six. Life goes on for other people, even when I have surgery (PLEASE note the sarcasm), so it wasn’t like I could have expected people to constantly be stopping by and such.

It has been quite a struggle to have to be so dependent on other people for almost everything (especially the first week) when I’m so used to being able to go and do almost everything for myself. I am so thankful for my mom, Ken, dad, and other family members and friends for being so patient and giving with me!

I was dealing with a lot of nausea from lingering anesthesia which was almost worse than the pain, because it prevented me from being able to move around (the little I was allowed).

Wednesday (May 3rd) we traveled to Sioux Falls for my first rehab appointment and the first post-op follow up. Hands down the worst car rides of my life. I’m so thankful those are over. I could not get over feeling physically ill, so it was quite a long day. Rehab went well. I quickly learned that there is no getting babied at the Orthopedic Institute. You definitely get challenged, but I am really thankful for it. The post-op appointment also went well. I had more x-rays (part of the procedure) and things looked fine on them. I also was prescribed some meds for nausea, so that really helped.

On Thursday I started to feel a little bit better and since then, every day has gotten a little bit better. The pain is still something I wasn’t quite ready for, but I know in time it will be gone!

I am allowed to start doing seven rehab exercises as well as bike about 10 minutes a day. My PT wants me up and moving about 3-4x per day. Everything has to be so slow and controlled. The biking is sooo slow that on the first day I did 8 minutes and burned 1 calorie. I got a kick out of that and couldn’t stop laughing.

I was told by all my doctors and PT as well as some other people I know that the recovery in this surgery takes quite a long time. After a short while, a person starts to feel really good. The catch is that there is SO much healing that still needs to take place, but you can’t see that because on the outside of your body, there are just two tiny port holes. So, with this surgery recovery, it is so imperative that even when I start to feel really good, I still hold back, because I can’t see the magnitude of healing that is still taking place.

Speaking of PT!! I am SO THANKFUL to get to work with the people at the Orthopedic Institute! The PT that I’m with is the guy that everyone suggested I go to after this surgery, especially because I am an athlete. Hermanson and his staff as well as another therapist I have worked with and a couple runners I know who have gotten this surgery all said that my PT is the best they know of to treat this, which makes me beyond grateful knowing I get him. In fact, while Hermanson was talking to my mom while I was still asleep in the PACU, he asked if we had decided who to work with and my mom told him it was the guy right at the OI and Hermanson said good and that he was happy to hear that, because if that wasn’t who I had been assigned, he was going to make it happen.

So again, I couldn’t be more grateful! I can never say enough good things about this list of experts: Dr. Brunz and his staff, Dr. Hermanson and his staff (Chris his PA and his nurses), Brad Pfeifle, and Paul Kreber (all at the Orthopedic Institute in Sioux Falls) as well as Jason and Lori Banks of Banks PT in Rochester and Dr. Aldridge at the Mayo Clinic. There have been a lot of moments in the past year and a half when I have really pitied myself (as much as I hate to admit it), but I always go back to recognizing how truly lucky I am that I get to work (or have worked) with all those mentioned.

^^ This just shows a little progression of the healing of the incisions in the past couple weeks. Again, on the outside it looks pretty minor, but there is a lot of trauma on the inside.

SO, there’s an update! Thanks again for everyone who has gone out of their way to make me feel so loved and supported. I can’t express how grateful I am for all of it!

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