Linda's Hip Story
(written December 1996)
I have had my left hip joint replaced two times. The first time was on
December 1, 1981 and the second was October 7, 1996.
At present, I am in my ninth week
of recovery from the second surgery. It seems I am doing well enough at least to sit at my
computer and create web pages, surf the Internet and send E-Mail to my family and friends.
Actually, the computer is what has gotten me out of my bed.
for my first total hip replacement surgery was due to a disease called AVN (avascular
necrosis). This disease happens when blood cannot get to the bone and the bone dies. My
cause was the build up of cortisone in the left hip joint, blocking the blood supply to
As a very
young child I had terrible asthma and was treated with high doses of cortisone. As a young
adult in my 20's I was diagnosed with RA (rheumatoid arthritis) which was also treated
with high doses of cortisone. Another problem I had in my early 20's was
"housemother's eczema" on both hands, which was treated for several years with
lots of cortisone.
Cortisone, I have since learned, is manmade and never leaves your body. So it deposits
itself somewhere inside your body. Eventually causing some sort of damage. Unfortunately,
mine took my left hip joint. This is pain that is indescribable, unrelenting and never
ending. I would have gladly let Doctors amputate my entire leg just to get rid of that
I was 32 years old and a single mother of two boys at the time of my first hip surgery.
Dr. Guy Vise performed my surgery at St. Dominic's Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. After
spending 7 days flat on my back I was transferred to Mississippi Methodist Rehabilitation
Center in Jackson, Mississippi, where I spent the next 2 weeks. Both of these hospitals
were fine and treated me wonderful.
weeks I spent in rehab were tough, but I had to learn how to walk all over again, just
like a baby! Not only did the physical therapist teach me how to walk, the occupational
therapist taught me how to dress, and how to do things around the house. They presented me
with all sorts of new GADGETS that would help me in my daily living.
I think the neatest GADGET they gave me was the SOCK CONE. To look at it, you would
probably never guess what it is used for. But it is the greatest thing to help you get
your socks, or even panty hose on. When you have had hip surgery, it is impossible to
reach you feet because you cannot bend more than 80-90 degrees.
gadget for my feet is the 3' long metal shoe horn. Really helpful with the shoes.
To help in the bathroom, I used a RAISED TOILET SEAT. That way I didn't have
to bend my hip. Since I am 5'10" tall, this seat is the greatest. I would leave it on
all the time, but other family members and visitors just can't get used to it! The second
surgery I was given a BEDSIDE COMMODE to use so I wouldn't have to walk so far to use the
toilet. The great thing about the bedside commode is that is will also fit over the toilet
and provide "arms" to hold onto. Another item in my bathroom is the GRAB BAR.
This I use all the time to help pull myself up from the toilet and also to hold onto when
I get into the shower. It is a metal bar that is mounted to the wall.
In the shower are 3 items I use to help me be independent. The first is the SHOWER
STOOL. Since sitting in the tub is impossible, I must only use the shower. Standing in the
shower after hip replacement is dangerous so I sit on a special stool that was made to get
wet. It's height is adjustable, and being tall, I have it as high as it will go! The
second item I use is a LONG HANDLED SPONGE or BRUSH to reach all of the places I can't
bend to reach, like my feet! The last bath item is the HAND HELD SHOWER HEAD, mine is a
shower massage. This allows you to control where the water is going, not in your face all
the time. It is also wonderful to massage the sore muscles in your leg after your hip
surgery. Nothing seems to feel better than WET HEAT for sore muscles or cold, arthritic
I hope they never take back my rented hospital bed!!!!! I find it to be one of the most
useful and helpful things I have by far. The TRAPEZE is a MUST for hip patients, even if
you just put it on your regular old bed!
REACHER gadget is a priceless piece of equipment that I have used during my second
recovery. Oh what I would have given to have it the first time around! I have been able to
pick up just about anything off of the floor without bending over. From something as small
as a wire ornament hook (it's the Christmas season) to something as big and heavy as my
pillow. In the afternoon, when I get to walk outside, I can even pick up our newspaper
with the REACHER. The REACHER is very handy to have when I am getting dressed. I use it to
help put on pants and even my socks. I found that it doesn't work very will with
stockings, just puts a hole in them. Since I am prone to dropping a lot of things, the
REACHER gadget has been one of my treasures.
first surgery in 1981 I learned to walk with the use of CRUTCHES. Then after 6 months I
was graduated to a walking CANE. The CRUTCHES were inconvenient for several reasons.
Number one is that using them made your armpits very sore. No matter how hard you try not
to rest your armpits on the top of the crutches, you still end up being sore. The CANE was
somewhat better. I went a lot of places with the help of my CANE. Of course I was a lot
younger, but I even went floating down the Bogue Chitto River on an inner tube with my
friends. My cane was strapped to the inner tube so I would have it with me when we exited
the river. Oh yes, I was much younger then. Now I don't even have the desire to float any
river! Walking through the shopping mall is my goal this time! But this time I get to use
an entirely new gadget that I'm not even sure was available 15 years ago. This time I am
using a WALKER, that folds up when you don't need it. I find the WALKER to give much more
stable support when walking. Stability is something I didn't get with the crutches. At 3
months I have been graduated to the QUAD-CANE.
When I go shopping or any place where I will have to do more than just a little
walking, I use my WHEELCHAIR. That way I can really shop in comfort. This past summer, I
toured Washington, DC in a wheelchair. I had the best seat of anyone. And my wonderful
nephews and nieces pushed me all day long and never complained. (After all, I AM their
favorite aunt Linda!)
Today marks my 10th week since my second hip surgery. (10:12 PM on 12/16/96) I am
finally getting antsy being "grounded".
There are a lot of differences between my first THR and my second THR. The second is
referred to by the Doctors as a REVISION. I have learned that when they remove the first
prosthesis a lot of bone is taken with it, because the bone cells are attached to the glue
and have grown to the metal. So therefore the bone becomes thinner with each REVISION, and
takes longer to heal. Another problem is that my femur bone fractured at the top when the
old joint was removed. The Doctor placed a metal band around the top of my femur bone to
hold it together, and that is another reason for this being a longer recovery. When I had
X-RAYS made at 8 weeks, the fracture had not yet healed completely.
I am not allowed to drive or become active yet. (Active as in: Girl Scout Troop Leader,
preschool Choir Director, School Volunteer work.) My next Doctor visit will be Jan. 14,
1997 and I am hoping at that time to be healed well enough to resume my activities. I know
that my assistants are ready for me to take over again!
The PRE-SURGICAL PREPARATION was quite different the second time. I was very
surprised and learned about a lot of new things.
I was able to donate and receive MY
OWN BLOOD for the second surgery. Back in 1981, pre-aids period, I was automatically given
blood from the blood bank. This was a relief to be able to receive my own blood. This was
the first time I ever donated blood and I must say that I AM A BIG BABY! I did not like
it, SAM I AM! I'd rather eat GREEN EGGS AND HAM!
BLOOD, another thing I just remembered is something new they do now. Now they take the
blood that is collected from your surgical wound drainage tube, strain it and then put it
back into you! Isn't that just YUCKY? But at the time I was on MORPHINE, so it didn't
bother me for long.
For 8 weeks after the surgery I was taking CUMADIN a blood thinner. The purpose for
this was to prevent blood clots from forming. I was glad to get off of Cumadin because not
only did it cause me to bruise easily, but I found any body pressure points to be very
First time around, I was shaven from chest to toe. They remove your body hairs to
remove bacteria and germs. The second time around, I was NOT shaven at all.
First time I was admitted to the hospital either one or two days before surgery. Those
days were filled with all sorts of testing. Blood, EKG, x-rays, etc. etc. etc. Second time
they said "Be here at 6:00 AM for your surgery". All the pre-op testing was done
the week before as an outpatient.
got to University of Mississippi Medical Center at 6:00 AM, my vital signs were taken, I
was given a hospital gown to wear and then put onto a stretcher. Not long after that I was
given a little "funny pill". Of course from then on out EVERYTHING was funny. It
was assuring to have not only my husband by my side, but also our PASTOR. After a prayer I
was wheeled off to surgery at 7:00 AM. There were a lot of people there that day, so I
thought I might have a long wait. But I was FIRST!
The last thing I remember is the nurses telling me to scoot over onto the
surgical table, and I remember thinking "This isn't how it's done on TV!"
After FIVE HOURS of surgery and about ONE HOUR in recovery, I was wheeled to my room
and started becoming aware of my surroundings again. I was also very aware of severe pain,
when once again the nurses said "Scoot over onto your bed." "Are you
kidding?", I thought. But I did it anyway.
It takes a lot of guts
for me to post this photo, but I think it will prove to be useful for those in need of THR
surgery. Here it is, my 'best' side :) In the photo note the original scar from my 1981
THR surgery. It runs the length of the second but at the top curves around towards the
back of my buttock. This entire incision is only about 10" long. The drainage hole
scars are from the two drainage tubes that are placed deep within the wound to remove the
blood and 'gook'. This is necessary to help prevent infection. Note that I had 21 staples
closing my incision on my THR revision surgery. (I still have them, plus the staple
remover) However, I did not get to keep my old prosthesis as I requested. Some people have
been fortunate enough to have theirs returned to them.
|My doctor for this surgery is Dr. Audrey Tsao (female!!!) She is known as
one of the tops in her field! I feel very lucky to have had her do my surgery. One of her
team of doctors at University Medical center included Dr. Moore. There are about 4 or 5
other doctors, but I can't remember all of their names. (Maybe they will e-mail this
information to me?!)
GOOD NEWS!!! January 14, 1997, visit to the hip doctors.
Everything looks fine and I can drive some now. Of course, I WILL NEVER BE RELEASED TO DO
ANY HOUSEWORK!!!! Aren't my doctors just GREAT!
Really though, I have been doing laundry all day today! I use the reacher gadget to
help me sort, and pick up the clothes from the floor, pack them into the washer, then pull
them out of the dryer. Gee, it's ALMOST FUN!
Last night I even returned to my Girl Scout troop. Since we are not HIKERS, I can
safely return to my duties with the girls. They are puzzled about my hip being steel and
they can't see it. I think they expected me to not look so normal.
I took my 9 year old daughter with me to the doctors office. I wanted her to see my
x-rays. Boy was she surprised! Maybe she will be a little gentler on me from now on.
I will be looking into joining a water therapy group for some muscle building exercise.
Oh I really hate to exercise and I can't even swim! But I know it will be good for me. So
I am going to do it!
This past week I began a support group for "Totally Hip" people
on the Internet. So far there are 8 of us in the group. There is me, Linda; Annette;
Ardis; Jen; John "Metalman"; Sandy; Tim; and John from Alaska. This is a FREE
SUPPORT GROUP. I hope that you will join us, especially if you
have first hand information to share. We also welcome any medical professionals who would
like to share with us to join.
I also had many "Growing Pains" as a kid, which I now feel was probably
juvenile arthritis. In my early 20's I was diagnosed with RA, (treated with steroids), as
a child and adult have had asthma (treated with steroids) and also in early 20's had bad
case of "Housemother's Eczema" (treated with steroids). So I have had more than
my fill of cortisone and steroids, it's a wonder the bones lasted as long as they have.
The first THR went well, I was out dancing again in about 5 weeks. (I was single and a
LOT YOUNGER!) That hip got me through 10 good years and 5 more not so great years (Pain
I finally decided to see a doctor about replacing the replacement. One look at the
x-ray and Dr. Audrey Tsao (FEMALE) scheduled the surgery. She and her team of resident
doctors at University Of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS performed the 5 hour
surgery on Oct 7, 1996. (I was 47 at the time) This surgery and recovery went very well,
and I am doing just fine. No problems with the hip.
In fact today I made the 80 miles each way trip to Jackson for a Checkup. My
appointment was for 10am. We got out at 4:30PM. (That's a clinic for ya, but the doctors
are really worth the wait.)
X-RAYS looked good, come back in 6 more weeks.
I am now allowed to drive some, since it is my left hip and I have an automatic
transmission. Now that I can drive, I need to get involved in the water therapy group at
the local health club.
I did go back to my girl scout troop tonight. I showed them a drawing of a
hip replacement. They are so interested and can't quite figure how someone can have steel
in them and still look normal.
February 25, 1997 - Check-up at UMC.
I drove myself to Jackson, and felt almost great! The appointment was for
9 AM and I was out by 11:30 AM. (Major surprise!) I got a good report, everything on the
x-rays looks great. Don't need to return again until May 20th.
While I was in Jackson, I got in a little shopping before coming back
home. By 6 PM I was busy with my Girl Scout troop in McComb. We were making jewelry boxes
from old shoe boxes. Who says that you can't repair something and make it more beautiful?
Hot glue can work wonders.
April 12, 1997 - 6 MONTHS POST OP
I am at this time OFF OF THE CANE or walking support of any kind! I have
joined the local health club and regularly exercise and swim in the indoor pool! I have
been on one GS campout ( bunk beds, a log cabin, and indoor cooking by someone else!) I
have walked through the park, vacuumed my entire house, done countless loads of laundry,
managed 11 children during the week of rehearsals for the Easter cantata at my church,
etc., etc., etc., I think I am doing just great!!
For anyone contemplating Total Hip Replacement surgery or revision, just know that
there is LIFE after THR. And that life is usually less painful than before THR. If you
have concerns or questions you have come to the right web site, because in less than 4
months we have over 100 people in our support group. We are growing every day!
When I was laying in my recovery bed, I prayed continuously. I often asked God to let
me know why I am here on this earth, and why once again did He see me through surgery.
Well, this support group was the answer to my prayer. In the middle of the night, He gave
me the idea to begin writing about my hip surgeries. Then during the middle of another
sleepless night, He gave me the idea of beginning the support group.
Since it's beginning, I have often been amazed at the responses I am receiving from all
over the world. But then I remember that I asked God for something to do, and then I asked
Him to BLESS THE INTERNET! And He did!
Answer: I got to eat a LOT of
Popsicle's in the hospital!
Click the links below
to explore the
TOTALLYHIP web site