STORY OF BILL'S Post-Op DISLOCATION
Date: Fri Aug 1 19:32:17 2003
On May 27, in Canada, at a remote lake three lakes removed from our
cabin, while sitting in the front of a fishing boat, my right hip
I was doing two things I should have known better not to do. One: sitting
in a low seat with my knees slightly above pelvic level, and both knees
together. Sort of wedged in the V portion of the bow of the boat.
A friend behind me had tangled his fishing line around his rod tip, and I
told him to put it up to me and I would untangle it for him. Bad move, as I
twisted around to get his rod tip over my left shoulder, I heard a grating
sound and felt immediate excruciating pain. Another grating sound and I
doubled over and just about passed out.
My friends came to my assistance and laid me down across the seat, with
my legs still in the sitting position. As I looked at my knees, I noticed
the right one was about 3 inches lower than the left, I immediately knew it
We had four other friends on the same lake in two boats, and we went to
where they were and discussed what to do. It was decided to send one boat
back to the cabin and call on the emergency radio to get a floatplane in to
the lake we were on, and bring a body board since I knew I was not going to
be ambulating at all.
The aircraft came about two hours later, and I was hoisted up into it,
and taken to the local hospital. An ambulance met us at the floatplane dock
and took me there.
The hip is now healing well. I was in an orthopedic brace for seven
weeks; it limited my movement to 60 degrees at the hip and 10 degrees
abduction. It was meant to restrict the movement to allow the capsule to
heal well. I also slept with an abduction pillow and still do.
My ortho and I estimate it may take up to six months to get a total
healing, and I am doing pt and exercises at home.
I will post more here next week and delve into the emotional battle I
also faced, and more about the whole experience
Date: Fri Aug 1 19:43:45 2003
I had my right hip done and 31 days later had the left one. I am strong,
and worked hard at pt in order to convince the docs that I could stand it.
It went well, but I can tell you after the second one, it took longer to
get back on my feet again.
The problem is one of muscular tone and the pain involved, for up to
three years, you will automatically and systematically lose muscle tone in
the affected legs, your body does this to protect itself, and you help
because of the pain. You tend to move less and less, further atrophying the
muscles. What you end up with is a set of withered muscles and a new hip
joint, and you have to literally rebuild those muscles back to their full
strength. It is a long process but doable. You have to work hard at it, and
keep working hard at it the rest of your life. But that is the trade off you
You can do it.
Subject: further war stories on the dislocation
Date: Sat Aug 2 12:39:41 2003
I last left you with my arrival at the hospital in Kenora, Ontario.
Kenora is a busy tourist/floatplane base quaint town with about 20 plus
floatplanes at the dock.
I can remember being offloaded from the floatplane and seeing quite a
crowd at the landing, the outfitter and his wife were there as well, with
support and let me know to contact them if I needed anything.
On arrival at the hospital, the attending physician looked me over and
asked if I had a doctor in the states, so I gave him the number to call, he
left to do so. The nurses were trying to make me comfortable, and removed
the hard body board from underneath. My legs were still tied up with rope to
stabilize them, and they left that in place.
The doctor returned and quizzed me on what I had had to eat in the last
six hours, which really was just water. On hearing that, he stated "Well, we
cannot possibly do anything if you have had water to drink.” I just told
him, “Hey, it’s alright, I can wait another twelve hours in excruciating
pain while you figure out what to do!“ his seemed to change his mind and he
replied “Okay, guess it is alright if you just had water“. (I actually
arrived with a water bottle between my legs, having a really dry mouth) I
found out later from my orthopod in the states, that when the doc from
Canada called him, he wanted to life-flight me back to Florida from Kenora.
That would have been a disaster, in pain, and possibly injuring the joint
even more. My doc talked him out of that and coached him through a closed
reduction, actually being on the phone in the o/r when I was operated on.)
The next visit was from the anesthesiologist, who asked a couple of
questions while they were putting a line into a vein on the back of my hand.
I remember asking him if I could have something for the pain while they made
up their mind if they were going to operate. He just smiled and said, I
think I can give you something now and off I went into happy land.
When I awoke, I was flat on my back with my legs strapped into an
abduction wedge with a nurse asking me how I was. I asked for water, and got
some, then slowly returned from unconsciousness, with no pain in the hip. It
was back in place, phew! After almost 4 1/2 hours in excruciating pain, it
I was moved to a room, and the doctor came back in. (here we go again),
and stated that I must leave for Florida immediately and must stop at a
hospital every 12 hours for a blood thinner shot.
The enormity of that whole scenario was too much, I just told him flat
out, I had seven friends on a lake for the next five days, and no way was I
going to make one of them drive me back to Florida. (He insisted I wear the
abduction pillow all the time as well).
I asked for my cell phone, and called my ortho in Florida and explained
the situation to him. He said; “let me talk to the doctor again“. Eventually
the doc came in, left the room with my cell phone and was gone for what
seemed like an eternity. He returned, gave me the phone back, and told me he
was going to put me in a Spica cast, since they had no orthosis braces
available at the hospital. It was subsequently cast. I then spent the night
in the hospital.
The next day, someone from social services came in and suggested some
alternatives to staying in the hospital, one of which was the self-care
hostel attached to the hospital, which I opted for. It was just 25 bucks,
Canadian, a day. I had the cafeteria as well as the hospital handy if there
were any complications. I was moved by wheelchair into the room and spent
the next five days there while waiting for my buds to get off the lake.
The staff was wonderfully helpful, as were the outfitters, who came to
visit every couple of days, and brought me stuff from the grocery store to
munch on while there.
The next Saturday, my friends came off the lake, and came and got me. We
stayed in Kenora that night and left for Winnipeg the next day, and our
flight home. The outfitter had called the airlines ahead, and they arranged
for bulkhead seats (my leg was cast almost straight out in front of me) and
a wheelchair at each stop. Some ten hours later, I was back in Florida.
The next installment will be the visit with my orthopod, and the rest of
Subject: rest easy
Date: Sat Aug 2 12:45:39 2003
Please try and be calm and don’t worry about the small stuff. I know what
you are going through, and rest assured the staff at the hospital will take
excellent care of you. I was the same way before the first THR, and after
that, just sat back and relaxed for the next one.
The other post here says it all, I need not repeat all that, but it is
right on the money.
Just have faith that you will be so much better for the THR, and the pain
you have been going through for the last several years will be over. It is
well worth going through, and it will give you a new lease on life.
All the small details will resolve themselves and your support group at
the hospital, and here will help you through the surgery.
Hang in there.
Date: Sat Aug 2 12:50:27 2003
My doc said that I was one of two dislocations he had had in over 400
THR's, do the math.
What I can tell you is that you must always watch and think about what
you do with your body for the rest of your life. It has to be conscious
thought, and you have to do it all the time. It was a small price to pay for
the pain being gone.
I had my orthopod demonstrate to me, what my full range of motion was. It
helped tremendously. He actually put my legs in positions that were all
right, and showed me what not to do, demonstrating with his legs. Armed with
that knowledge, you should be able to navigate successfully with out
dislocating. You really can do a lot, more than you think.
Have that talk with your ortho.
Date: Sun Aug 3 06:04:39 2003
It sounds like you went through pretty much what I did, although I was
back to work within a week, but wearing an orthosis that prevented movement.
Actually I would have liked to rest up a few more weeks but probably would
have lost my job as well. So I can sympathize with you on that one.
I will post a further rambling on the emotional side of the whole thing,
but having a dislocation, really changes things to a great degree. And
yepper, you hit it on the money about younger more active people. It is much
easier to dislocate than I thought, but if you observe the precautions you
should be safe.
You went through your dislocation alone. I was lucky to have seven
buddies right there to help. And you are a hero for crawling into your front
seat. The pain you suffered had to be just like mine, and it was bad. Your
recovery sounds like your orthopod really wanted you to heal the best you
could. And I agree on that as well, but you shouldn’t have to quit your job
over it. I am back at mine, which involves a lot of walking in an industrial
setting. I really have to watch where I walk since there are so many ways I
could trip, and the floor is quite oily and wet a lot of the times. But I
have good shoes with no slip soles, and watch the floor all the time.
Like you, my doc put in a larger ball/socket combo, but one thing I did
learn was that they now make a retention socket (you can find pics of it on
the net, just search for retention socket), and if I dislocated again, that
would be a strong option for me. Although they do restrict your range of
motion, it would be an acceptable alternative to having it come out again.
Hope you are doing well,
Date: Sun Aug 3 06:12:46 2003
One thing that I have learned, and many others who have dislocated is
that you NEVER should forget to use your 90 degree rule and knees together
rule. That combo is deadly and will be with you the rest of your life. No,
the chance of dislocation does not lessen as time passes.
You can do one major thing to lessen the chances, and that involves DAILY
exercise of the joints, with leg weights, perhaps even in a gym. The
stronger those muscles are, the less chance of them dislocating, but even at
that, they can still do it. It is a mechanical process in which the
prosthesis has a limit, if you go beyond that, it will just automatically
lever itself out of joint.
Go to your orthopod, have him move your leg where you are allowed to move
it, and show you with his leg, what you cannot do. It will help. And do not
ever try and touch your nose with your knee! Forgedaboutit dear, ain’t never
gonna happen again. :-)
Side effects of dislocation
Sun Aug 3 2003 6:52:01 am
By now you have read the previous posts and the aftermath of the
I am now at back at work and out of the orthosis and taking good care of
The main side effect was physical; in that I must now be ultra careful of
how I place my body and use my legs so that dislocation does not happen
again. Also, I am resigned to the fact that it will be a life long thing.
I think that when you recover from THR, that the relief from the pain is
such a tremendous feeling that you feel invincible. Most of us lead very
active lifestyles, and want to continue that. That is quite possible
considering the broad limitations of range of motion in a replaced hip. I
know in my case, dislocation had been way back there in my mind, two years
out of surgery, and I was really asking for something to happen, forgetting
about my precautions and just having a good time.
I had been on two canoe trips with no problems, and had been fishing in
my own boat numerous times with no problems, and there I was, fishing again.
Hey, I was having a blast. And bingo, out she came. I was doing all the
wrong things of course, and not paying any attention to where I was or how I
was sitting. Payback is hell.
The resultant emotional battering I took was literally hell. Some two
weeks later, I was in a deep depression. It started coming on slowly as I
began thinking about what I could not or did not want to do, and that was
dislocate again. No way was I going to do that. It hurt too much.
So I began checking off things I would not do any more and realized that
life was going to be a whole lot different from now on. No more fishing, no
more canoe trips. What if I was two days downriver on a five-day trip with
friends? It would mean that it would be a two-day canoe trip in pain, and
all my buddies would have to cut short their trip. Not an option, so I won't
go. Out fishing, bingo, dislocation. How am I gonna get back to shore, take
the boat out, get home or to the hospital? Just ain’t worth it. I’m never
going fishing again. May as well sell the boat and canoe.
The more I thought, the more depressed I got. I might as well just sit in
front of the TV all day and have maid service bring me food, all just
because I was not going to move anywhere I might dislocate again. The more I
thought about it, the less I was willing to do in order not to dislocate
again. Life was over for me. I may as well just give up doing anything.
Even thoughts of suicide worked their way in. NOT and option though, but
you can think about it, depression feeds on itself; the more depressed you
are, the worse it gets. You can actually work yourself into a deeper
Talked to the doc about the depression, about getting on some meds. Nope,
wasn't gonna help me there. Disappointed, I went to my other doc and asked
for meds. Nope, no help there. So I went to book an appt with a
psychiatrist, two month wait. Nope, no help there. So, forget it, I’m just
gonna decide not to be depressed. If no one is gonna help me, forget them. I
am tired of being depressed and it worked, anger is a great motivator. I
just made a conscious choice NOT to be depressed any more. Kicked myself in
the butt and got on with life.
I began to think of alternatives, and ways I could still enjoy what I
wanted to do but behave myself with my precautions. I still have the
orthosis brace if I really want to do something that might compromise the
hip, I could just wear that.
Slowly, I began to get rid of the depression and started living again.
Thank God we humans are resilient enough to weather that storm.
What the bottom line is now, and I consider my self not depressed any
more, is that I can continue my lifestyle. I must just be extremely aware of
where my body is and what I do with my legs. I am certain that this is
something you do not consider until you have your first dislocation. I think
we all feel a bit overconfident after a year or two post-surgery, and tend
to think you can just do anything you want to do. Think again on that one.
The main thing I learned is that you will never be able to do anything
without watching what you do with your body, and will have to follow your 90
degree and knee together precautions as long as you live and breathe.
I wish I had talked to someone who had dislocated, prior to mine it may
I have been away from this board for a while; you can see my pictures
taken during surgery on this board, Bill Case. I am going to the orthopod in
a couple of weeks, and intend to get pics of the x-rays and post them here.
If what I write can help anyone to prevent a dislocation, I would feel
like it has all been worth it. I know this board helped me tremendously
during and right after surgery and I posted a lot to give back what I got,
and hopefully in these posts, someone will be careful enough not to
dislocate their hips as well.
We all learn from others experiences and this board is a godsend for
being a forum to do that.