Hip Replacement – Recovery

Don’t ask for a new hip unless you really need one.  Part Three in a series.

Unknown to me, of course, my hip replacement lasted three hours.  At 7:30 p.m. my very tired surgeon spoke with my wife and daughter, reported that things had gone as planned, and that they could see me shortly in the recovery area.

My memories of coming back to consciousness in that place are not pleasant ones.  My earliest consciousness was of severe pain, a crowd of people around and looking down on me, and my mental struggle to put things back together.  It had been explained in the orientation seminar that my pain would be controlled by an epidural for the first two days.  My “best friend” would be a small plunger, connected to unit that would send new pain killer down the tube inserted through my back and into my spine.  Every 15 minutes I could get a new dose by pressing the plunger.  I was advised that no one except myself was allowed to perform this operation.  I was also advised not to “get behind” on use of the pain relief, because once you got behind and in severe pain it is difficult to “catch up.”

But the crowd around me in the recovery room explained that they had taken pain relief away from me.

I could not have this relief because my blood pressure had fallen so low.  I think they said it was something like sixty over forty.  I remember being angry at this crowd because they seemed so casual and unconcerned about these breach of the promised “pain management.”  They were talking back and forth across my bed of pain about matters I had no interest in, but I do remember finally hearing one of them ask if there wasn’t something they could do to get my blood pressure raised so I could use the epidural.  I remember observing that no one around my bed seemed to have an answer to this question.

About this time my wife and daughter appeared and insisted that I was in great pain and someone must know what to do about it.  My wife asked to speak with whoever was in charge of this place.

Someone was finally found and something was finally done.  I remember hearing the frequent announcements of my blood pressure readings and being groggily conscious that improvements had taken place.  I am probably way off due to the pain-blur of memory on this, but perhaps around 70 over 50 they finally rolled the unit back beside me and gave me the plunger.

The struggle of life was easier after that.  I drifted in and out of consciousness.  It was 10 p.m. when I arrived in my hospital room with my new hip.

My wife slept in the room with me that night.  If you would call it sleep.

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