When I had surgery, my appointment was initially scheduled for 2pm with me arriving at noon. Some sort of delay happened that they didn’t tell me about. It is possible there was another, more serious surgery that needed to be performed. Since my doctor works on collegiate and professional athletes, it is possible their surgery took precedence because of a game. Who knows? Whatever it was, I was fine with it.
The delay went on awhile. 2pm came and went, then 3pm, then 4pm. The hospital staff was terrific and they checked on me periodically, apologizing for the delay and giving me an ETA on when I would go in. They even gave my starving wife a sandwich.
The procedure began sometime before 5pm, and I woke up in the recovery room around 7pm, drugged to the gills, pleasantly telling people “good morning” as they passed by.
After the procedure and recovery, there was supposed to be someone to show me how to properly operate the crutches. It would be unlikely I would remember, but at least my wife would be there to take mental note, and practice would make perfect.
By the time we arrived back at the nurses station, a lot of people had gone home. It was 8pm on a Friday night after all. If I worked there, I wouldn’t have wanted to stick around either. On top of that, it had been a long day for both of us. My wife was tired, and of course I was blitzed.
We had also left the crutches in the car. So when they asked if we needed help, my half-drugged response was “nah, I know how to use crutches.” That was not entirely true. I’ve used them before, but not for something like this. My wife believed me, and we went home.
For the first few weeks, I barely got around anyway, so it hardly mattered. During week three when we went to Jeopardy, I had to get around more than I would have liked, and I was often very sore.
My big mistake was that I did not use the proper toe-touching method of crutch walking, as demonstrated in the video below. I was using the crutches to support my right hip, but I was unwittingly putting some weight on it.
When I returned to work in week 4, I had to get around more and more. The recovery seemed to stall and I wondered why. The answer is clear now. I was putting too much weight on my hip!
Just before week 6, I saw my surgeon again. He asked how everything was going. Good, I said. I had recovered far more than the surgery date, which was true, and was progressing slower now, but felt I was still making a little bit of progress. He didn’t seem alarmed, and he said he would allow a little more weight bearing.
Guess what? He was allowing the same thing I had been doing the whole time.
This week when talking to my Physical Therapist, I wondered why it was hurting so much, especially after therapy. You would think it would get better. She said that after PT, I should try to go back to no weight bearing for a day or two. Okay. So I continued along the same way I had been, thinking that was right.
The pain continued, and it made me think. Last night I started googling around, and found that video.
Today is the 7-week mark and I don’t feel too much better than week four, probably because of a combination of this and weaning off the pain pills. I spoke with my Physician’s Assistant and there’s really nothing that can be done at week 7.
The good news is that now that I know, I can start doing it the right away and I should start feeling better. The bad news is this probably extends my crutch time to perhaps another month or longer.
The lesson here folks is that if you have surgery and they offer to show you something, take them up on it regardless of the hour, or how drugged up you are. They won’t babysit you to make sure you are doing it right.