Hospital Problems

If you wish for background information regarding my health and recent decisions please view here.

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I would challenge myself to write a daily diary – at the beginning it was more of a ‘list of things’ I had done each day. It has now become a place where I can write my thoughts, feelings and perceptions. I felt that as I now have my own personal place to write, maybe I could try something more and share my thoughts with other people too.

I am aware that not everyone can relate to posts about surgery, recovery, health and the adjustments to my life that I have had to make. And that’s fine, I don’t want to feel that there is a topic I can’t discuss. I do, of course, have other passions and interests. As stated before my posts are about sharing an experience that I have had and if it can provide support or answers to people in the future, then I know I have done something correct.

So a brief overview, 3 weeks ago today I had a total hip replacement (THR) and I am still recovering. They say age is just a number but it seems that your age can be a very important number when it comes to surgery and you will understand what I mean by the end of this blog.

During my time in the ward, post op; I met two lovely ladies who had both had knee replacements. Joan who was on my left, had her operation the day before and Veronika (V) who was across from me, had just come out of surgery that same afternoon. V aspired to be in Joan’s position – up walking about without nurses hovering over her & I wanted to be in V’s position as she was able to get herself dressed and do more for herself. And this frustrated me as I was unable to go to the toilet on my own.

We were always comparing our recovery to the other persons’ to see what stage we should be at. Basically, we were all an inspiration to each other & over the 4 days of V’s stay; we supported each other and had early morning discussions when we were unable to sleep. Being told off by the nurses as it was apparently still too early (4am) for a giggle. V and Joan were both in their 70’s.

Both Joan & V were given compression stockings to wear from the day of surgery, and we all received tummy injections at lunch time. The nurses advised me that my consultant felt that someone aged 25 didn’t required them. All literature I had read regarding THR clearly states: the importance of wearing compression stockings after surgery, as we are at a higher risk of a blood clot.

Sunday (5 days post op) I was discharged  and felt I had made great progress. I finally had more movement in operated hip/leg and knew that I had to continue my exercises at home to continue to get better. The first night was definitely a learning curve, the anaesthetic played havoc with my body and I also had a bad reaction to medication. I was thankful my mum stayed the night as she was a great help.

I have to say The Red Cross were fantastic with me! They went above and beyond to help me and by the Tuesday they had provided me with a high back, sturdy, raised armchair (something they explained they weren’t supposed to do). But with this one act of kindness I was able to get out of bed and move in to the living room.

By Wednesday I noticed my leg/foot on operated side was swollen; I was unable to move my toes, my ankle, I couldn’t weight-bare & my medication wasn’t touching the pain. I just put it down to over-sitting so I headed back to bed. The next morning it felt like I had really bad cramp in my calf and foot and I was unable to do anything to relieve it. It hurt so much it made my cry out in agony.

Over the next few days, I felt frustrated – all the hard work had came to a halt. I was unable to walk on my operated leg and had very little movement due to swelling. My boyfriend and I felt that it really should be checked out, so 7 days after I was discharged I was sent back to another hospital to have it looked at. I was referred to see a consultant for a blood test to check for possible Deep Vein Thrombosis. (DVT) I was given a blood thinner injection into my tummy and asked to return the next day to hopefully be booked in for a scan. We arrived on Monday – I was given another injection, was apologized to but no space for scan today but told to return tomorrow.

Tuesday – I had the scan and the doctor explained that I had a small clot behind my knee. The consultant explained everything* I needed to know. He explained there were 3 options. 1 & 2 meant I had to return to hospital on a daily basis to either receive medication & a daily blood test or injection. Or option 3 – take daily medication. Option 3; may prevent me from having to attend a hospital every day but it still has its risks. This medication doesn’t yet have an anti-dote so I have to be even more careful because if I injured myself, my blood won’t clot and even a bump to the head – could cause bleeding on the brain.

*I have to take blood thinners for the next 6 months, I have to wear thigh high compression stockings for a minimum of 2 years and I will be prone to blood clots in the future. He made me aware that no one (surgeon/nurses) took any precautionary measures to prevent the clot and that it was only a matter of time before I would have got one. This angers me because had I been 60+ I would automatically have been given stockings; which would have been the best deterrent for a clot.

I am fortunate to have such a considerate boyfriend; not only has he been my support and helping hand over the last 3 years but even now he is willing to wake up with me in the mornings and put the stockings on me before I am allowed to move and the same goes for bed time.

So the lesson I think anyone should learn from this is: research all possible risks thoroughly before any surgery. I am disappointed as I was looking forward to wearing dresses, skirts, shorts, skinny jeans and leggings after surgery. However, this is no longer possible because I have to wear thigh length stockings for 2 whole years unless washing/swimming/sleeping due to someone else’s incompetence!

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