I ‘m now 14 days post-operation from getting my left hip replaced. Just a little bit of background. About 4 years ago while in a deep triangle pose I felt a pop in my left groin area. No big deal at the time, but over a period of months I felt the groin start to tighten up. Like a knuckle head I figured the best way for relief was to continue to stretch it. Roughly two years ago, the same popping sensation happened while attending a light yoga class at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. That evening on the 405 while riding my motorcycle home my entire leg locked up in a big way. To the point I almost was unable to shift the gears on the foot peg.
I ended up seeing an orthopedic doctor. Within 30 seconds of seeing my Xray he tells me I need a hip replacement. It snapped my head around for sure. No clue that I had advanced arthritis in my hip. But, there it is. I spent the next year and half getting two Cortizone shots in a surgical setting under anesthesia by the same doctor. During this period I slowly, almost without much thought began to shift from Power Yoga to a Bikram style series at Yoga Tribe Huntington Beach. The Bikram series was much less pounding on the hip joint for sure. A well respected Yoga Therapist also said I need to back off on my hip by 70%. Oye!
The hip progressively got worse with referred pain in my left knee and massive inflammation in my lower back. Then I read about big wave surfer and all around machine Laird Hamiliton getting his hip replaced in 2016 with total success. BOOM! I decided it was time.
For some reason I downplayed the scale of this surgery. Well it turns out it is quite the major surgery. I chose to do a posterior approach. Click here to understand exactly what that means. The night before and the day of surgery there are specific directions on cleaning your body. It really is a whole thing. The morning of the surgery I arrived at the hospital at 5:30am. Things move rapidly once you get checked in.
I had the anesthesia administered into my lower spine. It hurt as the doc must have hit a nerve. This completely “put to sleep” my entire lower body from hips downward. Then, I think I was then administered general anesthesia which put me totally out. Next thing I knew I was being woken up in post-op and completely disoriented.
Once I was wheeled into my room is when the real fun began. You see, I seem to be much more sensitive to the anesthesia through the spine than the average. It took me a-lot longer for me to start to feel my lower half. I wasn’t able to wiggle my toes or move at all until around 4pm that afternoon. And, much longer to do anything beyond the toe wiggling. One of the important things that needs to be done at soonest post op is to standup. You must wake up the muscles. Well that didn’t go so well for me. I stood up twice. Each time I became lightheaded, gave the nurses 5 seconds warning and next thing you know, I’m waking up disoriented again, laying on my back with people hovering and fussing. Total passing out into unconsciousville. This is a bit scary as I could easily dislocate the hip and have to head right back into surgery. Passing out happened twice and thank god the nurses had me under control and didn’t allow a dislocation.
Things began even more challenging. I was still under control of pain meds, high as a kite and not processing well. I decided to celebrate the surgery a Big Ass cup of Starbucks Coffee was in order. In fact I ordered two. Not understanding that the anesthesia had taken control of my elimination functions. I couldn’t feel a thing. In one standing attempt I let loose. Yeah, a real low moment…..couldn’t feel a thing…..although my nose was working fine. The real problem came when they wheeled in a machine usually reserved for pregnant women. The jelly goes on my belly and they roll the camera over my bladder. The nurse wide-eyed says “you need a catheter asap.”
In fact I ended up getting two separate catheters. Not sure what exactly a catheter? Oh joy read here. Operation Catheter was far and away the most traumatic piece of this hip replacement process. READ ON. I had a completely irrational reaction to getting the catheter….READ FEAR. The limbic system is so strong. Our memories encoded so very deeply. Many traumatic memories are suppressed. In this moment at 52 years old I had a memory……a traumatic memory that happened to me when I was a year and half. According to my mom, I had some kind of kidney scare resulting in me getting a catheter as a baby. Then my mom tells me we sat in the bathtub most of the night waiting for me to pee. The AMAZING thing is I didn’t remember any of this until they wanted to put a catheter in me at 52. All of my repressed memories came back. I remembered. It was so difficult they nearly had to strap me down……and the fact this full bladder situation happened twice.
The result of all this anesthesia business was two nights in the hospital.
THE GOOD NEWS! My first week was rough. Swelling of my hip was much greater than I had anticipated or been informed of. I used a walker for about a week……and then I almost like magic I started walking. Now two weeks in I’ve walked up to a 1/2 mile with out getting to fatigued. I am so grateful to modern medicine, for my yoga practice which has taught me a deep understanding of my body, my minds reactions, my ability to be mindful of my reactions. I feel deeply a stressed body’s impact on my mind and vice versa. I’m grateful for the insurance policy earned while serving in the Coast Guard which is not braking my financial back. I’m grateful for my girlfriend who took care of me each step of the way. It put a-lot on her back.
In Short……I’M BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN!