Friday, June 19, 2015

The Hip Bone's Connected To The.....

Titanium hip joint : Stock Photo

Hip Replacement Surgery!

Everyone knows that song, "Now Hear The Word of the Lord", that describes the way the bones are connected.  It actually derives from the story of The Valley of the Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37.  That song just comes to mind whenever I think of this fascinating and at times, scary adventure we have been on.  For anyone who does not know, my wife Angie got a new left hip this past Friday June 12, 2015.  She suffered from severe osteoarthritis that had worn the head of her femur down so much that she had very little cartilage left.  The surgeon said that she had worn a fairly good sized bald spot there and it was shiny and hard like a marble.

After the diagnosis last spring, we spent a considerable amount of time praying and preparing as we considered the when and where of surgery.  After two unsuccessful cortisone shots, we knew it was time.  Everyone is amazed at how young she is to have had this surgery and rightly so.  But she has handled it like a champ.  It doesn't hurt that God has been so good to us.

First of all, she was able to have anterior hip replacement surgery.  Until recent years, hips had to be done from the posterior.  That means that the surgeon approaches the hip through the side/back which involves cutting through muscle and tendon and that getting the fit and leg length just right was much harder.  Consequently, the risk for dislocation was much greater and the recovery time much longer.

Because Angie was able to have the anterior approach, they came at the hip from the front.  They make a small incision in the upper thigh, spread the muscle rather than cutting it, cut the head from the femur at a certain point, and scrape out the hip joint.  They insert the prosthetic pieces into the femur and hip joint to form the new hip.  If need be, they can secure the initial cup to the pelvic bone with up to three screws.  Angie has one screw.  I have included a pic (above) that is similar, though not exactly like Angie's.  It is three pieces, except a little more colorful and perhaps made of some different materials.  One of the pieces is purple which, of course, she liked.  Once complete, they close it up with sutures inside and staples outside and it's done.

Rehab And The Road To Recovery

The pics below are the same ones for the most part that I shared on FB while we were on this journey.  I wanted to include them here to go with the narrative for posterity and to bring them all together in one place for anyone who might like to look them over again or never saw them to begin with.  For the record, I do have permission to have these out there.  Thankfully, Angie has been very humble and unconcerned about appearances through this whole process as it regards photos.  That is saying a lot because ordinarily she doesn't like pictures even when she is put together perfectly.

The pain and soreness the first full day out of surgery was rough but she was still up like a champ learning small stairs, how to get in and out of the the shower and the bed, and walking long distances in the hall.  This, of course, contributed to the discomfort but was necessary for healing and to help avoid blood clots.  Sunday we practiced a full flight of stairs and went home.

From the very beginning of recovery there have been no restrictions and no abnormal complications, infections, or discomforts.  Just your "run of the mill" process.  God has been so good to take care of my baby girl.  Since Angie came home Sunday she is progressing beautifully.  She is having Physical Therapy every other day and getting around with the help of walkers.  Eventually she will move to a cane and then nothing.  Her pain has been minimal and her progress, phenomenal.

As of today, Friday 6/19/2015, one week after surgery, the physical therapist had her walking around without any support device; no cane, no walker, nothing.  She is not done healing and gaining strength and she will still have support devices for at least another weak for safety, but this is an incredible accomplishment.  It speaks to the wonders of the surgery and the determination of my incredible wife.  I am very proud of her.

Concluding Thoughts and Many Thanks!!!!

I don't know how interesting this is to people but I know some have found it to be so.  I hope this helps everyone understand a little bit more of what this experience was like.  If you ever need a hip surgery, you should definitely use someone who is comfortable doing the anterior approach.  We had Dr. Chris Blackmon with Piedmont Orthopedics and he was wonderful.  He has done close to 600 of these in about five years and has only had two dislocations.  That is an incredible stat.  Thank you Dr. Blackmon.  There are many others in the area who are becoming well-versed in this procedure as well.
We want to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us through this journey.  All of the likes and comments on the photos via FB along the way were so helpful. We can not express our appreciation enough for the many prayers and words of encouragement we received before, during and after the surgery.

Our Associate Pastor and his wife came to the hospital the day of the surgery offering encouragement and praying with us prior to her operation.  That meant so much.  A special Thank You for that. Your prayer was encouraging and it was answered.

Since coming home, we have enjoyed many delicious meals from friends and church members that have wanted to help in that way.  Some have called to ask how they can help.  Our  Associate Pastor's wife set up a meal train through our small group to help organize meals and some of our other friends have utilized that as well.  We want to say a huge thank you specifically to you as well.

Last but not least, Angie and I would like to express gratitude that is beyond words to her parents, who came down the day before surgery and have stayed for a week.  They have helped in just about every way imaginable to keep up the house, prepare meals, entertain children, do laundry, and even make a couple of repairs.  Their love and support has been invaluable to helping us get through the surgery and this initial week of healing and learning.

Tim and Brenda, we cannot thank you enough!

Finally, I would like to say how blessed I am to have had the privilege of being a part of my wife's life through this process.  She is such a strong woman in so many ways and she has amazed me time and again as she has dealt with the pain of  a bad hip to begin with, not to mention the surgery and recovery process.  She is incredible.  Thanks for being my wife and letting me be by your side through all of this.  It has been my joy to serve you.  I love you babe!

This has been an unforgettable adventure and we feel privileged to have so many friends and family, whether you could be directly involved or not, whom we know have been sharing in this with us.  We know you love us and we love you too.  Thanks again for everything.  Please do not cease to pray as Angie continues to improve throughout the summer.  Prayer absolutely makes a difference.

This joint could last up to 30 years so we look forward to lots of  pain free adventures with many of you in the future.

To God Be The Glory!!!  
He Is Good All The Time and All The Time He Is Good!!!  

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