Doing well 6 1/2 months after surgery – Peter M

Hello Fellow Hipsters and Friends,

I’m pleased to report I am doing very well. It has been about 6 ½ months since my THR turned back the hands of time and transformed me into a young man. I feel at least 5 or 10 years younger than I did at the beginning of this year!

I am comfortably running very slowly about 3 or 4 times per week. Last week I got up to a total of 16 miles. My pace on level ground is a mercuric 12 minutes per mile, and I am ecstatic about that. While I was not able to compete, I was able to finish all 8 July trail races up in the hills, just as I did when I was younger. It felt great to be out there with my friends and family again. I never was a speedster, and I never will be one. But I can see improving my pace to under 10 minutes per mile in the very near future.

I chose today to inform you about my progress because it is the anniversary of my final steroid injection on 8/6/14. A year ago, I was still under the delusion I would find some miracle cure for my ailments. The injection lasted for about a week. Then my condition deteriorated rapidly to the point where I could not walk without severe pain.

They gave me an assortment of heavy pain pills that did not work. Then, they supplemented the pain pills with a weekly pain patch. That didn’t work either, but it kept me stoned all the time. I shook myself out of my drug induced stupor when they called in the cardiologist and wanted to put me on blood pressure medication. This led me to the realization I was all wrong. The pain pills and the pain were the causes of my increased blood pressure. Now what would be the side effects of this blood pressure medication? I refused to take it. And I stopped taking the pain medications as well. That was the turning point that ended my downward spiral … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Peter M – All Clear at 6 Weeks!

Hello All,

I’m ecstatic to report I received the “all-clear” at my 6 week follow up visit with my surgeon yesterday. I am now allowed to resume normal activities. The first thing I did after they told me that was tie my own left shoelace. I hadn’t been able to do that for quite a while. Today, I may be more adventurous and try to cut my toenails. And tomorrow, if this snowstorm subsides, I will try to jog a quarter mile.

Aside from this tightness (I was very stiff even before surgery), my biggest problem is still sleeping at night. I was taking mega doses of oxycodone an hour before bed time. But that didn’t help me sleep, so I gave up the pills (again) about a week ago. I would truly appreciate if anybody out there has any suggestions for sleep aids that don’t involve narcotics, wine, or weed.

I am going to miss my cane. I’ve grown attached to it. People are so much kinder and friendlier when they notice my cane. And I always get a seat on the subway! I will also miss the affinity I have felt with others I have encountered walking with canes. I’ve met at least a half dozen interesting people in the last 6 weeks who have exchanged comments about cane features, styles, walking speeds, gaits, limps, and so on. I guess I still feel an affinity with these less fortunate souls even though I no longer need my cane. I have walked a mile in their shoes and I have had a glimmer of what it is like for them.

Next milestone is in another 6 weeks. They tell me by that time I will be close to “normal” and ready for heavy lifting.

 

Peter M (a/k/a Speedy Petie a/k/a The Hipster)
March 5, 2015

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Peter M – 1 week after surgery

 

I feel pretty good considering it is exactly 1 week after my THR. Since I work at home, I am now fully functional, albeit on a limited schedule. I take 2 or 3 naps to break up my day. That allows me to elevate my leg and apply ice. I find ice to be more effective than the opium pills. Surprisingly, I have grown accustomed to the cold, and I even find it to be very soothing.

One of my problems is sitting behind the computer for too long. The pain in my groin while sitting is only about 2 on a scale of 10. I’m kind of used to this since I had similar pain prior to surgery. The simple cure for this silly problem has been setting a kitchen timer so that I don’t sit for more than an hour.

A real problem is sleeping. The pain at night is not severe, but it is more than enough to keep me awake. I spent a couple of sleepless nights without medication. However, it is more important for me to get rest, so I have decided to go back on the opium pills at night.

There are many reasons to avoid this synthetic opium. I believe the pills impede your recovery. One of the things I hate the most about them is they make me grind my teeth. I chipped an incisor the other night and I have no desire to schlepp up to my beloved dentist’s office. Dental care will have to be deferred.

I’ve been walking about a quarter mile per day with my cane. The Blizzard of 2015 was not as bad as we anticipated. I was even able to get down to the corner store for groceries on ice free sidewalks before the storm.

The first few steps are very painful. But after that I get into a groove – just like back in my running days. I would rate the pain while walking at 6 or 7 on a scale of 10. At first, the pain in my wrist was at the same level. (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

PETER M – I WISH I HAD THIS HIP REPLACEMENT DONE YEARS AGO!

Yesterday my THR (left side) went better than I could ever have imagined. I must compliment Dr. David Mayman and every single staff member at The Hospital for Special Surgery for their top notch professional service. They were all pleasant, courteous, and compassionate.

I think I may have set some kind of record for the fastest THR in history. I arrived at the hospital at 11:40 yesterday morning. I was 10 minutes late while Dr. Mayman was 3 hours early because of a morning cancellation. Thus, I did not spend a minute in any waiting room. I was processed immediately, then stripped, shaved, scrubbed and sedated. I’m a little fuzzy on the timing, but I don’t think the operation took much longer than an hour. I remember waking up in the recovery room a little after 2:00 P.M.

They gave me a couple of doses of opium intravenously. But I felt good enough to decline all the pain pills that were offered. As a result, I was able to avoid the pill they give for constipation and the other pill they give to prevent your stomach from getting upset. I had less medication yesterday than I used to take in high school. And this allowed me to excel at this morning’s early PT  session & test.

I carried the walker in front of me for the first few steps before suggesting to the physical therapist that my cane would be more appropriate. I walked with and without my cane for a short while and then I was able to negotiate 5 stairs with relative ease. I learned a new word when the occupational therapist exclaimed something about how well I was ambulating. She then asked, “What time do you want to go home today?” “Noon will be fine with me.” I was elated!

I was an obedient and cooperative patient up until that point. Then I became inpatient. I couldn’t wait for the nurse to help me get dressed. I got in trouble for that. I got into a lot more trouble after they told me I could bear … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Peter M – New Year’s Resolution

Today was my pre-surgery imaging, testing, and screening. All systems go for THR on the 22nd. Naturally, I’m a bit nervous now that the date is so quickly approaching. But I am also excited and very much looking forward to getting out of this painful rut. My New Year’s resolution is to be one of those guys who says, “I wish I had this done years ago.”
My day of tests and x-rays did not go without incident. First I got stuck in the elevator on my way out of my apartment. Fortunately, a porter came to my rescue – he kicked the door a couple of times and the door magically opened. For a few moments I thought my surgery would have to be postponed because of something crazy like this. I learned a person can become very anxious while stuck in an elevator.
Then I had the scariest cab driver ever. The guy stopped on the corner of 14th and 4th Avenue, opened the door and got out of the cab. I looked around but he was nowhere to be found. I freaked! With all the horrible headlines of terrorism reverberating through my brain I figured the weirdo planted a car bomb. I had my good leg out the door when the driver returned. He had been behind a kiosk buying a newspaper. He didn’t say a word – no explanation, no apology – nothing.
I was already having palpations because I was now late for my appointment. Unlike normal NYC cabbies, this guy stopped at yellow lights. I think it was so he could read his newspaper. We stopped at almost every red light all the way up to 70th Street. This set my heart racing even faster.
All of a sudden another car cut in front of us and almost caused an accident. My driver went ballistic. He used every variation of the “F” word that you can imagine. He actually pulled the cab over so he could get out and fight the other driver. When I tried to calm him down he turned around and … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Pete – Training Starts Tomorrow!

It is obvious the fitter and stronger you are going into surgery – the better your recovery will be. Thank you, my hip brothers and sisters for helping me reach this conclusion. As a result, I have decided to use the 2 months I have before surgery to get into the best shape possible.

I’m going to get back to a lot of the stuff I used to do, like weight lifting, spinning, yoga, and maybe a few short runs (except I am going to try my last long run tomorrow). Do any of you have any suggestions as to specific exercises or equipment that might be useful?

I have taken stock of all my strengths and weaknesses. On the positive side, I have a great new family of hip runners that understands and supports me. I have a lot of “miles in the bank,” a positive mental attitude, and a head as hard as a rock.

My hard head can also be one of my worst negatives. Like racing, one of the hardest things to learn is not to start out too fast. I will have to fight myself to be smart about my recovery, and try not to take on too much too soon.

I am not in the physical condition that I should be. I gained 7 pounds since the summer to 165. I won’t share my waist line measurements. That increase is too depressing. But I will share an example of pre-surgery atrophy. My right thigh of 24 inches is a full inch larger than my left thigh. My right calf is 14 5/8 inches while my left is only 14.

Training starts tomorrow!

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Pete – About Me and My Running

My name is Peter M. My old friends call me Sammy. In Central Park they sarcastically call me Speedy Petie.

When I was healthy I used to finish in the front of the middle of the pack. I guess you could say I was average when it came to speed. Instead, distance was my thing. I could run all day if you kept me watered and salted. Nonetheless, in my running club (NY Harriers) I am the slow, old guy.

I love to run. I used to run 6 or 7 days per week. The only reason I would take a day off would be to rest up for a race. I raced hard against myself every weekend. And during July and August I would run the Summer Series up near Mohonk Mountain and the trail races up in Kingston. That makes 3 races per week during much of the summer. I believe I’ve run more races than any other slow guy on the planet.

One of the greatest joys I have experienced in my life has been running the trails with my now 8 year old grandson, Mitchell. He’s so cute! He can’t understand why they don’t let him run the adult races. He is also very competitive. When he was younger he didn’t like the idea of me running ahead of him. He would grab onto my running shorts to slow me down. I long for the days when someone, even a small child, had to slow me down. I LONG TO RUN THE TRAILS AGAIN WITH MY GRANDSON.

That is why I have finally decided on THR. It was a long haul over these past 5 years, but I believe I am finally on the right path. As I stated in my previous post, nothing is worse than being reduced to a lounge chair while the rest of my real family races in the woods. After reading the posts of my esteemed brother and sister hip runners that precede me, I have a renewed hope and optimism that I may someday be able to resume this joyous … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Pete – Hello and Thank You

Hello New Brothers and Sisters. And thank you for being here. I have already found the wisdom in all of your posts invaluable.

Moreover, I am extremely grateful to have discovered there are others out there like me. I am ecstatic not to be alone anymore! Unlike my real family, I have a new family that understands me and my need to run. I finally have someone I can talk to!

Don’t get me wrong – I’m also grateful for my real family. After all, they are just concerned about my health and wellbeing. My 87 year old mother thinks I’m “nuts.” My daughters are a bit more kind. They classify my desire to keep running as one of my “eccentricities.” My real brothers are less kind. Whenever we meet one of them inevitably exclaims, “How can you run? You can’t even walk!”

I have also been reprimanded by strangers who have stopped their cars to offer me assistance after watching my awkward gape. I didn’t know my limp had gotten so bad. And get this: The other night I was lectured by one of the young kids at the track as I slugged my way around the outside lane. Even hardcore runners think I’m crazy!

Maybe I am a little crazy? Perhaps. But I guaranty I would be a lot more crazy if I gave up running. I came to this conclusion, very painfully, at one of the trail races this past summer. My daughter brought a lounge chair so I could sit at the finish line and watch. Imagine that! I used to race every week (in the middle of the pack). Now I was reduced to a lounge chair? I cried that night. I don’t care what the doctors say. I WILL NOT GIVE UP RUNNING! THE PAIN FROM NOT RUNNING HURTS A LOT MORE THAN ANY PHYSICAL PAIN GENERATED BY MY OLD, ARTHRITIC BODY.

I have exhausted all other treatments and remedies except those offered by faith healers. It is time for me to come out of my state of denial. It is time for me (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)