It has now been one year since I had my first hip resurfaced by Dr Smit and I have had some time to reflect on the experience. If you had asked at the time how it was going I am sure I would have said everything was not great...but not too bad either. However, now with hindsight, I would say it was a pretty bad time in my life. Despite the fact that I had great support from my family and work, I found the whole experience of recovering from surgery to really suck.
Of course recovering from surgery sucks......but the surprise was how bad it was even though I expected it to be really bad. From the middle of January until some time in March, I felt like I was in one long low that I couldn't escape from. There were a few factors that all came together that I had a tough time shaking.
First of all, I got off to a bad start with all of the bleeding I had in the couple of hours after surgery. This made me really weak and anemic and sapped all my energy for quite a while. My low hemoglobin levels made me unable to do anything physically demanding and lead to my passing out and falling on my new hip. The bleeding also greatly increased the pain of recovery, so much so that the dried, hardened blood in my quadriceps and hamstring was much worse that the pain of the new hip itself.
Also, issues of blood loss and transfusions during surgery made the anticipation of the upcoming second surgery worse. Psychologically it was very difficult to know that I wasn't on a straight line of recovery from this place of pain and weakness because I would be going through the same thing with the other hip in another couple of months. Although I was initially staying on the couch or in bed for 22 plus hours a day, the pain I experienced every time I moved made me really wish that this was a one off experience.
It sounds funny when dealing with much bigger health issues to talk about sunshine, but I believe the lack of it plays a bigger part in our mental state than we know. The short, grey and dull days do little to lift one's spirit in January in Vancouver.....and as a first responder I get to see evidence of this by our increased suicide calls at this time of year. I think the weather was one reason I felt lower after the January surgery than I did after the one in May.
Probably the hardest part of feeling low for me however was the lack of control I felt to change my state. I have always been able to feel better, more alive and energetic by going out and doing something physical. Despite feeling like I am a fairly introspective person who knows myself well, I never would have guessed how much I missed being able to exercise....it was a little bit like I was having withdrawal from a longtime addiction. I felt like a different person, being confined to the couch for all hours of the day....and it wasn't a good different.
Thinking back to a tough time of my life makes me really appreciate Les and my family for being so supportive throughout. It also makes me realize that, tough times come and go and we'll get through it fine.....in fact it's only with hindsight that we are even aware of how tough they really were.
Below is a video of the surgery which is best avoided by anyone squeemish. The fact that I am now able to watch it, when I definitely didn't want to before, shows me how far I've come in the healing process.