Reflection: Pain before Replacement

There has been a lot that I have learned through this year of surgeries.  And while sitting and recovering at my parents I had a lot of time to reflect.  One thing that I truely reflected on was the pain that I use to be in, the pain I had and the degree in which our body protects us from feeling pain.

Side Note:  For this post it’s important to keep in mind a few things:

Pre-Surgery: Right hip felt worse then the left (but they were both in a lot of pain)

Surgery No. 1: Right hip replaced (Oct 2016)

This story takes place here, between surgeries

Surgery No. 2: Left hip replaced (May 2017)

Something that I have learned while recovering from the second surgery is that recovering with a bad leg full of arthritis and other problems makes things so much harder! Which is what I did after my first surgery.  I couldn’t feel my ‘normal’ pain in my, still at that time, bad hip (left hip) until almost 4 weeks post-surgery on my right.  That’s how much my body was dealing with other things and ignoring my chronic pain.

After my first surgery, I specifically remember when I started to feel the pain again in my left hip.  We were driving home from physio and I just started crying.  My left hip and leg were killing me and it felt almost unbearable.  And this was my ‘better hip’ and less painful hip out of both of them pre-surgeries.  I couldn’t believe the amount of pain. This is when I started to understand the degree of my hip problems (weird how it wasn’t until one was fully replaced that I understood.  People, aka the surgeon, had told me how bad things were but I hadn’t truly understood it).  Before surgery they were just normal to me, whatever, I didn’t think it was that bad (well I knew they weren’t great) but it was manageable (or what my brain had worked into being manageable… funny little brain and what it does to protect us from pain).  Sure it was annoying, I couldn’t always walk and when it rained I felt useless but I didn’t let that get me down (I’m a positive person, silver linings).

It was hard to admit that I had been in so much pain.

This changed my perspective on my pre-surgery life, what I had been able to accomplish, what I pushed through and what my daily activities were really like.  I had unconsciously altered the way I did things to make bending, standing, etc, easier on myself (twisting and leaning on things, for example).  All of these realizations took a while to sink in and were very overwhelming at first.

Side Note:  The pain on my then still old hip got better managed.  I started back on my pre-surgery pain medication at the 6 week mark after confirming with my surgeon that it was okay to do so.  However, when it rained all of March I was pretty much out of order.

I’m honestly still dealing a little bit with the understanding of what I was living with.  While I’d love to move forward, and I’m so glad that I am, I also can’t forget.  Writing this all out and remembering what I have been through helps me to better appreciate where I am going and the gift of new hips.  I feel blessed that in Canada we have everything covered (even without private insurance) and that the only thing I have to focus on is rehabilitation.  I can’t imagine what others (in the US for example) have to go through.

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