Monthly Archives: September 2017

Email Update #5 – Day 9

Dearly Beloved,

I passed my one week anniversary yesterday! Yay! To celebrate I spent 2 hours in physical therapy and have been recovering ever since! What I learned: When the PT gives you an exercise to do and says to do it 10 times, 2 sets, that does not mean do it for the whole 15 minutes until she come back. It means do the sets and then rest! By the time I was done, I’d fatigued my muscles so much I could hardly walk out on my walker. Oops! Live and learn. So, today I’m tired and sore, but still doing my 2x daily PT exercises.

I also learned that I can move the hip in a greater range of motion than I’d thought. This is helping me to stretch it and get it moving again, so it feels looser and stronger today.

Scott has set up a little home PT room for me in our guest bedroom and it works great! We even have an obstacle course made of coffee mugs in the hallway!

I would say I’m on my way to recovery now. But it is taking most of what I have to get through the day and do these 2 rounds of PT. This hip replacement business is hard work, lucky I’m retired!

Scott continues to be a saint and Theo a snuggle kitty. The weather has turned Indian Summer warm and I can see the leaves turning on the trees. I’m a lucky lady, indeed. This is a perfect spot for recovery, with a great family, neighbors and friends and a cozy home.

Thank you all for your supportive communiques! They make my days and give me inspiration and encouragement when I get tired of the pain and discouraged by the limitations. I remind myself that these things take time and this too shall pass. And then I will walk strong on my new hip (well at least on one side).

Scott and I made an interesting discovery the other day. Looking at my hips, we noticed I now have one girl hip and one boy hip. My right hip is out and up higher than my left, so I have a big hip with a waist on that side and on my left I’m still straight up and down! What a trip!

I hope this finds all of you well and that you are finding pleasure in the simple joys of life. I hold you all in my heart and thank you again for being here in such beautiful ways for me.

Much Love, Rhonda

Email Update #4 – Day 6

Dearly Beloved,

(I thought I’d borrow a great line from Prince and you are all my dearly beloveds.)

Where have 3 more days gone? I recall having a really good day on Friday and probably did too much. Then, on Saturday morning I had a reaction to my Tramadol (pain med) and decided maybe it was better not to take it. Well…. Later that evening it was clear that I needed it and Scott suggested I start taking it again and just not take it first thing in the morning. It took me the morning Sunday to get my pain levels back to about a 2-3 and then I spent the rest of the day recovering from a rough night. Today I’ve got my medication regime down and am trucking along at about 0-2 on pain levels. I don’t seem to have a bad reaction if I take it around 10:00 am and 4:00 pm and then at night. I just have to sleep for an hour.

I am getting up and cruising around on my walker and doing exercises about every 2 hours. I am definitely sore, but it’s getting better. I can lift my leg which is huge! It means Scott is released from house arrest, which makes him very happy! I am fairly self-sufficient for a few hours at a time now.

He is a saint truly, patiently working through all these little ups and downs. He must spend 15 minutes every night tucking the “Princess and the Pea” into bed. He cooks and cleans up and hosts happy hour nightly with friends, family and neighbors. My mom and his dad came to dinner last night. She made her famous ham and clam chowder with corn muffins-yummy!

I feel absolutely spoiled rotten and am enjoying every minute of it. Thanks again for all of your sweet messages and gifts of support. You are all treasures in my life and it really helps with my recovery to feel all your love.

I took a video of me on my walker. It’s the first video in this Google album: Rhonda’s Hip Adventure Videos.

Here’s a picture of my on my walker:

I hope this finds all of you well. Know that I am doing great and slowly coming back. I still sleep a lot and don’t have a lot of stamina, but I’m getting better!

Much love and big hugs,


Email Update #3 – Rhonda – Day 3

To all my beloved family, friends and neighbors,

I cannot tell you how much your loving support, messages, calls, cards, flowers and prayers have meant to me. I have felt completely embraced and held by love and light through this surgery and the beginnings of my recovery. Thank you so much! There were times along the way when I would dream of waves of positive energy flowing into me from everywhere and I knew it was all of you. I am truly blessed by all of you.

I’m happy to report the surgery was a success. I knew it was a great result when I was in recovery, and I saw the look on my surgeon’s face when he saw the xray. He was like a kid in the candy store. All the nurses kept saying, “He is so sweet. Don’t you just want to pinch his cheeks?” Then they would pat me on the arm and say, “Sweetie, you have a great doctor!” He took this photo of the xray with his cell phone and emailed it to me:

He had to do quite a bit of extra work to make a socket for me, as expected. He told me there was less muscle damage than he’d anticipated that he had to fix. But, my femur showed signs of stress because it had grown a bunch of bone spurs. So, to secure the implant in my femur, he zip tied it with metal wire, which you can see clearly in the xray. That may need to come out once the bone grows around the implant, if it bothers me.

My pain levels have been very manageable and I got to come home the morning after the surgery! It was good I stayed in the hospital the first night because my blood pressure dropped down to low 80’s over 50’s due to all the narcotics and anesthesia and they had to flush me with fluids and give me oxygen to get me through. I learned that heavy narcotics like Oxycodone don’t really work for me! I’m glad we didn’t learn that at home and poor Scott would have had to rush me to the ER! Right now I’m just taking some Tylenol and Tramadol (more moderate narcotic that I can tolerate).

I am very sore, but that’s normal. I can walk around on my walker and get in and out of chairs and bed. I also have some physical therapy exercises I am doing to get the muscles working again. They get you up almost as soon as you come to and can sit up. Pretty amazing.

The hospital (Renown South Reno) was wonderful! I had a private room overlooking a nice tree and everyone who worked with me was caring and attentive. I am particularly grateful to the night staff who had a lot of work to do to get me through the night.  I was amazed at the efficiency of their process. They know what they are doing! Here’s a sexy picture of me in my surgical gown (they can even plug you into a heat/AC unit to either heat or cool you–isn’t that nuts?)

My beloved Scott has attended to my every need and was there with me the whole way through, except in surgery and recovery. My gratitude to his friend, Marlene, who had coffee and sat with him during that time. The surgery took only about 90 minutes.  I am so grateful for his beautiful presence in my life–I cannot imagine having this experience without him. He’s fixing dinner while I’m typing. He is surely my rock and my sanctuary in this world.

And guess who else was there? My dad! When they gave me the first pills to start putting me under, he showed up. He looked like he did when I was young. He took my hand in his big, old paws and said, “Come on, kid, let’s go hang out under the apple tree.” Suddenly, I was under the old apple tree behind our ranch house, lying in the cool grass and watching the clouds go by. When I was young and we were both tired from doing chores, we would lie down under that tree and cloud watch, calling out the shapes we saw. It is one of my favorite memories of my sweet father. I cannot tell this part of the story without crying. It was an exceptionally beautiful experience. He stayed with me the whole way through my hospital stay and comes in and out to check on me here at home. He tells me, “I am only a thought away, always.”

It reminds me that life is a mystery greater than we can ever know and that love connects us eternally to one another–whether we are in a body or not.

So, on that sweet note, I’m going to wrap up this epistle and go eat some supper.

God Bless all of you for being here for me-I am so grateful! I’ll probably keep doing group emails for awhile, because my bandwidth and sitting time isn’t great yet. But I’ll be in touch individually as I am able.

Love to you all,


Email Update #2 – Scott – Home from the Hospital

This is Scott again…

I am dictating what Rhonda tells me…

“HAPPY Equinox!!!

She is home!!!  Yay!  Got released at 11:30 am.  She is getting around on her walker and the pain is OK.”

The main thing to know is she has her smile, which tells me she is doing well!  Not much more to report, just she  climbing the ladder of recovery, thank God!  I think we are on the home stretch!  Hopefully, tomorrow, she will be able to write you herself, if not, I will!

Again, THANK You all for your kind words of support!  I make sure she hears all of them!  They make her smile!  She feels so very loved by you all!

Until tomorrow!

Much Love,


Email Update #1 – Scott – Day of Surgery


All is well!

It is almost 8 PM and I just back from the hospital.  Rhonda and I left the house for the surgery center at 7 am this morning.  We checked in, Rhonda got prep’ed for surgery and they put her under and took her away at exactly 9:30 am as scheduled.  The replacement took about 90 minutes and the doctor was extremely happy with the results.  She was in recovery for a little over an hour and up to her room in the hospital at 1 PM.  The doctor said “She had the hip of a 70 year old!  During surgery, I had to keep remembering she was only 51!”  Basically, he had to rebuild her hip.  “Normal people have a cereal bowl shaped hip socket, Rhonda had a saucer.”  He had to drill into the pelvis and insert the new socket, then wire (“zip tie”) it to hold it in place.  You could tell the surgery was a challenge for him, one he was excited to take on and he was very pleased that he was able to fix it!

After Rhonda got in her room, she was having pretty bad hip pain.  They gave her more pain meds and managed to get on top of the pain.  She was in and out of sleep most of the afternoon.  She ate some chicken breast around 6:00 PM and felt good enough to get up and walk for the first time and pee.  Success!  She said the hip felt different, but better.  After, she she ate up all of her dinner and was extremely happy and pain free!  I left the hospital about 7:30 and she was going to relax and go to sleep.  Hopefully she will be pain free tonight and sleep well!  Rhonda should be back home tomorrow.

Thank you all for your kind messages, thoughts, prayer and well wishes!  They are extremely helpful!


Two days before surgery

We are back from the weekend celebration of Scott’s father’s 92nd Birthday. I’m so glad that I waited on the surgery so I could go. I know it meant a lot to Jim that I was there. It was a lovely reconnection with the family and I felt such loving support from all of them.

Many had good advice for me from their own joint replacements. Bob reinforced that it is really important not to do more than the PT’s tell you in therapy, because it will “set you back.” He helped Kay through dual knee replacements and his brother through a hip replacement this year. So, he knows! Jimmy told me, take a stool softener every time you take a pain pill. (That explains why they say 1-6 per day on the bottle.) He said that he did that last time and it worked great. “Only took me 9 surgeries to figure that out.”

I found myself having a most interesting conversation with one of Scott’s cousins. When I told him about my hip surgery, he winced. “Oh, I hate the thought of surgery! I went with my mom to chemo and about passed out. I don’t think I could do it.” We then talked about how you do what you have to do to keep living life. I told him about learning that I could be with my greatest fears: pain and disability, and still live a very full life. I described being instantly 90 and understanding what that was like and that there was much still to enjoy even though my range and my abilities had diminished significantly. “I watch flowers bloom, tomatoes ripen, the movements of the sun and the clouds, and I have developed a closer relationship with the cat.” He asked if I was afraid and I said no. Truly I have no fear, just a feeling of growing peace and utter confidence that this will all be perfect.

Now the surgery prep is launched in earnest, two more days. By honoring my new limits, my pain levels went back down. I am managing without ibuprofen or bud budder. I can take Tylenol and I think I’ve done a couple of doses. But mostly I’ve used wine. I was so afraid about giving up the ibuprofen, but I didn’t need to be.

Today in my morning meditation practice I felt such strong energy coursing through me, vibrating. I feel angels around me and the prayers and well wishes of so many. I am very lucky indeed!

Danielle, Dr. Shukla’s assistant, called this morning to tell me I’ve been placed back in the number 2 slot at 9:30 a.m. Check in at 7:30. There is some chance I could go home same day. We will see how it goes. I am surrendered to whatever needs to happen for the best outcome. I trust my team totally to make the best decisions and I will do what they tell me and nothing more.

At my pre-op appointment last week, Dr. Shukla said no yoga or swimming for 6 weeks. He wants to make absolutely sure that the implants have set in the bone and everything has healed securely before he turns me loose. Smart man. Just do your therapy and be careful. No sleeping on my back or driving for a month. Use the walker first 2 weeks, or as long as you need the stability. Then use the cane. Don’t be a rock star/cowboy. I intend for a perfect result and that requires my perfect compliance. Now that I have my head wrapped around 6 weeks, I’m ok. November 1st will come before I know it.


My pain levels have risen to 4-6 when I’m walking and I can barely walk for any distance at all now. Standing is also getting tougher. Yikes! I’m timing this just right. I can make it 12 more days.

Had to have Scott do Walmart shopping today. After a trip to the DMV, I’m spent. I think I can do one little outing a day, unless it is just an in and out kind of thing. Pacing myself is becoming absolutely essential.

I figure it is good to back off now and turn more over to Scott. Soon, it will be up do him to do it all for a while. I certainly don’t question my decision to get this done now. It appears I’ve extended the life of my hip as far as it’s willing to go.

I’m through my hospital pre-op and the insurance authorization came in yesterday. One more pre-op next week and then we are down to surgery day. I feel very ready and that everything else that is left is doable. Glad I got a jump on some things, since walking at all now is so ouchy.