Monthly Archives: May 2018

Hip #2, Day 10

What a day for me and my new left hip! We started out with qigong and I was able to do Monkey, which requires a lot of balance and I’ve never done without wobbling on my ankles. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I could do it steady and even for the first time! That inspired me to try Tree Pose.

How cool is that? And I can hold it! That took about 3 months last time, due to the problems in my gluteus medius which couldn’t stabilize me on my right leg.

Marta, Larry and Ray came to visit this morning and couldn’t believe the difference in me this time vs. last time. We drank mimosas to celebrate and watched as the old Chevys paraded by, going into the park for the annual Chevy Classic Car Show.

Then I was inspired to try walking around the block without my hiking poles. I couldn’t do that last time until the 4th week! And then it hurt a lot and I wasn’t sure if I’d make it back. I had to sit and rest along the way. Today, I cruised right around slowly without pain and then marched up the stairs at the end! Last time stairs were the bane of my existence for MONTHS. I did everything I could to avoid them.

I walked in the house, sat down and immediately began to sob tears of joy and relief. I had a moment of compassion for myself, fully realizing how very hard it was last time. Theo hopped up on the table and looked at me with concern. I patted his head and told him not to worry, “These are happy tears.”

Hip #2, Day 8

I continue to be blown away by this experience, which is so different from the last! I just finished walking down to the end of the block and back! It took a long time before I could do that last time. Today is beautiful with fluffy, white clouds dotting the sky and it is wonderfully warm. The neighbors are all working on their yards and the flowers are blooming. It feels outside like I feel inside.

Yesterday I had my first physical therapy appointment with Lori. I walked in with my hiking poles, but just left them by the lockers in case I needed them. She watched me walk up to her, unassisted, in amazement. “Look at you!” she exclaimed. She had me get up on a table and checked my range of motion. “Unbelievable, I’ve never seen this at one week post-op.” I showed her all the things I could already do, including getting up on my hands and knees and alternately lifting my opposite arm and leg. She observed that I was already able to safely pass the 90-degree angle limitation, but cautioned me against crossing the leg against my body. “Don’t do that until 6 weeks, even if you feel like you can.”

I really enjoy working with her, because she can so readily assess where I am and not try to fit me into a “standard protocol.” I told her I’d been doing the exercises she’d given me last time, since Day 4. I also demonstrated that I could stand and balance on the leg and weight shift, which I could not do on the right leg until some time after our last appointment. She decided that meant I could work on the balance board right off! I never even made it to the balance board after 6 weeks of therapy on the right side! But, today I’m sore and stiff, of course. Not nearly as bad as last time, though.

I showed her how my muscles snap over the cable surrounding my femur on the right leg, and told her that hurt until the 7-month mark and that I still can’t walk over a mile without the leg muscles seizing up. She winced. I said I thought that was the difference between this time and last time, that and not waiting as long. I also showed her how I still can’t stand on my right leg and extend my left leg back very far without it buckling. She wondered if I could have the cable removed? I said, that my agreement with Dr. Shukla was that we’d give it a year and if it was still seriously giving me trouble, like keeping me from walking over a mile, he would do it. I’m hoping my muscles will continue to get used to it and I won’t have to have another surgery.

The statement she made that really stuck with me was, “The first one was atypical (bad) and this one is better than I’ve seen at one week from surgery.”

I decided that means the whole thing averages out, and I’m just happy the golden girl was my second one and not my first. Imagine how depressed I would be if it had been the other way around?

When I got home, I cried with relief. I realized that I didn’t know if I could make it through another agonizing, long rehab. I am so very grateful to have this miraculous post-op experience instead! I wept tears of gratitude and thanked God, all my angels, and my great team at Reno Orthopedic Clinic!

I had this knowing deep down: It Is Done. Now, I move forward with steady, balanced devotion to healing and rehabbing, while being kind and gentle, yet persistently determined.

Day 4-Surgery #2, 8 Months-Surgery #1

Yesterday was a tired day, so I slept instead of blogging! Today I’m more energetic and thought I’d reach out and update all of you.

I continue to do so much better than last time! It is truly amazing the difference with this hip. I have way less pain, much more strength and flexibility. I can actually stand on my left leg, which I couldn’t do for a long time on my last one. Because of this, I can walk better right from the get go! I hardly need the walker anymore, but do use it to carry things. I use my hiking poles for stability when I’m just walking. But, honestly, a lot of the time I don’t need them either and this is only Day 4! I am absolutely stunned. I think videos are always worth so much more than words, so let’s do that…  Rhonda’s Hip Adventure Videos.  See the video of Day 4 Surgery 2 and compare it to the first video which was Day 4 Surgery 1. Pretty incredible difference!

My body seemed to get back to its regular functions yesterday and I was able to take my first shower. Last time, this was quite the ordeal, requiring several days. I don’t think I could shower until the 5th day and that was a multiple-step process requiring resting in between steps. I couldn’t shower unattended for 3 weeks. Yesterday, I did it myself.

Once again, I’d like to recommend to anyone having surgery, make sure you use stool softeners like Colace and a stimulant like Dulcolax to get your BM’s back on track. It really helps to start the softeners 3 days before surgery  (stay on them until you are off the narcotic meds) and then use a couple of stimulants on the 2nd night after surgery. This usually takes care of things by the 3rd day, and I haven’t needed a stimulant again if I eat right and stay on the softeners. This time I also cut down on eating meat 2 days in advance of the surgery and I’ve eaten lighter during the first 72 hours of recovery. I think this also helped my surgery-sluggish digestive system.

Yesterday, third day after surgery, was a sore and tired day. It’s like the muscle soreness after an intense workout times 10. I find this is also a predictable pattern, but by today I am feeling much better and less stiff. Scott has set up my PT room in the back bedroom again and the cone walk:

I am amazed at how much more flexible this hip is! I can draw my heel to within about 6-12 inches of my behind while sitting up against the pillow. I can also open the leg a lot farther this time. You’ll see me do the cone walk in the video link above.

So, I am SUPER EXCITED!!! Now the big thing is staying in my Goldilocks zone and not doing too much or too little, but just right. I can tell that’s going to be an extra challenge with this one. I remember Davis telling me at my pre-op appointment, “Now, remember, no 2 hips are alike, so expect this one to be different.” I’m so thrilled it is such a wonderful different!

Thank you to all of you for your thoughts, prayers, emails, texts, calls, cards, flowers, food, visits and loving support! Thanks to my Beloved Scott who is always here for me, though this time, he gets off way easier! I could never get through this life without you my dear, sweet partner. Ok, time to sign off, mom is bringing us scalloped potato and ham casserole for dinner–one of my favorites.


Rhonda’s First Email Post-Surgery

Dearly Beloved,
     I’m back home and oh so much better than last time!  This is more what I’d expected the first time–minimal pain and disability, easily manageable. I am so grateful! As you know, I was dreading another tough rehab. This time they didn’t have to use the zip tie (cable) around my femur and I’m feeling like that is the difference.
     This time I was very calm and I had a feeling it would be better. Most of you shared that same sense. I’m so happy we were all right! See the power of positive group intention!
     I seemed to come out of the anesthesia and all the meds they give you at the hospital much better this time. I was clear almost immediately in post-op recovery. My experience was that I was out one minute and back the next with a new hip and very minimal pain. This time they gave me 5 mg oxycodone, instead of 10 and that worked better. But, my blood pressure was still too low to get me up for much of the night. Luckily it wasn’t in the danger zone this time and I didn’t need oxygen. So it was a much better night in the hospital.
     I was home by noon yesterday. At 3:00, a nice lady came by with this really fun piece of medical equipment! It is a unit for circulation and icing and it is so cool (pun intended). It wraps around my hips and circulates cool water to reduce inflammation, while it also compresses the surgical site to keep blood flowing. It also has calf attachments that squeeze my calves to improve circulation as well. This means I don’t have to spend the day with my nose below my toes, which is much more conducive to things like writing emails! Plus, it feels so good. I attached a photo of it.
I also attached a video of me walking after I got home yesterday–one day after surgery. Amazing. I couldn’t even consider walking without the walker for the first several days last time… (Since I can’t load the video directly into the blog, I added it to the Google photos link with all the other videos: Rhonda’s Hip Adventure Videos.)
     I want to thank all of you for your thoughts, love, support and prayers during this time. It means so much to me. I have again felt buoyed by your good wishes right over the hump of this surgery.
     Since I am able to use my laptop, and I have the blog set up, I’m going to switch over to that format to keep you posted. Then I am not inundating your mail boxes with things like videos :-).
     The blog can be found at If you want me to add you to the new blog post email list, let me know. That way you’ll get a brief message letting you know when I post with the link included.
Much Love to you all,
Rhonda, aka the Bionic Woman

Email from Scott Post-Surgery

All is well, again!
Rhonda and I left the house for the surgery center at 5AM this morning.  We checked in and Rhonda was prep’ed for surgery.  They put her under and took her away at exactly 7:30 am as scheduled.  Once again, the replacement took only 90 minutes and the doctor was happy with the results.  She was in recovery for a little over an hour and up to her room in the hospital at 10:30 AM.  
   Rhonda in Pre-Op for Round 2       Rhonda back in her room post-op
The doctor said it was good she decided to go ahead and replace the hip as it was as bad, if not worse then the first hip he replaced.  Her bone integrity in the left side was slightly better than the right and he was able to bore deeper into the pelvis to make a cup, and he did not need to Ziptie the femur this time.
Rhonda says the pain level is minimal and she is keeping ahead of the pain with meds.  She was hungry and ate a good lunch.  She has not gotten on her feet yet but should before the day is over.  She is now taking a nap so I came home for a couple hours and will head back to the hospital later.
Rhonda should be back home tomorrow.
Thank you all for your kind messages, thoughts, prayer and well wishes!  They are extremely helpful!

Row Your Boat

In two weeks I will have a new left hip. In the last few days all my pre-op appointments have been scheduled and all the paperwork arrived in the mail today. I stop taking all my supplements tomorrow. I’m actually doing pretty well physically. I feel strong and my energy level is good. My pain is so manageable, I sometimes don’t take my usual 2 ibuprofen at bedtime. Moving forward with surgery sooner has meant less pain and disability than last time.

This is the moment when I realize I’ve just pushed off the shore of the river and into the flowing stream. The current is fast and all I can do now is steer through the rapids.

I keep hearing that old rhyme in my head:

   Row, Row ,Row your boat, gently down the stream.

      Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

Since my last entry, I’ve had some anxiety. I resisted, it insisted. Feeling states are like that–relentless until acknowledged. Finally, I turned to my anxiety and listened. I realized I’d had the mental conception that because I have just done this, I know what to expect and so this surgery will be easier. Anxiety reminded me that this one is different. It said, “Now, you know just how hard this is for you and how long it takes to rehab. Last time you thought it would be easy and you would be hiking in 6 weeks. Now you know that hiking is likely 8 months to a year away. You know how hard this is going to be.”

I let that sink in, feeling the constriction in my chest and the wild beating of my heart. Then I asked for help. “Please help me through this. Carry me, because I’m not sure I can carry myself. I surrender, completely.”

Then I had this thought come into my mind from somewhere beyond me, “You will be ok. Step-by-step and moment-by-moment, you will get through this. When you need to be carried, I will carry you, or send someone to do it. Don’t be afraid. Trust me. This is the final lesson for you to learn on your Hip Adventure. Let go and trust. Surrender. And keep eating right and doing your exercises! Think positively, visualize a perfect outcome, in time. Surround yourself with positive, supportive, loving people. Unplug from anything negative that brings your energy and heart down. You will be fine.”

I am not a stranger to this Presence which gives me these succinct, powerful messages. It has been with me in every time of need in my life. It has always been right. After this experience, I was not as anxious. As I reflected on the message and honored my feelings, my peace grew and my pain decreased. It always surprises me how that happens.

I talked to Scott about it. He said, “You’ve been anxious?” I guess I don’t show it on the outside. I nodded. He said, “Well, that explains why I’m having all this anxiety I can’t figure out! It’s yours!” He told me he hadn’t been sleeping well since my anxiety began and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. The next morning he announced he’d slept like a baby, which is normal for him. The whole exchange between us reminded me that our partners are on the ride with us when we have these surgical adventures. It’s important to communicate with them what is going on inside of us. Then we can both be free and sleep again. I’ve been sleeping again too.

Now I feel peaceful and ready. I know deep down it will all be ok. I will come out of this. Last night I dreamed that this one would be easier and I would recover faster. I hope this is true, and I nurture that hope in my imagination, seeing myself recovering with ease. At the same time, I don’t want to fall into the trap of that expectation. It will be what it will be, and I will paddle this river stroke by stroke. It’s all any of us can do.