About 6/7 years ago, I had surgery on my right hip to repair a labral tear – torn edges of muscle that cause symptoms like a catching to clunking sensation, inside the groin and at times, painful with every movement/exercise I did. I was very happy, I felt fixed and a new person.
Fast forward to last summer, which was when I started noticing the same symptoms on my left and decided to get it investigated sooner rather than later. I was quickly referred by my GP to the physiotherapy/orthopaedic department and waited for an assessment. Via a phone call, I spoke with the physio and she gave me some exercises to try over a period of a few weeks, after which we would chat again and see how I was getting on. Whilst the physio was lovely, so helpful and the exercises she gave were good, I couldn’t help but shake the feeling of knowing they weren’t doing much and the catching/pinching sensation was still very much there.
A few weeks later we spoke again, and decided it would be good idea to get an x-ray and an MRI to see what’s going on inside. I did have to wait a few weeks/month or so between the x-ray and MRI, but in the current circumstances with Covid, I expected and accepted this.
I was extremely lucky to be cared for at the local private hospital, all through the NHS. I was seen before Christmas to have my MRI and then waited about 6-8 weeks before getting the results and seeing one of surgeons physiotherapists/team. It was clear, from the MRI, that there was a tear, along with a FAI (femoroacetabular impingement). FAI are small bumps that form on the ball of the hip joint and cause damage/tearing of the cartilage (labrum), making it worse. It was good to chat with the physio, who had two options for me – a steroid injection or surgery to repair. From having the steroid injection on my right hip, and it not doing much, I didn’t see the point of going the same route with this and decided to jump straight to the surgery/repair option. We spoke about the procedure and recovery process, and my funding letter was written and sent to another department for approval. Now the waiting game began.
In total, I had to wait about 4 months from MRI results/chat to the surgery date. I have to say, I have been so impressed with how everything has been dealt with. I was kept up to date throughout the whole process and made sure I was comfortable with everything going on.
A week before surgery, I was sent an email with a slideshow of what to expect when going into hospital, the procedure itself, during my stay and after surgery/recovery. Usually this would be done at the hospital but with covid, they are only allowing patients with appointments, into the hospital. Two days before surgery, I had to get a covid test and then self isolate. I thought I’d find this really hard but weirdly I enjoyed staying at home, because I had to and was thankful for the yoga and Pilates class that were still being taught through zoom!
Before I know it, the day had arrived and the nerves were creeping in…I had to eat a light breakfast before 7.30am, and from then until my admission time at 12.30pm, clearly fluids only. My mum was great at keeping me distracted and I made a few loaves of bread to keep busy!!! We arrived at the hospital, mum gave me a big hug and I headed in alone. My temperature taken and all checked in, I sat in reception waiting to be taken to my room.
Once settled into my room, and the nurses came to check my in/ask questions, all was becoming quite real. I’d spoken to the anaesthetist, chosen my breakfast for the next morning and was left to it. I’m so thankful to all of you who messaged me and kept my occupied! I watched a film, which helped the hours tick by too. At around 1.30pm, I was told I could drink water until 3.30pm and that’s when I thought, “great, I’ll be seen shortly after then!”…little did I know it wouldn’t be until 6pm that I would be taken down to the operating theatre.
My nurse walked me down and settled me into the pre-op room. I was shaking, because I was now really nervous, so they covered me in warm blankets and wrapped my feet in cotton wool wraps (weird but SO cozy!) and I was prepped for surgery. I don’t even remember the conversation I was having with the anaesthetist but it wasn’t long before I was out like a light!
Just over two hours later, I remember waking up, wrapped in a big heated blanket (known as the bear hugger) with nurses by my side. I vaguely remember the surgeon telling me everything went well, and after that have no recollection of the journey back to my room! Once back in there, I woke again and had help changing into my own pj’s and attempted to eat something, but really I was ready to sleep!
The night was how I expected, not much sleep and lots of being woken. My blood pressure was super low, so I wasn’t allowed to get up and out of my bed until the very early hours of the morning. I was so desperate to use the bathroom and my bum/back had gone numb, that after begging the nurse, she finally let me get up. It felt good, albeit sore and extremely stiff feeling, to move, however once I got back into bed, I went a little down hill. My blood pressure dropped and I felt extremely clammy and nauseas all of a sudden. I was laid back down, given oxygen for a while and not allowed to sit back up until breakfast time.
Once I’d eaten, I was able to get up and washed/dressed and wait to be discharged. The surgeon came by to give me an update of how it went. It was a little worse than he initially thought and so was in there for longer than expected, but he was happy with everything. I’ll go back in 6 weeks to see him for a check up. Whilst waiting for my prescriptions from the pharmacy, the physiotherapists came round to take me out on my crutches and show me/make sure I could go up and down the stairs safely. I was welcomed back into my room with a coffee and the nurses helped pack my bags. Part of me didn’t want to leave because I was comfy and taken such great care of, but equally I couldn’t wait to get home to my own bed and see my parents!
At midday I was given the go ahead that I could leave and rang my mum to come collect me. She had to wait outside and I was brought down by the nurse to meet her. I couldn’t wait for that hug!
Home and settled, recovery could now begin. Movement for the first few days was hard. My leg felt sore and so stiff. I had the local anaesthetic still in it, it was double the size and felt like an elephant was constantly sat on me. Movement was encouraged and sitting for too long was/is still uncomfortable. I’ve got a few exercises to do, which are pretty simple and easy and will have my first physiotherapy appointment next Wednesday. I have crutches and am not allowed to drive for 2 weeks or any sport/exercise, except get on a bike. To be honest, nothing appeals to me right now!
Without a doubt, I am so glad I decided to get this sorted and can’t thank the doctors, nurses and all staff at the hospital for being so kind, gentle and taking such great care of me! I’m grateful for the NHS and everything it has done, especially during these tricky times, but they’ve managed so so well.
I also want to thank each and every single one of you who has wished me good luck, sent flowers, card and gifts, a speedy recovery and for putting a smile on my face. It doesn’t take the pain away but it certainly makes me feel less alone and a lot better.
Please feel free to ask any questions and areas I may not have covered. I plan to do a few more posts as I recover, which I hope you’ll enjoy but please don’t feel you have to read!
Hope you’ve all had a good weekend. Here’s to hoping the better and warmer weather appears soon…!