Saturday, September 15, 2012

If Only ...

Some time before I was actually scheduled for my hip replacement surgery, in fact before I even met the surgeon, I had a discussion with my then family doctor.
I was concerned that I would be going through the long process of surgery and recovery just to come out the other end still plagued with bursitis, and therefore still not be able to sleep on my right side.
My doctor drew me a picture of what happens with hip replacements.  "The bursa is removed," said he.  "So you can't have bursitis any longer."
I went away, happy in the knowledge that I would be ridding myself of two pains with one surgery.  Bonus!
Fast forward to two months following the surgery.
It is quite evident that I have bursitis in my left hip.
How can that be?  My doctor assured me that the bursa is removed with a hip replacement.
When next I visited my surgeon, I asked the question.  "Did you remove my bursa?"
"No," said he.  "I don't remove the bursa unless it is very inflamed.  I incise through it, but I don't excise it."

I asked if he would have removed it had we had the discussion prior to the surgery.
"Absolutely," he said, "if I had known that it was an issue for you, I would have excised it."
"Would you be willing to go back in and take it out?"  I asked.
"You really want to go through that again?" he queried.
Obviously not, but gosh I wish we had talked prior to the surgery.  It never entered my mind to question him on that point, so sure was I that what my family doctor told me was factual.
So, here I am, seven months post op, and I am plagued with bursitis -- in both hips.
It is seriously affecting my sleep -- I am back to waking every two to three hours to change position.
It is seriously affecting my gait -- which will in turn affect my right hip and the rate at which the osteoarthritis will progress, perhaps necessitating replacement of that hip earlier than I would have liked.
One thing you can be sure of though. When it comes time to prepping me for replacement surgery of my right hip, I WILL have that discussion with the surgeon.  Bursitis has been a major problem in my right hip for 35 years.  No way will I forget to alert him to the fact that it should be removed!
In the meantime, I am back to having to take powerful painkillers at night so that I can sleep -- something I really would have preferred not to have to do.
If only ...

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