Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Keep Up The Good Work

With those words Dr. Muschler concluded our 30 minute, 6 week checkup.

He was completely satisfied with the 5 X-rays that showed my hip was both healing correctly and that the surgery had left my hip-pelvis area in perfect alignment. The ability of orthopedic surgeons to read X-rays is uncanny; they see things like a psychic reading a palm or crystal ball. If anything, they are too good at interpreting X-rays; I will give you an example. Trudy, the X-ray technician apologized for the painful contortions I had to endure in order to get the exact angle that Dr. Muschler wanted to see. I replied, "... no problem. I know that X-rays are the reason I drove 300 miles for this checkup." Then I added, doctors are so hung up on measuring my progress by reading my X-rays that I could walk into the examining room with 3 heads and the doctor would hardly notice."

If I were to list the highlights of the day, they could be viewed as all negative: getting up at 5:30 am in order to make the 5 hour drive, the struggle and pain of negotiating the stairs to get out of our back porch, the long wait and sitting on a hard wheelchair in both X-ray and to see Dr. Muschler, a few obnoxious people with their cell phones, being very tired at the end of a 14.5 hour day and finally taking a fall at the last rest stop on the way home. But most of these things are either routine with most doctor visits or could have occurred had I been closer to home.

So, as the proverbial question goes, what did the doctor say? (I love this comment because most people don't remember much of what is said nor do they ask the proper questions.) But, to give an answer, what I can do is continue for another 6 weeks with the restrictions of weight bearing on the left foot, do all my PT exercises plus the addition of some back stretching, no further restrictions on sitting time, and no restrictions on sleeping on either side or my stomach. The biggie was his approval of my request to start water therapy. What I cannot do is drive the car (although I got a temporay handicap sticker), restricted abduction movements of the surgery leg, and restricted straight-leg lifts of the surgery leg. Also, he doesn't want me to use weights on any of my dozen existing PT exercises (something I have been fudging on). 

Items that were of no concern to Dr. Muscher were just those items that hospital and visiting nurses dwell most upon: swelling in the surgical area, swelling in the legs and ankles, vital signs, bowel movements, even pain levels. 

So the 'choke collar' has been loosened a notch. Judy and I were extremely happy as we left the Cleveland Clinic at 15:30 hours, just in time to beat most of the afternoon traffic jams. I signed a paper that should have a digital copy of the X-rays sent to me in a few days. Once I get these X-arys, I will include them in a future blog.

 The best story of the day was when Dr. Muschler finished his detailed analysis of my X-rays, with emphasis on how happy he was with the healing process and the perfect alignment of all the parts. I then commented that I would assume that some surgeries did not result in such good results. His answer was a classic: "Not with my patients."

I should have more to report tomorrow because my first day of the second 6 week recovery period was a big day.


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