Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

11 July, 2012

POST SURGERY EUPHORIA A HAPPY DISCOVERY

It is not my intention to bore readers with talk about my recent total hip replacement surgery, but...something funny and most unusual has happened to me. I feel psychologically lighter, emotionally energized and mentally positive. I have renewed intellectual curiosity, physical stamina and overall happiness, almost like a new person. Kind of scary, in a way.

I seem to be enjoying things in general at lot more. I have more tolerance. I do not sweat the small stuff that used to get under my skin. I find myself smelling the roses more than in the past.

While still in hospital people were saying how good I looked and how well I was doing. Twenty-two days after surgery I am sailing through my physio sessions and I'm now walking with only one crutch. There are times when I strike out walking and after a dozen steps remember that I have left my crutch behind.

After coming home from hospital I had difficulty focusing and was not interested in reading the newspaper or working at the computer. With mobility severely reduced, I felt like an invalid -- helpless and dependent on others.  I slept a lot. But after a few days all that began to change. It was as if I was being overcome by an unexplained state of euphoria.

I have since learned that what I am experiencing is a neurochemical high because my endorphins had been in overdrive for so long. It could have been the agonizing journey through grocery and departmental stores; the pain of walking behind a lawn mower or simple things like getting in and out of a car, settling into bed at night or walking up and down steps, that played a role in wearing me down. It hurt in more ways than one to catch a reflection of a struggling, limping figure in a window or mirror and realize that it was me.  No light at the end of the tunnel was, likewise, another negative contribution.

Chronic pain drains your battery, and leaches color from everyday life in so many ways. When every step hurts, you dread literally everything. It also drains you mentally — something I had not considered, so automatic had it become — as you constantly calculate how much it is going to hurt before doing even the simplest things.

Remarkably, since my four days in the hospital, I’ve needed only one dose of major painkiller and a couple of Tylenol 111. Unlike most others I talked to in hospital who had THR along with me, at no time did I feel the need for narcotics. The old pain and ache in my hip, groin and thigh is gone, replaced only by a certain stiffness and diminishing tenderness surrounding my new artificial joint.

I have even started to lose a little weight and feel my stomach muscles tightening as a result of the prescribed exercise regimen and using arms and upper body while walking with the aid of crutches.

Contributing perhaps to my recovery and the remarkable high that I am feeling, has been the support of family and friends (you know who your friends are at times like this). It is assuring to know that people care about your welfare. Little acts of kindness can mean so much. Thanks due, also, to a wonderfully talented young orthopedic surgeon and caring nurses and therapists who went out of their way to give me personal attention.

I have a way to go physically before getting back to my old active self, but every day I notice subtle improvement. I have no idea how long my post surgery state of euphoria will last. I'll just take it and make the most of it for as long as I can. It is one of life's unexpected discoveries and a real blessing.

And to think that I had trepidation about all of this in the beginning...

Thought I'd share some happy news with you guys today!

1 comment:

Coleen said...

Hi Dick. Glad to hear you are doing so well. You described exactly how my good friend felt after her HRS and hearing her tell everyone she knew that just waking up afterwards, and not feeling the pain of so many years, was such a blessing. She was back to work in less than her 8 weeks that she was advised would be her recovery time. Keep up the good work.