Wednesday, 16 May 2012
The first time I felt pain in my right hip was December 2005. My doctor sent me for an Xray and the result was osteoarthritis in both hips but more advanced on the right hand one. I was prescribed NSAID Diclofenac to take with food in the morning and/or evening, and given a repeat prescription and a revision appointment every 6 months. At first the medication did not have much effect and in hindsight I dont know why I wasn't advised at that point to take paracetamol as a pain killer, as this would really have helped me. Eventually, however, the pain diminished a bit and I was able to carry on as before. Certain movements were either just uncomfortable or totally impossible, so I had to avoid climbing over any obstacle (such as a style or fence when walking the dog) and getting into the car had to be done by entering bottom first and swinging my legs round, but generally I was ok. My job means I spend most of the day at my desk on my computer, so there was nothing in the condition that prevented that. Lying in bed, perfectly still, and still being in pain was very depressing. The pain was not just the hip joint but all down my leg to my ankle. In my brother's case and that of two of the ladies on my ward, they also had horribly painful groin stabbing sensations, so I am most relieved I didn't have that. It does seem that everyone can have a different pain experience.
Going upstairs became one step at a time, painfully.
Walking our dog was my general way of getting exercise, and swimming would have been good but the breast stroke kick was not an action my hip joint was going to permit, so as I only enjoy short bursts of front or back crawl, swimming could no longer be in my remit. Walking any distance became a problem in 2009, and in spring 2010 a visit to my daughter was limited by my slow pace and need for pauses, although we managed a fair bit of Kew Gardens, so it wasn't too bad!
Starting in 2010 getting up from a chair to walk was agonizing, as was getting in or out of the car although I never had any pain or problem whilst actually driving. At some point my NSAID was changed to Naproxen and I took it twice a day and also had Solpadeine for the pain - which made me feel drowsy so I interspersed with paracetamol fully aware of not exceeding recommended daily amounts. I started to feel that my 6 monthly reviews were not resulting in any change in how my condition was dealt with and on the advice of a neighbour changed to another GP within the practice.
She immediately sent me for a second Xray in September 2010, (the other doctor had not suggested anything but the original 2005 Xray) arranged physiotherapy and gave me a detailed questionnaire on the pain levels and how my life was affected. The result of this was my case was put in front of the GP panel and is was agreed I should be referred for surgical assessment.
My appointment in November confirmed that my only choice - unless I wanted to live with it! was surgery - I was so relieved as I really thought they would decide my case wasn't sufficiently urgent. People I had met said they only operated once you were crawling around in pain these days! Due to work commitments I entered my 18 week pathway mid January, and was delighted to learn by telephone mid April that I was offered the date of 8 May. My hospital held a Pre-Operative day for hip replacement patients back in March, which we both attended and came away rather pale and shaken. I dont think either of us had seen beyond having the operation itself and not considered all the other issues that go on around it.