Friday, August 21, 2015

Life without T

I started this blog a few years ago and it's been a lot of fun and therapeutic to record many patients, family/personal stories and life observations.
For the most part, I've led an incredibly charmed life up until June 18th, 2015.
That's the day, my amazing 45 year-old wife, Tori, who was sitting on the couch next to me suddenly slumped over and became unresponsive.
It was about 20 minutes after I had written the most recent blog entry.
I was post-op day #9 from a left total hip revision and she was taking care of me.
She suffered a heart attack and had prolonged cerebral hypoxia.
After 4 days of attempted interventions in which no significant brain stem function was observed she was allowed to die naturally as per her previously known wishes.
Our (mine and my childrens) world has been rocked.
Today is day 60 of Life without T (Tori) and I am therefore starting a new blog with the same title.
I suspect some might end up there initially due to thinking its a blog with information regarding how to live without Tea or Testosterone.
I don't know if they will come back when they determine it's about a 55 year-old male who has lost his soul-mate.
If not, hopefully they might pass the title on to someone they know who may be in the midst of a life changing event.
Patients Say The Darndest Things has ended as of today.
I have more important things to write about.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

An upstanding man

One of the major complications from hip replacement surgery is the risk for dislocations with certain movements.

The risk is greater in revisions than it is for initial total hip replacements. A usual statistic quoted is 10%, but some other studies have shown a risk up to 25%.

One of the main discharge instructions after the surgery sounds easy enough: Do not bend at the waist greater then 90 degrees for the next 6 weeks.

It's just that you forget how much of what you do on a day to day basis depends on doing just that.

For the time being, a "reacher (a tool purchased at a medical supply store)" has become another close friend.

I'm getting pretty good with it. My wife laughed today when I let her know I was able to pick up a single Q-tip from a bottom drawer in a cabinet and that it only took me about 8 minutes to put on my underwear this morning.


My friend Jack

I've had a fair amount of "down" time.

I'm post-op day #9 from a left total hip arthroplasty revision.

My current home rehab routine takes about 12-14 minutes to perform and I've been doing it at least 2-3 times a day.

That still leaves a considerable amount of free time remaining over the course of the day.

We borrowed season #1 of the series "24" from our local library a few days ago.

I've been watching a few segments each day and it's helped to compress the day.

The main character is Jack Bauer.

He's become a friend of mine!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

To tell the truth

"This medication will help you relax but it's truth serum so be careful what you say," noted the anesthesiologist with a grin as he was getting me set up for the epidural. "I'll be back in a few minutes when it takes effect."

My wife was in the pre-op room with me.

I figured I would speak. "I want you to know that I have never been unfaithful to you."

"Thanks for letting me know. I was really worried about that!" I remember my wife telling me just prior to when I thought I fell off to sleep.

After the surgery and back up in my room I remembered the conversation. I laughed when rehashing the details with my wife.

"Is that all you remember?" she asked.

"Yes, was there more?"

"Before you went off to sleep you also told me that you didn't think our marriage could last if your mother moved in with us and that you sometimes pretend not to hear Dwight (our poodle) ringing the bell on the door (yes...he is trained to ring a bell with his nose whenever he wants to go outside)."

We both laughed.

I'm glad it wasn't any worse than that!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The last lecture re-visited

Randy Pausch verbalized these wonderful thoughts about life on earth, in 2007, just before his death:

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."

"You have to decide whether you are Tigger or an Eeyore. You have to be clear where you stand on the Tigger/Eeyore debate."

Witnessing a resilient and positive person, who may be in the midst of a life threatening health condition, is truly a life inspiring event. It changes you and it's a blessing!

Epidural baby

Epidural anesthesia has been used frequently in labor and delivery since at least the 1970's. Over the last number of years it has been increasingly offered to many undergoing a variety of other operations as well.

I had a total hip replacement under general anesthesia in 1997 and had severe post operative pain.

I had a revision total hip replacement last week with epidural anesthesia (that was kept in place for 48 hours post operatively) and had virtually no pain during the immediate post operative period.

The only draw back was the need to have a urinary catheter inserted-also a first for me. This was discontinued just prior to stopping the epidural.

But in terms of a decision tree it relatively simple: Severe pain is not good. No pain is good.

There are also many reports that the elderly, in particular, do much better from a cognitive standpoint with an epidural versus general anesthesia.

If it's an option, take the epidural!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Back at it

It's been about 15 months since my last post. I had written an entry about 3-5 days a week for almost three years when I decided it was time for a break. Some things are the same and some are different.

My wife and I remain happily married and marrying her 22 years ago was truly the best decision of my life. I continue to see primary care patients in their homes and it is truly a privilege and a blessing to do just that. Both children are now in college and doing great. My son just finished his sophomore year and wants to pursue graduate school to become a doctor of physical therapy. My daughter just finished her 1st year and wants to attend graduate school in the future to be a large animal veterinarian. Both are getting observation hours this summer.

We have a new dog, a 9 month toy poodle, named Dwight. He's a hoot.

I have some spare time on my hands as I recover from having had a hip revision 6 days ago. I had a total hip replacement done 18 years ago at age 37 due to developmental dysplasia of the hip and X-rays done almost a year ago noted to significant wear and the need to have an elective repair before irreversible damage to the joint had occurred. The plastic liner was changed to a newer generation more wear resistant liner and the metal head was changed to a more wear resistant ceramic head. The joint capsule also needed to be re-constructed.

It's good to be back at it!