Tag Archives: crutches

Hip Replacement Surgery- Final Update.

15 Apr

This morning I went for my final (well, for the short term) follow up appointment with the surgeon who replaced my hips. Having inspected how I was walking and how I can control the new joints, no x-ray was needed, but he says I can now go crutch-free! Hooray! This is the first time in well over a decade that a ‘no crutches’ life has been an option for me, I’m thrilled.

Obviously with my ‘push the limits’ attitude, I had to ask what I can do safely with these new hips… He suggested swimming, I suggested jet skiing, he suggested riding a bike, I suggested riding a horse – or a camel! After some discussion about what the hip implants I’ve now got can actually take, we settled on how I will try things I want to try, but be sensible about it- no trampolining for me then! This is all so exciting though, it means I can finally try a few things I’ve always wanted to but in the past have been unable to due to the pain. I cannot wait to try some new things with my shiny new hips! 🙂 Starting tomorrow. I may well be joining a gym! Wooooo!

It’s a pretty positive outcome for what was a nasty situation just a year ago. I was in excruciating pain on a daily basis, now I am pain free! The decision to have these joints replaced now (even though I’m aware they’ll need doing again in the future because I am so young at the moment) was the best decision of my life.

I’m happy. 🙂



What’s to come…

9 May

So the plaster cast was taken off my right leg in December – to reveal my perfectly straight leg, excellent! A follow up appointment was booked for three months later, in March of this year.  The question I knew I was going to get from my surgeon was (as I entered his office) ‘Ruby, why are you still using crutches?’.  I had wanted to be off crutches within a few weeks of plaster removal, to build up muscle and strength, but this hadn’t happened. I was unable to bend my knee past 90 degrees, no matter how much force I put onto it – and this made walking without an aid difficult, and walking up stairs? Impossible (You need 115 degrees of bend to use stairs unaided. According to something I read online!).  There was another reason I hadn’t ditched the trusty crutches too – sharp pain in my hips – but I decided not to add that into the equation when I replied, ‘Oh, because I can’t bend my knee enough to walk with ease’.  With that, I was told to lie on the examination bed, whilst he tried to force my leg past the position I said it got stuck in… No Luck. Apparently it’s a ‘mechanical jam’. So off to the x-ray department I went, to see what this jam was.

A few x-rays later, and it was revealed that the reason I cannot bend my knee is because the two bones are locking up against one another. Since the frame went on, the knee joint has become misshapen. Obviously, I ask what can be done about it, and he says he’s not sure. NOT SURE?! Aaaah! But, he is referring me to see two knee specialists next month to see if they have any ideas… Oh, I really hope they do! Having a leg that won’t bend much obviously isn’t the end of the world, but it is an inconvenience!

Once that was cleared up, I decided to just drop into conversation that my hips had been hurting quite a lot too. Another look at the x-ray, and he said (and I quote) ‘Yep, you’re stuffed – to put it nicely’. haha! I do love how blunt he is about it! Comparing the x-rays from December, to the ones taken in March (just three months later), the bone of my hip has worn away quite considerably, which is why they are hurting so much. Apparently I will be needing hip replacements in the not-so-distant-future.  I’m not impressed.  I was aware that hip replacements are a common thing for people with Pseudoachondroplasia, but I thought I would have until I was at least 30 before they were needed! I’m 20! That’s 10 years too early!! I have plans for my life, in particular, to further my education at University doing a PhD or Masters, and to get my career kicked off – how am I supposed to just fit in the surgery and recovery time for a couple of hip replacements?! 😦 But, it’ll have to be done, somehow.

I have spoken to a couple of women who have PSACH since, one who has had hip replacements, and another who is due to have her first soon… and by the sounds of it, the operations will be worth it. The only major worry I have (asides from the timing issues!) is future replacements. One set is fine, a second should be okay, but to keep on replacing joints is a risky thing to do. I am yet to have an appointment with the surgeon who will be sorting my hips out for me (and it’ll have to be a fairly specialist one as people with this condition don’t actually have proper hip joints anyway…) but I have a million and one questions for him when I do! I’m not quite sure what I’ll be putting myself up for when it gets to joint replacement surgery, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, I would just to be able to bend my leg! 🙂


Leg Straightening

29 Mar

At the age of 7, I had my first surgery in an attempt to straighten my legs.  This was to involve breaking both legs in two places, pinning them in place, and putting them from thigh to toes in plaster cast for three months whilst they healed.

I’ve never been afraid of hospitals, needles, or anything related to surgery – luckily! In fact, the whole experience was quite a positive one.  The surgeon (At the Royal Free in London) was fantastic, she made me feel at ease and had told me what she was going to do – and how this would help me in the long run.  Wheeled down to theatre to be given a general anaesthetic before the operation began, I was absolutely fine. My parents, understandably, weren’t.  They were upset about the whole thing and hated seeing me ‘go to sleep’.  For me though, the feeling of anaesthetic was amazing. Yes, that probably does sound a little wrong – anaesthetic isn’t there to be enjoyed – but I did enjoy it, the hazy feeling of drifting off is unlike any other experience I have ever had… I suppose probably could get the same feeling from other drugs, but I don’t meddle with things that aren’t given to me in hospital! haha!

When I woke up, my legs feeling heavy as they were weighed down with thick plaster of Paris.  Yet, given a little while to wake up from feeling groggy with anaesthetic, I was chatting away again to the nurse – wide awake and ready to go back to the ward.  I can’t remember how long I was in hospital for before I was allowed home to continue with recovery, but I know I didn’t really mind being there! Being kept entertained by the in-hospital ‘school’ and having my family there to chat to most of the time was absolutely fine by me! 🙂 The only moment I remember being worried was when I noticed there were dark red stains on the plaster cast of one leg. Panic! It’s blood seeping through! ‘No Ruby,’ Mum said, ‘it’s Ribena, you spilt it earlier, it must have got onto your cast!’.  I’m not sure for how long I was tricked by this response, but it reassured me for the moment at least!

I was allowed out eventually – given a wheelchair to use to get about, as walking with two legs totally plastered up isn’t possible(!)- and went home.  8 weeks of recovery time. At the time, I don’t know whether or not it felt like the time dragged… but I kept myself entertained, reading, drawing, colouring in the plaster cast (and playing tic-tac-toe on it!) and cuddling my new puppy.  Yes, whilst looking after me, who couldn’t move about and my younger brother who at the time was only 1 year old, my parents were persuaded to buy me a puppy as a ‘Recovery’ present! How thrilled I was! I loved him. I’m not sure he was quite so loved by Mum when she had to push me in a wheelchair, have my brother in a back-carrier for babies, whilst dog walking, and he would run about between the wheels. Tricky, but she managed it! 

8 weeks later (some of which I had been going to school for, when the Summer holiday had ended), I was back into hospital to have the casts removed.  Physiotherapy was soon on the agenda, and I was handed a walking frame to begin my walking with.  I didn’t use it for long (which 7 year old wants a frame? There are crutches!) and was soon zipping about everywhere with crutches… on my newly straight legs!

Unfortunately, the straight legs didn’t last forever.  As I grew taller, the deformities returned, and I was once again left with knock-kneed legs – just with a whole load of scars on them!  It was a disappointment, but the surgeon had told me she wasn’t giving up yet…

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