October 14, 2005 - Autologous Blood Donation
Time is still going fast as I approach my surgery date for revision hip replacement. It's about 33 or so days before surgery and I have several medical appointments scheduled, necessary appointments to ensure my surgery and recovery will go smoothly.
I donated one autologous blood unit yesterday at the local blood bank. I have done this before prior to other joint surgeries, as it was recommended by my orthopedic surgeon. It's a simple procedure, not unlike having your blood drawn for testing purposes, except when donating you must fill up a whole unit which is 450500 milliliters or about one pint.
The whole blood donation procedure took about one and a half hours. They began by checking my insurance cards and identification. After that came an interview regarding my medical history, checking for anything that might disqualify me from donating my own blood. I had my temperature and blood pressure taken, and a finger-prick to obtain a drop of blood to measure my hematocrit. Everything checked out fine so I was cleared for my autologous blood donation and I was told to get comfortable in their contour recliner.
The technician said they only have one size needle, so small veins make them cringe, but she seemingly had no problem with me. It took about 15 or 20 minutes to fill the unit with blood once the needle was in my arm.
I sat up after they had obtained the unit of blood, went to their reception area where refreshments are encouraged and you are encouraged to wait 15 minutes before leaving the blood bank. I ate 2 cookies and drank two small juices and felt well enough to drive home. I'm pleased that I have one unit of my own blood reserved for my surgery. I will go in two weeks and try to give a second unit.
October 2, 2005 - The Long Wait For Surgery
I have known I needed surgery since mid-July. The decision was made one evening at my orthopedic surgeon's office. X-rays and bone scans show that a previous hip replacement is loose in the acetabular component and the prosthesis has "shallow positioning". My doctor recommended revision hip replacement surgery. I was told my surgeon's scheduling secretary would call with the date of surgery.
I was anxious to know my surgery date and wish they could have told me that evening in his office. But I waited for the scheduling secretary to call and she did around the beginning of August. In my mind, I expected to hear a date in September or October. It wasn't to be. My surgery date was scheduled for mid-November. How could I make it to November? The hip was very painful. The date was over 100 days away!
I truly wondered how I was going to pull off the waiting game. I wrote an email to a dear friend of mine who has had many joint surgeries and many long waits. Her response was "Yes, I know about waiting. My experience is that when something shifts or pops, it settles down in a few days to a week. There were a couple times - after the initial injury (a metal plate snapped), after the shift in July 2003, after the dislocation in Spring 2004, when the pain was so significant, I wondered if I'd have to be confined to my bed and doped up the whole time. But each time, my body adjusted, and the pain lessened. You think you can't possbly wait 4 months, but you can. You take it one day at a time, do what you're able to do, take it easy on yourself. And eventually, the day of surgery will come."
Sound advice I thought. I bought into it and I'm so glad I did. What my friend said was right. You can make it through the long wait before your surgery date. It's your time to do whatever you need to do prior to surgery. You should use the time effectively.
My 100 days have been whittled down to less than 50 days. Time is going amazingly fast actually. It's clear my "how am I going to make it" never really needed to be asked. I have been through hip replacement surgery before and revisions too, the last being in 2001. I have even endured the "long wait to surgery" before, yet when you're in the middle of the process it's sometimes hard to think with clarity.
Here are some tips for using your time effectively during The Long Wait For Surgery.
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Carol's Hip Replacement Diary: