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Oliver's Hip Replacement Recovery Journal

Updates on Ollie's recovery and rehab.

Oliver's Hip Replacement Recovery Journal

Right Back Where We Started From

July 30th, 2015 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

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Ollie is so handsome!

Ollie is so handsome!


 

We’re sorry it’s been a while since our last post.  The past few weeks became a bit of a blur and Ollie’s recover was (we thought) going so very well that we didn’t really have much to blog about besides a few updates about his therapy.  We honestly meant to give more updates, and were planning on a very celebratory post filled with cute pictures like this one of Ollie in his laser therapy goggles.

It is not easy to be this cool.

It is not easy to be this cool.

We honestly wish we’d posted about these last few weeks more, especially because we are now posting with some pretty shocking and bad news.

Yesterday, Ollie went in for his 8 week check up.  His surgeon, Dr. Brourman, flew in from Idaho and took x-rays of the hip implant.  Unfortunately, the x-rays showed the stem of the implant had subsided into his femur and was causing a gap of about a centimeter between the ball and cup of the implant.  This separation was making Ollie turn his leg out slightly, which we had both noticed, and put his hip at too great a risk of future dislocation to leave it as it was.  We made the difficult decision to undergo emergency repair surgery on his implant.  Initially, Dr. Brourman wanted to simply replace the ball portion of the implant with a larger one, but that didn’t close the gap enough.  The entire stem portion of the implant had to be removed and replaced in order to get the implant to fit correctly.  Here’s a picture of his new incision right next to the one which was healing so nicely.

Scars are sexy, right?

Scars are sexy, right?

We are basically back to square one with his recovery.  Because the implant is larger this time, and because the removal and replacement caused a small fissure in his femur, we are even more concerned about him potentially breaking his femur this time.  We must be incredibly vigilant and not allow him to put any weight on his leg for the next eight weeks.  We are extremely distraught because this means Ollie will have to endure more pain and discomfort, and the effort and money we have already spent on his physical therapy has all been for naught.

Ollie is home now, we just got him a few hours ago.  Fortunately, he seems a lot happier this time than he was after the first surgery.  We’re hoping that, because they only had to replace the stem and not the cup, the pain won’t be as bad.  He’s also on a slightly different medication regimen, which Dr. Brourman hopes will not cause the delusion which we believe caused Ollie to cry so much over the first few days last time.

We started this blog to chronicle the ups and downs of this procedure and the recovery.  It looks like we just hit our first big down moment, and it was tougher and more unexpected than we could have imagined.  We thought we were only a few weeks away from being pretty much in the clear, and now we are starting over on a much more difficult and dangerous path.  Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement.  As tough as the last 36 hours have been, our belief in Ollie’s strength and ability to come through this like a champion has never wavered.  He’ll be running around his yard this time next year and will be looking this happy all the time.

Nothing is gonna keep me down!

Nothing is gonna keep me down!

 


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Stitches Are Out!

June 23rd, 2015 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

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Lou is so jelly.

Ollie relaxing in his Help ‘Em Up


 

This has been a very good week in Ollie’s recovery/rehab.  As you probably guessed, his sutures were removed on Friday.  On the plus side of things, his incision continues to look great, and he hasn’t been trying to lick or pick at his scar.  Also, the doctor said the implant is, so far as he can tell without x-rays, in the right place and Ollie’s range of motion is very good.  Ollie did, however, bite his tongue again when they were taking the stitches out.  This time he bit the front.  Luckily, all three spots on his tongue are healing.  As soon as they are healed, we’re brushing his teeth.  It’s getting a little better, but since he also hasn’t felt like chewing his nylabone, his teeth are in serious need of cleaning.  He is still eating well, and his bowel movements have become much more regular.  He’s going at least once a day, which is pretty much normal for him, especially because it’s been rainy in the Chicago area this week, and he hates going out in the rain.


The incision is healing nicely.

The incision is healing nicely.


 

Ollie is still spending most of his time resting, which is fine with us.  When he does get up, it seems like he wants to take a little more weight everyday.  We may have caught a very lucky break in our rehab center search.  Before we decided on the hip replacement surgery, we made an appointment to see a physical therapist who met Ollie at the surgical center and had a great rapport with him.  We were very excited to work with him on Ollie’s physical therapy, which we knew was going to be part of any option we chose for treating Ollie’s hip.  Unfortunately, when we had our consultation, we discovered the doctor we met was leaving the practice soon.  The therapist who was going to replace him was there and conducted the consultation.  It did not go well, so we decided to search other nearby options.  We were lucky enough to find the rehab center to which the original therapist moved, it’s only an hour away, and the therapist knows Ollie’s surgeon!  They are conferring to decide on a plan for rehab, but we think we aren’t going to let Ollie have much weight until about week six or eight.  We may start laser treatments on the next week or so, but hydrotherapy probably won’t be for a little while.

 

We were asked in the comments section of our last post to talk a little about the harness we’re using to help Ollie get around.  We got a harness made by a company called Help ‘Em Up after Ollie’s knee surgery, and we’re using it again.  We were a little worried about it irritating his incision or putting too much strain on the hip joint, but our surgeon said it was perfect.  He was right, it has been an incredible and necessary part of Ollie’s recovery and rehab.  It is a harness made for four legged dogs, but it was the best option we could find.  Occasionally, the rear strap will slip over his stump, but we’ve learned to watch for that.  Ollie…well, he tolerates the harness.  It’s heavy and bulky, but he bears it like a champ! We highly recommend it.

 

We continue to be overwhelmed by the support we’ve received for Oliver!  The well wishes, encouragement, and love you have shown us were completely unexpected.  Knowing that people are cheering for Ollie really does help make this process much more positive, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


Lou loves her brother!

Lou loves her brother!

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About a Week Into Ollie’s Recovery

June 16th, 2015 · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

He uses his tongue to taste the air, like a snake.

He uses his tongue to taste the air, like a snake!


 

Welcome back to Ollie’s recovery/rehab journal.  We’re a little more than a week after surgery, and Ollie is doing very well so far.  The first few days were very painful for him, even with the Fentanyl and Tramadol.  He sort of spent most of the day softly crying, which was heartbreaking for us.  We probably reminded each other about a thousand times that the pain was expected and is a part of the healing process.  The surgery is extremely invasive, and his bones are growing around the implants, so there is just going to be a lot of pain.  We felt it was important to always have one of us sitting with Oliver so he would at least know his Mom and Dad were with him.  Oliver didn’t try to move around much during those first few days, really just to shift positions on his pallet.  He was extremely drowsy, which sort of served to help keep him stationary.  We took him outside every few hours just in case he wanted to go potty, but he seemed to be trying to hold it as long as possible.  He peed some for the first few days, but didn’t poop until Monday, which was the fourth day after surgery.  He was also a bit reluctant to eat for that first weekend.  We ended up boiling some chicken and rice for him.  We also mixed in some pumpkin to help with his bowel movements.  After a few days, we were able to slowly work him back to his normal food and his appetite returned.  He’s still not eating quite as much as he usually does, but he’s expending far less energy, so we aren’t concerned.  For those first few nights, we made Ollie sleep in the crate we got for him, and he was not happy about it.  We tried to make it a little better by taking turns sleeping on a little pallet which we placed next to his crate.  We may be a little crazy, but we love our boy and we’ll do anything to help him feel a little more comfortable.

About five days into his recovery, Ollie seemed to turn a corner.  He started to feel a little bit stronger and began to try to move around some on his own.  We still don’t want him putting much weight on it, so we have to watch him a lot closer now to make sure he doesn’t try to do anything which could hurt him.  He’s pretty mad about not being able to get on the couch, but he’s just gonna have to deal.  The pain gradually lessened, and by about day five or six he wasn’t crying at all.  He finished all of his antibiotics, and yesterday was the last day of his pain medicine.  He’s going to be on the anti-inflammatory for a while, though.  Day one off of the pain meds seems to be going well.  It’s a rainy day in Chicago, so he has only been outside twice today.  We set up a spare couch cushion in the living room which he seems to love, and have cordoned off a small hallway (about 3 feet by 6 feet) for him.  We started putting him in the hallway to sleep and whenever we need to do normal human stuff for a few minutes and not be watching Oliver like a pair of hawks.


 

You should see the other guy!

You should see the other guy!


 

Ollie’s incision looks great, as you can tell.  No signs of infection, and it looks like he won’t have much of a scar once it has healed.  His hair is starting to come back nicely.  He did develop a couple of sores on either side of his tongue.  We think it probably happened in the first few days after surgery.  He wasn’t really drinking much water and his mouth was extremely dry.  There’s some pretty interesting breath happening right now.  We’re very much looking forward to brushing his teeth once those sores heal.  We’ve got an appointment on Friday to have the sutures removed.  We’re also going to start shopping around for rehabilitation centers soon, as he should start physical therapy within the next week or so.  We did have a consultation with one therapist, but the chemistry was not good, so the search continues.  We’re hoping to find someone who Ollie loves and who we trust with his rehabilitation.

Thank you for continuing to follow Ollie’s story.  We have been touched by the support we’ve received for him!  We’ll keep updating this blog with all the details of his recovery.

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Surprise! Surgery was actually yesterday!

June 6th, 2015 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

Ollie seems happy to be home.

Ollie seems happy to be home.

 


 

So, we took Ollie in to the surgical center on Thursday for what we thought was a consultation with the surgeon.  After a wonderful, but brief consultation, during which we gained the utmost trust in Dr. Brourman, we learned he had Oliver’s surgery scheduled for yesterday, not today.  Color us surprised!  Still, we felt great about sending Ollie in with Dr. Brourman, so we quickly agreed to go ahead with the procedure.  We also learned the cost for total hip replacement was quite a great deal higher than we were initially quoted.  We had been told the cost would be around $3,800 to $4,500 and discovered, literally moments before the surgery started, the actual cost estimate to be in the $7,200 to $7,900 range.  It turned out to cost $6,700, which may have been a slightly gracious rate.  The surgical center apologized for the misunderstanding, and seemed deeply embarrassed.  We still have the utmost faith in them.

They called us this morning to update us on Oliver’s status.  His vitals were good, and he was eating and going to the bathroom.  They told us they felt good about us taking him home today.  We went to PetCo and got him a crate.  To say Ollie has never enjoyed a crate is a severe understatement, but we are determined to try.  We don’t want him to put any weight on it for at least a few days.

We went to get him this afternoon, and met with the nurse to get an overview of his home recovery plan.  He is wearing a Fentanyl patch for pain.  It stays on until Monday.  He’s taking Tramadol twice a day for pain, Rimadyl for an anti-inflammatory, and the antibiotic Cephalexin.  The nurse brought Oliver in, and he was so incredibly happy to see us.  We both almost cried, and he was definitely crying with excitement.  They had shaved almost his entire backside, and the incision was extraordinarily clean and much smaller than we expected.  It is on the outer thigh, starting at the hip joint and going about four or five inches down the center thigh.


 

Ollie's leg has a new look.  Like it?

Ollie’s leg has a new look. Like it?

 


 

He seemed eager to get home. Getting him in the car was a lot easier with the HelpEmUp harness.  I sat in the back with Olliver on the way home and made sure he stayed lying down.  Having both of us there to pick him up was a very good decision.  Getting him out of the car required a little acrobatics, but we managed.  Ollie was extremely good and basically let us carry him.

We brought him inside and got him set up on a palette of bedding on the floor, and one of us is sitting with him at all times.  We took the cone off, since we are keeping such a close eye on him.  Once we got Ollie down, we let Lou out of her crate, and she was amazing.  She came out so slowly, and gently approached Ollie.  She smelled all around, gave him about a thousand kisses, and demanded we remove the cone at once.  She always seems to get what she wants, that one.

Right now, Ollie is sleeping and Lou is sitting in her window seat watching the neighborhood and keeping guard.  Thank you to everyone who has followed us this far.  We’ll have another update soon.

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Surgery in four days.

June 2nd, 2015 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

There's no friend like a sister.

Lou has always had Ollie’s back.

 


 

We took Oliver to the surgery center last Thursday to get some pre-op x-rays.  They had to sedate him, so we were there for about two and a half hours, which was a bit longer than they expected.  When he was awake enough to walk a little, we got to take him home.  He was very groggy and seemed confused and scared.  We had to use the special Help’EmUp harness which we got for his ACL surgery to support him for a few hours because he was having a hard time walking, he was a little sore from being stretched for the x-rays.  By the end of the night, though, he was moving around much better, and was just a little tired from the sedation.

He has been in generally good spirits lately.  Some days are better than others, and he is definitely still taking it extremely easy.  He does have days when he seems full of energy and wants to chase Lou around the yard like his old self.  We are trying to let him enjoy himself as much as possible this last week before surgery, but are being vigilant and not letting him play once he begins to show signs of fatigue or pain.  We’ve been walking him as often as he seems to want to go, which is about every other day.  The walks are very short, since he starts to get tired easily, but they seem to do him good and he seems to be in less pain after a walk.

We have our consultation with the surgeon in a few days.  There are lots of questions on our minds, mostly about how immobile Oliver will have to be and how we can best keep him from putting any stress on his new hip before he is healed enough to do so.  Fortunately, Lou has been extremely gentle with him anytime he starts to show any signs of pain and we feel confident that she won’t try to push him beyond his limits.

Our friends and family have been amazingly supportive, as has the internet community.  Your positive energy has been overwhelming.  We are confident that Oliver will come out of this experience stronger than ever!

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