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Surgical Complications: When Medical Procedures Go Awry: Pt. 3

Updated on July 12, 2013

Unbelievable Conspicuous Consumption

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Finally on the Way Home


Homeward Bound

Our journey home was approximately 200 miles from Reno, NV to Bishop, CA. The day after my release from Renown, we packed the car and began heading South. HOME! My husband and I were terribly excited-it was wonderful to be reunited.

We were quite grateful to get out of Reno proper, for it is confusing and terribly congested-and the drivers, occasionally rude. Fingers flew and faces scowled; perhaps they knew we were slow-moving tourists. The traffic was unbelievably heavy and folks weren't terribly patient getting from here to there.

After frantically maneuvering our way out of Reno, we were finally on our way toward Bishop. It was heaven, absolute heaven. Around 10 miles out of Reno, the drive became familiar to me, since we had driven this route many times before-for other, more benign reasons.

Edema: A Common Side Effect


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190 Miles to Go

Once settled in to the rhythm of the road, we were once again fairly relaxed, chatting about how happy we were to finally be headed home. We spoke of how our dogs would greet us and the reception we might or might not get from our felines.

Laughing, we lost ourselves in conversation and nearly missed a rest area in Lee Vining, CA (The Eastern entry way into Yosemite National Park). As soon as I began moving to exit the vehicle, my entire leg had become inflamed Getting out of the car was horrific, but with help, I managed. I looked down at my leg and was stunned. Surgery patients often suffer from mild edema (The swelling of a body part), but this did not seem mild; my entire leg and right foot were not only swollen, they were beet red and scaly. Both appendages were hard to the touch, extremely red, and insanely painful as well. It was all I could do to keep my husband from dialing 9-1-1 on his cell. It seemed reasonable to me that all I had to do to minimize my discomfort was to stop every hour or so and get out of the car. He agreed. The hospital staff had known about the long drive that was ahead for me, yet they neglected to tell either of us

Home at Last

The aforementioned edema vanished over the next two weeks, and my leg looked like mine once again. What a relief-to look at it now, you would never know the surgery had happened at all.

Once we arrived home, my first task was to become accustomed to our home, which is crowded with creatures and narrow hallways. The animals had to become accustomed to me; what choice did they have? I imagine the sight of my walker was a tad disturbing to them, yet they were quick to adjust by getting out of my awkward way. This piece of glorious aluminum is constructed in order to assist in walking, thus the name-obviously. I was absolutely dependent on it for the first two weeks after my surgery. My hubby 'tricked it out' with 2 sizes of cup holders and a pouch attached to the front of the thing. The cup holders are self-explanatory, and in the pouch I put various medications, books, cell-phone, and pens/pencils. What a man! What a contraption!

I graduated to a cane my son and daughter-in-law gave me soon after I no longer needed the walker. The cane lasted around a week. I have recovered iquite quickly. My first surgery on the other hip took longer to heal than this one did.

I've been walking with no assistance whatsoever since then, only a small scar remains, and after years of limping, I no longer struggle to walk. After the harrowing heart attack scare, I feel blessed simply to be alive.


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    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      7 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Wow, Lola-I'm really honored that you signed up here and hope you enjoy your time on HP-I know I have. It's a great site! First thing about the surgeries, get a surgeon that you like and trust. S/he will honor your wishes and address your concerns with empathy.

      God speed!


    • profile image

      Lola Granola 

      7 years ago

      Hi Laurel, I just read your hip replacement story and am feeling a big if kindred spirit. I just found out that , at 53 years old, I need both my hips replaced. I am still in shock, but reading your story is helping me to accept my fate. I'm in constant pain and even waking during the night to take even more pain killers. I work full-time (desk job) and need to continue, so planning my surgeries and recoveries will be a challenge.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      p.s. I signed up on Hub Pages just to thank you.

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Hi, MT!

      Yes, this was one of the scariest times in my entire life, I'll certainly admit that!

      The animals were part of my fear, initially, because I thought they might trip me or run me down! The cats tend to trip me, and the dogs? Sometimes it seems they are TRYING to run me down! J/K, of course-they were all very well-behaved and gave me great comfort, though we couldn't have the cats in our bedroom for around 2 weeks because they all love to cuddle with me and one of them sleeps ON my hip...;)

      Seriously, MT, glad to see you here; I appreciate the visit.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      8 years ago from Minnesota

      My goodness Laurel-What a scary journey to get your hip replaced. I'm glad to hear your doing so well now. I bet it was great to see your animals again. They can help so much in the healing process because they lift the spirits.

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Thanks, my young one!

      Yes, I am much better, only still in pain sometimes when I do my exercises-Dr's orders-it seems the prosthesis itself or the muscles around it are the problem. I am doing physical therapy which helps, but hurts!

      I'm okay, though, just in a bit of pain.

      Love to you,

      Yo mama!!! ;)

    • diyabhatt profile image


      8 years ago from Noida

      Oh my darling mom, I am so happy that you have recovered. It's really sad that you went through such an ugly situation! But thank God, you are well now... Take care of yourself...

      Loads of love, hugs and kisses...

      your daughter, Diya :) Muaaaaaaaah!

      And I forgot to tell you that the hub has been written very creatively. :D Great work! Voted Up!

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Hi Peg,

      Haha! Those detectors better watch out for me, that's for certain! Thanks for your well-wishes, but I am terribly concerned about your husband's edema. The surgery was in JANUARY? The edema's still there? Oh dear. Get some other opinions as to the cause of this, please!

      Let me know about this situation, okay?

      With love,


    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      I'm so grateful that you are better. And those pictures you took along your route were breathtaking.

      Lorlie, that edema is a nightmare. We're seeing the same thing on a daily basis following the hubby's surgery in January. Not as bad as the picture above, but painful and ugly and not going away. No one has had a proper answer as to the exact cause and that is the difficulty with it.

      It's so good to know that you are better and loving life!

      Wonderful story told by my bionic friend with two prosthesises now. You and the hubby will set off all the metal detectors for miles around.

      Love to you


    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Ah, GL, Reno is a cesspool, I must admit, and I'd had lovely fantasies of the place when I was a child. Oh well. Anyhow, I am absolutely good as new and am loving life!

      Thanks for stopping by,


    • Green Lotus profile image


      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I'm so glad you had a speedy recovery. Thanks for the heads up on Reno too !

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Ah, drbj, yes it was a scary thing, that leg of mine! But it's perfectly fine now, and that ugliness is but a nasty memory. Thank God!

      I've forgotten if you are a medical doc or not, which is it?

      Much love,


    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      You must have been terrified, Lorlie, when you first saw the edema in your leg on that trip back home. That is a frightening sight. Happy all is well with you now.

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      I know! It's only been a couple of weeks now! And my X-Ray looks bizarre!!! 2 fake hips which will set off all the alarms in every airport in the world. Jeeze.

      My animals were great and I am grateful for that, that's for sure!



    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Laurel - you did recover pretty fast! I would be freaking about the edema! That is really terrific that it went away and I was excited when you were saying you looked forward to greeting the animals:) lol I know how I would feel!

      Very up and interesting and all that!


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