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Surgical Complications in a Total Hip Replacement Operation: How Medical Procedures Go Awry: Pt. 1

Updated on July 11, 2013
           Indeed, one way to the hospital.
Indeed, one way to the hospital. | Source

Up the Hill

After numerous cancellations on my part, only a few weeks ago I decided, finally, to have my second total hip replacement surgically performed. The first operation, on my left hip, was 'done' in July of 2009, and 24 days ago, in March of 2012, my right hip was replaced. While the first surgery went along quite 'swimmingly', this second trip to the operating table was far different and I was forced to deal with some frightening and potentially dangerous complications.

Now, since the first procedure had gone so very well, I had no reason to fear this one would be any different. What on earth could possibly go wrong? My husband and I planned ahead for the recovery phase,a familiar yet medically unpleasant time, I can assure you, but off we went from our home in Bishop, CA, to Mammoth Lakes, around 40 miles North of our home, where the surgery was to be performed; a well-traveled yet still worrisome journey 'up the hill' to our destination.

Simply Follow the 395...

         Kinda looks like Scott, too
Kinda looks like Scott, too | Source

Registration and Intake

When we arrived at the hospital, most was as it had been in 2009, and I was admitted without incident, whatsoever. Insurance? Check. Heath-Care Proxy/Power of Attorney? Check. "Sign here", done. Everything was in order and I was only somewhat nervous about what was to come.

Once admitted to Mammoth Hospital, all seemed well, or so I originally thought. A terrific nurse by the name of 'Scott' then took me and my husband to the pre-operative room, replete with doctors, nurses, and other staff. I was extremely pleased to be attended to by this specific nurse, he was both thorough and kind-he had a terrific "bed-side manner", in other words!

Ativan Happiness!
Ativan Happiness!

Prep Time

Once Scott and various other nurses had "prepped" me, inserted an IV, etc., for the hip surgery, I was treated with a sedative, "Ativan", which relieved my mild anxiety and I prepared myself for the operation itself. Though my husband was loathe to say "good bye" at this time, he was not all too keen on the needles and IV's inserted into my body, nor was he enjoying the discussion of back surgery in the next adjoining bed. Anthony probably needs an operation on his back, but was mortified to hear the joking and laughter going on in the next curtained area. It was quite morbid, I must say. The family and doctor were very inconsiderate, in my opinion.

After Anthony left, I was visited by both my surgeon and my anesthesiologist. They were adamant about understanding exactly what my birth date was-which was asked at every turn during the entire procedure-, what drugs I had been taking, and what I expected from both the operation and the anesthesia.

I obliged the two, and things began to move quicker than I had expected. Another doctor, a favorite of mine-Dr. David Araya showed up-and I happily and gleefully (in my Ativan induced state)-loudly called to him from across the room. "Hey there, Dave", as I used to call him. He responded with a wave and a half-smile, the poor fellow!

In the Operating Theater-Off to Dreamland

I was in a most merry mood as they wheeled me in to the O.R. Prep nurses were everywhere, my surgeon and anesthesiologist were making jokes-not about the patient at hand, mind you-but 'funnies' about golf, etc., you understand; the typical stereotypical jokes attributed to physicians in this day and age.

Once attended to by all these professionals, I went to sleep with the same medicine that killed Michael Jackson, yet I am blessed to have lived through it. I wish he had, that's for certain.

Anyhow, the next thing I knew was that Dr. Dave was standing over me, telling me that I "...may have had a cardiac event during the surgery itself." Really? Dr. Araya is saying this to me? "Umm, so, Dr., what does this mean, a "cardiac event"? He replied, "You may have had a heart attack during the surgery, Laurel." He went on to let me know of my options.

"If you remain in Mammoth, we do not have the resources to deal with cardiac problems. If you choose to be flown to Reno, their medical team does. What do you want to do?" I was still quite groggy and replied, "Whatever you think, Dave, I don't know".

It was then, at 3:30 a.m., that Araya phoned my husband, Anthony, at home to make the decision for me. I had signed the health-care proxy, as I have indicated before, and It was now up to Anthony to decide my fate.

Have you ever experienced surgical complications?

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Life or Death

My dear husband-of nearly 25 years-was in a position I hope I will never be in. Deciding on the fate of a loved one is a choice I cannot imagine making. But he did, and after making some valid and thoughtful requests, he asked. "Dr. Araya, would you contact a specialist in this area of cardiac problems before I decide?" "Yes, of course I will," replied Dr. Araya. He did, and the specialist recommended I be flown to Renown Hospital. All was still very unclear.


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    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      No kidding! I am okay now, sort of, found out that the surgeon cut through something called 'Fascia' which affects 1/3 of his patients-for a year!

      I suppose I'll be in pain for that year, but I can handle it!

      How are you, EHQ?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Darn surgeries always have to throw in some kind of complication when you least expect it! Glad you're okay!

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      8 years ago from Minnesota

      Oh my goodness is that ever scary Laurel. I'm glad your alright now. I'll read the rest of your scary tale.

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      You sweet one, you! I, moments ago, published part 3, as you know, so off you may choose to go again! Or did you already, I am oh, so, confused...:)

      You bet I hate surgery, especially since this fiasco!!!!

      (Just watch them both fall apart or something...;)) J/K!!!

      I am such a chicken, but through all this, I think I've come out quite courageous-at least Anthony says so. I hope it's true.

      I am so very blessed to have you as my friend, RHW-K-!

      With all my love,



    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Wow Laurel I am behind the 8 ball already! I saw you published a new one - and thought amazing! It is number 3! Gosh - you are pushing the pencil!

      I am feeling bad for you - I know how much you don't like surgery. I can just envision the whole scene - very visual picture you painted! Excellent writing - I can't wait to get to part I go:)

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      No Pain, all healed!

      Loads for you, too!

    • diyabhatt profile image


      8 years ago from Noida

      Ok mama, waiting for it... great to hear that you have get rid of the pain. :) take care.... Love you loads!

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      The second part has already been published, but I'm now writing the third and final-I hope-installment! Yep, it's been pretty insane, Diya. I KNOW, a heart attack??? OMG, said you and I!!! I was to f*cked up to reply or make a decision, so Anthony had to. Poor hubby!

      Baby, yes, I am all healed now and walk without ANY pain!!!! I haven't felt this good since I was probably 30!

      God Bless you, too!



    • diyabhatt profile image


      8 years ago from Noida

      OMG!!! the most shocking part of this story was when the doc said, "you may have had a heart attack during the surgery"! Jesus! I am sorry for all what you have gone through, and happy that you are well now...Please take care of yourself, and yes like everyone, I am also eagerly waiting for the next part of the story...Love ya XXXX God Bless

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Thanks so much, Marsei! I am happy that you enjoyed it. I think I've had only one 'funny' before, so bless ya!

      Take good care now!



    • Marsei profile image

      Sue Pratt 

      8 years ago from New Orleans

      Well, I read part 2 first, so there was no suspense, but it was really well done and as usual your wit made me laugh a few times. You did a great job on this and on part 2. Voted up, funny, and awsome.


    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      It's sooo nice to see you here, Eiddwen, I'm on top of my world! As I've mentioned, I am recovering beautifully and thanks for your concern.

      Yep, it has been pretty strange, this whole thing, but writiing about it has been incredibly calming!

      Much love to you, sweetie!


    • Eiddwen profile image


      8 years ago from Wales

      So nice to see you on here lorlie but sorry to hear about your not too surgical experience.

      As Peg says at least we know you made it and I await part 2 now.

      Take care and I wish you a wonderful day.


    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Oh, sweetie, I am here, aren't I? I am actually quite well after this whole thing.

      Very, very well, in fact!

      Take good care of yourself, okay?

      Be good and healthy, Chatkath-that's gotta be the doll, I mean your username! I got her for Christmas one year and I listened to her remarkable verbal repertoire with amazement. Later, my 'Chatty Kathy' went missing and I was heartbroken when my ma and pa told me she'd gone to live with God and Jesus.

      Oh well! Pt. 2 is in the writing stage already.

    • Chatkath profile image


      8 years ago from California

      I will also be waiting for part 2, the entire ordeal scares the hell out of me Laurel - facing my own medical "events' lately I am anxious to see how things turned out for you and hope that you are feeling better! Thanks for sharing!

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Hi PegCole17,

      I know! I hate euphemisms, too. Drives me nutz. But they say what they say, so what're you going to do? My hubby, Anthony, is still quite stressed out because of the whole ordeal, but I'm trying my best to get well very, very soon! That is what's happening, so, YES, now I can take back my fair share of household duties-including babysitting our new-2 yrs. in Sept.-grandson! Quinn's the name of the babe, the lite of my life, etc., etc. And, yep, I've made it through-this far! And quite well, thank you very much! ;)

      I think I'll start on the next installment-or whatever it turns out to be-tonight. It's not good to keep readers waiting...remember Jean Auel? She really blew it!

      I'll try not to!


    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Lorlie6, Since you're telling the tale I am inclined to believe that you made it okay. Praise the Lord for that! I'm sure your poor husband was beside himself to get that call about your "event". Don't you love it when they use euphemisms rather than say you had a heart attack? Is that supposed to make you feel better? Like calling an operation a "procedure". Oh yes. That's much nicer. NOT.

      I am eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

      Great writing here Lorlie6 and I hope you are feeling so much better by now.



    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Uhh, yeah, drbj-it's coming along fairly well, NOW! All will be revealed-I think-in Pt.2.

      Hi Hillary, it's in the works as I write!

      Lub ya bof,


    • Green Lotus profile image


      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      OMG can't wait to read PT 2!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Well-written and suspenseful, lorlie. Anxiously awaiting the happy sequel. It is happy, right? Right?

    • lorlie6 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Absolutely, diogenes! I'll hopefully get it written within the next couple of days!

      Thanks so for coming by!

    • diogenes profile image


      8 years ago from UK and Mexico

      I was just getting into your story...part two coming??



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