3 Days Post Surgery

By Alison Pignolet, Sunday April 21, 2019

The surgery on Thursday went well – or so they tell me. I don’t remember a thing. It’s kind of crazy to think about all that happening to your body with zero recollection.

Since I was awake, responsive and able to wiggle my toes when I came into the recovery room, they agreed to evaluate me for going home that day. I rested up for several hours at the hospital and then a PT and an OT visited to show me how to get in out of bed, get dressed and use the walker. We went up to their little gym where I practiced on stairs, in a hall and getting in and out of the car.

We left the hospital about 6PM, 12-hours after we arrived!

My own bed felt really good.

Here’s a little picture of me walking at home the day of the surgery:

Everyone told me to take the pain pills on the recommended schedule for the first 24-48 hours. I did for about 36. But yesterday afternoon when it would have been time to take another there was so little pain I decided to “wait and see”. It never really got bad. So now I’m taking a prescription NSAID and over the counter Tylenol.

A PT came to the house Friday. The first exercises are mostly designed to reestablish the neuro-muscular control around the new hip. The leg feels super heavy because the muscles have gone off line. I can lie on my back and lift my left leg, no problem. Then I try to lift my right and nothing happens. So getting the muscles to work again is step one. I’ll keep you posted on step two!

Now its time to be patient and let my body heal.

Into the Mystery

By Alison Pignolet

I’m having a total replacement of my right hip April 18. It’s been a long journey to making the decision. Even further to saying it out loud.

After all, I’m a yoga teacher, movement educator and body nerd. I live healthy. I love nature. I wear minimal shoes. 

I worry I’ve let you down. How can I need a hip replacement? What did I do wrong?

The truth is that I’ve lived the life I’ve lived in the body I have. And I believe I’ve been able to lessen discomfort, delay the surgery and prepare this body for the best possible recovery.

Which is why I keep wondering if I am doing the right thing. Because some days, my hip feels good. Maybe it knows the surgeon’s knife and saw are coming and is trying to stay in my body.

I was diagnosed with arthritis in both hips more than 10 years ago when I was also diagnosed with a torn labrum in my left hip. I was told to come back for plastic and metal if physical therapy didn’t ease the pain.

I did the PT. I became a yoga teacher. I studied anatomy and therapeutics. I found Yoga Tune Up®. I learned to see and understand movement and the importance of strength. And I reduced my pain.

But I still had ornery hips.

Over the last year, my right hip has become increasingly stiff and dysfunctional. My range of motion has declined. I have pain ranging from mildly annoying to occasionally severe.

I started not doing things I enjoy to avoid problems with my hip. Instead of finding joy in movement, I became fearful.

So I scheduled the surgery. Now it is around the corner. I still have moments when I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing. That makes me uncomfortable.

I’m afraid my students will lose faith in me and what I teach because I couldn’t yoga/move/strengthen my way to normal functionality.

But in truth, I believe my movement practice and what I teach have kept me agile and mostly pain free as the joint disease progressed. If I didn’t do what I do, I don’t think I’d be wondering if now is the time to replace the hip. It would be obvious.

I also believe I aggravated or accelerated the wear on my joints with the way I practiced yoga early on. In those days, I reveled in my flexibility and ability to go deep and hang out there. I didn’t think strength was important. I ignored pain, thinking it meant I just needed to stretch more. To try harder. I didn’t believe yoga could hurt me.

I don’t do that anymore and I don’t teach that.

Yoga brought so much to my life. I don’t question whether it was and is good for me. This is why I now encourage props in class and we always find strength in our poses. This is why I teach you to feel and map your body with therapy ball work and to notice what’s moving when you move. I believe these are the components of a lifetime yoga and movement practice.

So, here I am. On April 18, I will be having a total replacement of my right hip. Is it the right thing to do? I think so. Will it be worth it? To quote Geoffrey Rush’s character in “Shakespeare in Love”: I don’t know, it’s a mystery. I certainly hope so. I’m choosing to step into the mystery with the intention of regaining my joy in movement.

Off I go, into the mystery

PS. For those of you who want nuts and bolts: I’m having the anterior approach. My surgeon’s name is Michael Bloomfield with the Cleveland Clinic System. The surgery will be robot assisted. If all goes smoothly and I come out of anesthesia well, I will be able to come home the same day. But I’ll be prepared to spend the night at Hillcrest.

I welcome your calls, texts or emails!

I will miss you all and look forward to returning to the yoga room with you.