T h e U t o p i a n L i b r a r y

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surgery and recovery in the digital age

Hip Pinning Surgery for a Fractured HipA not-so-funny thing happened while I was trying to improve my fitness this summer. I broke my hip. My age, health, exercise routine, and presenting symptoms suggested hip flexor muscle spasms. No big deal. Muscle relaxants, NSAIDs, rest, a weekend in Sister Bay with friends. But then the pain got worse and I couldn’t bear weight on my leg. An all-day visit to the emergency room, a couple of x-rays, one very loud MRI, and a few exams by a team of good looking doctors yielded a textbook presentation of a fractured femoral neck. By 10:30pm I was in surgery and by 11:00pm I had three pins screwed into my hip… and they’re mine to keep!

And so began my Surgery 2.0 experience.

I was admitted to one of the nation’s 100 “Most Wired Hospitals” so yes, I brought my laptop. But duh… no wi-fi for me! The hospital does have a business center with free Internet access for visitors, but all that wireless technology and notoriety is for medical connectivity and other doctorly stuff. So I sent the laptop home with friends and used my cell phone to stay connected (even though the “use of mobile phones is not permitted within the hospital“). How on Earth did we keep our friends and family updated in the old days, when we couldn’t send text messages or upload photos to flickr?

  • Who needs a phone tree? I sent early-morning text messages in bulk to friends and family to let them know how I was doing. And then my phone would buzz throughout the day with return messages of support, encouragement, and love 2.0.
  • Why wonder if or how the flowers were delivered? I took pictures of my windowsill so family, friends, and library administration could see the beautiful arrangements they sent.
  • Which hip was it? (And yes, the surgeon did write his initials on my hip to make sure he cut the right one– not the left one.)
  • Will I have a big scar? It’s hard to tell until the dressing comes off.
  • Was the doctor cute? See for yourself.

Not only was I able to stay connected from the hospital, but I’m also able to stay connected with work while I recover at home. Our library LANMasters hooked me up with a VPN so that I can log in from my sofa to work on print and electronic publications, Web site updates, quarterly tasks in progress, and the L2 projects that Jenn and I are working on. I enjoy my work and being able to keep up with it is a very good thing. Recovery is already getting boring… and I’m only one week into my 6-week crutch crawl!

Connectivity rocks!


21 August 2007 - Posted by | random, web 2.0


  1. When I was 12 I broke my hip, had pins, plates, and screws put in… and then taken out a year later. They thought I had a pulled muscle, too. But I was actually much, much more broken than you. My break wasn’t in any text book… but it is now. Good thing I was young. 🙂

    Comment by Iris | 22 August 2007 | Reply

  2. Ouch, Iris.

    Comment by ruth | 22 August 2007 | Reply

  3. Steri-strips are amazing…they should use them on the space shuttle.

    Comment by Karolyn | 23 August 2007 | Reply

  4. On 9/6/07 I had my right hip pinned. So today is 3 days in recovery. I feel a little better today with the help of Dilaudid and Percocet. My doctor wants me to stop using the crutches. He wants me to put weight on it already. I actually hurt myself the exact same way. In early June i decided to start jogging outside. I always ran for about a half hour a day on my treadmill. I never could run outside. So pushed myself and before you knew it i was running 5 miles a day, 4 days a week. The other 3 days i took spinning classes at the gym i joined. Well on 8/18 we were on vacation in Tampa, FL. I decided to go for a jog with my husband. About 1.5 miles into the jog, my hip started to really hurt. I was having a problem putting weight on it. I figured it was a muscle spasm, so i kept trying to run on it. I thought if i kept running it would work the spasm out. I was wrong. So now i have my very own screws as well. My doctor was sooooo good looking too!!! He could only fit 2 screws, he was planning on putting 3. My hip was too thin, so i did not have enough fat between the muscle and bone. He also said my hip was small. So how are you feeling now????

    Comment by Jen | 9 September 2007 | Reply

  5. Healing well and feeling pretty good. Beginning week 4 of 6 on crutches, bearing 50 percent weight. Some pain and reduced range of motion in the hip, but tolerable. Returning to work part-time tomorrow.

    Dilaudid made me feel like I was upside-down on a roller coaster.

    Best of luck with your recovery. Take it slow.

    Comment by ruth | 9 September 2007 | Reply

  6. On 6/23/08 I fell while ice skating and knew it was a bad fall. I iced my leg all day and the next morning was in terrible pain. My husband took me to the Dr. and he gave a prescription for x-rays if it wasn’t feeling better in a few days. We bought a cane and it did feel better…then we went on vacation for a few weeks and I rested a lot. However upon my return I could hardly walk and went to another Dr. who x-rayed my leg and said I had a hip fracture. The next day I had surgery and have 2 pins in my right hip. I am out of the hospital and will return to the Dr. in a few days to get the staples removed. I am totally non weight bearing (toe touch on crutches or walker). I’m wondering how long it will be before I can return to work. I have to drive (around 25 miles one way). I was told if the ball falls off the socket I will need hip replacement surgery (which I’d really like to avoid at 45). If anyone has had a similar experience please let me know when you could return to driving and work. Thanks!

    Comment by Jan | 29 July 2008 | Reply

  7. I broke my hip while running in a race, but it wasn’t diagnosed until 10 days later. Thought I just had a groin pull. Three pins were put it and 6 staples to close the incision. The staples were taken out after one week and I was allowed to put full weight on the leg. Today is 2 weeks after the surgery and I’m allowed to drive. Still using a walker and not allowed to do any extra walking (just walking as needed to get around my house)

    Healing seems to be a very individual thing. I only had to spend one night in the hospital and no therapy is needed. I broke the femoral head.

    I’m 73 so very pleased with my progress so far. It sounds as if your break was worse than mine, but you are also much younger! Hope the doctor will allow you to go back to work soon.

    Comment by Greta | 5 February 2009 | Reply

  8. OK 2 years ago I had a hip osteotomy andthen this year the plate sheared and now I am in for hip pinning. It has been a crazy ride but I am glad it is being done very soon!

    Comment by Ellen | 6 April 2009 | Reply

  9. I just looked up to see what a osteotomy entailed. Sounds very involved, so a hip pinning should be a piece of cake in comparison. Best of luck to you!

    I just finished therapy and am finally getting some strength back in my hip. The leg on the involved side does get tired though; feels like muscle aches though, no real pain. I don’t need the cane anymore; still walk with a slight “hitch” and have not been cleared for jogging yet.

    I mentioned that I broke my femoral head. Actually it was the femoral neck. Even though I’m a senior I am very active so the doc opted for the pinning instead of the hip replacement. So far so good.

    Let us know how your hip pinning goes!

    Comment by Greta | 6 April 2009 | Reply

  10. Well, glad to read that I’m not the only 45-year-old with a broken hip…wish mine went as well as everybody else! I fell from a top bunk bed onto a cement floor and suffered a valgus impacted femoral neck fracture. Surgeon fixed with 3 pins, but I’m now almost 14 weeks post surgery and in real pain. Don’t know, I could be AVN case or pins backing out or non-union….so hard to get answers at this point! Surgeon says wait and see….I also have swelling with my pain. I have always been active and healthy, at 5’4″, I weigh 115. My case manager nurses, pt and everybody is shocked at how downhill my case is going since I was a gate-breaker early on with recovery. I am ready to beg for the hip replacement — call me crazy, but 3 hours a night of sleep and being on short-term disability just isn’t the way to live 😦

    Comment by Renae | 4 October 2009 | Reply

    • I broke my Femoral neck shy of 5 weeks now and also have got 3 wonderful screws to call my very own. I although am only 32 and was recently shocked into fear by a recent surgeon visit who told me not to put any weight bearing on my leg for another two months or I will develop AVN. Now that contradicts everything my physiotherapists and the surgeon who did my surgery has said. I’m a little freaked out and I was so excited about becoming more independent only given the fear of God by another surgeon. I’m curious if anyone else has had this happen to them in your 30’s and live an active life what your recovery time was?

      Comment by Justin | 10 July 2010 | Reply

  11. I am 39. 2 weeks ago I had my right hip “pinned” with 2 screws. I had a femoral neck fracture…and have absolutely no idea how it happened. I was having hip pain for several months….especially at night – losing sleep, but, with Motrin, it was tolerable. I am having a good recovery….just incision site pain. I stopped taking the vicodin 4 days ago b/c it seemed to be causing a rash all over my body. Anyway – I have my first post-op visit with my surgeon tomorrow. I am really hoping he gives me the OK to at least walk around my house…without crutches or my walker. I have RA and my wrists are KILLING me using the crutches. I have a VERY active life….2 young kids and we are always on the go. This has been very tough…giving up being the active mom. I was told 50% weight bearing for at least 6 weeks…guess I’ll find out tomorrow. Wish me luck!

    Comment by Kim | 1 September 2010 | Reply

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