Early days

July 22, 2009

So since I got home how’s things going? Initially a bit painfully and very sleepily, Saturday afternoon I had to wait for my leg to deflate a little before I could hobble around, and even then I was very unsteady.  Managed the stairs with supervision and sleep was a bit painful. I think after being in a hospital bed that moved where you wanted it too (fancy pants buttons and everything!), it took some time to work out how I needed to sleep in a normal bed comfortably. Anyway I was very tired and in more pain than I had been in hospital, but nothing that couldn’t be solved with tablets.

Sunday I was very sleepy and the hip was still smarting. My lovely fella shopped for and cooked (while I had a 3 hour sleep on the sofa!) a roast dinner for my folks and little Nannie, which was scrummy. Mind you I had a tiny plate of food as my appetite seemed to have disappeared, something that is unknown where roasties and Yorkshire puds are concerned!   After tea more napping ensued and a little unsteady hobbling around, but all in all I was not on form.

Monday things felt a bit better, but the frustration of not being able to carry stuff around started to get to me, no tears, just a little rant to myself every now and again!  The pain was under control, still taking the meds as prescribed and hobbling was speeding up. Managed a one legged supervised shower, the perching stool goes in the shower, but you can’t close the door which isn’t much use unless you want ducks setting up home in the bathroom!  Spent a bit too much time sat up at the table – leg returned to former swollen glory :0(

Tuesday my man was out early and I was left to my own devices for 3 hours. A little bit of stroppiness may have risen it’s ugly head as I tried to get dressed. The grabber dropped to the floor while I was sat on the bed, then in the bathroom the loo roll did a similar thing with no grabber in sight – somehow I managed to use my crutches to lever things around so all was not lost, just took a blooming long time! I then  hobbled downstairs to get brekky. Hmm how do you get cereal from one room to another without spilling it?! Well I decided to go with toast; bread from the freezer transported in mouth to toaster, shuffle to fridge to find jam, jam on sideboard as far as I can reach, hobble a bit, shuffle the jam a bit, hobble a bit, shuffle the jam…. etc until I got level with the toaster.  Get out a knife, can’t be bothered to do the whole shuffle/hobble thing with a plate so spread jam on toast and eat whilst perching on stool.  Not too frustrated after that rigmourol then!  I had managed to find my little rucksack which means I can now transport stuff around the house for myself, although loading and unloading it can be a pain in the butt,  specially if you have a sieve like memory and can’t remember where you unloaded all the gubbins that you collected an hour ago!   The name of the game post op is definitely organisation. Know what you want before you want it and plan how to get it, whether by poor long-suffering boyfriend (who is constantly just about to sit down after making us a cuppa only for me to say, could you get me …..?) or by own transport rucksack stylee. I am not a very organised person, pre op I would frequently run upstairs to get something, find something else to bring down then have to go back up for whatever it is I wanted in the first place. This is not a good scenario when you can only carry what you can fit on your back, and when after a couple of goes up and down the stairs you need a little nap! 

Tuesday; a good nights kip, feeling more like me again and managed to dress fairly quickly without much ranting -HURRAH! A step in the right direction. Also for the first time since the op I can see my right knee cap in it’s knobbly glory!!!  Thigh is a little swollen but a marked improvement.  Still taking pain meds but leaving the gap between them slightly bigger just to see what the score is, nothing having a major grumble so it would seem that I could reduce them a little.  The problem with feeling more like myself is that boredom is now setting in, on day 3 of being at home full time. This does not bode well.   Had a visit from a friend who was really mean and bought scrummy biscuits!  A pretty positive day all round.

Wednesday; had an uncomfortable nights sleep, the compression stockings are far too good at keeping your feet warm, so I got a little overheated. I’ve been told that I have to wear them for the 6 weeks until I go for my check up. (not the same pair you’ll be pleased to hear, I have a spare!). If we ever get a real summer I’ll never get any sleep – overheating from the feet up just isn’t fun!  Had a very exciting excursion today; we’ve hired a wheelchair from the British Red Cross as we’re off to a wedding on Saturday (see CK on blogroll – V excited), and to go the distance figured that a wheelchair and crutch combo is going to be a winner. So for our road test I hobbled out to the path, boyfriend brought out the wheelchair cushioned and ready for action. It was a relatively short journey down the road, but still there was plenty of room for crap steering from yours truly, nearly went off the curb a coupla times, but I did manage to do a full 360 turn when it was time to come back!  I chose to hobble back and expend some of the pent up energy, which worked cos I fell asleep when we got back!   Being sat in a wheelchair is very odd, I felt like a bit of a fraud really, as I can hobble, but not for any length of time yet. We only met a couple of people along the way, but they gave me a puzzled look.  

 I’ve not really taken many pain meds at all today, only one lot of parcetamol and ibruprofen, and one lot of the morphine based painkillers, pretty darn good considering it’s now half eight at night.  Maybe it’s time to start properly weaning myself off them, I’m just not sure of the best way to go about it. Do I quit the nasty morphine ones altogether and rely on normal painkillers, or do I only take a couple of doses of each?

Well I’ve waffled another significant amount – that’s what being left on your own for a couple of hours does to you! I think a day by day account might be a little over indulgent so I’ll calm it down now. Also with my new found energy I’ll hopefully get to play outside a bit more.


Home again!!

July 20, 2009

Hurrah, how nice it is to be home and in one piece if a slightly swollen one!

So I’ll start at the beginning and work my way up to this point, it’ll be a long one but hang on in there!

Monday Morn;

Woke up at 1.30am, thought it was as good a time as any to chomp my last food intake – an Eat Natural bar. Went back to sleep til the alarm went off at 5.50am for me to have my last drink then get outta bed and into hospital. My man and I trundled off from our Travelodge and walked the 10 mins to Guys. Once in there I was seen pretty quick to wee in a pot and have a blood test then change into the very lovely hospital gowns. Luckily there was a nurse in the cubicle next door because I’d only been given one gown – therefore either flashing my bum or my boobs to all and sundry! Once another gown had been retrieved and the disposable knickers had been donned I was ready for action. Only prob was although I was first on the op list, they’d moved me to the afternoon. I did warn the surgeon that no food makes me a grumpy girl, but this didn’t seem to phase him!  Time seemed to go really quickly and before I knew it they were calling my name to go to the anesthetist. So a quick snog with my man and off a toddled (not only wearing disposable knickers and a hospital gown, but also a rather fetching stocking and some hospital slippers) what a sight to behold!

Once in the anesthetist room I had an needle put in the back of my hand and one in my wrist – well it was attempted to put one in my wrist, unfortunately it would seem that my artery, which is what the fella was looking for, is quite well hidden. So eventually he gave up and said he’d sort it when I was under. The next stage (whilst being hooked up to blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation machines) was the epidural.  My hypnotherapist clearly did a fabulous job; the first attempt didn’t go too well as I kept feeling pressure in my lower back then a sharp pain in my hip, so after trying about 3 times it was decided to take it out and start again. Second time round was just dandy, a change in vertebrae was all that was needed and bob was my aunties lodger. Throughout this whole episode I felt relatively chilled about the whole thing, considering my previous panic at the mere mention of epidural this can only be testiment to the hypnotherapy and NLP techniques I had been taught.  Next came the general anesthetic, now I’ve heard many people talk about having to count down from 10, all the bloke said to me was “how are you feeling?”, I replied with “yuck that tastes gross!” and promptly fell asleep!

On waking up the first thing I felt was the needle in my neck, I’ve no idea how big it was or what it was for but it was rather uncomfortable,  they took that out pretty soon after I came to. Other than that I had an IV in the crook of my elbow feeding me fluids, a catheter, and the epidural in my back giving me painkillers.  I was lucid enough to ask if my boyfriend had been phoned, and he was waiting for me in the ward when I arrived – ahhhh lovely :0)    I generally felt pretty ok straight after the op, the odd thing was not being able to feel my legs as I was having 15ml of epidural pumped into me each hour.

Monday night;

 My boyfriend had left whilst I’d been in good spirits and drinking lots of water as encouraged by the nurses, then I was getting ready for a good night’s sleep, but to no avail. I am, it turns out, one of the many people with whom general anesthetic does not agree. I spent most of the night sipping water, then within about an hour or so throwing it back up again! This is not a good turn of events when your temperature is rising and your blood pressure is falling.  Anyway the nurses looking after me were fantastic, the events of the evening included; a leaking epidural which meant a change of bedsheets, a leaking wound which meant a change of bedsheets, not being able to keep water down, blood pressure too low, and temperature too high, and the fact that I had a leaking epidural but still couldn’t feel my legs clearly worried a few people as they decided to turn it off for a couple of hours to check everything was connected as it should be. 

Tuesday

I was keeping down water (thanks to some magic anti-sickness drug), my temperature wasn’t getting any higher, my blood pressure was creeping up and most importantly I could feel my toes!  The epidural was turned down to 8ml per hour and all was well. I was pretty much left to sleep.   My boyfriend came to  see me as did my Auntie which was fab – she caught me for just about the only hour I managed to stay awake, my poor man spent lots of time reading his book whilst listening to me snore!

Wednesday

They moved me into a room with a window that opened – funnily enough my temperature seemed to drop to a normal level then!     I was introduced to my new friend the walker;

Walker

I hobbled all the way to the door you can see in the pic, and back on wed morn whilst still being attached to the epidural, it felt brilliant, and knackering!   Later that day they removed the epidural and started me on morphine based painkillers – cue vomiting again!   I then tried the walker again in the afternoon and it was not nearly so successful, feeling a little despondent I shuffled back to be for yet another nap. My Pa and man came to visit and I was not the most entertaining patient ever it has to be said, too sleepy for words, though I did manage a game of Gin Rummy.

Thursday

Feeling more like myself again I began to read – yes really! I am an avid reader and had bought a massive two books in one volume novel, however my concentration was that poor over the first few days that I couldn’t even attempt to read it!   I had another bash on the walker and although this was fairly successful it wasn’t the triumphant voyage I’d hoped for. Most of the problem was being able to get my operated leg on and off the bed, it was at this point the OT angel delivered two of the best post op presents ever!  One is a leg lifter, it looks like a short dog lead with a loop at each end, you put your foot in one loop and use the other to lift your leg with your hand, BRILLIANT!  all the huffing and puffing and pain getting off the bed was sorted. The other tool is a grabber – absolutely indispensable when you can’t bend to pick stuff up. Just make sure you park it properly – it’s not much use when it’s fallen on the floor!  Mum and Dad came to visit and I was a little more entertaining.

Friday

Catheter out and freedom begins whoo hooo!  Feeling far more normal than ever before I was introduced to crutches and weeing all by myself!  I also managed to have a shower with the help of a nurse who put a chair in for me, and do my big unruly hair.  I had an X-ray in the morning and I have to say this is the most painful thing that happened during the week; having been propped up on pillows all week I had to lie flat. This was something my hip was not happy about, I could feel not only the incision pulling, but things in the joint and there was an almighty ‘clunk’ as something resettled itself.  Once I got up off the x-ray table all felt fine and I had a peek at my x-ray, I’ve seen lots of pics of post PAO, but it doesn’t prepare you for seeing your own hip kitted out with mammoth screws and massive gaps in your pelvis!  Hopefully on my next visit to hospital I’ll get a copy of the x-ray. In the afternoon mum and dad came to visit, we played cards, I gave and received lip, all was well with the world. I even went for a midnight hobble up the corridor I was so full of beans!

Saturday

There was some confusion as to whether I was spose to be going home or not, but after a lesson from the physio on going up and down stairs I was given the all clear. HURRAH!  Up until my departure the staff had been fab, really looking after me, but as soon as it was time to go I got shoved off with bags of drugs and that was that.  I was taken home by ‘patient transport’ aka a slightly battered ambulance with seats and what felt like naff all suspension!  The 2 and half hour journey took it’s toll on my leg and I looked a little more swollen;

elephant leg 2   It’s amazing the things that swell up! Obviously the operated leg is going to bear the brunt of the enlarging, but I also look like I’m about 4 months pregnant – not the kinda look I’m going for right now, hopefully I’ll deflate soon though!

 

Ok following is a pic of the scar – it’s pretty neat and has apparently been glued together rather than stitched or stapled.

Scar

Right enough waffle for now I’ll carry on banging on about various things now I’m home and able to access the net. Hope you’re still awake!


Back to the hips…

January 6, 2009

After my little rant (see below) I’m back onto the main subject now… the dodgy hips.

Since my last hip related entry my poor joints have been through a fair bit; a panto performance at Uni (very silly and lots of fun) for which I chose, not very sensibly to be one of the dancers.  Of course wonky hips are so well suited to an 80’s style dance complete with leg warmers!  Then there was walking round town doing Christmas shopping – walking seems to pose my hips considerable problems. Then a coupla days relaxing with family, followed by a bracing walk one afternoon. The terrain was flat, only rabbit holes provided any contours, but still the right hip groaned after about half an hour…. HURUMPH!  Then a couple of days later the laminate flooring job was in hand, my boyfriend and I worked like trojans  to get the rooms done, which we have suceeded at, but my hips paid the price for couple of days. I walked like a 90 year old in need of a hip replacement and a zimmer frame after sitting for any more than 10 minutes. Well at least I know I really do need the op… which is looming ever closer. Still no date yet, but fingers crossed for the beginning of April.

I have the potential to be the worst patient in the world ever… both at hospital and at home. I get bored very easily, specially left all day in my own company.  Today has been a fine example of this, with the exception of some bank staff (see the entry below for a very long winded explaination) I haven’t really spoken to anyone today, and feel all the grumpier for it.   My man is a teacher and therefore spends an in-ordinate amount of time doing work at home (yes really to all those who think it’s a 9-3 job).  Imagine what it’ll be like when I struggle to make it out of the house for more than a hobble down the road to give me a change in scenery. My other half and family all work full time… what the heck am I going to do? I think I’ll be calling up the speaking clock just to hear another voice, maybe I’ll even strike up a conversation with it to keep me sane. Oh dear, I need to enlist friends and family on a telephoning rota to keep us all sane!


Battling the biscuits

December 1, 2008

In the last week I have spent an inordinate amount of time sitting on the sofa tapping away at my laptop in a vane effort to write an inspiring essay. As is my way with these things I successfully avoided doing a decent stint on the 3000 words of wisdom required by distracting myself with anything and everything. Checking email every 5 minutes (even though I knew there’d only be new junk mail and no matter how often I get offered the means to ‘enlarge my manhood’ it’s just not going to happen) tidying the kitchen, doing the washing, and even a spot of cleaning were just a few of my diversions. The biggest and most enticing was the biscuit tin, as a friend in the same predicament said “it keeps calling my name”. Now fortunately there was (note the past tense!) only a few slightly soft Garibaldi’s left, so not all of the waistline was lost.  BUT what I got to thinking about was after having surgery when I’m sat on my butt, incapacitated, possibly in pain, feeling sorry for myself cos I can’t go out and play any sport and bored cos everyone else is at work, what will the biscuits do then?  I can hear them enticing me now, whispering sweet nothings from the kitchen, they’ll be teasing me and no mistake; “come and eat us, we’ll be lovely with a cup of tea…. you know you want to” CUP OF TEA?! who do these biscuits think I am? I’ll be on crutches and able to make a cuppa, but will have to lurk in the kitchen to drink it cos a crutch in each hand is worth no tea in the lounge!   Darn it, I have standards, no biscuits and tea will be eaten while standing in the kitchen on one leg and all by myself, no, they must be dunked whilst sitting and relaxing. So what will I do? maybe a biscuit and tea making stash in the lounge is the way forward….hmmm something to ponder. Mind you that will definitely add inches to the waistline which, while I’m spectacularly inactive, I could do without.

What this is really all about is that fact that I will be having my first surgery in around 5 months time, and it’s starting to feel real. The realities of everyday life on one leg are just one small part of what’s in store that is playing on my mind. There’s so many really good blogs and information sites around that it’s a bit overwhelming….so why do I keep looking?!! Curiosity killed the cat, or so they say, keenness for knowledge might send me cuckoo me thinks.  So in a bid to rid myself of this internal churning over of surgery, the outcomes, the effect on my course ….etc etc I’ve feeling I need to ramble more often.  You have been warned!