Too much too soon

November 1, 2009

Ahh it was all going well.. getting rid of the crutches for short distances, even some longer hobbles, (or wobbles as I currently walk with a certain weebleness about me!).  Anywho I went and overdid it again – My man and I had spent a lovely week on holiday in Wales on the Pembrokeshire coast; the sea was just too tempting, so armed with a surfboards off we went (or toddled in my case), fairly soon I realised this was a mistake and the next day swapped the surfboard for a body board. It was so good to be able to play in the waves again (I am neither graceful or skilled at body/surf boarding but love being in the water). I enjoyed myself way too much though and have been paying for it ever since. Fortunately not in bone pain, but in muscle pain. I say fortunately in that my bones seem to have stood up to the waves bashing them, but my hip flexor in particular did not take kindly to the strain.  I never knew muscle pains could be so bad!  Spasms and cramps almost reducing me to tears on the odd occasion and the sudden twanging of muscles as I tried to stretch them out were all a surprise.  My PT has been hit and  miss, having one fella leave, another start for one session, then leave and now I have another newbie to see on Thurs.   Ho hum… anyone have any ideas of how to fix over exerted and grumpy muscles?  I’ve tried massaging, stretching, heat, ice and painkillers, oh and some rest which seems to be the best medicine, but doesn’t work as quickly as I want it to!

I also had another check up at the hospital a coupla weeks ago – X-rays are looking good and everyone is pleased with my bones healing. My leg length discrepancy is a different story though – so far it’s been measured at anything from a minor 1cm to a rather alarming 1.8cms.  Panic set in after a conversation with a lovely ‘patient appliances’ Dr who told me that I’d need to go and get some granny style shoes that could be built up as I needed at least an extra 18mm on my left shoe. He wasn’t quite so blunt and was very professional, but once I’d left his office it did reduce me to tears of frustration. I’d also been told in response to the age old question “What/where should my recovery be by now? Should I have crutches any more?” that if people could tell from my walk that I’d had an op that I’d still need crutches, and that was that.   Hmm not so helpful.    I did hobble back to see the lovely Orthapedic nurse Michelle who is brilliant and made me feel human again by taking time out to chat and took another look at my X-rays. What I really need is some gait work, but due to massive muscle pains, and lack of PT I haven’t really started this yet. Fingers crossed the new physio will hang around for a bit so I can get a better idea of what I should/shouldn’t be doing – I’ve a sneaky suspicion playing in the sea isn’t high up the list of things to do!

I’ve just re-read this posting and it sounds awfully negative, but that’s not how I’m feeling about the whole thing really. I’m just impatient and expect too much from my poor healing hip, Since the op I’ve only had 4 days where the pain has been horrid, I get about without crutches most of the time and the soreness I had in the joint pre op isn’t there any more so things are on the up.  Ohh speaking of which a fantastic friend of mine bought me a great book called; Healing Hip, Joint and Knee Pain: A Mind-body Guide to Recovering from Surgery and and Injuries by Kate O’Shea. It’s worth a read pre or post surgery, it’s  about getting in tune with your body as it goes through changes, it’s got a hippy vibe about it and is easy to read, so get out some candles and have some alone time with those poorly joints.

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Physio

September 2, 2009

My first physio appointment was last week, and it was all pretty good.  As suspected the guy had never had a patient who’d had a PAO before, but was clearly in the know about most elements of it – phew!

I’m now allowed a tiny bit more weight bearing, but the physio (Matt)was reluctant to do too much until I’ve had my check up at Guys. In the meantime I have 3 new exercises, all of which stretch my lower back out as well as hip flexor and quads.  He assessed my leg length difference and concluded that it’s not as bad as it looks; the muscles on the left leg have tightened up enough to make that leg appear a lot shorter than it actually is, hence the exercises to stop my back muscles pulling so hard.  Without seeing my X-rays Matt could only assume that my pelvis is a bit out of line, but with a slight change in bone structure (to say the least!) needs X-rays to be sure. Bearing all this in mind he seemed to think the difference in my leg lengths will only be about a cm, which is not so bad. Shame I won’t be a full inch taller though!

Friday sees my first hospital check up, and I’m looking forward to seeing the changes in my X-rays (hopefully I will get copies of all of them too).  I do need to be realistic though; I have visions of being able to get back in the gym and pool next week, as well as finally being allowed to drive, but this might take a couple of weeks. After all I’m still using 2 crutches to get around at the moment and the thought of coming off them is both exciting and daunting!  It’s been just over 7 weeks and putting my full weight on my operated leg still feels  a way off – only mentally though, I think the leg will be ok so long as I don’t do too much!


6 weeks post op

August 26, 2009

I can’t believe it’s already over the 6 week mark, mind you thinking back to the op it feels like a life time ago now.

So where am I up to?  Still not getting a full nights sleep, thankfully not due to pain, just discomfort either in my hip or in my back.  I can now lie on my front and non operated side, but having tried the operated side for a mere 5 seconds decided that I’m not quite ready for that giant leap just yet.  My back isn’t causing me pain, it just feels like the small of my back is compressed and no amount of wriggling around seems to ease it.  Pre-op I was able to click my hips to help with back issues, clearly leftie still cluncks nicely, but I’m reluctant to try rightie just yet!

My scar is looking ok, (pic to follow), though on occasions does look a little bruised, that is probably due to me having been a little brutal with the bio oil! 

Scar at 6 weeks

Scar at 6 weeks

 

I get a sense that I can feel the screws on occasions, but only because across the front of my hip feels a bit numb and different, as though it’s not quite all me, but other than that I’ve not felt them yet.

The muscles on the operated side have been visibly disappearing since around week three,  I pretty much have no right bum cheek and my already skinny leg is about a couple of inches smaller in circumference – not such a good look in shorts! My left leg and butt cheek, however, is buff!  The length of my leg is still an inch or so longer, I’m yet to find out if this will change at all. Maybe the bashing about of my pelvis during the op put me off kilter, and it’ll all level out nicely.

I can get around a lot more easily and can even pick things up off the floor without too much anguish by sticking my operated leg out behind me. Attempting to bend and going too far over my right angle allowance causes a bit of discomfort so I guess my bones just aren’t ready.  I have been a bit sneaky and put a little extra weight through my leg, and it all seems to be ok, though I don’t feel ready to lose the crutches yet.

My physio appointment has been changed so my first one is this coming Friday, I will be going armed with op info and diagrams in case of ignorance! Now all I need to do is sort out the list of questions for my hospital check up next week, oh and remember a memory stick to get copies of my x-rays – Yippee!


2 weeks and 2 days…

July 30, 2009

…is how long it took me to be able to lie on my non-operated side – such a relief!!!  oh and 2 weeks and 3 days is how long it took for me to have a little frustrated tear or two. Not a major sob but all things considered it was probably about time, my man took it in his stride then we went for a hobble down the village to get my outta these four walls. All better now.

Oh I nearly forgot, have a Physio appointment at the local hospital on the 21st August, very excited!! It’ll bring me a step closer to getting back on my feet.  Though I won’t actually be weight bearing until at least the 4th September which is when I have my post op check at Guys.


One step at a time…

July 27, 2009

Saturday was my first big day out post-op and all went well.   A lovely sunny day at a friends wedding and muchos hobbling and merriment was had. The operated leg didn’t exactly behave itself in spite of the fact that lots of people were looking out for me and it; because I wasn’t wearing the super sexy TED stockings (a pre checked day off from orthapedic nurse!) my entire leg swelled up not the usual down to my knee, which was nice.   It had been propped up, rested and hobbled around all day, but nothing made it happy. Thankfully it was only a little uncomfortable and not particularly painful. In-spite of my slight difficulty in moving around all went swimmingly with the leg.  As for the wedding itself it was beautiful and lovely and fun and the happy couple were, well, very happy, ahhhh bless them.

Since it’s long day out my leg has felt bruised, I can only assume it’s my muscles feeling a little battered from the ordeal because no bruises have appeared so far.  On the subject of bruises my stomach has a nice collection going on, to the point that I have developed a little lump in one part of my tummy. It turns out that the anti-coagulants I’m injecting may also be helping me to bruise more easily, nice! 

My man and I ventured out for a little hobble today, found a little footpath that was part concrete/gravel so the wheelchair could be used if needed, and it was.  It’s amazing how tiring it gets hobbling along. Now I wouldn’t say I was at the peak of fitness pre-op but I was certainly no couch potato, so to get tired out so quickly is somewhat frustrating, I reckon I hobbled about 400m and that’s a generous estimate. The other 200m I used the wheelchair in self-propelling mode. I think my steering got a little better on the flat, but as soon as there was a little downhill it all got a bit too much especially as the path was curving to the right at the time, I very nearly ended up in the stinging nettles!  Still that was only my second outing, there’s plenty more time to practice, specially if it enables me to get outside for longer :0)


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!


Something to aim for.

April 19, 2009

Today saw one of the first sprint triathlons of the season being held, in our village of all places. So the boy and I headed up to the competitors area to take a sneaky peek at what we hope to be doing next year.  In a former life I did a bit of swimming so the 400m in the pool doesn’t phase me too much, though the speed of this years competitors does!  The boy, on the other hand, who is sporty and lithe, sinks like a stone and is somewhat peturbed about pool, but fairly confident with the biking and running.  My main concern (apart from collapsing from exhaustion half way through the bike ride, only to have my behind whooped by the other competitors as they streak like lightening past me) is my hips.  Now I’m thinking on the positive side of things and with the first hip sorted in July, recovered well enough to get the second sorted 6 months later in January, that gives me a little over 3 months from the second op to be well enough to compete … hmm a little optomistic maybe?!

On the hip front, rightie is playing up as usual with a few extra bonus twinges, and leftie does not appreciate the hopping action with crutches, it even had the audacity to start giving grief whilst walking last week. Ur..NO! I say. That is not in the grand plan, and is not allowed, fortunately leftie has quit the grumbling for now – at least until I try and climb the stairs  on crutches again!