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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2 weeks 5 days – 3 weeks 3 days

August 6, 2009

2 weeks 5 days is how long it took me to feel real pain. At a friends wedding my leg decided it had really had enough, which resulted in the feeling that there was a knife being jabbed in my groin and that my leg was trying to detach itself from my body. This meant leaving the wedding earlier than expected (boo hiss), tears of pain (youch!), some lovely friends looking after me and helping me get up to bed when I got home (hurray!), and about 4 morphine tablets in the space of 5 hours!  Now considering I’d only been taking one painkiller before bed for almost 2 weeks it was a bit of a shocker. Anywho, thankfully the pain has never returned to that extent, although my hip has been grumbling along similar lines.  This concerns me as I’ve been pretty much pain free from the off with or without pain killers, and now when I initially sit  down (on a soft seat the right height and everything) I get a pain going from my bum bone as a dull ache and escalating to a stabby pain in my groin. Once I’m sat down it’s ok unless I have to shuffle around, or when I get up.  Has anyone else had a similar experience? I’m now 3 and a bit weeks out of surgery and it feels a little bit like I’m going backwards, which is just not cricket!

At this point in time it would seem as though the millimetres of difference in my leg lengths is all a myth. Currently it looks like about an inch difference. Now I’m all keen for growing a little, but an inch seems a bit extreme – here’s to hoping there’s still some swelling in the joint that’s causing the problem, if not I need to get my other leg done quickly so I match!


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.


They just don’t understand!

February 23, 2009

My blooming hips haven’t read the manual!  I’ve restricted the sort of exercise I now do (a little!) so don’t do circuit training, rowing, or running.  Apparently cycling is now also out….. goddamn it – why don’t my hips understand, they’re spose to be ok with biking!  I’m having words with them, but until tomorrows cycle to Uni and back  (car is a bit broken meaning my lazy butt has had to get back in the saddle) won’t know if they’ve taken heed of my stern words!  

5 weeks to Op day and counting……… occasional freak outs, but they only last a few minutes so far.


Pre-Op Assessment info

February 11, 2009

So I had my Pre-op on Monday morning at Guys, the whole thing took about 3 hours, but that includes about 45 mins of waiting for very busy and helpful staff to come and see me.  All the info below is specific to my surgeon and hospital, so don’t be surprised if there are differences from what you’ve heard or read before. I just tell it how I’ve been told 😮

First I had some MRSA swabs, and height, weight and blood pressure taken. Next was going through family contact info, medical history, and general health questions, followed by a blood test. (I still have the bruise!). I then saw the Orthapedic nurse, who is super lovely and patient and very knowledgeble. She went through lots of pre and post op info, and answered pretty much all of my questions.  Then I saw the OT, who made me realise just how much of our house we need to tidy so I can get around!  I have a form to fill in with measures of various bits around the house so they can make sure I have everything I need.

Here’s what I learned;

The surgery, whether just PAO or PAO and FO will take around 3 hours. I’ll have an epidural beforehand, and can ask to be slightly sedated before this if I feel really nervous – this is good news for me, as mentioned before the thought of my spine being pierced with some big arse needle, or even a tiny needle, does make me feel a bit sick and shaky.  Obviously I will also have a general anesthetic, but the use of the epidural means they don’t have to pump me so full of the general which is better all round.  After the surgery I’ll be taken to recovery and monitored before being taken to the ward.  Where possible they’ll put me in an all female ward, but if this isn’t a goer they put all the girlies together in one part of the ward and all the boys in another.

I will be staying in hospital for 5-7 days, this timescale depends on how well I can get around. When I’m up on crutches and able to get up and down stairs they’ll let me loose on the world once more!  During my time in hospital I’ll be seen by the Physio and the OT on the day of surgery provided I’m ‘with it’ enough, if not it’ll be the following day. At this point they’ll try and get me up and hopefully about a bit too.  Apparently day 3 after surgery is renowned to be the low point of the whole affair.  By this point I’ll be off the epidural and on pain meds, this change in medication and the fact that I’ll feel a bit better, but still not able to do anything and totally shattered leads to a bit of teary depression. Obviously this is not a definite, but as the warning came from the very experienced Orthopaedic nurse I’m willing to accept it as a high possibility!

I will be able to shower as soon as I can get up and about as the dressings used are waterproof.

There is likely to be nerve damage in my thigh so I’ll loose some feeling. In 95% of cases this is temporary and the feeling returns withing 6-8 weeks, however there is a possibility that this will be permanent.  During the surgery they will cut through the hip flexor muscle and the only thing I can do to help at this point is stay as mobile as poss before the op. Other than that things will repair themselves as they see fit.  Either one or both legs are likely to swell up after surgery, only if they become hot, red or inflamed should I begin to worry.

I may have to inject myself for 28 days after the surgery with anti-coagulents, this will thankfully only be once a day. Fingers crossed the new tablet version will be up and running by the time I’ve had my Op, so I can have a tablet a day instead of a needle.

I will be non weight-bearing (on crutches) for a minimum of 6 weeks, after which I will have a follow-up appointment at Guys when my new hip will be X-ray-ed. If the bone is knitting back together I’ll be allowed to bear weight on the operated side, on the other hand, if the bone is not knitting together well enough then I will have to continue non weight bearing for up to 12 weeks.  During the non weight bearing phase I will be doing naff all. No bending forwards to put socks on, no bringing my knee up, no crossing my legs – not even my ankles, no twisting, definitely no exercise unless physio specified.  I will be able to hobble my way around on crutches but have to be super careful. I can be a passenger in a car if I really have to, but this is best avoided as getting bumped in any way (even just going over a speed bump) might result in a wonky bit of bone floating around my pelvis! For the same reason I’m not allowed to use public transport.   Obviously I’ll not be able to drive until I have the all clear to try and walk, even then I need to be strong enough to be able to do an emergency stop if needed.

In terms of aids in the home I have to measure the sofa, chairs, bed and loo to see how high they are off the floor. The measurement from my foot to my knee is around 19″ when my knee is at 90 degrees, so all the furniture has to be high enough for me to keep this measurement, anything less and I’ll be putting pressure on my hip joint. I’ll be getting a very glamorous riser loo seat, some cushions to bulk up the sofa and chairs, and may need a stool in the shower so I can sit down whilst washing my hair etc..  and I will have a ‘helping hand’  or grabber so I can put my own socks on (if I can be bothered to wear any!).

I received the confirmation letter to day for my surgery date, so it looks like this is it folks, countdown is progressing.   Just a little over 6 weeks and I’ll be on the way to being bionic 😮

I’ve come to realise, through a lot of reading of other peoples blogs and medical accounts, that I am blooming lucky in the amount of activities I can do with my dysplastic hips.  Don’t get me wrong, I do have pain, soreness and hobbling in varying degrees every day, but I can still go for a walk, kick box, go spinning and lark around in the snow – knowing full well it’ll hurt tomorrow but I’ll blooming do it anyway.  Being fortunate enough to still be this active means I’m going to be really pissed off at not being able to do anything, not even put my socks on!  It’s a short term pain in the arse for a long term better quality of life and being able to go about day to day stuff without any pain in the years to come…… at least that’s what I keep telling myself!


A New OUCH!

January 25, 2009

I’ve discovered a new type of hip related ouch, one that I’d only heard of before, but have now discovered the joy of!  It’s all in the groin and it smarts a bit.  Most of the pain I get from dodgy hips is right in the joint a sort of sore achey scratchness, occasionally I have a flamingo moment too. This is when it feels like I’ve trapped a nerve and its a sharp shooting pain right inside my hip, so I have to stand like a flamingo for a bit.  Anywho the new groin pain is like a pulled muscle that twinges every now and again, I guess that’s just what it might be, my wimpy muscles are fighting back to keep my joints in the sockets!

How did I discover this new pain you may ask…. through taking part in a Tag Rugby coaching course…which is BRILLIANT!  We did all sorts of running, dodging, weaving, stopping suddenly and a whole lot of other stuff that ailing hips don’t enjoy. It’s my bloody mindedness and competitive streak that is causing my hips the most problems these days – you think I’d learn by now!


Questions and more questions….

January 11, 2009

Countdown is progressing and my mind won’t switch off to the plethora of questions regarding surgery, some of these are repeated from my previous list as they go unanswered, however here’s what I have so far;

  1. To wax or not to wax? – apparently there needs to be some bikini line trimming prior to surgery, and quite frankly I’m not ready for anyone to give me a nice razor rash, so I’m banking on being prepared and waxing away anything necessary!
  2. How soon after the Op will I start physio, and will it be at my local hospital or will they do home visits?
  3. How long approximately will I need crutches for? (this will be a fairly individual thing, but a rough idea is what I’m after)
  4. If I need a Femoral Osteotomy as well how will this affect the timescales for staying in hospital and overall recovery?
  5. How ‘with it’ will I be during the days in hospital?
  6. Can I borrow the crutches early to practice with before I need to use them for real?
  7. I will be travelling home in a car, but how restrictive should I be on car journeys after this?
  8. When will I be able to use public transport? (I’ve been told that this could be about 6-8 weeks, which is the time for driving too. Now the restriction on driving I can understand, but I’m a bit befuddled about public transport, unless it’s the potential for being barged in the stampede on and off the bus/train!)
  9. Are there any aids I need to have at home?
  10. Will I be sedated before having the epidural? (As far as I’m concerned my spine and a needle should never meet it’s just wrong, so this be scares the living crap outta me. Friends who’ve had children tell me it’s the best thing ever, but they were already in pain when the needle went in, I won’t be in pain until afterwards…. maybe if I stub my toe really badly I’ll be less stressed about it!)
  11. How long does the surgery usually take for just the PAO and the PAO plus FO?
  12. Will I be in a mixed ward and will it be old folks who’ve had a hip replacement?!
  13. What are the restrictions on my movement of the joint in terms of flexion and extension, for example will I be able to put my own socks and shoes on?
  14. When will I be allowed to go to the gym/swim?- again very individual but a rough idea would be nice.
  15. Will you need to cut my tattoo? –  It’s only a little one, but I like it so am not looking forward to it being sliced.

That’s all for now but I’m sure there’ll be a million more to come, plus I’m working on a list of things to get sorted the week before I go in;

  1. Any necessary waxing done
  2. Hair dyed (sadly I’m going a bit grey)
  3. Hair cut
  4. Feet loved and looked after by a Podiatrist
  5. Lots of dinners made and frozen
  6. House to be cleared of any obstacles – this is a bigger job than you’d expect as we’re in the middle of DIY, so there’s stuff everywhere!

again there’ll be plenty more to add, and if any spring to mind that aren’t here then please fill me in!