Post op check up 7 weeks (ish)

September 8, 2009

My mum, dad and I hobbled (well just me hobbling mum and dad have fully working legs!) down to London on Friday for a post op check up with Marcus Bankes.  As expected I had X-Rays (see below) then I met the man himself….and the verdict is;  My bones are healing really well, I’m ready to begin bearing weight and I am to aim to lose the crutches within the next four weeks. I’m only allowed to drive once I’m off the crutches, oh and I’ll need a cane for a while after I’m fully weight-bearing.  I can now go swimming – YAY! but not biking yet – even in the gym, darn it! I can once I’m fully weight bearing though so that’s something to look forward to.   As for the difference in leg length that is a little bigger than expected, so it looks like I may need an insole in my left shoe to even me out, now can you get insoles for peep toe heels?!

As for when leftie will be done, that’s a whole different story to what I expected. I’ve now been told that until I get pains in it (I guess to a similar extent to my right hip was pre-op) I won’t be considered for a second surgery. Now I was always under the impression that both were definitely going to be done, and probably within a year of each other (I was hoping sooner but that was pure impatience).  Obviously it’s a good thing that surgery won’t be done unless needed, only in my head I was having the next one done pronto then cracking on with normal life.  It’s just a matter of changing my mindset, crack on with normal life then leftie will happen somewhere along the way, more than likely at the most inconvenient time!

Pre op hips

Pre op wonkiness

 

5 Days post op

Nice screws!

 

Check out how my bones have healed - YAY for bones!

Check out how my bones have healed - YAY for bones!

 

Physio is lined up for later this week, and my next hospital appointment is set for 6 weeks, by which time I’ll be walking!!


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)


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!


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!


Lean on me

April 14, 2009

I’ve decided to make the most of the extra time I now have before my op, so I’ve hired me some crutches!  I’ve 8 weeks to practice all thanks to the British Red Cross (0845 0547171) – they will hire out crutches and wheelchairs for a donation.  I hasten to add that I made sure I wasn’t borrowing crutches that someone really needed.. I had images of some poor soul trying to hop everywhere unaided!

Anyway I’ve now mastered the stairs up and down at least once, though it was slow and slightly wobbly going, but I’ve 8 weeks to refine my technique. I’ll have shoulders of steal before I know it!


What’ll happen to the summer?

April 3, 2009

 The university have been nothing short of brilliant and cancelled my suspension of studies, so I can go back to lectures. Also if the date offered by the Hospital fits in, I will finish my course and be a qualified teacher – WHOOO HOOOOO it was going to be December before that happened.

Yesterday I got a new date for the op, the first one offered was 15th June, which is only 3 weeks before the end of my course, so I requested to postpone it again. This means I will at least get my course finished, even if I’m not well enough to get a job in September, there’s a chance of supply teaching once I’m recovered. 

The new date is now the 13th July which is depressing.   I’ll be spending my summer not able to do stuff – friends BBQs, a holiday surfing/biking/walking, DIY in the house (strange but my boyfriend and I work well together and our house needs some attention to say the least), sorting out the garden…. and worst of all some of our good friends are getting married. What are the chances of me being able to go to weddings; one 2 weeks after the op, the other 3 weeks after? maybe a wheelchair will be the answer (UURRRRRGHHHHH).  HURUMPH! just about sums it up at the moment.   Admittedly there are a few things I can now go to over the next few months which I wouldn’t have been able to do, and I suppose I can enjoy any sunshine we do get in the summer by recovering outside… but it just ain’t cricket.  I feel the need for a list; a list of the things we can do to enjoy our summer…. any ideas anyone?