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!


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.


News flash; Op cancelled due to runny nose!

March 31, 2009

So here I am again, I should now be in hospital re-cooperating from some hefty surgery with new shiny metalwork holding me together. Unfortunately this is not the case. I have a cold, and this coupled with my (very mild) asthma means I have a 10-20% chance of getting pneumonia post surgery. Both the anesthetist and surgeon decided that it’s not worth the risk and I am to have surgery later this year – probably around June time.

I’m pleased that the experts are looking after me and are not willing to risk my health any more than necessary. However I am not looking forward to facing reality again.  Over the last few months, I’ve become used to the idea of surgery, and talking about it and living with the idea has become second nature. What I haven’t really done is let it hit home too often. Yesterday I had a bit of a reality check – this isn’t something I can just talk about, it’s something that really will happen, twice.  It’s real and it’s happening to me. Now I realise there’s plenty of other people in the same situation, there’s others that have come out the other side and are happy and pain free, and there’s plenty of people with far more serious problems in their lives. My head hasn’t quite accepted any of this though.  The anesthetist I saw yesterday was straight down the line and very matter of fact about everything. This is where I had to do everything possible to not cry like a baby and run the hell outta there never looking back.  For those of you who would rather not know skip the next paragraph. It’s probably not so traumatic for those of you who have faced the reality better than me, but this is what I was told yesterday that made me want to run for the hills;

I will (as expected) need to have an epidural which will be left in for 3 days, this is to manage the pain after surgery which I was reminded is pretty horrid. The anesthetist said that sedation is possible before the epidural but he doesn’t usually do this as it increases the risk of nerve damage, (only a 1 in 10,000 chance without sedation).  He was telling me this whilst having the epidural needle on the desk in front of him.  Next he said that all the needles for drugs and IV etc will be on the left hand side of my body as the right hip is being done. I’ll have a needle inserted into my hand for the general anesthetic (administered after the epidural), then while I’m under they’ll attach the catheter and a few more bits and bobs including a needle in my neck! I have no idea what this one is for, but I really didn’t need to hear that… so far I have a big arse needle in my spine, one in my hand, one in my neck, I’m weeing into a bag, and there’ll be a drain somewhere too.  I’ve previously been told the surgery should be around 3 hours, apparently the one they did last week lasted 8 hours. HOLY CRAP! mind you I guess I’ll be asleep so the length of time shouldn’t be a problem.   Anyway when I wake up the needle in my neck will still be there for a while AARRRGGHHH!

So that lot freaked me out a bit, only a couple of things I didn’t expect, but these were enough to send me to the edge! That and the hunger of course – I hadn’t eaten since 8 the previous evening – I’m not a happy bunny when I’m hungry at the best of times! 

On a lighter note, you have to do a pregnancy test before surgery, so I had done my duty, peed in a pot and handed it to the nurse. Well after I’d seen the anesthetist and surgeon and they’d cancelled the op one of the nurses called me over; “it’s about your pregnancy test, it’s not shown up as urine”….. Urm right then. Which beggars the question “what the hell has it shown up as then – cos it sure as hell came outta me in the way that urine should!”  I will never understand the mystery of the urine, having cancelled my op I guess they just chucked away the mystery sample!  I aim to confuse them next time too – lots of jasmine tea the night before may have been the problem, I’ll try it again and see what happens!


Feel the burn..

February 24, 2009

..and I did……… momentarily.

I can’t wait for the day where my muscles give out before my broken joints, the day when I have a good work out and have to stop because of sore hard working muscles rather than a sore silly hip. I don’t even mind waking up the next day walking funny as long as it’s because my muscles have worked hard, not ‘dodgy hip’ induced hobbles. Today was nearly that day – biking to Uni again gave my sore hip some aggravation, but I also felt the burn in my quads HURRAH! It was only for about 2 mins whilst tackling an upward climb, but it was there. Unfortunately the burn is now fully back to my right hip in particular, oh and my left calf which I can only assume bears the brunt of my hobbling action. Hey ho,  give it a month or so and I’ll be having muscle pains from learning to walk again – not sure I’ll be overly jubulant about it at the time though!


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!