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!


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!


Terrors

March 22, 2009

Countdown is progressing, and I’m having fleeting moments of sheer panic. Which is nice.

The first this week happened when the hospital called and said the Op date might need to be moved forward a week.  Right then. My folks have taken time off work to help me through, as has my teacher boyfriend (for those of you who don’t know it’s INCREDIBLY hard to have any time of during the school term, so re-arranging could be an issue), and I’m at Uni and have been able to restructure my course to accommodate my op happening on the 30th. The new date is not looking good from where I’m hobbling. Anyway somehow things seem to be back to the original date again, but not before I’d shed tears in front of my mentor at school and begun to re-arrange my life. 

The next moment happened when I called our local OT service and asked about the home visit I’d been promised pre-op. They only had my details this week and the receptionist told me on more than one occasion that there was an 8-9 week backlog of home visits. Hmmm, with a week and a bit to go I didn’t greet this news with pleasure.   This situation has also now rectified itself… which led to the third and most intense feeling of terror.

The OT is booked in to come round this week, and during the conversation with her the word ‘commode’ was mentioned (but only in passing however it was enough to start the fear). Apparently I also need a perching stool to be able to make my own cuppa. Now I may have been naive, but I figured I’d be able to do this standing on one leg and using one crutch, but obviously not!  Well after this conversation some of the horrid realities of day to day life with a semi bionic hip hit home.  There were tears and a few little swears one of which was in response to my poor boyfriend who I rang for moral support. He’d already asked if I was ok, to which I responded yes on more than one occasion, then the third time he asked I responded, through tears. “no I’m f*****g terrified”.  Seriously, he couldn’t have seen that coming, but the boy done good and made me feel a bit more sane, as did my friend who was unfortunate enough to be in the room at the time. Poor girl.

So I wonder what lies in store this week. After a pretty dull weekend of moving furniture around so my hobbling isn’t obstructed, and a day of planning lessons I’m already tired, which doesn’t bode well for a terror free week.

Ho hum only 8 days to go…. in a week and a day I’ll be so drugged up there won’t be an ounce of stress or terror, that only comes when the drugs wear off.


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!


Oh crumbs it’s real…..

January 8, 2009

Countdown is progressing … Pre op assessment due the 9th February, Op provisionally scheduled for 30th March.

YIKES!!

time to start thinking of all those questions I need answering


Questions to ask the consultant re PAO

October 12, 2008

Here’s a few suggestions for when you get to see your consultant – some are really obvious but I needed to have them all written down just to make sure I got the answers I needed;

How mild/severe is my dysplasia? (measurements on x-rays)

Is there any arthritis?

Any damage to cartilage?

Probs with knees – is it likely to be referred from having dodgy hips?

Any other linked probs?  (I have dodgy shoulders too!)

If I don’t have surgery what is likely to happen?

What’s the potential life span of successful surgery?

Am I still likely to need THR in years to come? 

What can I do to increase the chance of 100% success?

One hip done or both? – and what’s the time between the two surgeries

Possibility of returning to sport – kickboxing, swimming, circuits, running, surfing, mountain biking, snowboarding…? What are the restrictions likely to be long term?

How much time to recover?

How long until I can go back to work?

What can I do to help myself short term?

How will it affect me should I want to have children?

Will I set off Airport scanners?!!!

How long do I have to decide whether to go ahead with surgery or not?

Should I go ahead how long (roughly) will I have to wait for surgery?

What will be the difficulties in having surgery away from my home town?

Am I likely to need any special aids at home?

How long until I can shower? 

Are there any exercises I can do while not being able to bear weight?  i.e. use dumbbells do crunches etc.. or will my range of movement be too restricted?

Can you advise on any alternative pain killers?

Will I need a wheelchair?  

Will my own blood be recycled during surgery? 

Will I notice any change in body shape/height?

Screws – to be taken out or left in?

How long after surgery until I can drive?

How long will the surgery take?

How long will I be in hospital for?

Will I have an epidural?

 

Once you find out one piece of info more questions pop up, it’s never ending! Also there’s some things that will depend on you as an individual so the consultant will only be able to give you an approximate answer.  Have a look at other blogs or the hipwomen yahoo group for more ideas of what to ask. 

Incidentally I’ve not done too much physical this weekend but apparently sitting on the sofa and typing now causes my right hip to hurt.  Maybe it was watching Strictly Come Dancing that made it wince at the thought of Salsa-ing again…. one day I’ll be a diva on the dance floor with new shiny bionic hips and there’ll be no stopping me! Well I can live in hope.

 

 

 


YIKES!!

October 6, 2008

Just found this on You tube – it’s everything I ever imagined (unfortunately), apart from the bit where the girly gets up and walks only 3 days after surgery – surely no one can look that perky so soon after, maybe it was lots of drugs that helped her. Anywho this is what’s in store for me sometime in the future. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5t6RWO8uG-g    I wonder what Jenny is up to now? hopefully hobble free and shopping to her hearts content.