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!


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?


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!


Hello all

March 29, 2009

This a quickie as I still need to prep for tomorrow… YIKES!

I just wanted to apologise for not replying to emails properly yet – I should have a bit of time on my hands in the coming weeks, so you’ll all have a barrage of my drivel then!

As for tomorrow, I’m not too scared just yet – the terrors seem to have abeited this week, but I know I’ll be shaky and feeling sick with nerves tomorrow morning.  We’ve still a ton of things to do to sort the house out, and my lovely folks are coming round today to help shift furniture which is a massive help, other than that the house is like a bomb site and I’ve still not packed even one slipper!  Oh the good news is that PJ’s and Trakky bottoms have been given the green light from probably about Wednesday onwards – WHOO HOOO!!  The not such good news is that my belly button piercing has to come out, and according to the nice lady in the piercing place it’s likely to close up in less than a day cos it’s a small hole. Bugger – it’s been there for 10 years, and despite the fact that I don’t have the right stomach to be able to show it off, I’m really quite attached to it. Mind you if that’s all I have to worry about in the name of being bionic, I think I’ll cope!

Right that’s it now til I’m through the other side, I don’t think there’s freebie internet in hospital so it’ll probably be next weekend at least before I can report back on all the fun of the week.

Laters peeps xx see you when I’m part mended ;o)


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!


Eeeekkkkk!

January 29, 2009

I just found out that my surgeon, Marcus Bankes, is rumoured to be on long term sick…….anyone out there know anything?!! (this is the site with the relevant comment on;  www.injuryupdate.com.au)

Ok, it’s only just over a week til I have my Pre-op and I can find out then, and it could be a big mix up….or it might be true….aaarrghhhh!