Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Three Weeks

Has it been three weeks? Has it ONLY been three weeks?

Time seems to be moving slowly; I'm focused on my 8-week "bye bye crutches" appointment and I’m not even halfway there.

As I write this, it is 105 degrees in Portland; we’ve had record high temperatures the past few days. I still have trouble regulating my body temperature, and coupled with the heat this has been difficult. We don’t have air conditioning because our house is up on a hill and surrounded by trees; it never gets hot enough for us to need air conditioning (until now). We do have a basement which is cool, but I'm at the point in my recovery where I want to get out of the house and be more active. I can’t really do much outside without dissolving into a sweaty tired mess.

Today my parents took me out to lunch at a nice air conditioned restaurant. Then we went to the grocery store (also cool) and pharmacy (not bad). I did a lot of walking in the stores and felt pretty strong on the crutches. I didn’t realize how tired I was until I got home and took a two-hour nap!

So here is my three week update:

~Scar looks good and I’ve started massaging Vitamin E oil into it. I’ve heard that Bio Oil works well but also heard that any oil is fine, and since the scar already looks so good I see no reason to buy the Bio Oil because I have some Vitamin E.
~I try to sleep in my regular bed but still bail out in the middle of the night to the hospital bed. The mattress on the hospital bed is horrible, but I can change the settings and get more comfortable. Plus I hate waking Perry up with all my tossing and turning. I did spend one night early on sleeping in the recliner but did not repeat it because the hospital bed is better. I can usually sleep on my non-op side with a pillow between my legs but sometimes that just hurts. It’s hard to move the pillow and my leg around to find the sweet spot but when I do, it's great.
~My pain level is usually a 1 and I’m not taking any pain killers. The pain I do get feels muscular and not like it’s inside the joint or in my bones. It’s hard to tell for sure, but I don’t think I feel anything where the bones were cut. I feel sharp pain if I move my leg too abruptly. I am trying not to actively lift the leg as I was told not to, but occasionally I do by accident. I’m able to do it, but I feel sore in my hip flexors and my inner thigh when this happens. I’m trying to be more aware so as not to do it accidentally.
~I’m trying to do things around the house like laundry, cleaning, etc. I carry things around the house in a tote bag around my neck, in my teeth, in a backpack, tucked into my waistband … whatever is handy. It takes a while to bring all the clean laundry in to the bedroom and put it away – several trips with the tote bag – but I feel productive. My house is a mess – we have a long-haired cat shedding everywhere and the vacuum cleaner is just not going to happen with crutches – but I have learned to live with it. Laundry, of course, is not optional.
~Thanks to the CPM machine, my range of motion seems excellent. I can bend over to pick things up from the floor, reach forward and touch my toes, tie my shoes, paint my toenails, bring my leg in to my chest (not all the way by any means, but darn close), sit on the floor, and pull my operated leg up over my head with my hands a la Biellmann. OK, OK, I can’t do the last thing, I was just seeing if anyone was still reading.
~I have gently tried external rotation (e.g., sitting cross legged). My external rotation (turnout) has always been limited and it’s exttremely limited now because of post-surgical stiffness. This surgery did not correct my anteversion (my femurs are rotated inward) since that would be an additional surgery (femoral osteotomy) and my surgeon did not want to do it. (I didn't really either, although the thought of better turnout almost made it worth it.) I don’t know how much my external rotation will improve once I am able to stretch and work on it. I hope to have external rotation that is no worse (and if the stars align, better) than before. Otherwise returning to ice dancing, with its requirement for turnout in order to do even the easiest turns, may be challenging or impossible. This was my biggest outcome fear going in, and it’s too early yet to know how this will turn out (pun intended) in the long run, because I’m not allowed to do any real stretching or rotating yet.
~I’ve lost 12 pounds. I’ve been eating very healthily and I’m definitely not starving myself or dieting. Everyone says my formerly muscular legs are looking wimpy. So we can safely assume that’s 12 pounds of muscle gone to hell.
~Sneezing and coughing aren’t as excruciating as they were earlier in my recovery, but I still feel them in the joint/incision.
~My hands still hurt when crutching but I’m getting used to it and it rarely bothers me.
~I can still see the bruise from my first Fragmin injection, given to me in the hospital by Nurse Ratched. I can still see the bump where the IV needle was inserted. I can just barely still see the bruise from my autologous blood donation! Needles and I just don't get along.
~I am going to have a glass of wine before bedtime. I haven’t had an adult beverage since before my surgery. I have a feeling I will sleep quite well tonight.

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