Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Four Weeks


Clearly I haven't spent the past 4 weeks working on my tan

I am halfway to my post-op appointment where, please God, I will find out that I can ditch at least one of the crutches. I am 2/3 of the way to being able to drive and go in the pool. I have stopped the insane sweating. I am done with the hospital bed. I am so done with the iron supplements.

I am starting to feel pretty normal, other than being unable to get the song "Tennessee Waltz," complete with Lawrence Welk-type orchestration, out of my head. It's been two weeks since I took any pain meds so I don't think this is opiate-related, but I have no other explanation.

I also have this overwhelming urge to go shopping. I don't have the stamina to shop or try a bunch of things on, and I don't even know what size I will end up being when all is said and done; I'm not about to actually go to the mall. So what is driving this shopping desire? I think I've been watching too many episodes of "What Not to Wear," which is shown in reruns two or three times each weekday. I think Stacy and Clinton would agree that a brand new hip deserves a brand new wardrobe, so if anyone wants to nominate me to be on the show you have my blessing. Shut up!

Sleeping is still not a sure thing, and before this I was a really good sleeper, so I'm perplexed and not quite sure how to fix it. I've ruled out heavy drinking and sleeping pills, for now. I am still unable to find consistently comfortable sleeping positions throughout the night, and often wake up long before dawn. But that's OK! I can take naps any time I want to.

Not that I'm just sitting around doing nothing all day in my jammies, although occasionally that happens. I confess that I have read my share of People magazines, although I draw the line at The Enquirer and I've avoided the most ridiculous daytime TV shows. (Note: "What Not to Wear" should NOT be categorized as crappy daytime TV.) Most days I try to be as normal as possible by getting up, showering, making an attempt to tame my hair even though blow drying is out of the question, and putting on "real" clothes from the loungewear family (i.e., sweats).

I attempt to sit upright each day for as long as possible. I try to get up and walk around throughout the day and/or get out of the house if someone is willing to come get me. I'm not yet ready to walk in my own neighborhood since our streets are not well paved and the terrain is hilly. I am able to shower standing up on one foot. I can do light housework, such as cleaning up cat barf, doing laundry, and washing dishes. Monday I even vacuumed half of the main floor (it is possible, just takes a while) and cleaned the upstairs bathrooms. I actually sat on the floor and scrubbed from there - it's easier than mopping upright.

Which leads me to ... I can sit on the floor and get up from the floor using my good leg. It's a neat party trick.

I have not yet tripped, fallen, or accidentally put my full weight on my right leg as so many PAO patients do. In some ways I wish this would happen so I could test out my hip, but I know it's not ready. Don't worry mom, I'm not planning to actually do this.

My upper thigh is still numb, lumpy and a bit swollen. The scar looks really good and doesn't hurt when I touch it. I occasionally feel odd twinges of pain in my outer hip which I imagine are screw heads poking me, but since I'm not sure what screw heads feel like this could all be in my mind. I feel odd pulling sensations in my muscles. Sometimes my knees hurt, especially at night. I know how important strong quads are to keep the knee joint stable; my quads are not just weak, they are pathetic after four weeks of atrophy. My hope is the knees will be just fine once I build the muscles up again -- I've never had knee problems and don't want to start now.

I actually feel like I could walk just fine without my crutches, but I'm not going to be a fool and try it. There will be plenty of time for walking. I'm sure I'll look back fondly on these lazy, boring days when I'm in the midst of physical therapy hell in September.

5 comments:

Annie said...

I agree What not to Wear is a great show. I think I like the new hair stylist but I haven't made up my mind completely. If I decide (and my cartilage is good)to have this surgery I suspect I would end up watching my share of the show. I do think a new hip deserves a new wardrobe. This whole hip dysplasia thing makes for a lot of thinking and emotions. Thanks for sharing your blog. It does help. Now if I could just find a crystal ball to look into to see what would be the best route for me to take. Keep up all that great progress. Ann

TnT said...

Annie - If you haven't already, be sure to join the Hipwomen Yahoo group (link on my blog page). The hip chicks can help answer all of your questions about PAO and other surgeries to help you decide what is best for you and your hip.

If your cartilage is good but you have moderate to severe dysplasia, PAO sooner rather than later is usually advisable. Everyone is different of course. Most important is seeing a doctor who is an expert in hip dysplasia to help you make the decision.

I preferred PAO over waiting until the inevitable hip replacement at a relatively young age. So far I am happy with the decision and plan to do my left hip as soon as practical.

Feel free to ask me any questions you have and I'll do my best to answer. Terri

Terri

Annie said...

Thanks, I have joined hipwomen, a great group. I haven't posted yet, but have learned a lot. I am seeing an Atlanta doc who trained with Dr. Millis in Boston. Part of my doubt about this stems from fear and also that I have been the one who tracked down this information and this doctor and not being a doctor I don't quite trust myself. I was diagnosed in 2001 and the doc never mentioned PAO as an option. I did internet searching about alternatives earlier this year when I found myself with more pain and increasingly limited. Thankfully I have relatively little pain if I walk and stand for only short periods. But that's no way to live particularly with a 4 year old. The doc I am seeing now says my x-rays indicate I would be a good canidate. So once I have the MRI piece of the puzzle I can do some more thinking. Thanks.

TnT said...

Sounds like you are taking your time, doing your homework, and seeing a good surgeon (Millis is one of the best, so if yours trained with Millis that's great).

Many docs don't mention PAO at diagnosis because they either don't know enough about it or don't understand hip dysplasia. It really is a rarity, and doctors don't know everything. By consulting a doctor who is a PAO expert, you'er getting more information to consider in your decision.

We all have fear and doubt. There are no guarantees in life, and PAO is no exception. Going to a surgeon you trust and getting their input can help you decide what to do. When I asked Dr. Mayo what he'd do if it were his hip, and he said he'd never let anyone do a hip replacement on a "perfectly good joint" like mine, I knew that I had found my surgeon and that PAO was the right thing to do.

I will also say that while PAO is major surgery, the surgery and recovery (so far) have been much easier than I anticipated, and I'm a wimp. It helps if you are young and otherwise in good health, are reasonably fit, and have less arthritis in the joint (your MRI will help the doctor know the extent of your arthritis). You will read of bad outcomes, but often they were people who had other health problems or advanced arthritis.

Don't rush into anything, do your homework, and you will eventually find be able to make a good informed decision. You are doing everything right. Terri

Annie said...

Terri,
Thanks for the reassurance. You are right about the trust part. It is something I am struggling with. A PAO makes intellectual sense. Rather than throw away an otherwise good joint, it makes sense to try and fix it before it gets too far gone. So I am trying to combat my fear by finding out as much as I can. (although my husband accuses me of being obsessive-I think I am just being reasonable) Now if I would hear back from the doc about the MRI- He's looking into following a protocol that's being used in a research study through Boston. Best wishes!