Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sixteen Week Update

I’m just back from judging the Southwest Pacific Regional figure skating competition in Scottsdale. Now, just because it’s hot in Scottsdale does not mean you should assume that the rink isn’t a freezing hellhole. Putting a good spin on things (no pun intended), it was cold enough to be a really good test of my almost-4-months-post-RPAO hip. There’s nothing quite like sitting for a couple of hours at a time on an uncomfortable folding chair in arctic cold to test the mettle of the metal in your body.

I did OK. When I first stood up from judging long events I sometimes had to take a couple of steps to get going again. I limped some days worse than others. I had some interesting pins and needles sensations in my hip here and there (nerves regenerating?) which felt like someone was pinging me with a rubber band from inside my leg. This usually occurred in the middle of an event.

When traversing the lobby to get outside or to the restroom I dodged a lot of kids and their preoccupied parents who were determined to run into me. I felt naked and vulnerable without a cane to warn them away. It is truly amazing how few people look where they are going nowadays thanks to cell phones and other distractions. People don’t apologize when they run into you either. They also pee all over the toilet seat in the women’s bathroom, but that’s another matter.

The final event ran late and I had to get from the rink to the airport quickly to catch a flight. I grabbed my luggage and met the volunteer driver in front of the rink, only to see her pull up in the hugest truck I had ever seen. I am not a tall person, and my ability to step up is compromised, so when I opened the door I just looked up in horror at the humongous step I was going to have to take with my right leg to get into the vehicle (the way the seat was positioned, I couldn't step in with my left leg). There was nothing to grab onto, nothing to step up on, just what appeared like a 4-foot hurdle in front of me. Since we were late I vaulted as best I could and grabbed onto the seat for dear life, pulling myself up with my arms so I was pretty much laying on the seat, then pulling myself up and inside. It was certainly not a pretty sight for anyone standing behind me, but at least I made it in without falling down. That would have been ugly indeed.

Speaking of falling down, in preparation for my LPAO I am trying to practice sleeping the entire night on my back (I fall asleep that way but I usually wake up on my left side). I practice getting up from chairs with my weight only on the right foot. I think it’s time to start practicing using crutches on the other side. I am so used to favoring my right side that it will be difficult to be non-weight bearing on my left! I fear I will accidentally put all my weight on it because I’m trained to think of my left leg as my “good” leg.

So much for that, because in just a few weeks I won’t really have a good leg any more. Both of them will be “in recovery.” It’s nice to have at least one good (pre-op) leg so I can compare my operated leg with it to see how far from normal the operated leg is. I dread losing that point of reference. What will I compare my right leg to once the left leg is post-PAO? How will I know when I’ve fully rehabbed the right leg? For this reason the left PAO scares me more. I will be past the point of no return. No more knowing what my hips have always felt like which, while sub-optimal, is comforting because it is familiar.

I feel myself starting to get all mushy and philosophical about this, so I ‘m going to put the kibosh on the pity party right now. Lefty has to be done and I know that I will be better off in the end, even though I will never be the same. As Dr. Mayo says, I will always have pain and my hips will never be normal, but if all goes well a year from now I will be as close to normal as I’ve ever been. Well, my hips will be anyway.


Gordon said...

Peeing on the seat? Wow, thanks for leaving that story out :-)

Actually, won't you be "closer to normal than you've ever been before"?

HipSk8 said...

My hips will be more "normal" in that I will have a ball and socket, and my joint won't be ravaged by arthritis over the next few years. But it will take months and months of rehab for me to re-gain even a percentage of my prior muscle strength and flexibility when it comes to skating, and per my surgeon it's unlikely I'll ever be able to do what I could do before.