Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thoughts as 2009 comes to a close

For me, 2009 has been "the year of the hips." I am happy to see it go, because I am confident that 2010 will be a more mobile - and productive - year for me. However, 2009 has not been a total waste of time.

What I've learned:
~How to do the one-footed twist walk in order to carry things a short distance without bearing weight on my operated leg or using crutches.
~Resourcefulness (see above)
~Just because you have crutches or a cane, don't think that people are going to move out of your way, open doors for you, or not run you over.
~However, some people are very helpful.

What I've lost:
~Most of my flexibility
~A lot of leg strength
~Any muscle tone I ever had in my legs
~Several thousand dollars in co-pays/deductibles
~I am no longer a "hospital virgin"
~I am not allowed to run, jump, or do "impact sports" for the rest of my life.
~I am not allowed to do stairmaster, lunges or squats for the rest of my life.

What I've gained:
~Two groovy new hip sockets. My hips are not and will never be normal, because the hip sockets are manufactured from my pelvis and not God-given, but they are "normal-er" than they were before.
~Two 7" scars
~14 stainless steel screws in my pelvis
~The ability to walk without pain (don't have this ability yet, but once I am off crutches and rehabbed, I hope this is the case).
~A new appreciation for those who are Disabled.
~Bunches of new friends from the Hipwomen group who have gone through this same dysplastic journey.
~Bulging arm muscles from more than 4 months spent on crutches.
~A closet full of mobility and other aids (walker, crutches, grabber, toilet seat riser, shower chair, bedside commode). I hope not to use these again until I need my hips replaced which will be, if all goes well, at least 10 years hence.


Happy new year everyone.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Six Weeks

Snowy Day ...

Spent by the fire ...

I am counting the hours until I return to Dr. Mayo a week from today for my first follow-up appointment. I must get off these crutches! I had a couple of weeks of interesting pain, in particular at night, which seemed to be related to either hamstring or abductor weakness. The pain is still there when I move around at night, but much improved. Everything else is feeling good and normal and I am more than ready to start walking again.

I am still more tired than normal, but capable of getting through the day without a nap. Sitting in an office chair all day is difficult, but I am returning to work full-time on Monday. It has been difficult to be home longer this time, but I didn't feel ready to go in to the office until now. Being home and seeing so many projects which need to be done, but being unable to tackle them because I am on crutches and can't lift or carry anything, has been frustrating.

Not much more to report until Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Five Weeks/Happy Holidays

There are only a few weeks per year that you can wear a sweater like this with a straight face ... as you can see, the butt bone is still firmly connected to the recliner.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Out and about ...

At 4 weeks and a few days I went out to Perry's company holiday party, wearing (small) heels.

I got away with the heels because I only had to walk from the car to the restaurant and up a few stairs to the table. It can be done on crutches.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Four Weeks/Scar Pic

Today is week 4 + 1 day, and I drove myself to the pool. I was driving at 4 weeks last time, and that was when my right leg was operated upon, so I figured there was no reason not to drive as long as I am no longer under the influence of narcotics. I have been off the oxycodone for 2 weeks and only take an occasional Tylenol PM to sleep, so I know that I can drive safely.

Stayed in the pool for about 30 minutes and mostly bobbed around in the deep end with a flotation belt. I can't say I "walked" or "ran" in the water. I used my arms and right leg to ambulate, but didn't use the left leg much since I'm not supposed to. It feels good to get the right leg moving in the water again. I'll start "walking" with the left leg in a couple of weeks when I'm allowed to do so.

Not even 3 weeks to go until I see Dr. Mayo for my follow-up appointment. The time has gone by really fast, although at the time it seemed like an eternity.

My scar is so well done this time ... you really can barely see it after 4 weeks. I mean, you really have to know it's there. It can be covered by my swim suit if I pull it down. Scar shown below. There are two lines; the one on the left is the scar, and the one just to the right of that is the residual line from my swim suit. The fact that the two lines look similar shows how faint the scar is:

My left hip is not swollen like the right one was either. So I look pretty normal. People at the pool or who see me on crutches keep asking me what's wrong with my foot. I tell them that my foot is fine but my pelvis was broken in 3 places. The look on their face is interesting. They are expecting to hear about a sprained ankle or broken toe. It's not that I enjoy shocking people, but hey, they asked the question and I'm not going to sugar coat the answer!

I still have a bit more pain on this side despite less swelling and a prettier scar. My range of motion appears to be more limited as well, and this was historically my more flexible leg. So it remains to be seen how I'll recover long-term.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Swimmingly ...

Went to the pool today and "walked" in the deep end for 20 whole minutes. I feel like I actually did something other than sit on my butt for the first time since surgery. No need to let Dr. Mayo know that I went in the pool so early since he wants me to wait until 6 weeks. For crying out loud, people in the UK get in the pool the day after surgery!

I love Dr. Mayo and think he is a great surgeon, but ... but ... well, I am not going to hurt myself in the pool. My incision is healed and it's easy to get in and out of the therapy pool without putting any weight on my leg. I'm barely moving once I'm in there. And damn it, it feels good to be in the water! So there.

(Oh yeah, now that I've done this PAO thing twice I think I know more than my surgeon ...)

Friday, December 11, 2009

The butt bone's connected to ... the recliner

It has occurred to me that I have been on crutches for more time than I have been off them for the last half of 2009. Add in the time I used a cane, and this has not been a stellar year.

I am having more pain in my ischium ("butt bone"), where one of the three PAO cuts through the pelvis was made, than last time. I think this is due to a lack of butt muscle to cushion the bone. When I had the first PAO I still had some muscle, but now it has mostly atrophied so there is less padding there. It hurts to sit and to lie down on my back, although sleeping on my right side takes the pressure off.

I am off all pain meds but still having some moderate pain, which is totally manageable. It's better than all of the nastiness that accompanies Oxycodone use. I am really tired most of the time, more so than PAO #1, and don't feel like doing much of anything most days. Hoping that will change soon.

I allowed myself to think for the first time about what my body has been through this past half year, and it's pretty scary. I chose to do both surgeries just 4 months apart, and looking back I really can't believe that I went through with that plan (when it comes to all things medical I am the great procrastinator), but I am glad I did.

Two major surgeries, 10 days in the hospital, unquantifiable amounts of strong drugs in my body, countless needle sticks to take blood from my non-cooperative veins, 28 days of self-administered heparin shots in the stomach, 4 months on crutches, and countless sleepless nights. For a control freak who breaks out in a cold sweat at the mere sight of doctors, needles, and medical equipment, the fact that I survived mentally and emotionally, not to mention physically, is indeed close to a miracle.

As the holidays and new year approach, I am thankful for my friends and family who have supported me through this challenging time, for my loving husband Perry who puts up with occasional tears (from his wife who "doesn't ever cry") and much crabbiness, my parents who are there at the drop of a hat to help me, my co-workers who have picked up the slack, and my fellow hippies who have been there unfailingly with words of advice and encouragement. I am grateful to have all of you in my life and wish you holidays filled with peace, love and joy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Three Weeks/Five Months

I am at three weeks for LPAO and just past 5 months for RPAO.

Good news all around: CPM is gone! Fragmin is gone! TEDS are gone!

I'll give a brief status report on the RPAO so that hip doesn't feel neglected. I am happy to say that my right hip is holding up very well bearing all my weight only 5 months after RPAO surgery. I give lots of credit to my PT, Kellie, who really helped me heal quickly. That hip is actually getting a rest, despite bearing all my weight, because I'm not going to the gym right now, or skating, or doing yoga. It is hard to work the right leg much when I can't stand on my left. But I think some rest is good for it. The hip flexors are still weak but snapping less, and all of the muscles will need work in the gym to come back to normal, but I am optimistic. It will just take time.

LPAO required a bit more time on the pain meds than RPAO did. While my pain level is the same on this side, it is lasting longer. I was taking one Oxy 5 mg before bed until Sunday, then switched to Tylenol PM. The tradeoff for narcotic pain relief is itching, and right now I'd rather have a bit of pain than an all-night scratchfest. Oh yeah, not to mention the night sweating that accompanies narcotic use. Yuck.

I can now sleep on my right side, although my left hip starts to hurt after several hours. Sleeping on my back had become difficult since both heels were starting to get sore and my lower back is complaining. I have padded my heels to avoid bedsores and so far, so good (just a small sore on the right), but I know that this is not something to mess with. I alternate between back and right side through the night. Can't sleep on my left side quite yet.

I can take a shower by myself without the shower chair and can dress myself, including shoes and socks. I can shave my legs. I painted my toe nails on Sunday. I can make myself something to eat but can't carry it to the table. All similar to recovery #1.

I am very much looking forward to the pool in a week.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Farewell Forever Fragmin ...

Already ditched the TEDs ...

So much for ... ability to predict the weather. The sun is shining, although it is really cold!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Crap, it's going to rain again

Hip hurts. Enough said.