Sunday, June 21, 2009

Making the Move

We've made it to Minnesota with few, if any casualties. The family is doing well with everything and My hip has held up remarkably well, too. I'm still walking with my cane and waddling if I don't, but I can cruise around the house and even carry things for short distances without it.

I am very tired of the cane. I wish I could say that I was ready to go without it, but by about noon, I start limping and it becomes obvious that I need it. Honestly, I would be closer to getting rid of it if I were working harder on my rehab. With the move, I have become That Patient. I've done my exercises three times this week, instead of every day (or even multiple times a day.). I don't have physical therapy starting for almost another week. I only worked out twice this week.

That doesn't mean that I've been sitting around, of course. I've been up and moving and walking through airports and around the neighborhood and chasing Nora and unpacking and...well, just not what was prescribed. Things have just been so busy.

At this point, I think that I'm going to manage this with spin. I helped move a household of three people and three hundred pounds of dog 1,500 miles. I am acheiving more in a day than at any time since surgery and I feel ready to start work. I have had very little pain and have not needed any narcotics or muscle relaxors. I fatigue much less easily than even a couple of weeks ago. I haven't been in a wheelchair in over a month.

How's that?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Flying Solo

After 9 weeks of being with my mom or my mother-in-law, I am alone. Now, I am normally someone who needs time to myself at the end of the day. I like to curl up with a book and not be talked to. Maybe it's all that talking that you do as a doctor.
This is something different. I haven't been by myself for more than a few discrete hours since surgery. Now, I am suddenly responsible. For me, for Nora, for laundry and dishes. "Overwhelming" isn't the right word, but "disorienting" might be. It hasn't been that long since I was a grown-up, but it's easy to allow someone else to pick up the slack.
I certainly think that I'm ready to pick up the slack. It's not like I can't walk or cook. Cleaning may be challenging, but we'll just have to see.
In related news, I took the bike off the trainer and into the out-of-doors. Yesterday, Eric and Nora went with me and today, I went by myself! Hooray! Even in the pouring rain, riding outside is more enjoyable than staring at the wall of my basement. The trainer is convenient, but um, uninspiring.
On the other hand, my first ride of the year was a breeze, which certainly was not the case last year. I distinctly recall being relatively crippled after a similar ride last Memorial Day. So maybe it's too soon to malign the poor trainer.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sitting, walking and riding (Post-op week 9)

I still do a lot of sitting these days and I still get tired pretty fast. But things are looking up.
Since I started physical therapy, my strength is improving immensely and I've started walking on the parallel bars while I'm there. My gait is still what I like to call "Quasimodo gimpy" without support, but it's getting better, too. I asked the therapist if I can drop down from the crutch to a cane and I got a big negatory. Can't win them all, right? But I'm really pretty done with the crutch.
I'm still riding my bike on a trainer for an hour a day. I've started giving myself one day off a week, because well, it seems to help. I'm doing some intervals with more resistance or speed, but I really just want to get out on the road. I'm worried about what happens if I blow a tire, though. I can't exactly walk my bike home.
I bought a new saddle for my bike yesterday. It's supposed to be better for butt pain and sciatica, but it is so granny, I'm embarrassed to be seen on it. Maybe it's a good thing that I can't get on the road quite yet.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Therapy (Post-op week 7 1/2, FYI)

Today, I began work with the physical therapist. I was all proud of my progress and thought that I was doing pretty well until I got there. After all, I've been doing leg lifts of all kinds daily, riding my bike for an hour daily, stretching multiple times/day and swimming 2-3 times/week. Also, I'm walking with one crutch, driving, making dinner...
I expected my quads and hip abductors to be weak. Give them a break, right? They were disconnected not too long ago and forced into 6 weeks of inactivity thereafter.
Likewise, I knew my hip adductors were weak. There was some talk of a nerve stretch injury of the obturator nerve during surgery when I had so much spasm in those muscles post-operatively. It's hard to miss it when you can't get your leg onto or off the bed, in and out of a car, etc. I was expecting that.
The calf weakness knocked me down a peg. Here I am, working my ever-loving ass off (Not really, it's as big as ever.) and my calf has the unmitigated gall to be weak? Well, I never.
As it turns out, I have some mild sensory loss as well. OK, so I actually have many areas of sensory loss. That happens when someone opens up your hip and begins to disconnect all the things that like to be connected. But the one that's important for you neurology geeks out there runs down the back of my thigh and into my calf and the outside of my foot, corresponding with the pain.
So, that freaking piriformis has been spasming hard enough to do more trauma to my sciatic nerve than I thought. Either that or this whole hip dysplasia thing has been a total farce and I just have a sacral nerve impingement. Possible. Unlikely.
So, I have a bunch of exercises and instructions to perform piriformis release and to ice my ass. That's right, ice my ass. Awesome.
At least having a cold butt will be good preparation for moving to Duluth.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Maybe it's the weather. Or lingering anemia. Or laziness. There are a million things that need to get done in order to move in a month. But I can't seem to motivate myself to do them. I write a few emails each day, do my rehab and that's it. I'm proud of myself today because I got up with Nora and got her dressed. She was delighted, until I handed her off for Nana to take her to school. She desperately wanted me to come.
I can't say that I can't. Because I can. But I have a shallow pan of stamina these days and if I take her to school, I might not make it through the rest of the day.
Yesterday, I did my biking and leg lifts, I went to the pool and swam longer than I have since surgery. Then, on our way to K-mart to pick up diapers and other miscellaneae, daycare called. Apparently, Nora was ill. Errands were cut short and we went to go get her. Once we got her home, she was not even remotely sick. But that is another (rage-inducing) story. So, when I had planned on crashing on the couch, I was entertaining a rambunctious toddler. She managed to get 7 time-outs last night. Each of which I mandated, but had to be executed by Nana, due to my inability to pick up the limp, tantrum-obsessed child.
Maybe it's not so surprising that I'm tired this morning. I just wish that things like this didn't set me back so far. I feel like I've been hit by a truck, not a two-year-old. She only weighs 29 pounds. How can she knock me out so effectively?

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Appointment

It went, um, well. I guess.
We arrived at 1:00 and found out that the doctor was running behind. Very, very behind. As in, we finally left at 5:00. And I had neglected to take any pain medication beforehand. It was not a pleasant experience.
The X-rays showed that the PAO and the femoral osteoplasty look fantastic. Everything is healing well. In fact, I am forming bone much faster and better than expected.
That's sort of the problem. They saw a couple of things other things on the X-ray as well. There is a large callus (hunk o' bone) projecting into the pelvic inlet. It may be an issue with future childbirth. We'll just have to wait and see- we just won't know if it's a problem until the baby that is still a twinkle in Eric's eye is trying to come out.
The other problem is some heterotopic ossification- bone formation where there shouldn't be bone. In this case, it appears to be anterior to the hip joint and maybe in the rectus muscle. They would ignore it if there was no pain or problems. Unfortunately, on exam, I had a loss of range of motion. It didn't really hurt. It just felt like my leg had hit a doorstop. A large, bony doorstop.
The doctor told me to start taking naproxen twice a day to try to limit more bone formation. He also recommended stretches to try to get the motion back. He said that if this doesn't work, he would recommend waiting for the ossification to mature in 6 months or so and removing it. He also mentioned that this would require detaching the quads again and staying in the hospital again.
After I stopped dropping F-bombs, I agreed. I've been stretching my cotton-picking heart out. It sounds so nice and relaxing, doesn't it? As it turns out, if you try to push past that doorstop, it hurts. It reminds me strongly of labor pain, except that it doesn't stop hurting afterwards for about 24 hours. Then, it's time for me to do it all again. Let me rephrase that- it's time for Eric to do it all again. Because I am just not capable of inflicting that sort of pain on myself.
So this feels like a set-back. I know that in the long run, it's probably progress, but I'm discouraged. I was taking an aspirin in the morning as a blood thinner and a Vicodin at night. Now, I'm back to taking aspirin, four naproxen, and about four Vicodin, as well as Prilosec, Tums, Senna and Colace to treat the bowel issues caused by all of the above.
But on the bright side, I can start bearing more weight. That doesn't mean off the crutches, but it is a step in the right direction. Now, I mostly need the crutches for weakness and instability. And in two weeks, I can go to one crutch. Two weeks after that, a cane. The doctor said he's progressing me faster than usual. He normally doesn't allow dropping one crutch before twelve weeks. This will be at eight weeks.
Also on the bright side, I can drive. When I'm not on pain pills. And I got a prescription for physical therapy. Starting any day now.
So things are looking up. And down. We'll just have to see where this goes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Back to Rehab

It's not the new Amy Winehouse album. It's just me in the swimming pool. And on the bike. And on the mat. And now, on the couch.
I can't seem to remember if I was this wiped out before we went to Duluth. If I recall clearly, I think it was actually much worse. Of course, I'm not back up to working quite as hard. But I'll get there.
On the plus side, I haven't taken any pain meds all day. And I only took one all day yesterday- at bedtime. This is a huge improvement and I think it has a lot to do with not pushing it quite as hard as I was last week. I think I have to focus my energies on the prescribed exercises first. Then, whatever I have left that day, I can use to my discretion. But I have to be a good little patient. I can't expend all my energy on other stuff, no matter how much I want to go to the library, get my CME done for the year or cook dinner.
Two more days until my six-week check up. I'll have X-rays done and they will tell me if I can walk, drive, start physical therapy, and eliminate some of the restrictions. I'm a little excited. With the recent decrease in pain, I'm having a hard time believing that things are not healing as they should and I'm very hopeful that I'll be taking the next step forward this week.
Keep your fingers crossed for me!