Monthly Archives: August 2013

Off the beaten track.

Standard

I’ve had a couple of weeks now where, with mother and parents in law visiting and hubby taking some time off work, I’ve actually got beyond these 4 walls and garden. It’s been lovely to be out and doing something else. It has been very, very tiring though – much more than I would have expected, especially when doing something I really wanted to do and enjoyed.

We haven’t travelled far to visit places – always within an hour to hour and a half from home. Following the week with my mother when she needed the wheelchair and the Bristol day – my first longish walk where I was in so much pain, my husband has found it easier to put me in the wheelchair for us all to get about. This way we are not always wondering if we can just manage to go a bit further on a walk, or see something else, and apparently it seems they all think I walk too slowly!

The chair is fine, but people do have a terrible habit of suddenly walking across your path or stopping in front of you as though you and the person pushing you are not there. There are still too many places where it is fortunate that I could get out and manage a few steps while my husband carried the chair – a car park in Cardiff Bay being the most notable example, because anyone unable to walk would simply not be able to get out and down.

It’s also very interesting on bumpy ground. All those apparently accessible places which are beautifully decorated with cobbles – Birmingham Brindley Place, for example and again Cardiff Bay. The trickiest place was Kenilworth Castle, although given its age I think it might be forgiven!

… And Warwick where The Castle Keep bistro continually puts tables and chairs outside its doors in the designated disabled parking space. This time people were sitting in it. Last time the staff actually asked us how long we would be parking there as they didn’t think there would be enough space for their customers to sit out – blocking both pavement and parking space.

Today I drove for the first time and took myself to my next pre op appointment. I also took my son to his golf lesson and social group. I have a saggy right buttock and thigh now from swelling and am shattered 🙂 Oh joy! 

… And to think I have all this to look forward to again 4 weeks from today. Although, as my husband points out – however I feel, in 13 weeks I will be back where I am now – and 13 weeks is not such a long time.

Advertisements

Boredom

Standard

One of the biggest issues I have found over the last 8 weeks is boredom. Usually, even though I work from home, I have other things to do: the housework; taking and picking up my son from college; the shopping; clients; students; meetings online; marking; work related reading and research; marketing; planning and thinking about the book I will eventually write … 

Some of those things I could continue, and have continued. I was back at work with my students on Day 6 post op. I ended with and took no new clients when I knew there was an impending series of surgery, so that was not an issue. I can cope with the demands of resilient students but not with vulnerable clients.

Housework, knowing if it was left to my husband it wouldn’t (and hasn’t mostly) got done, we got a cleaner for a few weeks to deal with at least downstairs and the ironing. It’s been wonderful – though unfortunately she has gone on holiday for 3 weeks. My son has now finished college and he is quite happy not going anywhere – including out from his room if he can possibly help it. I am (usually) his carer (he has autism) but the tables have been turned the past few weeks 🙂

Marking – that’s the next 2 weeks taken up!

However, my being bored and also tired has meant that I have also lost motivation and am not quite sure now where I am going with my work, my studies, my book etc. and so I haven’t done anything. I suppose I see still the recover from this hip, the next one impending and the knee still sometime within the foreseeable, but not immediate, future. I am also noticing difficulties with my remaining knee 😦 I have a course coming up from October to April so I hope that will give me new focus, and also a new teaching group at the same time. Maybe, for now, that will be enough – although I’m pleased I’m not relying on my salary, or lack of it, to feed us!

Also perhaps I have done enough and shouldn’t be quite so hard on myself. I haven’t sat doing nothing and I don’t like having TV on during the day because it makes me tired and grumpy, so I haven’t sat staring at a screen while I couldn’t do much else either. So, I’m trying to think what I have done.

I have read for enjoyment rather than work. I’ve read The Dalai Lamas The Art of Happiness; The Dalai Lamas Cat and The Little Book of Buddhism; I’ve read Edward Rutherfurd’s new book ‘Paris’; I’ve read the entire 4 books of the Cazalet Chronicles; The Fast Diet – and implemented it for 4 weeks (not that it has done me any good!) 14% of The Road Less Travelled and about 20% of Queen Victoria: A personal history.

I have dug out a rather large and complicated counted cross stitch of the British Waterways network I have had had the bottom of my sewing basket for 8 years – started but a long, long way from completion and am getting on with that.

I have pottered about the house doing things I can reach and am now back to washing, cleaning and cooking myself – little choice really!

I have had my mother here to stay.

I have watched series 3 of In Treatment – although my husband pointed out that this was as close to me working as him sitting by a steam watching water flow.

I’ve been writing this blog (although not my work one) and doing tutorials/answering queries from students as they write their portfolios. Also dealing with queries and trying to offer some help in lengthy and carefully constructed emails to potential clients I can’t take on.

It suddenly looks quite a lot. Why was I bored? Maybe it was just that I wasn’t doing all my usual things to try to justify my existence. 

oh hang on – wasn’t I also recovering from major surgery? ………………

Too far too fast!

Standard

I think I may have been pushing myself a bit too far and overdoing things since my appointment with the consultant last week. I felt that was it – I could get on as normal (as far as possible) and also thought I needed to push myself further to get prepared for my next replacement at the end of September. It has been compounded by having my mother here to stay and trying to stop her doing things for me – the only way of dong that was to show I could do it myself!  My cleaner (engaged to help while I couldn’t and to save my husband having to do cleaning on his days off) taking a 3 week break so either I or my husband, who is also currently away, (so just I then) have to try to manage. I also have my in laws coming to stay from Wednesday, so feel I need to try to get their room ready and the house back up to standard (The cleaner’s standard of course, not my usual :-)).

I was told I could sleep on my side. Not as comfortable as you might think or certainly as comfy as it was pre op. I’ve been looking forward to getting off my back and onto my side again for weeks. Now I find my operated side too sore and my un operated side better but causing an ache in my hip if I’m not very careful.

I was told I could drive. There are muscles used in driving that I had never appreciated before. Even clutch and changing gear pulls on my right hip. Certainly any twisting and turning for reversing and manoeuvring is an issue. I’ve done it twice now to get my son to the course for his golf lesson – about 2 miles away – and wouldn’t yet want to go further.

I have a date for my next hip – 25th September (5 weeks from now) so I felt I had to make sure my right side was stronger. I can walk around the house on my own, though take a stick out with me. My husband prefers the wheelchair. He seems to think I’m a bit slow 😉 I am practising walking up and down stairs leading with my right leg, though this is sore and feels as though I am back to square one with stairs. It is getting better but I guess it isn’t helping with the current soreness.

I have also taken back over the washing up, dishwasher stacking and emptying, washing and hanging out, making meals etc. – everything that doesn’t involve actually having to get down on my knees and bend. I feel my husband needs a bit of time off before he has to take over the reigns again in a few weeks.

Also, to be honest, I’m bored. My students are writing their portfolios and I have no clients because of the uncertainties of this series of surgery. I could be writing or at least reading work related stuff, but I seem to have lost my motivation. I hope it is only temporary!

Movement wise – I can now do a careful pilates roll down which means I can (just) pull on my own socks and sandals, retrieve something from the floor and wash my right leg to my ankle (though not yet my foot).

However, I really want to get out of the house. It’s nice to be able to be in the garden but I have really missed not being able to have a holiday this year. Usually it is the boat, which I admit I was fed up with anyway because we never did anything else, but now can’t manage even that and have given in and put our share on the market. Maybe it means in future following these operations that I will be able to walk sufficiently to do other things again. It would just have been nice to get away with my husband for even a night or two, but with other people visiting and him taking time off for them and for me – and now this coming up all over again – it is not to be.

This afternoon though I think might be a relaxing (though not yet feet up) time on the sofa with a film – albeit on my own again.

Moving on and starting again

Standard

I haven’t written for a while. My Mum has been here for 10 days. She wanted a break and to see how I was. She was warned that as soon as she started trying to look after me she was on the first train back home. Bear in mind my Mum has lost about 7 inches in height due to osteoporosis, has osteoarthritis in her spine, hips, knees, feet, shoulders … and walks with 2 sticks bent over – and she thinks she should look after me. This is why I wouldn’t let her come earlier. Even now she has spent nearly 2 weeks saying things like “I could have done that for you” (e.g. tv remote 2 inches from my finger tips and her sitting in a chair 5 feet away) and “I’m ok but I’m sure ….. is too tired/can’t walk that far/needs a rest”. What she really means is that she can’t do it though is determined to regardless but needs it to be me that can’t.

Anyway, as every time I pick something up she talks at me I haven’t got anything done 🙂 That and my husband took a few days off too and we actually got out of the house for some of it. It was wonderful to see something other that these 4 walls!

So progress over the last 2 weeks in a now much shortened version.

Week 5 I felt pretty down. I was still in pain and having difficulty doing much and wondering what on earth I had done this for. However, since then I have moved to 1 stick outside and walking fairly evenly in the house. My biggest trip out was walking, albeit very slowly, around ss Great Britain because my Mum needed the wheelchair. It was all rather difficult and painful but the result was a feeling of much more confidence about getting around and also stretching and exercising the muscles. This was followed up by other, although less long, trips out and improvement noticed all the time. Yesterday my husband said he thought I was now walking better that pre op, which is quite an achievement.

I have been able to move around and stand to prepare and cook. I started by using my helping hand to unload the washing machine and drag the washing basket outside to hang washing on the line, but today I managed to load and unload the washing machine – with care, and carry a light basket outside to hang washing. 

On Monday I had my 6 week post op check (actually almost 7 weeks) and was told everything was fine. My femur head is now firmly in the socket it seems and is very unlikely to dislocate. Therefore, I can drive, lie on my side and raise my activity level as long as I take care.

I have done a very short drive – no pain although turning to see over my shoulder might still be a problem.

I can lie on either side with a lot of care and a pillow between my legs. However, after all those weeks of wanting to I find it quite uncomfortable and don’t last long before it becomes painful and I have to go onto my back again. I  have found flat with a pillow and a cushion under my knees works best and I am sleeping much better like this.

I am starting to bend a little more – carefully and slowly to make sure I can stop a movement which will cause damage. Yesterday I did a very careful pilates roll down and touched my foot – then back up again. Today I managed (just) to do up my sandal on my right foot myself.

I am back (from week 6) onto my own side of the bed (yippee!) I just have to be careful getting out and walking. I’m always a bit wobbly for a few steps and my leg is very stiff at first after lying or sitting for a while.

I am still only climbing up and down stairs 1 leg at a time, but try to do it the other way for a couple of steps to build up those muscles again. I need to do this because at my appointment we booked the next replacement! While my knee is worse, and my surgeon won’t advise doing both hip and knee together, we agreed it was best to stabilise the hips first to give the knee a better chance of success. My next resurfacing (hopefully) is 25th September – only 6 weeks away when I will be 13 weeks post op after this one. 

I am I admit wondering what on earth I am doing putting myself through this again. But as my husband says, what’s the point in doing this one if I’m not going to continue to get mobile and pain free. My problem with it is that I’m not pain free – but I guess that will come with time. Also, I am trying to look ahead at next spring – which seems realistic, instead of this dragging on indefinitely. In 13 weeks time I will simply be back where I am now – recovering and getting better all the time. I also know next time that each day is different and better. When it is difficult tomorrow is always another day 🙂