Monthly Archives: September 2013

Day 4 again


I’ve just read my last day 4 blog and there are certain similarities – and also some differences. I am already quite confident on stairs for example. 

However, I am SO tired. I didn’t sleep well because this time it is my wound area that is so sore. Being on my behind of course all I can do is sit and lie on it – and it is very painful – enough so to have me in tears with pain on moving and frustration in not being able to get to sleep. I am going to lie down mis afternoon too because I am so tired, but waking and still being sleepy. Yesterday and today my husband took me out for a short drive to blow some of the cobwebs away. I can’t go far before it really hurts, but it’s certainly better than staying in – and I couldn’t have done that last time.

I find it strange that you can have a day of diamorphine through a spinal, a day of morphine, and then 3 days post major bone surgery you are expected to manage on the same analgesia you would take for a headache.

The wound is not leaking as much – there is a little on the pad but it doesn’t need changing. I think the clips might be going a long way to causing the pain – which deadens a little as I sit or lie on it and is excruciating as I get up and the feeling floods back. Hopefully this means the general all over pain and mobility issues will improve even quicker than last time. Certainly I can get around much more easily. I know I know most of the tricks I learned, but the whole thing just feels so much more stable and strong.

I’m just remembering how much I started dreading bedtime last time – and I’m trying to remember how long it took to get over that. Certainly by about week 10/11 things were pretty much fine once I could sleep on my side. I suppose it’s not THAT far away! I even put pillows between my knees and wondered if I dared risk rolling onto my side last night just to get off the painful bit and get some sleep.

I can sit in the kitchen and direct operations a bit easier than lat time though. We’ve just guided my son through making the pizza dough and sauce for Saturday night pizza. There are up sides to this 🙂

Going home.


26th September 2013

A good night. I didn’t call staff at all and got myself up and down to the toilet. It was hard but the carrot of going home today dangled. 

I got up for breakfast and physio arrived soon after. Walking with crutches to the reception desk and back made the possibility of going home greater still. She’ll be back later for stairs!

I have a nice rash again all around my leg. It is just like last time and clearly this surgical dressing. Hot itchy and red, but the doctor isn’t concerned. Dressings changed finally so it has a fighting chance of going down.

Still no one available to slide me onto the trolley or x ray. Fortunately today I was able to wriggle up myself. X rays seen by surgeon and all well.

It’s felt like a long time between the things that have to be out of the way before I can go home. I’ve kept myself occupied with my Waterways counted cross stitch.

Physio back and I managed the stairs well – so I’m off home a day early.

Rather like last time, I can’t wait to go but it’s a bit scary when the time  comes. Quite apart from becoming institutionalised really quickly, things are very different at home. Things are not level and there are no grab rails, the settee where I really needed to lie down is just a little too low, the downstairs loo has a box just where I need to out my leg. Everything is different to 3 days ago, and to last time. 

I slept straight away, didn’t want much supper and came to bed straight after. I feel exhausted and slightly unwell – probably because I am so tired. Tomorrow is another day – although I still have to get through tonight!




Off we go again!


Morphine makes me itchy – like little mice running around under my skin. I’ve been scratching since I came back from theatre and it kept me awake much of the night. Better itchy than pain though.mouse

Doctor has written me up for some potion to try to counteract that. Jut remembered though how sleepy portion usually makes me. All set for an afternoon nap then perhaps?

Much better pain relief this time though. Last time when they discovered I could not take codeine I was only offered Oromorph if I absolutely had to have it, and they suggested after my second dose I needed to be weaned off! – and ibuprofen and paracetamol. This time there is a different morphine based tablet and I have not yet had to ask. They just ensure I have regular doses of morphine, paracetamol and Diclofenic. As a result I am much brighter and more able to do things for myself. Last time with my first wash the nurse did most of it. This time I’ve washed myself, lifted myself with the monkey bar on and of bedpans and over sheets as the bed was changed. A completely different experience.

No catheter this time so I’ve had to lift for the unpleasant task of bedpans in bed. Much better at this than last time though. I’m less afraid of the twinges and more sure that it won’t dislocate.

I was a bit alarmed last night when I found the nurse I was dreading meeting again was on duty. However again it was a completely different experience. Perhaps last time she was tired and busy, but just something else she said about something else – she was much more open and chatty this time – I wondered if she thought I was a bit stuck up. That’s not unusual unfortunately. And I thought she was uncaring and unsympathetic. It may be that we have made incorrect assumptions about each other previously. Most other staff I met last time too – though there are a couple who must have been on holiday. The other nurse on duty was the lady who tended to my weeping wound when I had to return 5 days post op.

Physio came twice today. First time I just did exercises and stood. I remember sharp pain through my hip first time when I stood, but not this time. I should have had an x ray today to check everything was in the right place but apparently they didn’t have enough staff to move me onto the trolley. Second time physio came I got up regardless then. She was just going to sit me in a chair but agreed to let me walk to the toilet. Managed perfectly well alone then sat in chair. She’s sufficiently happy that she left the walker with me so I can take myself – and have.

I feel so much more confident having done all this before because I know what to do and what it will feel like. We’ll try crutches and stairs tomorrow and I may be allowed home a day early. I also can stand completely unaided and bear weight equally on my legs.



Back to the Future 2


Operation day 24th Sept 2013 – for nerdy film fans this is meaningful. It’s the day in Back to the Future on which Marty McFly arrives to do something heroic to avert future catastrophe (or something). You can tell its a long time since I watched them!

A sleepless night but I still felt hard done by to get up in the dark and get here for 07.10. No breakfast, no juice and only a sip of water since 22.00 yesterday. Feeling dehydrated and apprehensive.

Found out I was third on list but bumped to second – great. The anaesthetist offered just a spinal and some sedation but I opted for general as I’m a coward. There is a reason …. I used to be part of the team that did these operations in 1987 to 1988 so I know how they sound!!!! – and I wasn’t sure whether I would panic when I was awake and couldn’t move. He did offer me a choice of music or movie!

music notesI was taken down to theatre at about 09.30. There was no trolley or bed so I sat on a chair to wait. Classical music was playing from inside theatre. Apparently that means the surgeon is in a good mood and relaxed, which is rather reassuring. We have to worry when it is heavy metal 🙂

A different procedure to last time (only 3 months ago). 2 x Venflon in first (very sore!) then sat on the edge of the bed for the spinal block, which was very unpleasant (cold spray antiseptic and three applications of local anaesthetic – really stings as kept ‘catching’ on something. I had to do a lot of breathing to control the anxiety. It suddenly felt like a jet of freezing water shooting down inside my leg then they went numb. They had yo help me lie down on the trolley. I had a mask with oxygen and a ‘here’s something to relax you’ and that was that! I don’t remember the anaesthetic going in at all.

My next awareness was in recovery when I was shivering so they wrapped me in a ‘bear hugger’ – basically a bag inflated by hot air which was placed over me. That warmed me up. teddy_bear

Back to my room at 12.50 and dozed on and off in 10 minute chunks until my husband and son came to visit.

Much brighter, livelier and much less pain at this stage than last time – yippee!

Mr Balint visited at 19.40 and was happy with the operation. Hips now properly aligned – so perhaps I’ll finally stop walking like a penguin. penguin


Starting again


My first phone call of the morning was the hospital to move my surgery forward again – to tomorrow morning rather than tomorrow afternoon. So no lie in and gentle getting ready for mid day.

I washed my hair today because I won’t have time now tomorrow and I’ve started putting things together for my bag. I’m spending the day walking around in circles trying to think of what I am supposed to take with me – ipad and charger, phone and charger, nightie and dressing gown, woolly slipper socks, flannels, wash wipes, toothpaste and brush … knitting and embroidery – the books are on the ipad. …..

I have sorted the emails and tasks for the students and passed them on. …

I’ve wasted loads of time on Facebook and games while I try and think – or forget – I’m not sure which.

I feel a bit sick actually. I’ve eaten bread, cheese and fruit thinking that I might be hungry, and won’t be eating tomorrow, and now wish I hadn’t.

I’m finding it difficult to concentrate and wishing I had someone to talk to, but I don’t know what I would say.

I thought I would put a film on, or read some of my book, or knit … but I can’t decide and keep jumping up to do something else anyway.

Was it worse to worry last time because I only knew a bit about it and nothing about how it would feel – fear of the unknown …

or worse this time because I do know what to expect and that I have to start all over again.

I feel so tired – yet there is no reason for it. I wish I could go to sleep and wake up again in another 12 weeks time.

Back to the beginning


I’ve been to the hospital for pre op bloods today. The phlebotomist recognised me and also remembered last time I was in – the blood dripping everywhere being the first thing he mentioned!

I’ve spent the last 12 weeks thinking about my progress and suddenly we’re nearly there – starting all over again.

I keep thinking of the positive things – one more step along the way; another step closer to having my knee done, which has always been my biggest problem; 12 weeks time I’ll be back where I am now; I’ve done it all before so I know what to expect this time …..

That’s the problem really – I do know what to expect this time – and I know it’s going to hurt. I’ve just got back to being mobile and ibuprofen twice a day. What I remember last time is pain – if childbirth is a 10 then this is an 8-9 – not something to be looking forward to; being sick with morphine and not being allowed anything more than paracetamol and ibuprofen; the surgical stockings; the catheter; the bruising, swelling and rash from the surgical dressings; the exercises; trying and failing to sleep on my back; the crutches and not being able to do anything for myself; the weeping wound; being away from my home and family … 

… and the nurses on my second night. I know I was upset at the time and then decided that I was remembering something worse than it was but I am remembering again now, and it is preying on me. What if I have them on night shift again? Being ignored for hours while I couldn’t get out of bed or move – because they were too busy and ‘would get to me’. Not having any way to adjust my bed or position because the control was well out of my reach. Having no pain relief then being told when I was finally crying with pain that she couldn’t understand me  (from the door – she didn’t even come to my bed. And comfort? – not a chance!) and the doctor had gone to bed now anyway. I wonder just how much they knew about me since the next morning she asked if I was one of her gynae patients, pulled out my catheter without checking whether I had yet been up, and told me what a hard night they had had. I felt like saying – try having your bones assaulted with drills, hammers and saws for 3 hours and then decide how hard your night is! But of course I didn’t. I do dread having those two around for my second night this time around.

I am trying to be positive, and mostly I am, but it’s 4 days away and if I’m honest, I’m feeling pretty twitchy and scared again now. 😦

The Hippy Blanket


I’ve been teaching myself to knit. cat_tied

I have knitted before. Twenty three years ago, when I was expecting my son, I knitted a baby cardigan. It was a sort of green twill. When it was finally finished he was both already born and too big to wear it. I’ve never knitted since.

I have also had other things to do while I’ve been sitting since my last surgery 12 weeks ago. I work online, so I’ve had plenty to do there – though there may have been a certain amount of prevarication thanks to Facebook games. I also have a counted cross-stitch on the go – a map of the British Waterways surrounded by small pictures of boats, castles, roses, birds and animals all related to the waterways and fine writing around the outside. Because it is both counted and extremely fine I do need quite good light to work on it. The only good light I have here is in the conservatory, which is also the coldest place in the house.

I have other things I had planned to take up. I have the equipment for lace making and a lovely book of instructions and lace making cushion sent to me by a friend, but again it feels as though I need good light – and it really is a new skill to learn. Thinking it was just a bigger version, I also thought I’d try crochet – but for some reason it just doesn’t see to go right and keeps being pulled back.

A colleague suggested to me soon after my last surgery that I might enjoy the book The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood. I did – and I was inspired. I was at the Post Office one day and realised I was parked outside a craft shop. I went in and asked what I would need to start knitting. I left with a ball of jazzy coloured double knit and a pair of size 4 needles – and off I went. 

I have a lovely book called The Complete Practical Encyclopedia of Needlecrafts. I opened it at knitting and set of with 50 stiches thinking I might manage a scarf. About 50 rows in of basic stockinette I decided I was ready to move on to trying out patterns. 

I went back to the wool shop and bought some poppy red and jade green wool to tone with the jazzy mix I had first bought, sat back down with the book and the hippy blanket was conceived.

I have now completed squares of stockinette, moss stitch (golly that was boring), double moss stitch (better), and blanket weave (much better!). Ok – they are more rectangles than squares. What I didn’t realise that 50 rows did not measure the same as 50 cast on stitches. The tedious moss stitch just went on forever and still didn’t measure the same as the stockinette – always needing just 2 more rows. However, they should all hopefully eventually fit together.

There are mistakes, dropped stitches I had to pick up, 2 whole rows I had to pull back and pick up (badly) because I lost count and did the wrong thing – but it is a work in progress – as am I and my arthritic, but gradually being replaced joints. And I find the knit/purl counting stitches oddly calming and therapeutic. I need to concentrate, unlike my mother who can knit, watch tv and read a book all at the same time – oh – and talk! But the concentration calms my mind and I find myself drifting through thoughts as I feel tension seep out of my muscles.

My book has some patterns and projects, but I wanted more. I found a site  and roughly counting find I could make a blanket of well over 50 squares of completely different patterns based on the basic knit and purl stitches. Now isn’t that amazing!

… and no, the cat has not (yet) caught my wool and pulled apart my work – but there is always time for that when she is lying on the completed hippy blanket.cat_sleep

The Hidden Landscape


A week today I’ll be back in theatre again – the operating theatre – not the stage 🙂 I’m not sure which is most scary!

My husband was asking me this morning how I felt about it, and I’m not really very sure. Part of me just wants to get through all this and out the other side. Another part of me thinks – well I’ve done it all before, I know what to expect now. What I actually said was that I was a bit concerned that I was not having enough pain for a major surgery. My left hip aches, but I wouldn’t say it was particularly painful. Now I may find afterwards that I had more of a problem with it than I thought, but this surgery feels more like a means to an end. 

It is still my left knee that is painful. This is what stops me walking and exercising and wakes me up at night. My right hip is still sore, despite surgery and I’m contemplating surgery for a hip that may be no better for it.

Or will it? When my right hip was replaced my surgeon corrected a dysplasia I didn’t know I had. My femur sat too upright in the socket and so it wore quickly and unevenly. The left hip was nearly bone on bone at the x ray months ago and may well be there by now. Certainly a few months back I got a sudden sharp pain that doesn’t quite go away, it clicks and I get achy pains in my lower back and down my left leg.

The plan is to have my hips corrected before attempting my knees. Apparently knees are much trickier and my left knee has a better chance of improvement after replacement if my hips are already fine again. So it’s a means to an end.

I may be more anxious than I think. I’m finding it difficult to concentrate – well more than usual anyway! – and am about ready to tear someones head off – or curl up and hide under a duvet. Things that usually I would be calm about and brush off are really bugging me and keeping me awake at night. I may be projecting!

For my last week I’m making the most of things i won’t be able to do again for a few weeks. Lie on my side, sit with my feet up, cross my legs (that hurts!) … 

At least I’ll have symmetrical scars! bhr_banner

Continuing progress


Yesterday, for the first time, I realised my left hip was worse than my right. It is now only 9 days to my left resurfacing/replacement so I’ve been trying very hard to build up my strength and stamina. It doesn’t sound particularly impressive, especially given my cousin is running yet another 1/2 marathon today, but I went with my son to see his college tutor and walked not only to college and back but up the 3 floors and down again (slopes) to the IT rooms. I also walked almost 1/2 mile with my husband from the car into town and back. Both times I had an arm but no stick. I am walking very slowly, but that is mostly to try to stay straight and avoid limping. Walking penguin style still appears when I get tired.


I’m walking up and down stairs with alternate legs leading and occasionally for the practice with my right leg leading up and left down. It is still hard and pulling on outside muscles of my leg that clearly need a bit more work. It is increasingly clear though that there is also an issue with my right knee.


My husband is noticing that my moving around now involves moving, twisting and bending without my thinking too much about it. It means I’m moving much more efficiently around the kitchen. I’m also standing for far longer periods to cook and clean.


Sleeping is MUCH better – and I’m making the most of this being comfortable before I return to weeks of lying on my back. I still use a pillow between my legs but I can mange short times without, stretching those muscles and tendons a bit again, before it starts to ache. Last night I even managed to roll right over onto my front. I did wonder how I was going to get back again! I can sleep on both sides now and am also gradually building up some strength in the inside muscles of my right thigh to lift it on my side to slip a pillow in, although it still hurts to do so. I am taking Natrasleep again though. I had stopped because I wanted the advantage of my body being unused to it when I needed it again post op, but a couple of nights of bad sleep had me reaching for the packet again. Admittedly those nights may have had something to do with me drinking wine. My excuse was that it was 25 years since my husband and I met – I think it was a good excuse anyway 🙂


All the time I’m trying to push bending, twisting and stretching just a little bit further. It is still difficult to wash my right foot and tricky to get socks, tights and boots on, but I can bend in the shower and shave my legs. Being almost 12 weeks now, it no longer feels so much that I am pulling on the hip joint – much more that it is the muscles and tendons that I need to get stretched and flexible again.


Otherwise, I am working online, knitting, doing embroidery and reading. Not very active but I must try to remember to put on my pedometer each day to monitor my progress. I must also remember to think back and record general ups and downs in activity. All through and late 90s I was still fell walking and jogging – regularly walking my parents dog and running alongside and also at the gym. We were boating and I was walking miles each day between locks and also opening and closing them. After the microfracture on my left knee in 2004 everything went wrong. I did still manage the walking between locks but it was more and more difficult. It was last year I really noticed my right hip particularly becoming as bad as my left knee. I began 2012 walking 1/2 mile and back to weight watchers, or walking with my husband down to the river walk and back, which became cycling it by April and taking the car by August – then gave up. March 2013 I could barely even walk from the Watershed to my hotel opposite over the bridge and across the river. I wonder where I will get back to after these operations! I can still feel pressure when I walk in my right hip but not so much pain. I’m currently watching the Great North Run on TV – it certainly won’t be that running




Travelling smoothly on


What have I achieved over the past 2 weeks? I keep thinking I should be blogging as regularly as I did and then deciding not much has changed so I’ll write that ‘thing’ that has the next time when I have more to say. Of course, ‘next time’ I’ve forgotten what it was and things have changed again.

So let’s think – and apologies for repetitions.

Walking – 1 stick, if I bother. Today was an interesting experience. Thinking ahead to Autumn/Winter and my emptying wardrobe as I throw out everything that is a dozen years old or so well worn it is falling to bits, we went to Torchwood (yes I know it is called Touchwood but I hate shopping and can’t really think of it as anything else now). I bought a couple of nice soft jersey dresses from Pepperberry which should be easy to pull on and off and comfy over my scars. We then went to John Lewis where I faced an escalator for the first time since my first hip was operated on. My husband went ahead as I suddenly chickened out, realising that I was stepping down with my operated leg and the escalator was going to pull it away from me. With stick in hand it only left me with one free hand to grab the moving rail. My husband was whisked away as I pondered my next move, not daring to step on in case it caused me pain, or worse, and other people walked past wondering what on earth was wrong with me. A lovely man rescued me and said that as we both had sticks we would help each other. Taking my arm we both set off! I don’t much like escalators anyway – they make me feel dizzy and unstable – but there we were heading to the bottom as my husband realising he had to come and get me rode up the escalator on the opposite side! …. Going up again was easier 🙂

My husband is trying to get his work pattern back to normal as far as possible – before we start all over again. This means getting up earlier and me getting breakfast and dishwasher emptied, his lunch made etc all on my own while he showers. It is too early to get my son up to help, so I’m pottering much more slowly than I used to, but I am getting it done.

Sleeping – permission to lie on my side was very exciting until I tried it. Weeks of being desperate to get off my back and onto my side so I can sleep. My operated side was too sore to lie on, with a feeling of a large painful lump being in the way and it being quite tender to roll onto – I certainly couldn’t stay there long or sleep. My non-operated side, even with a pillow between my knees, pulled too much on my operated hip to stay there. Worse was the time when I turned and my knee slipped forward off the pillow and the muscles on the inside of my thigh wouldn’t pull it back. It’s getting better. I have to move regularly, but I can get about 50 minutes now on my non-operated side, though I have to have the pillow. On my operated side I dozed off for the first time yesterday for 30 minutes. Hardly great and a full night’s sleep is still a long way off, but a few minutes relief of the pressure on my back is good 🙂

Driving – ouch, this is sore. The bigger car is not so bad because the seats are comfortable but pressure and the movement between accelerator and brake cause it to ache very quickly. I’ve only managed down to town and back. My son’s classic mini with the bucket seats is a real challenge 😉

Boredom – other than the marking (I’m still doing that!) I’m learning to knit! I was parked to go into the post office one day outside a thread and wool shop and decided to go in. I have been working on a cross stitch, but the light needs to be good. I had also intended to learn lace making (also need good light) and crochet, but suddenly knitting seemed the thing to try. I have done it once before, 23 years ago when I made a plain baby cardigan for my expected son. By the time it was ready to wear he was too big for it! I left the shop with brightly coloured wool, size 4 needles and a little book on knitting. It really is very relaxing and I just sit and mull things over as I calmly knit an count my stitches. I made a square and went back for different coloured wool. I have decided to try to make a series of squares of different patterns and put them together to make a blanket. So far I have a plain square in a blue/green/red mix and a red square in moss stitch. Double moss stitch in jade green to attempt next!

Bending – I’ve gradually been getting closer to the floor and my feet, a gentle roll down, but most of the bending is in my spine. Today I managed to – just – reach my right foot to wash it in the shower. Yesterday I shaved my legs. Also today I tried a downward facing dog – lovely stretch until I tried to stand up again and felt my hip click back into place. I suppose I should be grateful my hip DID click back in. Maybe a little stretch too far! I don’t think I’ll be joining all those new members on ‘Strictly’ anytime soon.

Stairs – I’m aware that in 2 and a half weeks now I will be having my left hip replaced. In the meantime I need to get the muscles in my right leg strong enough for me to be able to have that as my ‘good’ leg, including leading with it going upstairs and leading with my left going down. I’ve been practicing for at least 2 weeks now and it is still very hard. It seems to be both my knees that are the main problem though. I think when I go back to see the surgeon after my left hip is replaced with a view to doing my left knee next, I’m going to ask if my right knee can also be x rayed to see what condition it is in. It has certainly had some extra pressure for the past few weeks.

Cat – I can now bend far enough to feed her, so I’m finally forgiven, and to pick her up when she tries to scamper away as it is getting dark and thinks she should be staying out. Ha!