Monthly Archives: November 2013

The ‘Hippy’ Christmas Shopping Experience

Standard

Nine weeks post op now with the second hip and only 3 weeks to my knee arthroscopy, so pain and little mobility or otherwise, I have limited time to get the Christmas shopping done. Thank goodness for online shopping and Amazon Black Friday deals week!

I would have loved to go to the German market. I’ve wanted to go since we moved down here 3 years ago but never thought I would be able to walk around it. I certainly can’t this year and, although we have the wheelchair, we’d still have to get to the city. I think I might be settling for the local Christmas market instead. Last year we went into town (twice), parked, got as far as a restaurant for supper first time, lunch the second, and never got around the market – partly because of the crowds and partly because I found it too painful to walk. I had to keep stopping just getting back to the car and was in agony for days. This year I would like another go, although it will certainly be wheelchair if we do it. I still couldn’t walk around. The chair may keep the crowds at bay too – or maybe not! I have found people have a tendency to look right over your head and ignore you, or walk right in front of you. If only they knew how much it was going to hurt if my husband didn’t manage to stop quickly enough before hitting them – and of course they would consider it to be his fault. 

I found the same with crutches and a stick. If you are on 2 crutches people usually take notice. If only a stick they ignore it and push past you. not good when you are fairly unstable and cannot move or change position quickly.

I have been searching back through my blogs to see where I was at 9 weeks last time and I think maybe I was being a bit more careful and not expecting quite so much of myself. I am disillusioned by the amount of pain I am still in, although my flexibility and general doing things is far more advanced. I was thinking that I was going to have to see the GP and ask for physiotherapy – but perhaps I’ll give it a few more days. I would love to go swimming, but can’t get to the swimming pool. I tried driving for the first time yesterday because I had to pick up the prescriptions from the chemist, but got there and realised that, although I needed to go to the post office too, that was a step – and more – too far. Driving was very sore – not with my right leg and the accelerator/brake any more, but the clutch with my newer hip was nasty. No driving still for a little while yet I don’t think, and it is keeping me awake/waking me at night with the aching. I am so stiff and sore when I get up to the loo or in the morning, or just after sitting at the computer for a while, I can barely move and am shuffling and groaning like an old lady. 9 weeks ago was August bank holiday time and, while we were out and about, I was still in a wheelchair then.

So the Christmas market – we’ll see. I would like to do the buying from local crafts people thing, but Amazon still beats everything, unfortunately, for convenience – and the family wish lists are all on Amazon! 

… and I’m getting a reasonable amount of exercise getting up and down to the door for the postman – not just for my parcels but for next door too! Next job is to ferry them a bit at a time to the spare room for sorting.

Typically, because I’m home I’ve done my own Christmas shopping too. There will be no surprises again this year – and my husband gets to have everything done for him. Still, at least I know I’m getting something I like! Sparkly and shiny – and not just the hips 🙂

Advertisements

6 months, 8 weeks and 29 days

Standard

I have a note in my diary to remember to blog today because it is exactly 6 months since my first blog on May 19th, In the beginning. It is also 21 weeks today since my first right hip replacement/resurfacing, 8 weeks since my left hip replacement/resurfacing and 29 days until my 3rd left knee arthroscopy.

Generally things are going pretty well. It was hard going for the first 6 weeks or so – especially the second time. Having said that, and looking back, I’m finding I said exactly the same things at the same times! On this side of 6 weeks though things are much better.

I’m walking without a stick, except for outside and quite honestly that is more for the sake of my knee. I may be walking like a penguin still because I do have a lot of backache, or it may be that the muscles are just objecting to having to work because most of the stiffness and pain is on waking and getting up and when I’ve sat in a chair at this laptop too long 🙂 penguin

 

 

I also really must go to see a podiatrist in the new year about my fallen arches. Some of the back pain will probably not go away. I’ve lost 2 inches in height and this is almost certainly due to vertebrae collapse rather  than my hips. I’ve always said that I managed to avoid all my parents and brothers’ ill health. It seems to have finally caught up with me.

I’m trying to do some gentle yoga stretches to ease things out and also to just stretch those rules and barriers a bit. Having been very flexible I dread how little I’m going to be able to move at first when I start doing yoga DVDs again. I’m also noticing very much just how a year and a half or so of virtual immobility has left me incredibly unfit. However, as just walking down the street is still very painful for my knee it’s going to be after new year when I can finally start to do something about that. yoga

 

Having said that, I broke a tooth last week. My husband was supposed to be home to take me to the dentist but as the appointment time was coming up he was just leaving work as the dentist’s phoned to ask if I could come early. So I put my coat and boots on to set off to walk. I’m not sure how far it is but it took me 1,470 paces, and I got there just as my husband arrived – having driven 28 miles from work! Oh dear 😦 I still did it though! I have been using my WW pedometer each day to see how far I am walking around. It runs backwards because what it is actually measuring is to the point where you start earning points for exercise. I haven’t got there yet – but I am getting a bit closer every day – except I’ve forgotten to clip it to me today!

I can walk up and down stairs with alternate legs – although it is also a little laboured that is also improving and I only hold the banister with one hand now. I walked around the high street the other day with a stick and my husband’s arm. Today is cold but sunny, so a little fresh air this afternoon would be no bad thing. Smiley Cool

 

I’m spending far too much time online though – on Facebook and playing ‘waste of time’ games. I have my hippy blanket to get on with, the remains of series 3 of In Treatment to watch and Christmas cards to make – not to mention 2 bedrooms to tidy and get ready for guests for Christmas and starting to at least plan if not buy for Christmas ………..    oh – and work! Mmm – roll on Christmas and some proper (hopefully) time off.

A case of perspective

Standard

Week 7 – again – well week 20 for the other one. 20 weeks since my first op – Wow! I can hardly believe it’s 7 weeks since the second. It sounds like such a long time, and at 2 weeks I thought this time would never come around, yet here we are.

In some ways this time is as bad as the beginning. There is less pain and more mobility but there is also the expectation that you should be able to do more – or is that just me? I’m not a patient patient. Two paracetamol and a maximum 3 days ill and things should be back to normal! Things are mostly. My husband is back at work full time – has been for weeks – and everything in the house is left to me again. I even had a f2f client in my office yesterday!

The reason it is difficult is that feeling that things should be better. I have a bit more flexibility and, while I’m thrilled I can reach to my ankles to wash and dry, washing my feet and pulling socks on is still a painful challenge. I can stack the dishwasher, put things in and out of the oven, clean the kitchen – mostly, but now I’m off crutches, while it looks better it makes my back ache, then my hip in my groin and before you know it I can hardly move. I can do things, just not very much for very long. The ache, while no longer either arthritic or surgery pain, is still constant and wearing and I really could sleep for Britain given half a chance. My husband looks at me in astonishment when I say I’m tired! He tells me in one breath that I’m doing too much then in the next wonders why I am exhausted.

I have just enough work to prevent me from having an entire day off – although I don’t know what I would do if I took one anyway. I’m bored, but worse, too bored to want to be bothered to do anything about it and too tired to have the energy to concentrate properly on work – which is a problem when you work for other people. I feel bad when I see others saying they are going out and doing all sorts of things and I think I should too. Unfortunately I still can’t drive – too sore – and don’t have the confidence yet to manage on my own if I was out, and don’t have anyone to go with me.

Oh dear – I’m whinging. The intention was simply to make the point that, although things get better all the time, they are not just suddenly ok overnight and that other things take their place. While it is easy to see why you might have problems in the first couple of weeks post op, later there are still issues, but they are less expected by others and more difficult to see, and there is the feeling that really you should be getting on with things by now.

… and while I’m trying to start to lose weight again I seem to manage to be hungry all the time …..

The funniest thing this morning. My mother in law told a friend of hers I would be having an arthroscopy just before Christmas. His comment (he had one himself last year) was – I hope she realises she won’t be able to drive! – my M in L’s response being – she’s just had 2 hip replacements, she hasn’t been able to drive for the past year anyway! – well – 6 months, but you see my point! It’s all a case of perspective.

Now, someone give me the energy and motivation to do these student reports please….

Hips Knees and Arthroscopies

Standard

smiley happyI am smiling today because I have some very good news! I have just been to the hospital for my 6 week check.

I’ve seen my x rays and both hips look very good. Ok a bit cyberish but apparently “perfect” in my surgeon’s words. He’s not biased in any way of course! I’m sitting here now of course remembering that I’d wanted a photo of my cyber hips and forgot to ask. They fit the joint perfectly, fit together perfectly – so not likely to dislocate, have fluid between so there will be no friction to cause metal rubbing off and causing problems in the future or making them wear out too quickly. No marathon running though I’m told or they’ll be gone in 2 years.

I can start gently pushing my ‘hip replacement rule’ boundaries and lie on my side (I didn’t tell him I already was), bend and stretch just a little bit further. I can swim and start yoga – moving to bigger stretches and floor movements after 12 weeks, so long as I don’t try putting my foot behind my head 😉

My hip is hammered in – charming! – and cemented, but he doesn’t seem to think that 2 metal hips (he let me hold half of one – an unused one of course!) and the cement could altogether add up to the 1/2 stone I’ve managed to put on. I’m sure he’s wrong because I’m equally certain it could have nothing to do with the lying around doing nothing for 6 months, the chocolate or the cheese. He was very tactful about cutting and digging around in the fatty tissue to work on my hip each time, but did not seem to think that removing some of it while he was in there could have been an option unfortunately.

We’ve agreed my mobility is limited by my problem with my knee but he thinks now, rather than going straight in with a knee replacement, as he had previously said he would need to do, that in the shorter term he can do some arthroscopy work which, he hopes, though doesn’t promise, might make me pain free for a couple of years and give my hips time to settle in and me recover from 2 major ops before doing a knee replacement. I do hope so. The last one in 2003 just seemed to make matters worse, but times have moved on and apparently there are lots of options now for knees. And he won’t use the super dooper vastly expensive dressings kept for plastic surgery that only he is allowed to use next time because they give me a rash!

 

The slightly alarming news alongside that was, when checking knees had been mentioned in the referral too, that actually only the right hip and left knee were mentioned. Oh dear! Well they can hardly have it back 🙂 Although a £10,000 bill from the NHS might be a bit more than alarming. He says admin errors are made all the time like this, and besides I had dysplasia so I would have been a bit lop sided if he hadn’t done them both.

But I cannot express how sick with dread I felt this morning going into the hospital thinking I might be facing major surgery again so soon and how relieved I feel right now at my reprieve! A huge weight is off my shoulders today. An arthroscopy is just a day surgery and quick recovery. It is 18th December – so plans for Christmas will have to be made early, but at least I will then have my husband off work for nearly 2 weeks and also The Parents down for the holiday. That’s only 6 weeks away!

Going the wrong way.

Standard

I’ve had a bit of a wake up call the last week or so and I’m still not sure whether on reflection that I am going the wrong way or whether I’m, ever so slowly, finding a loop back to the right path.

It’s only partly related to my surgery – although as I work through this I may find it is more related than I think.

I have been having problems with someone I am working with. I feel as though I am trying my hardest and yet nothing I do is right. It feels like a continual pecking by a bird who hurts a bit at first, though things start to heal, but then the continual pecking digs a deeper wound that refuses to go away. I also saw a post of the forum I am a member of that hurt my feelings, more so because when I mentioned this it was met with defensiveness rather than recognition.

Similar situations twice in a week? This isn’t someone else’s issues. This is down to me.

So why have I suddenly become so defensive online myself?

I’m not a confident person. I have qualifications aplenty but I know nothing. I am insecure and self-blaming and, while I would challenge others, I am unforgiving of my own mistakes and don’t know how to correct them. I take criticism very personally instead of constructively. I know all these things about myself, but I do usually manage them better than this.

I had a lovely message in my inbox yesterday (thank you Ms R) and it set me thinking about the ups and downs of this joint surgery. There are lots of mixed feelings: thrill of progress but then despondency; fear and relief; trying to keep up a positive attitude because everyone else is. Are we all doing this for each other and afraid to voice what we really feel? When my first hip was done I read posts about people getting up almost immediately and the pain being gone and someone else asking me if this was the case and was everything brilliant now (not quite those words, but that was what I felt I was being asked). There is a feeling of having to keep up a stiff upper lip, get on with things because you have to, there are people worse off …….. all these things we were often taught as children that we tend (hopefully) not to say to them now. In my work I have so many people talk to me because they can’t talk to anyone else. No one really wants to hear the bad stuff – they want to feel better by hearing only the good because they have their own problems and issues and view of the world.

I know I have underestimated how much energy this surgery would take from me. Not so much the first time, though that was bad enough, but certainly the second. Two major ops in 3 months and planning the third for within 6 months? It’s like being hit by a bus!

Now I don’t want to be self pitying – I’ve done a fair amount of that already. However, I work with other people and I also have to pay attention to them. To use my own phrase – you can’t give light to others if you don’t have some for yourself first.

After both ops I went back to work on day 6. I work online mostly – I’d already ended any f2f work when I knew of my impending surgery – and I had commitments and it’s easy enough to sit at a computer and write – isn’t it?! How silly of me to think I might actually be indispensable, and also to underestimate how much I could do – but also fairly typical. It is hard on the other people who have to go back to more physical jobs too early after this surgery, and they should be understood and allowed much longer, but they do usually (though not always) get until after their 6 week check despite some often quite significant pressure from their employers. I went back to work after 6 days – ok I dealt with emails and read through work stuff in hospital too.

I felt guilty that I might have to let someone else take on my work, that I might be sitting around doing nothing when I could be busy, that I only earned money if I worked. Were these important? Yes! But perhaps not as important as doing my best for everyone. My lesson is, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. And I think by being too tired and preoccupied I have not been as patient and considerate as I could have been for others and certainly not for myself. I have created my own wounds and now I have to dig deep to find the humility to heal them.