Monthly Archives: December 2013

The only way is up!

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I’ve – sort of – been recovering from the arthroscopy. I still have dressings on and stitches in, but it has really been absolutely fine and no more of a problem or painful than the usual arthritis in it. Over Christmas we have had all our parents staying here and, being the control freak I am, I can’t let someone else come here as a guest and not be looked after. OK – I hate other people being in my kitchen and rather than telling someone else what needs doing it is easier to just do it myself. 😦

They all went home on Friday though. We still have a few days holiday all to ourselves – peace and rest and not doing anything very much. However, yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day. On Friday afternoon my husband had taken me for a drive to get me out of the house, and we drove through town, saw the floods and set off towards Malvern. The weather was still vile though and so we headed for home.

Yesterday was bright and sunny, so despite the stitches and everything else, I decided I was going to go for it! The last time I climbed up to the ridge of the Malverns was at least 2 years ago. I know it’s not far and that we actually drive most of the way, but it’s still a bit of a pull when you are middle aged, over weight, unfit and have arthritis in most of your joints. The view though over Wales, Hereford and Gloucestershire though is fantastic, and the visibility was perfect. Better still, when we suggested the walk our son agreed to come with us. He also has a lot of problems with walking and in addition, having autism, does not much like to leave the comfort, warmth and safety of his room.

We used to do a lot of walking, especially in the Lake District fells, and there is nothing like standing on the tops looking for miles and feeling the wind blowing the cobwebs away. I wonder if I will ever manage that again, but when I had my hips replaced I did decide that getting up onto the Malverns would be something I would aim for. Actually, parking the car and being able to walk to the High Street to the bank and back without thinking about it too much would be an achievement. With a knee replacement also now coming up in the new year, I thought I might as well take my chance now.

We parked the car at Colwall and set off with my new trekking poles and my trusty companions. My husband suggested as soon as we got up there that I might want to sit and rest, but once I was moving I really just wanted to keep going. If I stopped I might not make it. We reached the ridge and I spotted the tree line that I think I made it to a couple of years ago, so wanted to go on. I must admit there were a couple of times I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it, but kept plodding on regardless. I also found, being passed by other people, I have become quite envious of those who can just head off and walk without thought and consideration of where they are going and for how long. Every little journey requires thought and planning when you have arthritis and pain.

Well it doesn’t sound much. I managed 48m ascent and, by implication descent, which was MUCH harder – not quite Helvellyn and Skiddaw 🙂 and walked roughly 1/2 mile up and 1/2 mile back. It’s a very, very long time since I walked a mile! Only a couple of days ago my longest walk was to the end of the road and back. Many of my most recent trips out anywhere have been in a wheelchair. I have photos to prove I made it! Apparently I was grinning when I got there and back down. It doesn’t surprise me – it felt wonderful and I am feeling rather smug and pleased with myself. My poor husband and son might have been freezing with walking so slowly, but it really feels like an achievement for me. climbing-128

 

 

 

 

So – I’m stiff as a board and taken more Tramadol than I would really like, but …………. where shall we go today?! 🙂

Upgrade 2.5

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Unfortunately upgrade 2.5 was unsuccessful. Like iOS 7 it looked promising but was ultimately disappointing and irreversible. Appointment in January will look to full upgrade 3 instead. On the plus side, problematic upgrade 1 was manipulated under anaesthetic and will hopefully turn out to be an inflamed joint which will respond to drugs and rest.

Loosely translated – there was nothing my surgeon could do. He looked through all cavities but it’s fully arthritic and bone on bone. It will have to be replaced. Upgrade 3 is the left knee. I may be fully cyber by next Christmas – 1 if not 2 metal knees added to my 2 shiny new metal hips this year.

However, just now I have a nice thick bandage up left leg. The joy of TED stockings again for 4 weeks – white this time for a change. Feet up and heat and ice packs on all joints this morning. Slept all afternoon. The things I do to get out of cooking at christmas!

My husband’s response? “Hips from a cyberwoman, left leg from an Egyptian mummy …. What next I wonder?” A battle of wits? A shame he comes unarmed! 😉

Catching up

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I haven’t posted for two weeks! It’s not that I have been busy or haven’t had anything to talk about either. Perhaps I just haven’t known what to talk about.

I’ve kept up some of the yoga and tried to be as busy as possible, trying to get my pedometer down to 0 from 5,500 ish, or whatever it starts at each morning. It works by counting down to tell me when I can start earning points for exercise. I haven’t got it to 0 yet, but I’m getting closer.

I have some concerns about pain still. Both my hips are achy over the ridge bit (the iliac crest? Must look that up) but the left hip is by far the worst. They ache at night like toothache and during the day I struggle to get comfortable. I feel that it is this that has caused the muscle ache in my back that I am constantly trying to stretch out since week 3.

I have groin pain on both sides, but this time it is my right hip that is worse. My right hip, now 25 weeks old, has been absolutely fine until about 2 weeks ago. The pain is worse in the mornings and in bed, but it is definitely getting worse overall and my mobility in it is decreasing. Sometimes I find it hard to use that leg to climb the stairs now. I have been having problems getting in and out of bed or on and off the sofa if my feet are up. I can’t get comfortable in bed and am moving position every few minutes. Last night though I got up to exercise to try to ease it and realised that the lifting leg in front with bended knee exercise – I now can hardly do that at all without sharp pain. A bit worrying!

I just can’t imagine what it is. The yoga has been gentle and short and I have taken care. The walking – there’s still not much of that but I have bought some hiking poles to help. Decorating the Christmas tree – I supervised more than anything. No ideas!

Also a concern is that tomorrow is the arthroscopy on my left knee. The concern is two-fold. Firstly that they won’t do it because of the pain in my hips. Secondly because, by again reducing my mobility, the pain in my hips may get worse. The up side is that at least I will see my surgeon and be able to tell him of the problem. All the GPs have been able to suggest it taking Tramadol and waiting until January when they can refer me for physiotherapy. They seem to think it is normal but I’m not reading about anyone else with these issues.

Anyway, it is the arthroscopy tomorrow. It feels like just an arthroscopy given the previous ops. I wasn’t saying that just 10 years ago after the last one! I guess that will be my next report 🙂

The last couple of days have been trying to get things sorted for Christmas as all the parents arrive on Sunday too. Present wrapping today! I’m hoping for a quiet and peaceful christmas with everyone pretty much doing their own thing. Just us being warm, well fed and together. Christmas_Tree

Desperation

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These hips are being a bit of a nuisance. I’ve been to see the GP today out of desperation. My feeling of there being something wrong was not helped by members on the forum I joined going on about how wonderful they are days after their ops and Craig Revel Horwood dancing across the floor on Strictly at about 5 weeks post op! – when I’d only been able to visit Worcester Christmas market by being in my wheelchair – did I mention I’d deteriorated so much this year I was in a wheelchair? – I can’t remember. I’ve been feeling pretty down for the last few days and worrying about the pain – worrying about infections and metal allergies and …. well everything and anything really.

She did make me feel better – pointing out firstly that I shouldn’t compare myself to others – but more to the point, others had not had both hips done in such quick succession and did not also have a bone on bone and torn meniscus knee, which needed attention. Also, she said that we cannot judge because we don’t know how others are pre op, but that if an orthopaedic surgeon deemed it necessary to do both replacements in such a short space of time at my age, then mine was bad. She made me feel more normal and told me I was expecting too much of myself. She was happy with the gentle yoga I was doing, gave me stronger pain relief and told me to call her in January when my knee had time to heal and she would organise some physio for me.

The yoga is helping I think. I have to make myself make the effort, and when you feel so sore it is an effort. I slept very very badly last night. However, I pushed myself a bit more and managed to stretch a bit more today. I admit when I phoned for a doctor’s appointment this morning I felt fairly low and by the time I went this afternoon I wondered why I was going. Definitely worth keeping up the yoga stretches then!

Now I know I don’t advertise this blog, but I also know you are probably reading this Mrs R. and I stand by what I said in my message. If you don’t do something about it,  it will continually get worse. With the replacement there is always a chance of improvement – and it might be brilliant – but it won’t be worse than it is. Maybe one day we’ll do a walk together with our new hips 🙂 

Yoga

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I have been trying to do a bit of stretching and pushing the boundaries each day, to get a bit more flexible and to ease the ache in my back mostly, but today I put on a yoga DVD. I have been doing yoga since I was 7 or 8 and getting up at ridiculous times in the morning and putting on TV. I remember settling down with a lady, who I think was called Lynne, on TV and doing yoga along with her all that time ago in the early 70s and keeping it up ever since. I was pretty flexible, but this is also because I am ‘double jointed’. People always thought my joints were weird (actually people always think I’m weird generally, but that’s another story 🙂 ) I used to sit either cross legged or with my feet and knees splayed outwards like a flat frog, my arms rotate so the elbow can face the wrong way and I have no problem touching my arm with my thumb.

This DVD was one I used to use for relaxation or when I hadn’t done any stretching for some time to get back into it. Usually I ended up adding exercises, repeats and stretches to it. One of the reasons I knew I was having problems with my joints was when I realised that instead of becoming more flexible with exercise any more, it was becoming less, and there were things I simply could no longer do – like kneeling, the triangle and hip flexibility, although I could, and can, bend and touch the floor using my spine. When I went for physiotherapy pre diagnosis they pointed out that I bent backwards and forwards from my spine and not my hips.

I’ve been in a lot of pain with this hip. It all started well and I was mobile enough to get home from hospital a day early. From about week 3 though  have had a sharp pain in my hip, a general ‘tooth-achy’ feeling and also muscle stiffness and soreness far in excess of the first hip. It may be that having a dodgy hip still from my first hip contributed, or that my equally dodgy left knee didn’t help. I do think I should go back to see the GP, but then I’ve been thinking that for weeks now and done noting about it. I don’t like going, I don’t see much point and they don’t make it easy to get an appointment to see anyone so there is little motivation. 

So I thought I’d try the yoga instead. Oh dear! I knew I was going to find it different. Two lots of major surgery, muscles and ligaments cut, joints realigned and no exercise for the last year pretty much. In fact I’ve hardly been able to walk at all except around the house since before last Christmas. My flexibility I suppose is better than might be expected from someone who has had months of sticking to 6 and 12 week ‘rules’ but the limitations were very clear from the start and I felt as though my body was not my own. It was tempting to push into positions and stretches that I knew I could do previously, but that seemed rather reckless and irresponsible, so slowly and carefully and stopping when it felt too much was certainly the key. I only got through the first half too!

Talking of irresponsible – I’m still fairly depressed and rather cross about Craig Revel Horwood on Strictly on Saturday. 5 weeks I think now post op and spinning across the dance floor as though he’s never had surgery. He might already be strong and fit, he may already have very good muscle tone, daily physio, massage and hydro – but to be disregarding everything the rest of us are told are rules to prevent dislocation, not being on crutches for 6 weeks as we are also told – is rather annoying. But worse, is how the rest of us who can barely walk down the street now feel, especially when family and friends see this and wonder what on earth we are complaining about if he can manage that after only 5 weeks. 

The forum has become a bit like this too and I am now reluctant to visit, and certainly not post my feelings. It has become almost a competition in how well everyone is doing, how going to the gym pre and post op helps, how fit we all all – and also lots of non related hip things. While I appreciate the trust of being allowed into the lives of others, there are things eventually that make me think that it is not the supportive space it was and that ‘whinging’ will be seen as just that. Having felt unsupported once I don’t much want to be in that position again.

Additionally, I am having other doubts about the forum and not going there so much. I think there are a few reasons for this. Possibly it is because these things come in waves and so there are now new people supporting their ‘peer’ group if you like – and I pop in just to see how a couple of people are doing, but they are there less and less now. I’m also I must admit a little uncomfortable with the new administration and am watching and waiting to see how things go. My sense of democracy and fairness has been challenged by a couple of people being asked to take over the forum rather than everyone being asked who would like and be able to do it. It is also the people who have been asked that bother me. Firstly I sense that 2 people who are young, male and very much into fitness are going to lead in a very strong way, which is partly a good thing, but also potentially leaves those who are in pain and challenged with their mobility feeling inadequate. I am also uncertain that the attitude as a result is as caring and supportive as it once was. I’m seeing evidence of this already, but …. We’ll see!