Birthday Bash Weekend

There was a lot of prep and organization that went into my birthday party.  Honestly, I almost didn’t even do anything (didn’t necessarily feel up to it) but my boyfriend encouraged me otherwise and ultimately I’m glad he did.

Side Note: the feature image above is from the previous years birthday cause honestly I didn’t really take any photos this year.  The focus was on friends and appreciating the moment.  So much has happened since that photo was taken and I’m glad your following along in my journey.

Friday

On Friday I ran errands for my birthday party with my mom in the morning.  Fortino’s (for the cake) and Dollorama for the materials for Battleshots (yup, I decided to build a drinking game).

I spent most my day working at the dining room table on the game.  It was fun to get creative and design something.  It was hard to reach and get a few things done simply because of my mobility limitations that are still in place (and that I just physically can’t do).  Reaching across the table to draw lines for example was challenging.  Sitting wasn’t a problem (I was on my wedge mind you) and I didn’t get much tightness in the legs (as they are starting to get use to everything).  Mind you I still took some breaks and laid on the couch a few times.

Side Note: I often forget that sometimes people just don’t know how to walk with someone on crutches.  I found this when I went out with my mom.  While I spent a lot of time at her house being our in public is different when maneuvering and walking with crutches.  She just didn’t know if she should be beside me, ahead of me or behind me.  It was very confusing at first.  She would often stop in front of me to wait for me but I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. I prefer that if there is a small area that the person not on crutches goes first.  I prefer to follow, it makes me feel safer so if someone or a cart comes out quickly it almost hits an able body person, not me recovering from hip replacements.  Also, my mom sometimes stood to close to me, which didn’t allow me to even move my crutch.  You can also walk behind someone on crutches if they prefer.  So yes, it can be challenging, but just be patient and let the other person know what you need (nicely).

Saturday

Birthday Bash Day!  I went out with my mom to Plato’s Closet and a few other stores to see if I could find something new to wear… sadly I did not.  It is hard to find even a shirt when you aren’t physically feeling yourself.  Nothing seems to fit the way you want it too.

The rest of the day I relaxed and finished the Battleshots game.  I knew it was going to be a busy evening/night so I didn’t want to exhaust myself before things even got started.

Two girlfriends came over for diner (I made them food… winning!) and we relaxed until we left for the party.  It was nice to have the day to myself since the boyfriend was away at a rugby game.

I still needed a lot of help setting up, since I’m still crutching around but I’ve learned to live with that (still a little bit of a struggle for me).  That’s where my friends were stepped up and didn’t complain at all (their so sweet).

The evening was a great success and while I wasn’t the first to leave the party I wasn’t the last!!  (score!)  Ever since surgery I’ve been going to sleep at 10-10:30 pm at the latest.  So this was a long and late day for me.  I think I crutched home at about 1 am (the party was held at the rugby club so super close to my house). I had gone downstairs with my boyfriend (cause they are steep stairs) to use the bathroom and knew that I didn’t have the energy to stay any longer (or get back up the stairs) so I headed home.  I didn’t get to say bye but everyone understood.

That night also wasn’t about getting drunk for me.  The cider was actually making my stomach a little sore.  While on crutches I don’t want to drink a ton and f@&% something up so it all worked out!  Also meant less of a hang over for Father’s Day.

My boyfriend offered to walk me home from the party but I told him not to worry about it and to go back upstairs and enjoy things.  However, once I got into my house I realized I could have used him for one things… to take off my left shoe.  I had worn sandals that zipped up at the back and while I could easily take the one off my right foot I was puzzled for a while about my left (newest hip).  I eventually brought my foot up to my butt and reach backwards to unzip it but I was sure for a while that my boyfriend would find me in bed with one shoe on.

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Sunday

Father’s Day!  I’ll be honest while I was at my parents I slept a lot!  Napped most of the afternoon on the couch until I made my Dad dinner.  Now, I joked with him that I was just spending time with him the way he spends time with me in the evening (sleeping on the couch while I watch TV).

Monday

My actual birthday!  I turned 31.

This is also the day I got to get my hair done. At almost the 5 week mark I would never have been able to sit for that long of a time after my first surgery.  There was no physical way I could do it.  This time around I could! I was so excited.  I went back to blonde and my months of grey was gone (Yes, I have a ton of greys, it runs in the family… I’m an old soul, my hips, well not any longer, and hair, in a young persons body).

Getting my hair done helped me feel even more like my normal, new functioning, self.

I headed into my next year with fresh hips and my hair done.  This years going to be a good year!

Costco Trip

After my first physio sessions it was time to go to Costco.  I headed in with both crutches and the guy at the entrance recommended (and encouraged) that I use a buggy.  I was hesitant.  I don’t see myself as someone who requires it (even though I’ve had two hip replacements… may not make sense to some I know) but I sucked it up and took one. (It was so much easier to make the leap with a supportive boyfriend encouraging you as well).

After reading all the instructions we starting shopping.  It took a couple of minutes but I got the hang of it.  And, yes, it beeps when you back up.  It can also turn on a dim!  It’s fairly slow, but that’s properly for a good reason.  People don’t always see you but look super apologetic about it when they cut you off or almost hit you.  The gentlemen at the front said I could leave/set my crutches with him so I didn’t have to go around with them but I felt like I need them with me to justify the buggy (same struggle I first had when my cane… I don’t look injured/disabled so I feel judged).

A side note: the basket may seem smaller (then the cart) but I ensure you they are practically the same size!  It’s insane.

The Start of Physio

I woke up excited to start physio with Mark!  This got me motivated to do my videos of the hospital physio exercises I’ve been meaning to complete (on Instagram and YouTube).

It’s now been 1 month since surgery.  Leading up to my left hip replacement I would only dream of getting to this point.  Having two pain free hips (even with limitations) was something I actually had a hard time believing would ever happen.  It was a dream I had for a long time but still felt unattainable.  But now i’m actually post-surgery and pushing forward. Next stop physio.

My first physio session for my left hip

Bike time! I use to start on the stationary bike, man I wish I had one at home. My cardio is better this time around.  Last time I felt dead in like 15 seconds once I started peddling.  This time it didn’t hit me until later.  I did a total of about 12 minutes.  There was lots of tightness through the quad and stiffness when starting, but it loosened up overtime.

Manual Manipulation

With Mark we started by putting some heat on my left hip to help warm up the muscles for some manual stretching.  Since he knows I do my exercises fairly religiously at home he helps with some manual manipulation and other stuff at the clinic.  He started by having my lay on my right side and stretching my left leg back with a bend in it, to stretch the quad and hip.  I had to be careful not to arch my back and keep my core engaged or else it wouldn’t be as effective cause he could just keep going (due to the flexibility in my back and core).  He then got me to roll onto my back and stretched my leg upwards.  At first what I felt was my quad and knee so he allowed me lower leg to hang and focus on the top (instead of the entire leg in the air).  Then after a while he put my leg straight up (at about 35-40 degree angle) and stretched the hip that way.  It was nice to have that done for me since I’m not able to do that on my own.

Exercises

We then went over how to make some of my exercises harder.  I asked for a harder quad activator:

  1. Put a folded pillow under your knee. This way you can raise your lower leg like normal and then lift from the hip.  The pillow should be folded away from you to allow it to open towards your feet.
  2. Using the bosu ball. Start with lifting your lower leg and then from the hip. Your legs should be on top of the bosu ball, right under your knee.

These two exercises allow work to be done at two different ranges of motion.  If i had a medium sized ball I could also work the middle.  This will allow t he entire range of motion to come back quicker and stronger (range of motion = ROM).

Water (Pool/Lake) Therapy

Mark cleared me for pool therapy (aka lake therapy at the cottage) since the incision is fully closed up and looks good.  However, he said to stay in the shallow end. no kicking or full swimming yet (Makes complete sense due to the restrictions of twisting and crossing). This means though that I could stand in the pool and do my physio exercises.  And I mean stand without assistance due to weight restrictions.  That’s exciting!  I need to find a pool with open time and minimal kids (since it was mid-June and school was almost out that would be near impossible, but that’s what cottages are for).

The Next 3-6 Months

Mark told me that the next 3-6 months may be a bit of a back and forth in relation to both my legs.  Meaning, sometimes I may have more trouble with my right then my left but they will even out and get consistently and equally better and stable.  Good to know!  I’m not sure I would have really thought of that.  I know my right hip is sometimes sore now but based on the use and laying on it only, not continuous healing (since it’s feel absolutely fabulous compared to before already).

End of Week 4

Monday, June 12

Got fully dressed all by myself.  I’ve done that a couple of times in the past week but it’s been getting easier and easier.  The struggle of putting on underwear and pants is losing it’s comedic effect and becoming more functional.

Today was a trip to the Chiropractors.  I will be happy once I am off the wedge in the car.  I mean it helps me feel better but sitting on it in the car can be a bit annoying.  My head doesn’t rest properly on the head rest (yes, I know the head rest can move) and my back feels a bit bent.  Like I’m sitting in a chair that wasn’t constructed properly (Cause dah… the car seat isn’t meant to have a wedge on it, and the wedge wasn’t designed for a car seat).  If anyone has found a wedge that is meant for a car then let me know!

Anyways, back to the Chiro appointment… I got myself face down on the table all by myself!  Independent women!!  BOOM!  I peeked my head around the corned to tell my boyfriend.

I’ve been a little annoyingly happy for him today (or at least for this early in the morning) but that’s what happens when I feel productive and boy have I felt productive today.  It honestly all started with me unpacking and hanging some of my own clothes up this morning.

Then when we got home from the Chiro I got a bunch of work To Do’s completed that had been lingering.  Also, I finally put all my drugs away (from my drug bag) and bandages and whatnot from my incision management stash.  Finally, I organized my office.  Labelled some baskets, scanned and filed material away.  Whenever I feel organized my spirits go way up!  So now I may be even more annoyingly happen when the boyfriend returns home later…. but I don’t care hehe

Walking the stairs in my house is getting easier.  My right leg (the first replacement) use to get sore and tired after a few trips but I don’t notice it anymore.  The muscle strength is returning which is awesome.

I walked down the street to the mailbox on my own.  I mailed a letter for work.  Small wins for independence.  One step at a time (literally).

No nap today but I did still have some down time.  Sitting with my leg out/up on a glad surface.  I don’t like to sit upright all the time.  I want to stretch out and not get my hip/quad/other muscles to tight.

First Independent Outings

The weekend of June 10-11, during Week 4, was when I started to feel comfortable and had my first outings without the boyfriend/nurse.

Saturday

First of all Saturday started with me sleeping in! Without any assistance of drugs or being awake part of the night.  I actually slept in based on sleeping comfortably and not feeling like I needed to get up and move.  Small wins!

Saturday’s a rugby watching day.  I sat on the bleachers all day, while not breaking 90 degrees.  I sat with my left leg stretched out straight on top of the row of seats in front of me.  A friend applied sunscreen to my left leg for me and I got the rest.

That night was the women’s rookie night.  I left the club with a good friend of mine, Coop.  We stopped in my place, grabbed a change of clothes, stopped in the LCBO (liquor store) and then off to her house we went.  It was nice to be out independently from the boyfriend.  First time really since surgery.  This only happened since I was so mobile.  Coop’s backyard was grass, deck and stone.  I was alright crutching through the stone part while there was still light.  I didn’t stay to late as I’m still recovering and her backyard isn’t light up so I didn’t want to trip or have any problems.  It was so nice to just hang out with all the women.  My boyfriend picked me up at dark and we headed home.

The rest of my evening was spent watching TV in bed and relaxing.  It was a long, active, great Saturday.

Sunday

Relaxation was key today.  Yesterday was very busy and lots of physical activity.  My 2 girlfriends came over and we chilled in the sun and shade at the local park (yup, that’s me with the hug smile in the image at the top of the screen).  We caught up on everything that’s been going on with us and also just sat reading.  Second outing without the boyfriend/nurse.  More independence!  Whenever friends see me after a while (or in this case for the 1st time since surgery) they are always surprised about my mobility and how I’m doing.  Happily surprised, not bad surprised.

Shhhhh… don’t tell my surgeon, I sat in a car seat without my wedge.  Mind you it was a 60 sec car ride but I knew I wouldn’t break 90 degrees with my leg stretched out so it was all good and within my restrictions.

A Rainy Day

Sunday, June 4
The first thing I thought of this morning when I woke up was how useless I would have been before my hip replacements.  All I could hear was rain.  For most it’s calming and soothing and makes you not want to get our if bed.  Well, it does the same for me (the not getting out of bed part) but with added frustration.

Due to the arthritis that was in both my hips, rainy days meant life came to a stand still.  For the rained filled month of March and April  2017 there were days when I could only manage to make it to the couch.  My legs did not want to work, it often felt like I lost all power, strength and was just full of rust.

And while I may not be super useful today (June 4), not having the arthritic pain is so freeing.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel, all the hardest stuff is over… I’m moving forward.