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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.

The Drive-In

Friday evening (June 9th) was a first for me this spring/summer.  We went to the drive-in!  A girlfriend organized it to help get me out of my place and do something new.  A few friends came and I was able to sit in my zero gravity chair and relax for two hours comfortably.   Great evening out!

Pros to the drive-in:

You get to sit in your own chair and not something that may be uncomfortable or require you to bring your wedge (for which you sometimes have to hope it fits/works in the chair).

You can also just sit in your vehicle if that is more comfortable.

You also have the freedom to stand and more during the movie if needed.  Cause sometimes you can only sit for so long.

Mainly, freedom!  That’s the general overall aspect.

Cons to the drive-in:

Public bathrooms (but that’s would be the same to anywhere you go post-surgery while still on restrictions, so nothing new).

Second, uneven ground.  Now this can be a challenge depending where you are in recovery.  Getting there with some day light allows you to see and maneuver to your spot, if you sit outside your vehicle.

Overall:

The drive-in is a great place that doesn’t have the crazy crowds and things that would otherwise deter me from leaving the house during recovery.  I highly recommend it.

Getting Comfortable Back at Home

Being back at home was wonderful!  Week 4 was off to a good start except for the shower situation, that would be an annoyance for a little while still.

I did a lot of the preparation and organization in the home prior to leaving for the hospital, even though I knew I wouldn’t be back for a few weeks.  I like to be prepared and organized, if you haven’t figured that out already.

Tuesday, June 6

It was so nice to sleep in my own bed.  I didn’t wake up once, even though we are sleeping on our regular sides again.  No problem with bumping my incision (or being bumped) in the middle of the night.  I still woke up with my backside sweating though… uhhhh (can’t wait until I can move more and that stops).  However, I do recall rolling onto my side a few times just for a change in position and helping me get to sleep (that’s one of the first times I’ve been half comfortable to do that).

Yesterday involved so much movement (physio assessment and coming home) and stairs that I could really feel it when trying to fall asleep.  A bit of restless leg, a bit of muscle soreness.  It was a little annoying because I was exhausted but also nice to know that my legs are feeling worked out.

This morning I came down the stairs alone!  First time.  My boyfriend said it was fine last night as long as I wasn’t doing it half asleep (he needed to catch on some sleep himself).  I then made myself coffee and sat alone on the couch relaxing.  So peaceful and relaxing in a quiet house in the mornings.

Wednesday, June 7

Still can’t sleep in much but that’s alright (I’m a morning person anyways) and that’s what afternoon naps are for!  Made myself coffee and worked on a puzzle.  This is VERY exciting for me as I wasn’t able to do this the last time around. I couldn’t sit for any period of time or have the concentration needed to work on a puzzle, so this is what I did all morning! (I love puzzles haha)

In the afternoon we went to pick up a cheque and do some banking (the business operations never stopped), as well as pick up my shower chair from my parents.  Well… I just ended up showering at my parents.  I feel so much safer in their shower and am not ready to attempt ours yet since we have a full bathtub and not a bathtub chair (there is a difference between a shower and a tub chair, just for when yours looking into the tools that you may need).

I had another milestone today!  I lifted my leg into the vehicle without the assistance of my other foot!  This is huge and a good sign for my leg strength.

In the afternoon a friend came over and brought his dog, Jax!  So cute and made me realize I was missing Luna (my parents dog).  There is nothing better then pet therapy.  So many cuddles and smiles. It was nice to make a dinner and have someone over to the house.  Mind you the boyfriend did most the work.  I’m not allowed on the balcony (where the BBQ is) right now as the bottom isn’t stable enough for my crutches (there are grates on top for drainage, not unstable in general but not quit good for crutches).

Thursday, June 8

Finished my puzzle!  I’ll start another one once payroll is completed.  Uhhhh, real life.

I got a lot of work done today.  Did a lot of computer work.  My butt was getting very sore near the end.  I had to go lay down and take some pressure off.

Independence is becoming more normal for me.  The stairs are something I often do on my own to move around our 3 floor home.  I will take it very slowly if I have a cup in my hand and am heading down to the office (both crutches on one side of me), that’s the only time I feel more venerable.  But otherwise you will find empty water glasses on each floor that the boyfriend has brought me and I (or him) haven’t returned to the kitchen.

Dinner tonight was fully cooked by me!  It was steak chunks in steak and garlic seasoning in one pan.  Followed by broccoli and red onion in another cooked with garlic and Worcestershire sauce.  It was pretty good, the boyfriend loved it after rugby practice (Yes, I was completely alone and cooking!  Huge steps in independence!).

Speaking of rugby practice, since it’s Thursday that means it’s beer at the club day!  And I crutched (walked) by myself to the club.  We don’t live far and I wanted to try.  So using 2 crutches I headed to the club.  I made it easily actually (Although my arms were a bit sore when I arrived, let’s be honest!).  I had texted my boyfriend to tell him I was coming and he actually passed me on the street in our car (he had to stop back home) and said he’d pick me up on the way back (cause I didn’t want to get in the car).  well by the time he came back around I was already in the parking lot.  I made it!!  I would often walk to the club before surgery (not sure the boyfriend ever has… ever – like honestly it’s only 800 metres) so i knew that it was short and simple but crutches can change even the simplest things.  So I’m glad I could do it!  Makes me feel like I have more freedom.

Friday, June 9

I’m still having to travel to my Mom’s house to shower.  Pain in the ass but super simple compared to my place.  However, as tomorrow is the first hot day of spring, it would be nice to pop in the shower to at least rinse my body without a trip to my Mom’s.  We will eventually figure it out.  Also, we will eventually be able to switch our shower head that will help a bunch! (we haven’t been having trouble loosening the one that is already on there).  The removable shower head makes a world of difference for independence and feeling like your not drowning in the shower.

The Weekend

It was a hot weekend!  On Sunday we went to my parents for dinner, and more importantly to shower!  It’s annoying not to be able to shower at home right now.  I would have loved to shower Saturday night to rinse off the sunscreen, bug spray and sweat but wasn’t able too.  Baby wipes helped though (better then nothing!)

Initial Physio Assessment (& Going Home)

On June 5 I had my initial assessment with my physiotherapist and was going to be able to go back home! So much excitement!!

After breakfast and a shower I headed to Brant 730 in Burlington for my initial physiotherapy assessment.  It was great to see people again. I always enjoyed physio (even the harder days) as it meant I was pushing forward and working towards full function.

The assessment itself went well and was very affective as they already knew me.  We talked about how I’ve had trouble with my quad this time around and how my mobility and everything else felt 100 times better.  I learned this is great news! (Don’t get me wrong I know it good news but it was even better then I thought). My assessor, Farah, informed me that my gluts were working well and that the quad is easier to re-build.  Last time we had to do major work on my gluts as they had not, nor probably ever, been firing properly or AT ALL.  She anticipates my recovery being faster as it does not take long for the quad to return.  SUPER FANTASTIC!!  The goal of being cane free at my bestie’ wedding mid-July is getting closer and more manageable.

An exercise that she got me to do during the assessment was to lay on my side and try to lift my newly operated leg up.  I did it!!  I absolutely could not believe it.  It took me FOREVER (months) to be able to do that the first time around with my right.  That took so much focus and training to get my right leg to react.  This assessment is very motivating!! ahaha although I am well aware that not all of them are, my first one wasn’t (when I came following the first surgery…. I was so lost).

She also informed me that everything seemed good and that Mark was on vacation for this week but that I was Ina position where I could wait until next week to start with him.  Gladly!

After that good news morning and booking all my appointments the boyfriend and I headed back to my parents to pack up so we could finally head home.  Moving 3 weeks worth of your stuff and my assistant devices back to my home.  While I couldn’t be happier with all the help and being at my parents I was also super excited to be back in my own bed.  Yeah!!  My only concern about my house, compared to my parents, is the shower situation. We don’t have a walk-in shower.  Some people might be worried about the amount of stairs in my house (we lives in a three storie above ground home, so stairs are mandatory) but I’m looking at them as good strength training… though I won’t be able to walk up and down them on my own without someone around for a little while still.

Photo care of pthealth.ca

Reflection: Pain Management

Through the past several weeks I’ve been very reflective on my first surgery and am comparing everything!  I can’t help it.  I thought the first one went amazingly well (and it did, don’t take what I’m going to say next as bad) but this time is going WAY BETTER!

Pain Management

I had absolutely no idea what poor pain management I had the first time around (and really for years and years pre-surgery).  I honestly just thought ‘I’m on strong drugs and these are the side effects.’  I just thought that that’s how it was for me, that’s how my body reacts, and even if I used different drugs I’d likely have the same problems.

I was very naive when it came to pain management.  Last time I would just lay still and tried to sleep through the pain, rather then throwing up immediately after taking a percocet or eating something.  That’s how bad it was.  I think I only took about 6 pills after my hospital stay just simply to try to sleep a little at night, I just couldn’t handle it.  This time around, I took meds when I needed and didn’t suffer through any side effects because I told them about my reaction to percocet during the pre-op and they gave me something else (hydro-morphine).  Thank goodness!!

My advice to anyone reading: Tell doctors if the medication is making you sick.  It should be helping, not making matters worse.  I wish that I had done that following the first hip replacement.  I would have been much happier and it would have made recovery a lot easier.  There is nothing harder then pushing through pain, let alone while being nauseous and sick on limited sleep.

 

My Weekend of FOMO

There was one weekend near the end of Week 3 (June 2-4) that I had massive FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)!!  And there was nothing that I could do to take my mind off of it.  This was the weekend of my best friends bachelor party (for which he flew into Toronto from Calgary to attend with people from all over the country), my boyfriends rugby away game and friends camping.

Friday Night

I had some trouble getting ready to go over to my best friends place before they went out for my other best friends bachelor weekend.  I couldn’t find anything to wear that didn’t make me feel frumpy or like a bum.  I put some music on to help loosen me up and cheer me up and eventually found something with the support of my boyfriend.

It was great to spend time with Ry (as I had not seen him in months) but it was also really hard when they went to leave for the limo and I couldn’t go with them.  I’ve known for quit sometime that I wouldn’t be able to partake in the festivities of this weekend but it didn’t make it any easier.  Sure my goal was to walk down the aisle at his wedding as a bridesmaid without a cane (and dance the night away) but that didn’t make the reality of this weekend any easier.  There was no physical way I could have made his bachelor weekend work. They offered to get me a wheelchair but being this early in recovery was to risky to attempt anything… and besides I would have fallen asleep somewhere since I had been going to bed at 9 pm for weeks.  I wasn’t going to let anything hinder my recovery even if it did make me sad.

Saturday

I was in a little bit of a funk.  I’m not a person that often has FOMO, but this is my weekend of FOMO for several reasons:

  1. Besties Bachelor Weekend in TO
  2. Rugby games in Sarnia/London
  3. Rugby camp-out in Courtwright
  4. Can’t go back to my home until Sunday evening (FOMO of quiet time in my own house before the roommate returned)

And I couldn’t go to any of it…. uhhhhhh.

This is all worth it, this is all worth it, this is all worth it *repeats quietly to myself*

Lots happening, none of which I can attend or take the extended car ride for, or sleep on a blow up mattress.  All legit reasons, but legit reasons still suck!

Week 3

The recovery continues!  I apologize for taking so long to get to Week 3, but July has been very busy with travel so my blog took a little bit of a back seat.  If you looking for more up to date posts follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

New things for Week 3

Physical Growths

As I was getting more comfortable and mobile I spent more time outside and man was that helpful!  The sun kept my spirits high and allowed me to feel as if I was free and independent.  There isn’t much that some sun (some vitamin D) can’t help cure.  I started to spend more and more time outside.  Some days you couldn’t really get me back into the house, except for a bathroom break and to make a few small meals/snacks.

Speaking of meals, I continued to became more independent in the kitchen (made my own morning coffee for the first time!). This happened way earlier in the recovery of the second surgery, which amazed me (as I spoke about in my Week 2 post).

This is the week that I started to single crutch it around my home once and a while.  It make maneuvering a bit easier but I only did it sometimes and for very short distances, since I didn’t want to accidentally put to much weight on my new hip (although I’m sure it would have hurt if that had actually happened).  Since I was still 50% weight barring I was being very careful to ensure the bone healed properly by not disobeying my surgeon’s directions.  Following the first surgery I didn’t feel strong enough or capable enough to single crutch until the end of Week 5 or later.

One day my boyfriend took me back to our home to pick a few things up and to get out of my parents house (sometimes you can feel like a caged animal).  While we were there we took a walk around the (very small) block in our neighbourhood.  It was nice to get moving but man was I exhausted!  My arms were killing me not even a third of the way around and I couldn’t move particularly fast.  The little walk definitely was as I could handle but it was rewarding to see where I was physically.

My quad was finally starting to feel better!!  This was such a relief to me.  I was worried (although I knew it would ultimately be okay) about how long it was going to take to recover.  At this point following the first surgery I was bored with my hospital physio exercises.  I couldn’t wait to get new ones.  However, this time around, I could still feel the hospital exercises challenging me.  Now, to be open and honest, there were problems with me compensating with other parts of my body following the first surgery (due to years of chronic pain I naturally compensating with my core and other muscles… but perhaps I’ll get into that in another post all together).

Probably the best improvement that came out of Week 3 was that I was now capable of getting to the bathroom and back into bed all on my own.  I didn’t have to wake anyone or wait for anyone to go to the bathroom.  It something that people take for granted, I know I do when I’m able bodied, and it isn’t until you are in a position where you require constant assistance that you truly understand and appreciate gaining whatever independence back you can.

Alone Time

One evening I was finally able to spend a little time alone.  And I don’t mean with someone else always in the other room, I mean (basically) truly alone.  My boyfriend had to work so he went back to our place so I spent time upstairs in my bedroom at my parents by myself, set up my iPad and watched some Netflix, painted my nails and coloured.  I had the evening and morning without someone checking in on me or always looking over my shoulder to see if I was okay (or, let’s face it, I didn’t have to ask anyone to help for the first time in a long time and that sense of independence and capability was rewarding).  The following morning I also (went to the bathroom on my own) and then laid in bed and watched Netflix for a few hours before even coming downstairs.  It was nice to know that I could function alone and honestly, no matter who you are, sometimes just being alone refreshes you mentally.  And man, did I need that.

Routines make things easier

While the showering situation didn’t drastically improve it was getting much easier!  Routines, once they are figured out, make things way easier.  Because even if you have been through it before, sometimes things need to change.  Working with the other leg this time around meant that some simple things needed to change, like how I stepped into and out of the shower.  Actually having a ‘good leg’ to stand on the second time around meant that somethings were naturally easier as well.

I started to apply Vitamin E to my incision daily, and additionally following any shower.  Since the bandages are now off I am able to start to apply some additional support to assist in it’s healing.  The better it heals, the better it looks and more minimal it will be… although you can’t change the length (but I think it looks cool anyways).

Many things stayed the same

I continued to take Restorolax.  While I hadn’t take any pain medication for a while I was still feeling some of the side effects and along with all the none-movement my system still needed a little bit of assistance.

The trip to the Chiropractor was great this week!  It feels so nice to ensure that my body is staying in line… and with all the sitting, lying down and crutch walking I really needed the adjustments.  I still needed assistance to get onto the table but I was feeling more comfortable with the car rides.

Naps… this will continue for some time (lol).  It’s important to remember that your body needs the rest, it’s going through a lot even if you aren’t physically doing a lot.  You’re just doing yourself harm if your pushing through nap time.

Clarity of Mind

The beginning of week 3 was the first time I also felt mentally prepared and energized enough to truly write down everything that I had been going through.  I spent an entire day writing about the past two weeks and everything that had happened, how I was feeling and the struggles and rewards along the way.  Prior to this I had not been able to get myself into the mind set to write everything out in my journal (something more detailed and longer then an Instagram or Facebook post).

Releasing and documenting all of that information from my head while comparing the first and second surgery, was really helpful for me.  It allowed me to put into perspective everything that I had been through and what was still yet to come.  As some days even if things are going well it can be frustrating, but sitting back and thinking about what your body has gone through, what modern technology is capable of, helps me to centre myself and get back to a realistic perspective.

 

‘Staple’ Removal Day

At the 2 week mark it was ‘staple’ removal day!  I call it that because the first time around I was told that I had staples and was given a staple removal tool and arranged my family doctor appointment to have them pulled out.  However, when I attended my family doctor’s office, they removed my bandage, the steri-strips and advised that there were no staples… okay, so what’s going on?  What they had done was stitch me up with dissolvable stitches and then use the steri-strips to keep it all close and together.  And since my boyfriend, mom and myself didn’t really know what we were looking at a week earlier when we changed the bandage we were all surprised!

This time around I knew for sure there weren’t any staples.  However, I still made my 2 week appointment with my family doctor.  I still wanted her to remove the steri-strips and ensure everything looked good.  And it did!  She removed roughly 22 steri-strips, including the 1 on the ‘rod’ stitch at the top of my hip bone.  Removal of steri-strips don’t really hurt, sometimes there can be a little pull or something, but that is it.

What hurt was the cleaning up of the knots!  Last time I learned that leaving the knots at either end of your incision can cause a lot of annoyance and pain if it rubs or catches on something (like clothing, etc.).  My family doctor cut out two knots at the small incision at the top of my hip bone (as they often caught on things last time and actually hurt quit a bit).  So while the removal was a little painful it was short lived and necessary.

Side Note: the knots could be cut out because the incision was healed enough that nothing was going to open back up.  We weren’t just cutting things open for fun.

In relation to being told I had staples (and I didn’t), I later learned that they normally use staples for hip replacements at the hospital I went too but they wanted to try to minimize the scar since I was so young.  I’m not sure if it would have made a huge difference but whatever they did it has healed up really nicely both times!

Right Hip

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Right Hip

Left Hip

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Left Hip