Tuesday, November 18, 2008

farewell left crutch...I won't miss you

That's right, as of this morning, I have the official go ahead to start bearing weight, and to lose the left crutch...WOOOOHOOOOOOO - I'm JAZZED!

Dr. Schrader, after looking at the XRAY and prodding here and there told me all the things I wanted to hear:

a) I could drop to one crutch
b) The bone is fusing back together in all the right spots
c) I can DRIVE!! (no longer a prisoner in my own home!)

In addition, he told me that I could start to do some more 'serious' excercises on my left leg, straight leg lifts, side lifts etc., and that it was time now to start to build the muscle back (since the bone is nicely under way!)
The last bit of good news is that I can ditch the crutches altogether in 4 weeks time!!!! at which time I can also start back on the exercise bike or eliptical machines...

So here's what we've waited 7 1/2 weeks for...


On the Outside: The scar is healing really well, and I'm now massaging Bio oil into it twice a day (thanks to Sis who brought me a bottle over from Blighty!)

On the Inside:

I'm feeling GREAT!!

I know I still have a long way to go, and Dr. Schrader did say that for some time until the muscle is fully back to normal, that I would probably have a pronounced 'waddle' to my walk - but I know what I have to do, and I'd rather have a waddle and be able to do something about it, than to be back where I was 7 weeks ago and in pain.

Many, many, many thanks to Dr. Schrader who is an absolute STAR.
He has given me my life back with this operation, and I can't begin to thank him enough.

Thanks also to my entire family who have showered, dressed, fed and watered me through the tough and groggy times... I couldn't have gotten this far without you xx

So, onward and upward... :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

sleep just got sweeter....

I can't believe another week has gone by. Ugh.

Yeah, yeah, I know you're wondering why a week going by in my current state would warrant a "ugh"...

Here's why:

a) It was a week ago today that I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of my sister, Becky, from the motherland. And now here I am, having just waived goodbye to her :( it never seems like there's enough time, and even though we had a blast and spent everyday together, it's always too short...so Ugh!

b) A week has gone by and I STILL haven't burned those bloody stockings!!! Something Becky and I had planned to do, with Jim being the flame thrower.

C) Another week has slipped by without a blog update. I feel less 'ugh' about this one, as I have a few 'milestones' that I can now tell you about...

So, onward and upward...

Per the title of this post, sleep has gotten that much sweeter over the last week, with me now being able to FINALLY lay on my stomach - HOORAY!! which means that now I can lay on my back, non-op side and stomach...I really haven't even attempted to lay on my operated side yet, primarily because it's still tender (go figure!) but I may give it a whirl in the next week or so.

I'm just jazzed that gone are the days are where I have to spend the entire night laying perfectly still on my back, and waking up with THE BEST bed head ever known to man.

Let's see, what other turning points have taken place this week...

Socks and Shoes:
I've managed on more than one ocassion now (so I know it's not a fluke!) to pull on socks (WITHOUT a grabber I might add), AND, tie my own shoe laces. Yes, for those able-bodied people, I know it all sounds very silly, but it's amazing how BIG these small things matter.

Cooking on Crutches:
Well, not in the food sense, but speed. I think i've found my groove with the crutches and can move at a pretty peppy pace (I think crutching around the mall for almost 8 hours in one stint with my sis may have given me all the practice I needed!)

My Leg is working again...well almost:
I think this has been the biggest point of frustration for me. Whilst my leg works fine and dandy from the knee down, I have not really been able to lift it under it's own weight until this week. Which basically means that in order for me to lift it, I have to physically grab it with both hands and move it. Not fun.

However, this week it has become more, shall we say 'mobile'.
I can now whilst seated, lift my thigh (no hands!) almost 2" off the couch. It's not a lot, and I wish it were much more, but I also know and understand the reasons why. My PT told me that it takes a full 6 weeks for the quad muscle (which was detached during surgery) to lay down enough scar tissue to where you can even think about moving it. So, I'm right at the 6 week mark - hence it's started to move under it's own power!!

I have my 7 week follow up with Dr. Schrader next Tuesday, so I'm excited to see the Xray and how the bone has started to fuse, in addition hopefully with him telling me that I can now start to put weight on my left leg.

Well, that's all the update I have for now...of course, as SOON as the stockings have met their doom, I will post again, in addition to posting after my meeting with Dr. Schrader on Tuesday.

Over and out.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ia ora na ....where has the time gone?

So the weekend came and went without a ceremonial burning of the stockings. Fear not readers, they are still here and they WILL feel flames licking at their heels soon (and of course I will post photos).

Well, today is our 6th Year Wedding Annivesary (Happy Anniversary Babe!) and as I sit here, crutches by my side, with an REI mug filled with tea, I can't help but whisk myself back to this time last year...

This time last year, we were in Bora Bora (Tahiti) for our 5th Wedding Anniversary. Called the most beautiful island in the world, it certainly lives up to it. WOW.

This time last year, my hip hurt...and pretty bad when we would walk along the walkway to dinner, or when we would catch the water taxi and stroll around Bora Bora's town (main Island).

This time last year I didn't know what was wrong with my hip.
I had not been diagnosed - I just knew it hurt.

ia ora na (yah-ri-nah) meaning 'hello' in Tahitian is something we would hear each day from all the staff at the Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa. Words can't really describe or do justice to Bora Bora, the crystal clear lagoon, the abundance of flowers, Mount Otemanu.... ahh dreamy.

I'd love to think that someday we'll make it back there...perhaps for our 25th :)
I know one things for sure, if and when we do, I plan to walk my socks off around that little Island!

In the meantime, I'll continue to work on my recovery, which seems to be going according to plan. A couple more weeks before I see the doc - and then just more of the same I guess.

Now, I must go...I've got some Bora Bora day-dreaming to do...

Nana (goodbye)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm FREE.....and have transportable TEA!

Well, it's been a long five weeks, but I am finally FREE of the Lovinox injections and the awful TED stockings. WOOHOO! Whilst doing the injections was not really so bad, the thought that I no longer have that looming over me each evening is a very pleasant one! As for the stockings, I feel those may be subject to a ceremonial burning this weekend :) Of course, any stocking burning will be photographed and posted here for your viewing!

Other things since my last post..

Fon and Alex departed last night :( after a fab two weeks with them. It was so good to just hang out and have some quality time with my bro and sis-in-law for a couple of weeks. Seems kind of strange sitting here at the moment, knowing that there's nobody here... I've had family here since the day I got out of surgery and now there's a quiet time. Until of course next week, when my sis shows up from Blighty! That should be fun and I'm looking forward to her being here.

I'm now on to knitting my 5th Scarf! Don't ask me what I'm going to do with them all! Needless to say, family and friends may be getting a winter wooly for christmas! :) I still have a ton of books to read, but I'm still not sure I'm 'in the mood' to read...knitting is pretty mindless and doesn't require a lot of concentration (at least scarf knitting anyhow!). We'll see. Perhaps I'll pick one up this weekend.

So, on to the tea. For those that know me, will know I enjoy a cuppa or two throughout the day. This has of course not really been a problem since I've had my fantastic hubby and family around to make and deliver to me. That said, the one time when I decided I would make one for myself (everybody was out) I quickly figured out that whilst I could make it...I had no way of getting it back to the couch, since both of my hands were holding the crutches!

So, yesterday, knowing that things would be getting a little desperate for me with nobody here, we ventured out to REI and picked up the perfect cup!.. It's insulated of course, which helps, but the top screws on with a tight seal as does the spout. So a trial run this morning is a proven success. I can pretty much hold the handle and my crutches so that the cup is horizontal, with ZERO drips. Perfect! So, for anybody out there with the same beverage dilemna, I would recommend this one - primarily because the top screws down, vs. just pushing it on, like some of the other 'travel' cups.

We had a nice visit yesterday from Jim's family, on their way up to Murphy, NC. 4 Adults and 3 dogs (two of which could be classed as adults - they are LARGE chocolate labs!) It was great to see them and hang out for a little while, whilst the men loaded up the trailer with family furniture, on it's way up to Murphy to furnish the house there.

That's about it for an update. I'm progressing pretty well, continuing with my exercises, and just looking forward to my next appt. with Dr. Schrader where hopefully he'll give me the all clear to start bearing weight...we shall see!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Crutching along with the best of them....

Sunday evening afternoon/evening, I decided to try out the fancy crutches I had intended to use from day one. I little unstable at first, but I quickly got the hang of it and decided to venture out on them Sunday eveniing.

Since then, I've pretty much abandoned the walker, as the crutches are definitely faster and fit into more spaces.

The crutches put a little more movement and momentum on my hip, and the first day or two it made my hip ache more...just because it was being 'swung' around more than it did with the walker, but i've gotten used to it now, and am starting to perfect the walking motion with the crutches.

Been having fun with Fon and Alex even if the weather has cooled off some for them, and they are making good use of the j-heep and getting out and about.

That's my update for today...things are going to schedule with the recovery, I have my last PT session tomorrow, and then will just need to continue the exercises each day from home....


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pill-free...and almost stocking free

Apart from half a pain pill last night before bed, I haven't had any in the last 2 days! I'm planning to take regular tylenol if I get pain in the day, and just take the hard stuff at night (if I need it). I will say that a pain med at night definitely helps with a good nights sleep, despite this now being the 4th week of sleeping on my back with my leg propped up! (ugh)

I am SO over sleeping on my back and waking up with a major bed-head everyday - and given it takes so much faffing and energy to wash my hair and dry it, I'm just going to apologize in advance for anybody coming to visit :)

Well, Fon & Alex (bro and sis-in-law) landed without any hitches on Wednesday night, the same night mom and dad went back, and we've been pretty 'active' since they arrived. We headed out to the Ferst Center on Friday night to see Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet... a great night, even though we were a little challenged with the wheelchair.

I had booked tickets online and saw no seating specifically for wheelchair access, so I chose 4 seats that were at the end of a row near the front...thinking it would be easy to just sit in the wheelchair at the end of the row. Well, that bit WAS easy, but getting down there - not so, since the way down was via flights of stairs... We had to wheel outside, go in through another door, and then I had to abandon the wheelchair and have Jim and Alex pretty much hold me up enough to dangle my leg down the stairs as we went step by step... Phew. We made it, but it was a bit of an adventure. Needless to say that when half time came around, I needed a bathroom break and one of the Ferst people who had seen us struggling before proceeded to inform us of the wheelchair friendly area. It was much further back from the stage, but in the center and with no stairs. So, that's where we spent the second half of the show.

Since I'm able to get myself in and out of the wheelchair easily, and can shuffle around pretty good with the walker, we've been trying to get out a little more. Yesterday was no exception with our trip to the annual Great Decatur Beer Festival. Weather was great and it was a nice atmosphere. We arrived around 12:30 and left about 4:30, so a good day out in the fresh air! I sampled a couple of the beverages on offer..but nothing crazy :)

Have to give a shout out to my bro for an awesome curry last night. He and Alex decided they were going to cook dinner after our day out and that we would have an evening in. Chicken Pathia (I think) with rice, naan - YUMMY. Needless to say, Jim and Fon polished off what was remaining, whilst Alex tucked into (but only a little) her indian desserts (sweets).

On a final note for this entry, I am now down to the final (and counting) 11 days of wearing these anti-clot stockings, and the LOVINOX injections! The injections are over and done with in seconds, but these blasted stockings - ugh! So, yesterday, before the beer festival we took on a little craft project. We CUT the stockings. Those that have worn them will know that they have an elastic band around the top to go around the thigh, however I've always just worn mine kinda folded over just above the knee...they're uncomfortable as it is let alone cutting off the blood around your thigh!

Anyhow, having taken my shower yesterday morning and being 'stocking free' for amost 2 hours, the dreaded time came where I had to put them back on. THIS is when we decided to take the scissors to them! We cut the band and about another 2-3 inches off the stop of the stocking...and so now the stocking just folders neatly back on itself, and they look more like knee-high socks. The compression area is still very much where it needs to be at the calve, but I just couldn't deal with all the rest of it any longer... What a difference!! now it just feels like I'm wearing long socks. Success! (and I think way more bearable for the next 11 days!)

That's about it for today...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I've seen the screws....and they are BIG

So today was my first visit with Dr. Schrader since I left hospital.
Jim and I trundled off there this morning, while mom and dad took a stroll up the road to the nearest mall area.

Dr. Schrader took a look at the incision (which I might add, only 1 steri-strip had fallen off to date) and swiftly proceeded to pull off ALL the steri-strips! I have to say, the location and 'neatness' of the incision is pretty fabulous. It's the neatest I've ever seen, so I'm pretty pleased about that! I will post pics once I have it moisturized and looking it's best :)

Once that was done, we headed off to XRAY, and then back to the room - all of about 5 minutes. Dr. Schrader came back in and put my charts up - the 'before' chart and the 'after' one. Needless to say it was easy to spot the 'after' chart, cause there are 3 WHOPPING screws in there and one smaller one...I reckon each one must be about 4 inches long. He showed us where the 3 'break/saw' points were and it's easy to understand why I felt as if I'd been hit by a truck in the first week.

The bone that had been cut and rotated looks really good, in the right place, and much more coverage over my femur - which is of course what we're going for here. He said that the bone had really not yet started to heal, but that the XRAY did show the early signs of 'healing activity' around the three breaks. All in all he said the incision looked really good, the screws and everything else is in the right place and I need to see him in 5 weeks time.

I'm bummed that I forgot to take a picture of my xray :( It totally skipped my mind until Jim mentioned it on the way out. I'll be sure to take one during my next visit, which will hopefully show fused bone!

I couldn't remember if he'd explained before the reason for the 30 - 70 degree restriction, so I asked again, and here it is for all you folks out there. You can't move your leg BELOW 30 degrees due to the fact that the quad muscle and tendons get detached and reattached during surgery, and anything less than 30 degrees may end up pulling and ultimately detaching the muscle again...can't stretch it out that far until its fully reattached itself. As for the 70 degrees, you shouldn't go beyond this because it can put too much pressure on the screws and they can shift the bone before it is fully fused. Now we know!

So, that's pretty much the update for today.

Mom and Dad just have one day left before they fly out tomorrow, and it's gone so fast :( They'll pass like ships in the night with Fon and Alex who are landing tomorrow just as Mom & Dad take off. It's Dad's birthday today, so we'll be heading out this evening for some tasty dinner.

So, I'm feeling good about where I'm at so far...scar looks good, bones & screws look good, taking fewer and fewer pain pills, feeling more mobile.

I'm glad I have those first 2 weeks behind me - and I couldn't have done it without my loving hubby Jim, and my wonderful parents.