Thursday, October 30, 2008
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
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
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
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.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Zoinks. Yesterday was the first day I had paid any real attention to the bottom half of my 'bad' leg... I've been so focused on the top half, when and where to bend etc., that I didn't really notice how thin my calve had gotten - in just 2 WEEKS. Mortified.
I've never had real shapely calves, and they've always been on the 'thin' side, but what little shape I did have is now gone! my left leg looks like a 10 year olds :(
I'm hoping they build back up as quickly as they disappeared...any words of encouragement from the hip chicks out there is GREATLY appreciated on this subject :)
All for now...may post again later.
Friday, October 10, 2008
If I think back to the week of the surgery and how I was in hospital in terms of appetite, getting around etc, it's a major change.
I realize I've not blogged much about my hip and what it feels like, so I'll attempt to describe some of that, for you folks who want to know.
My scar - which I guess is not yet really a scar and more of an incision with stitches and steri-strips on is about 7 inches long and runs pretty much the full length of the crease in the joint (when you sit down). It looks pretty neat and tidy from what I can see through the steri-strips and when it's healed much more and ready for broader viewing, I'll post a pic on the blog (and for those that are squeemish - well, just look away).
I do have a rather large patch (about the size of a good piece of steak!) on the outer part of my left thigh that is totally numb. Dr. Schrader had stated there was a potential of this happening, as there is a nerve that sits very close the surface of the skin that they can't always see when operating, and this can become damaged during the surgery. He also said that it often gradually comes back and reduces in size. I'm hoping for the latter. The most frustrating thing at the moment is that my leg is itching, and I can feel the itching...but I can't get any relief from scratching it, because I can't feel a damn thing...GRrrrr. Although, better a small patch to be numb, than not being able to feel or wiggle my toes!
Sleeping has been another challenge for me...I'm used to having a good 7-8 hours of sleep a night, and whilst I HAVE been sleeping, it's been broken and not terribly comfortable. I can only sleep on my back, as my leg has to be positioned at a 30-70 degree angle - which means it has to be propped up with 3 pillows. I've attempted twice to move onto my side , but even with pillows in between in my knees, the 'pull' on my left hip is just too much to bear...so it's back on the back.
PT has visited for the third time this week and I think my leg is getting more mobile and stronger as the days go by - she at least seemed pretty pleased with my progress (even though my blood pressure is still on the low side). I wish I could say the same for my wrists!...man, that walker takes it toll on your wrists and hands...especially when you're having to hoist your entire weight around.
Mom, Dad and I took our first trip 'out' yesterday - a big day. We only went to our local Target store but it seemed like a big adventure. Walker and wheelchair at the ready, we made it into Target and spent an hour or so wheeling around. I think one of the things that struck me the most is how much stuff you can't reach when you're sitting down. I guess if I had taken my 'grabber' with me, it would have been easier, but it was an eye opener for sure!
The evening excursion was even bigger and better. A trip to TDS (those in the know, will know). No margheritas for me, but tasty tacos and a nice evening 'out' instead of trying to find something half decent to watch on TV...
Of course, the end of the evening always finishes with the wonderful LOVINOX injections into my stomach (for blood thinning), but I'm even getting used to that now too. Only another couple of weeks of LOVINOX and anti-clot stocking wearing - and THAT day can't come soonn enough.
So, I think two weeks on, and I'm doing pretty well. My hip still feels incredibly fragile and just when I think it's not hurting, I move in a slight direction and WHAMO...it gives me a sharp reminder of just what went on in there two weeks ago. I feel it will be sometime before I'm using my crutches, but I'm fine with that. One day at a time.
My good friend Amy popped round this morning with some goodies! a box of yummy bakery items from Alons and some trashy mags...perfect! I'm set now for a good few hours :) Thanks Amy it was great to see you!!
Jim just collected and dropped off my Disabled Parking Permit - so look out Lennox!
Just wanted to say thanks for all the continued well wishes and comments on my blog. It's so nice to know that so many people are reading it...
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I spent some time sitting outside this afternoon - the beautiful fall weather (well, hotter than usual for this time of year) was just too perfect to be sitting inside.
So I rounded up my walker, got mom to get my wheelchair on the outside path, made it outside and down the driveway where the sun was shining. Before too long however it got a little warm - especially wearing skin-tight stockings! So I rolled from sun to shade, and back.
I guess I spent a couple of hours sitting outside, and then made it back in for a nap. I also decided at this point that I was going to skip the percocet, and opt for three tylenol - just to see. My main reason for this is that the Physical Therapist came yesterday and took my blood pressure - which ended up to be a pretty low reading - clearly it's not only the pain meds, but they do/can have an effect on it - so I thought it'd skip it and see just how great the pain was without them.
The pain was there. But it wasn't unbearable. I'm going to try 1/2 percocet and tylenol and see how that works for this point on.
The rest of the afternoon was a lazy one. Jim took mom for a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond, since mom hasn't been out of the house since they arrived last Tuesday, and there were some things she wanted to pick up.
Jim prepared another tasty dinner tonight...and its fair to say that my appetite is pretty much back to norm. So much for losing some weight during all of this!..
I have been sleeping on the couch for the last couple of nights, which has been suprisingly more comfortable than the bed, however I think tonight I may venture back to the bed for a couple of reasons - I think my hip is a little more 'mobile' and less stiff, I am sleeping through a good part of the night (from 10.30 - 6am), and of course, I want to get back to sleeping next to my hubby.
PT is coming again early tomorrow morning, so I'll need to get a good nights sleep so I can be up and awake in time. We'll see how my blood pressure is then.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I had another good nights sleep last night on the couch.
Jim cooked a perfect dinner of steak, jacket potatoes and salad last night, after which he took Dad over to the Brick Store for a few pints and mom and I watched 'Deal or No Deal'... I think it was the latest I have been up since I had my op.
Took my pain meds at around midnight, and didn't wake up until 6.30am, when I took another single tablet. I'm feeling pretty good about the hours between paid meds. Dr. Schrader had said that whilst I had no reactions to them, I was sensitive to the medicine and so a lot was going a long way. I only take 1 tab each time, with 2 before I go to bed.
Spent some time this AM doing my PT moves, which are getting a little easier. My leg still feels like I have a 100lb weight hanging off it, but I can now begin to move it a little, which is encouraging.
Susan and Alan came visiting today, as did Sean, who came with another tasty meal in hand for this evening - Lasagne. Needless to say, my appetite is quickly returning.
Jim and Dad have been busy today working on the wall in our garden and 'filling' up holes. Dad is going to work on getting it looking a little more decent whilst he's here and I've asked he and mom to pick out some plants to edge it with, so that should make it a little more pleasant to look at.
I still have a swollen ankle and foot on my good leg, but I'm not too concerned. This is the same ankle and foot that swells when I take a flight, or spend too long in high heels on a hot evening.. I'm just gonna keep an eye on it, and keep it raised up when I can, plus I think the TED hose make it look far worse than it is - given that these things could squeeze water from stone!
PT are scheduled for 3 times a week for the next 3 weeks, starting tomorrow at 9am, which means I'll have to be up and alert for their arrival - yawn.
That's it folks for today's update - no major happenings.
I'm hoping to maybe make it outside tomorrow for some period of time. We have our new patio furniture which I'm thinking I'll be able to get pretty comfortable on - I just have to wrangle with the 2 steps to get down there and back...we shall see!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Got a call yesterday from Dr. Schrader checking in to see if I 'was still alive' :) he really has been great, and I'm so thankful to have had a surgeon as good as he is, right here in Atlanta. I really don't think I could fly to and from another state, like many of the other hip chicks have done to have their operations. Just knowing what I know now of the discomfort etc, the last thing I could handle would be a flight back home.
More flowers arrived. I think I'm now up to a count of 14 arrangements in all shapes and sizes. Absolutely beautiful and the house is filled with the scent of them as you walk in...
I had a very sweet visit yesterday from Linda (on my team). It was great to see another friendly (and always smiling face). She was delivering food - totally unexpected and a wonderful suprise. THANK YOU LINDA! you are 'salt of the earth'. By the way - if you're reading - Mom wan'ts the recipe!!
Yesterday didn't end so well, with me being sick - I think a combination of pain meds and an empty stomach...a few dry crackers later and I was fine...and then of course Linda's great casserole and I was set for bed.
I had decided to sleep on the couch last night (and for anybody that knows our couch will know that it's a GREAT place to sleep). I was having trouble with my back aching in the bed, so figured I would try the couch. I had a really good nights sleep with far less back pain, so I'm planning on doing that for the nights to come.
And the rain fell....
Today is the day I've read about in all the other hip chick blogs...the day that makes you feel human again, or as human as possible. The day you can't wait to arrive....SHOWER DAY.
Mom and I figured out a whole 'approach' as to how it was going to go down, and what we would need, where and when. Walker here, wheelchair there, shower seat this way etc. It was a success! I have to say that something as simple as water running across your body is something I've now realized is taken totally for granted. I can't explain (and the other hip chicks will know for sure) what it feels like to have hot water pouring down on you for the first time in 7 days...I found myself sitting and grinning like a child. One things for sure, I did NOT want to get out, but after about 15/20 mins of hot water blasting on me and two shampoos and conditioner, I figured it was about time.
Out, dried, dressed, moisturized, hair combed.....aahhhhh I'm Alive!
Going to start some of the PT exercises (they're pretty low impact) throughout the day today to get those muscles back working again. I find that my leg is moving a little more with each day, which is a good sign for sure.
One QUESTION to the hip chicks... Did you find that your GOOD leg (specifically your ankle and foot) swelled? I have these gorgeous TED hose on (which I know you all had to wear too) and when I took them off this AM for my shower, my good foot and ankle were elephant like! Not sure whether that's cause that's the foot that all my weight goes on or what, so If it happened to you and it's pretty normal, lemme know.
OK, I think I'll finish this entry now and may post another later today...since this one is already pretty long!
Friday, October 3, 2008
Long day today. Rache was feeling pretty weak all day, if in decent spirits. She is getting around pretty well with aid of the walker, just not far. I think she's just really tired, and may have pushed herself too far yesterday, activity wise. Or, maybe she's fine, and just overall weak. I don't know hardly anything, just ask anyone.
Pete and I took some time to cause some trouble for the chipmunks burrowing under the corner of the fireplace / side patio area. 150lbs of cement grout should slow them down, the little jerks. Eat all the acorns and bird seed you like, but keep your distance from my foundation. Let that be a warning to everyone reading this. Even you.
Physical Therapist came by this evening (finally, after a full day of scheduling screwups,) and the woman checked Rache out on a few tasks. Little tests, I guess. Rache can get up out of her wheelchair, and onto the walker, and transfer from walker to the bed, with only assistance being someone to lift her bad leg. PT woman said she would teach her some tricks to do all this unaided, but mostly I think it's just time for the joint and leg to heal and strengthen. But again, I do not know much.
Just 4 to 6 weeks, and she'll be mostly mobile!
We had another satisfying and tasty "comfort food" dinner tonight, delivered personally by one of Rache's fine coworkers. Good folks, those fizzy-pop-types. I approve of her workplace, and not just for the random free beverages!
Rachel's parents were a little bewildered by the food arriving yesterday and today. So, I spent some time explaining why, particularly in the American south, food (often in casserole form!) shows up at people's homes at certain times... The past few days have reminded me of other anxious, tiring, and stressful times, and of the friends and family so eager to provide what they could, more often than not in delicious form. Many thanks.
Lassie! What is it?! Did Timmy fall in the well? SOMEBODY MAKE A GODDAMNED TUNA CASSEROLE, QUICK!
Regina!? Can you get a banana pudding going? We got sick people!
Somebody call Eva, she makes the best lime jello and marshmallow salad in three counties, and we are going to need GALLONS OF IT!
g'night. I'll get Rache to provide more interesting insights tomorrow.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Well, you've already heard from Rache, so I'll just add my .02.
Today, I figured out that if we removed a couple of the doors from the bathroom, and modified the walker so the wheels are on the inside of the frame, instead of the outside, Rache could make it from the bedroom to the bathroom mostly unassisted.
Triumph! So, I completed the above tasks, and it works just swell.
Our home isn't one of those fancy new places where all the interior doors are 36" wide and 8' tall, so we have to make adjustments! I'll be pleased if we end this entire journey without too many wheelchair gouged walls!
I bought Rache a couple of different "grabber things on a stick" last night. So she can grab things. At a slight distance. They're both kind of silly looking, but they do work. One of them is AS SEEN ON TV! ... So it must be good.
Since Jim has been doing a more than stellar job at keeping the blog updated on a daily basis, you know all of the details and happenings since I went in last Friday AM. Well it's been a journey.
I guess the blog will now take on the 'road to recovery' angle.
I think the biggest/hardest thing for me to deal with has been the sheer 'loss' of use of my leg. Of course, whilst laying in the bed, you don't really NEED to move it..it just kind of sits there like a large wallowing sea lion. But when it IS time to move it...it's pretty much impossible. It doesn't matter how much you stare at it, will it, shout and swear at it, it's not moving.
The Physical Therapy folks at Northside were great, but them telling me to 'just pick my foot up and move it', was not so endearing. I can't explain what it feels like to know that you need to move it, and that you know HOW to move it, but simply can't. No matter what.
But now I'm home and things are progressing pretty well, I think. I haven't yet walked the length of our hallway from the living room (where I'm spending my days on the couch) to the bathroom, but I am beginning to make pretty good transistions from the wheelchair to the walker, walker to couch/bed etc. I'm taking it one day at a time with a few more steps each day.
I spent an hour or so in the wheelchair today which was nice just to be up OFF my back for a while. Not being able to sleep in any other position other than on my back, and pretty much lay perfectly still for the entire night is already getting a little tedious. I guess 7 days flat on your back will do that to you.
I feel as if there is so much I need to blog about...and instead of this becoming the longest blog post known to man, I'll cover it in the next posts...but just so I remember, I need to cover; Flowers, Nurses, Friends as well as of course, the daily updates and improvements.
OK, so maybe I'm still not able to focus for more than 10 mins, since I'm about done as I type this sentence, but just like my resident wallowing sea lion, that too shall improve with time :)
Thanks to EVERYBODY who has and continues to help me through this, my friends, my family, and especially my hubby, who has been a true saint.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The Jeep is now laden with stuff. Walker, wheelchair, other contraptions. Have to get that home, and then we'll have room in the car for Rache, whenever she heads home.
We'll find out her departure date late this afternoon, after her next physical therapy session..
Rache is steadily improving, but naturally the progress is slow. Rache has made it outside her door today, but that was about as far as she could make it.
She may make it home today, after all. The Physical Therapist person has indicated that there may not be a real reason to stay much longer, if Rache can get around even a little bit. We shall see.
This woman says I'm not blogging enough. What does she know? I've never seen HER blog!