Monthly Archives: December 2012

Rockin’ the Follow-up

I just want to start by saying that I had very good last couple of days.

On Wednesday afternoon, my husband Guy came home from visiting his family in Toronto over Christmas. It was really great to see him as he’d been for six days. It also meant my mom was going to be leaving the following day and that Guy would need to take over all of the responsibilities of caring for me that my mother had been dealing with since I’d come home from the hospital. As one might imagine, my mom had done a lot to help because of my limited mobility but I was sure Guy was up for the task.

On Thursday, my mom packed her bags, put on her babushka, and headed for the airport and home.

20121228-221654.jpg

We realized there were a couple things needed around the house and decided to take a track out to Target. At somewhere around 15 blocks from our house, the trip took quite a while and was the farthest that I have been out of the house since my surgery. My hip was quite sore because of all the bumps in the sidewalk and I iced for a while once I got home. Although it was windy and cold, it was sunny outside outside and Guy and I had lots of laughs.

20121228-222326.jpg

Today was my two-week follow-up from my surgery so we rented a car and made our way to HSS for my 10 AM appointment. At the appointment, the PA removed my stitches and all of the icky Steri-Strips. My incision is mostly healed though they put a few more strips on to make sure that it is set. Here I am, hanging out on the exam table.

20121228-223628.jpg

My surgeon, Dr. S., came in and reviewed my x-rays with me and talked about what would happen over the next month as well as what to expect at my six-week follow-up. He felt things were going really well so far but said he would have a better idea of where things stood once they do x-rays late in January. I genuinely cannot say enough wonderful things about my surgeon in terms of his expertise and his demeanor, both at the hospital and at every appointment i’ve had with him. He is so professional yet incredibly kind and I feel very lucky.

We stopped at Whole Foods on the way home from the appointment. I’m surprised how tired I was, having been out only for a couple hours — I’m probably heading to bed early tonight. Guy’s been really amazing in helping me out and cooking my food and taking care of the animals and just about everything. I do wonder though if Fawn (our kitty) may be taking advantage of his kindness…

20121228-224235.jpg

In any event, it’s been a really nice couple of days. I have mostly minor aches which is far better than I expected. We may go to out to dinner tomorrow and see a movie on Sunday and I’m actually looking forward to getting back to work (from home) next week. With all the TV I’ve watched its a surprise my mind has not turned to mush! Boris doesn’t seem to mind either way.

20121228-224803.jpg

Merry Vegan Christmas

It was a pretty mellow Christmas here in Brooklyn. My mom made a really fantastic vegan dinner complete with mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegan gravy, brussels sprouts and a surprisingly tasty Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry roll.

20121225-225759.jpg

Lots of protein (extremely important for healing) and lots of grapes and pears for dessert. Here is a photo of my mom joyfully displaying the feast (note the cotton candy pink tree in the background) as well as a photo of my plate (and elevated toes and walker as a backdrop).

20121225-230013.jpg

20121225-230032.jpg

We took another trip in the wheelchair and I am really shocked by how un-wheelchair friendly my building and the local streets are. I am going to write some strongly worded letters, that’s for sure. Aside from the obstacles I am starting to get a tiny bit better with the chair but it is physically exhausting!

Only other bit of news is that I lowered my med dosages again to 3x/day (from 4x/day) and am off all narcotics. I have my first follow-up with my surgeon on the 28th. This first appointment is really just so he can see how I’m doing and how my scar is healing. I won’t have an X-ray of the bone until my 6-week check-up, sometime in late January. That will be a defining appointment where my surgeon will tell me whether my pelvis has grown back together or if there are any complications.

And with that, Merry Christmas and on to Boxing Day!

Christmas Eve Adventure

I left the apartment building today for the first time since I came home from hospital on the 17th. Since I’m still sort of, kind of, pretty weak and easily worn out, we decided to take the wheelchair for a spin instead of using my walker or either set of crutches. I’ve been scaling back my pain meds and I’m taking them down even more tomorrow but there’s no way I have enough stamina to get to the sidewalk much less 10 blocks round-trip. However, I’ve been sleeping a lot, about 12 hours a night, and taking a spin in the chair sounded like a lot of fun.

I thought I might be able to wheel myself but it became immediately apparent that I would need substantial amount of help from my mom to get around. Here’s a photo of us having just left the apartment building and in the courtyard.

20121224-180250.jpg

Our trek took us down to a local bakery called Choice. A few things to know when first using a wheelchair: 1) you’re going to need help; 2) it is practically impossible to get over any sort of crack, no matter how small it is, without someone pushing you [as an aside, I love that my phone tried to AutoCorrect “of crack” to “Crackville”]; 3) figure out how to configure the settings in your wheelchair before you leave the house; and 4) have a positive attitude because it’s going to be absurdly ridiculous the first time you try.

In any event it was really nice to get out of the house and to feel a little less confined.

We’re hoping to take another jaunt outside sometime tomorrow, even if it’s just to go around the neighborhood and look at the decorations. This is definitely going to be one of the least traditional Christmases I’ve ever had but the house is warm and lit with Christmas lights and I know that I’ll enjoy hanging out with my mom and watching endless episodes of NCIS.

Wishing everyone the merriest of Christmases!!

What a difference!

I think it is fair to say that yesterday was the hardest day of my recovery so far. Everything I did, from lowering my pain meds to maintaining the level of Valium I was taking, resulted in me being either completely exhausted or in excruciating pain. It also didn’t help that yesterday was the first day I tried to use my walker for a brief trip down the hallway. The end result was a lot of tears and 11 hours of sleep last night, capped off by cookies.

20121222-192008.jpg

Happily, however, today is very much a different day. I woke up well rested, and managed to get through a couple of Tasks that, pre-surgery would’ve seemed like nothing but now that I am limited to only one leg and in a decent amount of pain, seem like insurmountable goals. It’s still apparent that I need someone here with me at almost all times to help me eat, prepare my meds, bathe, and prevent me from falling over. To my surprise, taking a shower is actually one of the easier things I have to do because I have the benefit of the shower chair and a lot of stabilizing equipment to keep me from falling over. My mom has been amazing in terms of keeping me on schedule with my meds and keeping me entertained and well fed. I don’t know what I would do without her. My next appointment with my doctor isn’t until the 28th and I would not be surprised if I continue to need help through at least at that time and probably a lot longer since I don’t get to bear weight on my right leg for 6 weeks.

My scar continues to be covered mostly by Steri-Strips and there’s really not nearly as much bruising as I’d anticipated. The incision feels sort of lumpy right now (sorry- that may sound gross) and I am very anxious for the stupid Steri-Strips to fall off so I can see what the whole thing looks like.

20121222-191604.jpg The exterior edge if my right leg is still numb – I figure it will take quite some time until I get the feeling back.

I’m hoping that the weather tomorrow is a little bit nicer because I’d love to go out in my wheelchair and tool around the neighborhood. I’m not exactly claustrophobic but I have been in the house for days and wouldn’t mind a little variety. Almost any activity wears me out these days but I feel like I need to start somewhere.

For the heck of it, here is a video of my cat attacking wrapping paper.

Maybe I Overestimated

I has been 1 week since my surgery and a little over 1 week until my first follow-up appointment (December 28th).

I’m starting to think that how I was feeling on Tuesday was just a tease, a day when I didn’t feel so bad that I was lulled into believing the worst was over and I was on the way to getting back to normal. It may have been the fact that I was finally allowed to take a shower or that the hospital meds were still in my system. In any event, I cannot emphasize enough how wrong I was.

Wednesday was a rough day that made me believe that I haven’t even experienced the worst of the pain less than the idea that am recovering. My hip, hip joint, incision site, my thigh, my lower back, core muscles, backside, and un-operated leg are so incredibly tight and sore. It aches to simply lay down and can be frightening when I move about the apartment on my walker because I feel genuinely afraid of falling down when my left leg starts to shake. Falling down would be a disaster because it could mean that the screws which are holding my acetabulum in place could break or bend — and would therefore require more surgery. Today is a little better but I am shockingly exhausted and my legs seem to shake all the time.

I have been doing my PT exercises, as much as I can. They are really basic — flex/extend ankles; press thigh into the bed, raise a can over my head while lying over my back — and from what I understand these will be the basic exercises I will be doing for several weeks. This part of the process is less about strengthening than rebuilding, letting my pelvic bones grow mesh back together into one cohesive unit.The hope is that meshing will be done by the 6 week follow-up (late January) at which time I can I can start weight-bearing on both legs and eventually be off crutches in February or March 2013.

By way of a reminder and as I previously noted (and as is probably evinced by my bizzaro writing), I am on a lot of pain and focusing is not my greatest skill. Sometimes I just start writing and get distracted but keep writing and then look down and it’s like my fingers have a mind of their own. I have also taken to falling asleep while people are talking to me on the phone or in person, like i blink and in that single second I fall asleep and start dreaming and simply forget to reopen my eyes. Also, as I try to type late and night I repeatedly just about drop my iPad or iPhone when I start to drift off to sleep. I thought that was a late night problem but I am revising my note this morning and the problem is just as bad.

One note of thanks to those who kindly sent flowers and treats from Zabars They are really beautiful and yummy — here is post them.

20121220-131418.jpg

20121220-131436.jpg

20121220-131501.jpg

20121220-132209.jpg

Home

I am happy to report that I made it home from the hospital yesterday and arrived at our apartment around 2pm. The house was super walker/crutch sound effects, I have a recliner I sit in during the day (and a rolling overbed table), and for night i sleep on a chaise (I would sleep in our bedroom with the dog and cat except for my severe allergies.

Things started off really good – not a lot of pain and a lot of people around to support me. My husband set-up an app on my iPhone called PILBOXIE which reminds me exactly what pills to take, how many of each, what they look like, dosage etc. It’s also great because it keeps track of the pills you have taken in the past so that when I go to my 2 week follow-up appointment I can say exactly what I had been taking.

Things continued on a good track through part of today, to the point where i thought that I would be ready to get back to work sooner than anticipated. I quickly realized that rushing back to work too soon would probably mean that my recovery overall will take far longer. That realization, coupled with an increased amount pain on both my operated and yet-to-be-operated-on plus the fact that the back of my throat is red/swollen/with possible strep blisters implies that rushing back and wearing down my immune system is not a good plan,

On the red sore throat (strep?), I called my physicians office to ask what to do and am waiting
hear back. Otherwise I’m ok aside from totally lacking coordination and the fact the drugs really make me loopy to the point that i don’t know where i am and I literally fall asleep if I close my eyes for 3 seconds.

On a surgical note, the incision is 8″ and the SteriStrips are starting to come off – creepy incision photos coming soon I hope!

Fading fast – more details tomorrow!!

Breaking out!

Barring any unanticipated problems, I will be getting out of the hospital today at noon. It’s one day earlier than I originally thought; however, my pain is well managed and my physical therapist approved my departure. In truth, my recovery is going much better than expected. What that means, though, is that i have to be extra cautious to not act like I’m back to normal and accidentally overdo it, even if my brain feels like I can get back to normal my body totally doesn’t .

20121217-103513.jpgI really can’t say enough nice things about the facility and all the staff at HSS. I would absolutely have another surgery here (and, lucky for me, I have my second surgery scheduled for May 8).

A couple of minor notes. They switched my meds to a new narcotic yesterday and the narcotic I was put onto resulted in me having terrible recurring mini-dreams/nightmares/hallucinations. These started within seconds of falling asleep and caused me to wake up while hallucinating that I was in the middle of chat with anyone from a world leader to a 3 year old. It was driving me crazy. This is not the only recovery problem I am having but it freaks me out all through the night. Luckily I was approved to switch to a non-narcotic medicine and I actually slept for about 5 hours which is amazing.

Other weird recovery problems include excessive dry mouth, itchiness over my stomach and upper arms, and a complete inability to read/type (which is why these post are not as well edited). Just some things to think about before the next surgery.

Stop here if photos of surgical sites freak you out


My doctor’s assistant removed the dressing from my wound incision site. I posted a photo showing how the incision looks approx 9″. I know that some people are freaked out by somewhat graphic photos. So if you are interested you will need to scroll to the bottom of this post to see it. Note that the pen is in the photo for reference only and that the incision is held together by SteriStrips.

20121217-105830.jpg