Tag Archives: PAO

Recovery Lacks Pizzaz

It has been exactly one month since my PAO. I continue to gain strength in my operated leg.  Unfortunately, my not-yet-operated leg is deteriorating under the stress of bearing all of my weight.  I’m more tired than I thought I would be at this point and sleep around 10 hours a night. I seldom have any significant pain in my right hip joint. However, the muscles in my right thigh and around my right knee often ache, either from the surgery, the atrophy, or the fact that they are all stretched out because of the placement of the bone. I wake up every night because of the ache. My house is filled with equipment — multiple sets of crutches, a wheelchair, a walker, the list goes on. It’s more than three weeks until my next follow-up, more than three weeks until any of this changes. I live in pajamas, I have noticeable roots and I really need a haircut.

Now don’t get me wrong — I knew what I had signed up for. Recovery is a slow process and I need to let my body heal. But like so many things, knowing how things will be is a lot different than experiencing it. And now I know, and it has become ABUNDANTLY clear, that recovering from surgery is really freaking hard for me.

This may sound insane but surgery was exciting!  Pre-op appointments, learning where the cuts would be made, talking to the surgeon, blood draws, getting my bag packed, waking up early to make it to the hospital on time, checking in, getting myIV, being wheeled into the operating room?!? These adventures were WAY cool! And then I woke up and there are people everywhere and alarms going off and I realized I was stuck to 4 cables and, oh by the way, the surgery just happenend and possible complications and then there’s the days in the hospital and visitors and therapy and going home and being on drugs and follow-up appointments.  Novel! Excitement!!

Then, slowly, the excitement faded and there’s not much new and novel going on.  Life is getting back to normal, although slower and less shiny than before the surgery because, well, I’m recovering.  I’m back to work (from home, for which I am really thankful thankful since it permits me to have some interaction with the outside world, plus, it exercises my brain). I leave the apartment a few times a week with my husband but doing something as simple as going to dinner wears me out. I watch tv or draw. I am TOTALLY ready for my tax appointment. And I’m starting to research what my next surgery will be like, because even if it’s another PAO, it will be new and novel and a little bit exciting.

I know who I am, that I thrive when I am busy, that the busier I am the more I can get done and the happier I feel.  I grasp on to exciting new things, always looking for something I can do next.  Recovery has forced me to slow down, a lot, to stay in the moment and to let my body heal. There is no glitz, no glitter or sequins. Nothing new to target my sites on, nothing special, just more of the same but less… It is me, slowly getting better, without the shine or sparkle, the new or the novel. In this way, for me, recovery is way harder than the surgery was.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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!

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.

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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.

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!!

Ex post long screws

Not much new to report from hospital land. My hip and the incision site ache and burn. My right leg basically does not work – it is incredibly heavy and like a dead muscular fish. Therefore, my left leg is having to bear the burden of walking and pretty much any activity I try. Unfortunately the left leg quickly becomes very weak and unstable and I feel like I could easily collapse (i have a similar problem with my left leg as the right and am having surgery in May.

It looks like i will be released tomorrow to recuperate at home for several months. Dressing over the incision comes off tomorrow too! For the meantime, here is an x-ray of my right hip post-PAO (the doctor takes numerous X-rays during the procedure to be sure that the placement is correct and he kindly gave me a copy). More photos coming soon!

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Baby steps

Day two post surgery is still going pretty well. I have not slept much in the hospital, even since I got out of the ICU. Someone still comes in at least once/hour to check something and my sleep cycles are really screwed up from the massive amount of medications I am taking (Percocet, dilaudid, oxy to name a few). So while I’m a little loopy, I’m not really all that sleepy. And on the subject of loopy, some of these pain meds make it practically impossible to even write a sentence (so apologies if this post is confusing).

20121215-211455.jpg (the ginormous stuffed bunny that Guy got me to sleep with while i am at the hospital)

My epidural and Fowley catheters were removed this morning so I have had to get out of bed several times to use the restroom – my walker is my new BFF (at least until I can walk on my own).
My pain feels like it is in either the incision site or deep in the right hip joint. I haven’t seen the incision yet but believe it is between 8″ – 10″ long. There is also this crazy level of itchiness on my torso that is frustrating – caused by the dilaudid – so I have a different drug to take care of this. It feels a little bonkers.

Here is a photo of my incision, covered by its dressing and in no way inappropriate (I promise).

20121215-211621.jpgThe incision dressing runs down the front of my leg starting from just below my waist to about half way up my thigh.

I figure that once I can remove the dressing, around the 18th or 19th, I’ll take a photo if the actual scar. I also have an X-ray that the Dr took during the procedure – ill scan it and add it to the site once I’m home.

Falling asleep…g’night