Good morning from week 2 graduation day! Sitting here at “base camp” (recliner in tv room, ice pack on thigh, coffee. Sunny morning and a positively balmy 30 degrees!) feeling pretty good overall.
Soft tissue pain from the surgery has gone down a LOT and the bruising has faded quite a bit. Pain level has never gone above a 3 and no pain has been constant. Sleeping well and moving around much easier.
My wife keeps telling how wonderful it is to see me stand up straight, even with a walker, and to see me just get up from a chair or couch and proceed. Hip itself still feels really strong and stable and I sooooooo want to start walking….to riff on Twisted Sister: “I WANNA WALK!!!!!”
Summary of pains:
- Achy-Breaky (you’re welcome for the pop country song earworm if you know it)
Mid thigh and pelvis area reporting intermittent spells of achy/crampy pain. Pelvis aches anywhere and everywhere it likes – from under abdomen to pubic bone. 2-3 on pain scale. Icing pubic bone is not, um, pleasant or sexy, but it does the trick.
Stitches/incision. Sometimes also feels like it’s pulling. This is 1-2.
Top of thigh feels a bit of a pinch/grab/tension like it would really, really like to stretch.
Side of thigh/hipbone area reporting occasional pinch
- Tensey-Wound Tight Rubber Bandy (sorry, can’t stop with the country song/nursery rhyme twangy wangy now):
IT band reporting tightness. Not pain, just an awareness/weird feeling that there’s a rope along my thigh. Now gone.
That’s it. Seriously. That. Is. It.
If it hurts, ice it. If it’s above a 6, call clinic. Very, very doable and I’m still just so grateful and amazed at how well this has gone from a post-surgical pain perspective.
Life in the PanicVerse
OK, this is BIG NEWS. I have discovered kryptonite to the anxiety beast. This amazing weapon is called….dramatic music….my care team/clinic’s phone number!! Last week I was sitting around panicking over the achy breaky pelvis (because of course it COULD BE….more fractures, screws migrated into my gut, loosening of the cup, sinking of the cup, impending dislocation, etc. etc. etc.) and I suddenly pulled my head out of my (*bleep
*) and thought, “maybe I should call my care team?” Well! Will ya look at that? I call. I say I am concerned about the pain in my pelvic area because of the stress fracture. Nice person on the phone says will relay message to care team and they will call back. I sit and do deep breathing, plead with pelvis not to crack anymore. Phone rings. Nurse says all sounds very normal, that the hip is very stable even with the fracture and there can be HEALING PAIN associated with bones as they mend from the surgery and from fractures.
I almost started crying with relief but not before I asked “So….I don’t have a Sword of Damocles hanging over my head?” (oh, yes, I really did that). She said, “Nope.” And even if my chart now has an extra freak flag on it, I don’t care because, wow, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.
Now, because anxiety wants to find SOMETHING to worry on, I can roll out the big guns and say, “do I need to call my care team on you? Is the pain greater than 6? No? Then shut your trap and go sit on some ice.”
This has freed up a LOT of mental energy and sounds very simple and obvious, but dang was it effective.
Fear of dislocation goes down with each day of less pain. Each time I don’t leap to the conclusion that any twinge or pain is impending doom builds my confidence. I focus on how strong and stable it feels and remember how rare dislocation is.
Did golfer’s reach all the way to the floor for the first time. Had to. Dropped the plastic container of breakfast and it landed upside down so even world champion grabber skills wouldn’t work. Felt great. Move over, Sasha Cohen; I might change my hockey skates for figure skates yet. Or maybe I’ll incorporate my new spiral move into a hockey play. THAT would be one for the highlight reel.
Can lift leg onto couch or bed without extra assist from other leg. Have regained that muscle use with no pain.
Can pretty much settle anywhere I want to – couch, recliner, loveseat, lounger.
Short spins on crutches (not literal spins, of course – a trek or two up and down the hall) and continuing to do the three very basic PT exercises twice a day (quad and glute contractions and ankle pumps). Have been able to ditch the “push” mindset and adapt a “let’s use this time to listen to the body and promote gentle healing” approach. If it hurts, which it generally doesn’t, I stop. I take time afterwards to thank my body for its healing and tell it I’m doing everything I can to support it. Ice. Very beneficial.
Grabber skills have levelled up to cleaning up purrrr-a-medic, um, disruptions and lowering their food dishes for dinner without spilling. Which did happen. Which I cleaned up. With grabber.
Three weeks after her surgery, she’s doing stairs in rehab without pain. She’s exhausted, but pain free. She did both shallow and regular stairs and she gets to go home today. My wife and father in law can hardly believe it. She’s going to be able to get around the house independently after being bedridden for months. She couldn’t freaking move without a ten out of ten on the pain scale and she is doing steps now. It’s pretty humbling and inspiring to see how this surgery can change a life. That was a very, very good day.
My big, 2 week check in with the surgeon and/or the PA is Thursday. Everything possible is crossed for green light to go full weight bearing on Lefty. The wait is pure torture. Not gonna lie, if that thing isn’t stable or healed enough, I am probably going to have a bit of a meltdown despite myself. I just want to walk soooooooo badly. Also hoping that along with that I get green light to ditch either or both compression socks and the hated plasma flow cuffs – I call them the R2D2 units and I have to keep myself plugged in overnight because the max charge is 6 hours.
Yay. Ready to hand those over to the purr-a-medic that likes to attack the cords and flashing lights in the middle of the night. Have at ‘em, love. Tear ‘em up.
And now, let’s see what level 3 has in store…
As Mike Tyson famously said “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
Ha! That made me laugh - very true, though. All the "I shall adhere to a perfect recovery schedule" commandments? Yeah, body will have a bit of input, LOL.
When I was 29 and again at 37, I had straight-across-the bikini-line-for-5-inches surgeries. Talk about cutting a whole lot of muscle all the way through! Both times, regained all strength. Let your rotators heal up totally completely absolutely (check the chart in the library here for muscle healing time) and then give them some graduated exercise.
Oh, OUCH. I had one major abdominal surgery that cut through the whole abdominal wall and yeah, my insides felt like runny eggs for a few days. Whaddya know? They recovered! *checks chart*. Six weeks. Six weeks seems to be a big healing milestone, in general. My muscle pain is already feeling soooo much better (and it wasn't even bad) after 2 weeks, that I bet I will feel like a different person in just two more weeks.
Are you perhaps a writer for your day job?
Aw, thanks! I do write, but I don't get paid for it nor am I published anywhere except for a few really obscure literary journals. This downtime has me writing up a storm - which is really, really big silver lining!
And your favorite awful jr high tv show, what more can a person ask! That would be like me having found, I don't know, The Man From Uncle!
Well, you had to make me go and Google something, didn't ya? That show just sounds all kinds of amazing fun. I am halfway through the first season of Falcon Crest. Man, oh man, it is hysterical in its awfulness.
While you are sitting there, your cells are flat out at work rebuilding you better. Downtime in recovery is never time wasted, it is time invested in a wonderful future
Copy that! Taken to heart. Repeated during times of cabin fever. What I do now is in my control; what may happen in the future is not. Thank you for the reminder.
You are on the road to back to slap shots and goals! As you heal have found meditation/mindfulness and other ways to channel your energy in a positive way (like here!) equally important to physical side of the equation.
Oh, my gosh, the mental part of this was NOT something I had bargained for, but here we are. I told my wife the other day that this surgery was the most mentally draining of any surgery I'd had, even if the physical recovery was heaps easier than some of them and the result was better. If I get stronger mentally out of this recovery, though, I'm not going to complain. I can see now, though, or feel, actually, how much more confident I will be on the ice with a strong hip and a solid healing phrase behind me. I already feel a million times more confident in my walk and that's because I had no idea how unstable and weak my hip actually felt before the surgery.
Thank you all for your thoughts and encouragement - it really is appreciated.