Saturday, August 30, 2008

6 Weeks Out

Another week has passed and I'm more hopeful that I'll get the go ahead to wean off these crutches when I see Dr. Z this week.  The key will be if the bone has healed, so I'm anxious to see the x-rays (and get another peak at the screws.)  

Last weekend was definitely a turning point, as I'm feeling more and more like my old self.  A lot has to do with making it to the gym to ride the bike, which I managed to hitch a ride to 3 times this week.  Each workout showed improvement, going from 20, to 25, then to 30 minutes.  At one time I even upped it to level 2 for a couple minutes--I'm such a rebel.  The cool thing is that the first time I rode I was struggling to get to 40 rpms, and today I saw numbers in the 70s.  The whole time though I was very aware that 6-weeks post my original scope in February is when my cartilage re-tore, but still it felt good to ride.

Like I said, things have been looking up this week.  I actually went out to dinner twice (so that's twice in 6-weeks!)  I rode the scooter in Target & the grocery store.  It is a major bummer when the scooters are out, which also happened to me twice this week.  Everything else is pretty much status quo until I can ditch the crutches.  I am still looking forward to the day I can drive. But I know I'm feeling better as my son's class is going to the zoo in a couple of weeks and I was making arrangements with my husband to go, until he reminded me of my status.  It didn't even cross my mind that I might not be able to go! =)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Maybe It's a Sign?

So could this be a sign that I'm getting better?  I woke up on my operated side this morning! Totally freaked me out once I realized it, as this is something I haven't been able to do since early February.  It didn't actually feel good once I rolled over, but no damage was done.  I must be getting better because I don't recall rolling over on it in the first place.  I'll try to avoid laying on that side for now, but it's a major step.  Now if only sneezing would stop hurting . . .=)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

5 Weeks & Counting

In my attempt to keep a weekly journal on my PAO experience, I'm finding that week 5 may be a turning point in a positive direction.  It's been kind of an delicate balancing act, at times I'm bored to tears, but I've also seen glimpses of the life I knew.  

For instance, I went to the park with my mom & son and watched him play on the swings and run through the splash park.  I got out for an hour and met the girls for a much needed drink.  The key hear was to really limit myself due to the coordination required for the crutches; and also the logistics of of it all were silly as I had my dad drop me off.  I finally made it to the gym to ride the bike, but as expected I was wiped out after crutching around that place.  Maybe I'll get some killer arms out of the deal, that would be cool.  And I rode the scooter around the grocery store.  So although these all seem like very minor, everyday tasks they added up for one very busy week.

After leaving the gym today for the first time, I was surprised that I wasn't ecstatic about being there or what I just accomplished.  Maybe because it's more of a chore to trek around that place?  Maybe because some chick basically slammed a door in my face?  Maybe because it seems like people are either staring or trying not to make eye contact.  My husband had a good point that people are probably trying to figure out what is wrong with me, as there's not an obvious sign like a cast.  One lady asked if I sprained my ankle, which I responded 'something like that, I had my pelvis reconstructed.' She wasn't quite sure what to say after that, and I wasn't even trying to be a smart ass.  The good news was that I rode for a total of 20 minutes, and I just about doubled my RPMs from PT without even really trying after I got going.  It did take a few minutes to get going fast enough for the electronics to turn on, and I was a little worried at first but it all worked out.

As for the boredom, that's been one of the tougher challenges since the pain has subsided.  I guess it's a welcome sign seeing how I must be feeling better to wish I had something else to do besides sit around and wait to heal.  I just have to remind myself that this is only for a short period of time and I will be walking soon.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wow, I Needed That!

My 2nd visit to PT today was a huge relief;  I left there feeling a lot better both physically and mentally!  Why was it such a big deal?  Well, after last week's visit to the ER I have made absolutely zero progress and it's been kinda wearing on me.  I've been too afraid to hit the gym to ride the recumbent bike as I just didn't know what to expect.  I think I just needed the controlled environment of PT to prove to myself that it will be okay.  Now I'm ready to dig in.

I actually rode the bike for two sets of 10 minutes, pedaling at a whopping speed of 35 rpms and about 2 1/2 miles total.  Ok, so it's not the 100 rpms that I'm use to, but my hip felt so good going through that range of motion that I'm really encouraged to keep it up.  I haven't done anything cardiovascular-wise in over 5 weeks, so this is a really big deal! I have hopes of one day breaking a sweat.  I also worked on this heel slide move, and then I rolled on to my stomach and brought my heel to my rear.  The first one I did way too fast, and boy did that not feel so good.  But the bigger deal was that I was on my stomach. Once again, something I haven't done since the day before surgery.

So all-in-all I'm encouraged.  I'm still no where near close to driving, but as I learned through my last PT go 'round, things start to go fast once the muscles fire back up.  I hope to conquer the gym this weekend, more on that later as I'm off to take a nap to recoup.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wanna See It?

Ok, so this is kind of gross and you may not really want to see it.  But I was so impressed with what a difference a week makes that I felt the urge to share.

My incision isn't nearly as large as I had expected.  It's about 6-7 inches.  Plus I have a couple 1 inch slits on my thigh from the scope.  I thought I had drains, too, but I have no idea where those would have gone.

The whole thing was bandaged during surgery, and then removed on day 3.  I was left with a bunch of surgical tape covering everything that took the most of 3 weeks to totally fall off.  To me it looks like a mini mountain range with a really long peak from end-to-end.  I now treat it daily with Neosporin, and I think that stuff must be working just like the commercial shows--it's amazing!  The really gross part is that my PT wants me to massage it, and it is so gross to touch--yuck!  Not only is it bumpy, but it's still tender, and numb if that makes any sense.

After 1 week (notice the tape):

3 weeks (not sure what happened to week 2, but you get the idea):

Week 4 (you can't really see the peaks, but doesn't it look a lot better than week 3?!):

Saturday, August 16, 2008

4 Weeks Down, 4 To Go?

It's hard to believe that I've been sitting in this recliner for only 4 weeks, it's starting to feel like an eternity! I've read that weeks 3-4 are very tough because you start feeling better, but are still very restricted on your movements.  I can agree with that.  But I have high hopes that the next couple of weeks will bring me great accomplishments and I will be off these crutches before the next 4 weeks are up.

Week 3 started off good. I started PT, I saw my leg muscles start to work a bit, I was getting around better, I had my last blood draw, I had ditched my TEDs--basically I was going places!  I was finding small things to write about, like how I got into the car and didn't have to use my other foot to assist with the lift.  Or how I sent the CPM machine back.  Or how I started working from home on a minimal basis.  Then the purple foot thing started, and the TEDs went back on.  Then the wicked muscle spasm happened, and I wasn't getting around much at all and the muscles were telling me they needed a break.  And the way my schedule worked out there will be 10 days between my 1st & 2nd PT sessions.

So all in all, I've seen progress & I've seen regression.  But I know more progress in on the horizon.  I need to keep in mind that my body is still healing, and I need to takes things slow.  I've been having dreams that I'm walking without my crutches, and then I realize that I forgot to use my crutches and I rush back to get them.

So I will spend this week doing my exercises and icing in hopes of driving soon.  That's my big goal.  I will also spend more hours working from home.  And I will focus on getting more solid rest (if only these Olymipcs were on earlier!)  Onward & upward!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

One Long & Unexpected Day

My operated leg & foot have been taking on a purplish tone for the last week, to the point I thought I should phone the doc.  He said it's more than likely an inflamed nerve, but to be safe I should have an ultrasound to rule out a clot.   I was totally convinced that no clot existed, but how can I complain about something and then not take the good doctor's advice.  Plus what if there really was a clot and I put my health in jeopardy?  So off I went today to have the ultrasound.

On the drive over I decide to use my time wisely and do a couple new PT exercises--they're basically isometric holds trying to get the muscles firing again.  So I squeeze my quads (or what's left of them), slowly lift my foot off the floor as far as it will go (about 1 inch), and SNAP!  What the hell was that?!  In an instant I couldn't breathe, I was seeing spots, and I thought I was going to be sick.  My quad muscle did this terrible snap, pop, and flutter move like an overstretched rubber band that caved under pressure.  I was certain the muscle detached, or at the very least tore.  I let out this horrible scream, terrifying my mom and cousin as they hadn't heard the muscle make any of these awful noises.

I end up having the ultrasound (no clots!!), and then head over to the ER per my surgeon's orders to check out my quads.  My biggest concerns were, 1) a tear would require more surgery & 2) am I bleeding internally? which could be complicated by the blood thinners.  I'm sent off to have a CT Scan which was relatively quick and painless, except for all the radiation exposure (when I asked the tech how much I was exposed to she replied "A lot."  Great.)

CT Scan shows no rupture, thank God!  After 4 hours in the ER, it's determined that what I experienced must have been one wicked muscle spasm.  Those quads must be pissed off at how puny they've become and are letting me know!  I've dropped about 6 pounds and it's all from my leg muscles =(  Anyways, it's the best possible news so I'll take it.

It's off to rest & ice for the next couple of days, hopefully that does the trick!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Adventures of PT

So I ventured into familiar territory today as I started physical therapy for the second go-round this year. I've already clocked 8 weeks for my scope in February. Basically I'm back at square one, or maybe it's negative 50. Whatever it is I'll be there for many, many more weeks. But this is all a very good thing, and I'm starting about a month sooner than I thought I would, so I'm happy.

First & foremost I need to get driving! In order to do so I need to be able to lift my leg more than the 2 cm I'm currently able to get my foot off the ground. It's so crazy how my brain is saying "Lift!", but nothing happens. It's all about reprogramming the nerve sensors. So rule number one is to do what I can unassisted, and then use my hands to move my leg as needed. Little by little I'll get there. On a very cool note I was able to ride the recumbent bike for 5 whole minutes, mind you I probably averaged 5 rotations per minute but I still did it. I was also told to start massaging the scar and giant numb area on my leg to get things firing up again. I'll do it, but I won't like it--it feels like 100 shots of Novocain have been injected into my thigh and everything feels odd and droopy. Speaking of droopy, my quad muscles have turned inward if that's even possible. There is absolutely no muscle definition, they've pretty much have become a flap in the wind. Guess it will definitely give me something to measure progress against.

On a very weird turn of events, my mom & I are now going to PT together--her for her back, and me for my hip. Some moms & daughters might go shopping, or to the movies together. But not us, we go to PT. She was going to have to drive me anyways, now she has something to do instead of just wait I guess.

So what's on the agenda this week? Blood draw tomorrow (hopefully the last!), my cousin is also coming back tomorrow to help with the boy for a couple days (thank GOD!), more PT, more baseball watching, and thankfully the Olympics are on to switch things up a bit! Seriously, that is my week besides eating, sleeping, cha'robics, and the internet. Boredom has definitely set in.

Friday, August 8, 2008

3 Weeks Down & I'm On My Way!

Another week has passed, and I find myself even more thankful for the random everyday things I use to take for granted.  I continue to make mini accomplishments, enjoying every second of them!  What you asked?

1)  I just soaked in the tub! Mind you I have a deeper garden tub making the entry & exit all the more challenging, but I'd do it again in a heart beat.  Every bit of me got a little relief, from my throbbing big toe (from when I had to schooch my foot to take a step), to my ankles, knees, of course my hip, back, shoulders, arms, and neck.  It's amazing how every muscle is involved with each step I take.
2) Sleeping on my side for 1-2 hours at a time, with a king pillow down the length of my legs for support.
3) Shopping at Target.  The whole family ventured out to Target first thing this morning, and it was awesome.  Not because I got to drive the scooter, but because I'm use to frequenting that store on a weekly basis and it felt good to be out (and I only ran into 2 displays!)
4) Going to the doctor's.  Now mind you my doc isn't in a normal office, he's in a HUGE hospital, and I conquered the walk to & from all on my own.  Going there I thought I'd use a wheelchair, but due to my general fear of cooties and trying to hurry to get my dad to the golf course on time I made the trek on my own.
5) Enjoying the outdoors.  My wonderful friend loaned me a wheelchair, and it is so nice to have my husband push me around the block with my little boy sitting in my lap.  This kid hasn't sat still in months, so I secretly relish in the moment =)

It's crazy how even answering the phone that's across the house, or the knock at the door make for such a challenge, or how making a bowl of cereal involves so many steps.  But you do what you have to.  I'm able to water some of my flowers with this silly water bottle holder that goes around my neck, and I've changed some diapers and helped with bathing my child.  I also need to mention that I'm down to 1 pain pill per day, still trying to get to zero.

While this week has been very challenging due to my husband going back to work, I have found I've been able to do more than I than I've ever thought I'd be able to at this point.  I'm pretty much able to fend for myself (although not for my son), but with help it is much easier.  I've been so fortunate for my parents, in-laws, cousin, neighbors, and friends for taking such an interest and taking care of me and my family--THANK YOU =)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Visit with my Favorite Doc

Huge day, actually had to be some where on time this morning.  With the help of my fabulous cousin, I was able to get my son up and fed.  Then it was off to see Dr. Z.  Gotta give a shout out to my dad for the ride, especially since it wasn't looking too good for him to make his tee time.

I learned a long time ago, make my hip appointments first thing in the morning.  That cuts my visit from 5 hours to 3.  That is one busy place, but the people are so nice and I love my doctor (which may be why he's so popular) so it's totally worth it.

I was able to see my x-ray of my newly constructed hip (sorry I don't have a picture to share, I'll work on getting that.)  4 big screws and a lot more coverage over the femur, which is what we were going for.  Dr. Z seems pleased, but warned we're not over the hump quite yet.  The best thing was that he ordered me up PT and told me to get to the gym and ride the recumbent bike. That means I get to get out of the house, whooo-weee!  I also get to lose those sexy TED socks, but I have another 10 days of blood thinners and blood draws.  I did ask if I can do some water walking in the pool and he said I could do some high knees, but if I actually extended my leg out then my quad muscles will rip away from my thigh since he had to detach them during surgery.  I think I'll stay away from the water for now.   All-in-all a good visit, plus my dad made it to the golf course so I don't have guilt.

I also have to give a HUGE thank you to my good friend who brought over a pesto tortellini dish and to my neighbor for some Chinese bread that looks awesome.  It is so very helpful to be able to just put some food on a dish and heat it up.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Random Thought of the Day

Once I'm able to walk again, should I throw a huge Dance Revolution party? :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Calling in the Reserves

Oh how I'm trying to make lemonade out of lemons right now! Yes, I'm a control freak. Yes, I am working on learning to give some control up and taking the laid back route. Of course 'I' think I'm doing a pretty good job given the circumstances, but the universe must see things differently.

Prior to surgery I called a little family meeting to make sure we're all on the same page, and to get all of our schedules in sync. It worked out beautifully. Must have been a little too well. Since my husband works out of town, my mom was going to take the bulk of load taking care of my 2 year-old. Well low and behold her back goes out--UGH! Major setback, and I feel so bad as she's still trying to do what she can which is really hard to watch. So this has been going on for a few days. Then my AC went out--we're talking kaputt, needing total replacement. That's always good when one's self employed and not collecting disability. And then my sister calls this morning, mind you she's part of the back up plan since she just had a baby a couple months ago, and she's at Urgent Care for her back. WTF?!?!?!

Ok self, breathe.

The good news is that in any second now the AC people will be here with a new unit. Also any second now there will be people here to remove drywall from an area in our basement that sprung a leak. A little chaotic, but these things will be fixed.

So with my mom, sis, and myself out of commission that leaves good old dad. Poor guy, he also takes care of his sister and mom. We had a good laugh this morning about how desperate people must be to need his services. None-the-less he will be here in 30 minutes :) I'm hoping my 12 year-old cousin will think it's fun to come over and take care of the needy; summer vacation is not that fun anyways, right?!

I'm trying to keep this blog positive, because after all my physical recovery is coming right along. But sometimes one just has to vent.

Friday, August 1, 2008

2 Week Review--Mini Victories

Wow, somehow that second week went by fast.  Lord knows the first one didn't!  I am doing much better than I thought I would.  A lot has to do with this wonderful pain medication, Oxycodone.  Funny thing is, I'm not a medicine taker at all.  I fought tooth & nail in the hospital for my morphine drip not to be turned on automatically; and I'm now taking my pain meds every 6-7 hours before things start to surface.  I'd try for longer but I'm too afraid to find out what they're really masking!  I don't understand how people can take this stuff just for the heck of it, I have trouble keeping my thoughts straight am just in a general fog.

These first two weeks I've been spoiled with having my husband working from home and catering to my many demands and requests.  Everything changes come Sunday when he heads out of town. Maybe that's why I've really worked hard at gaining some independence this week? Whatever the case it's been a week of mini victories.  

What I can do:
1) Get in & out of the shower on my own (just conquered this today), although it's still a little scary.
2) Get dressed on my own.  (Reminder to self--bad leg first.)
3) Make myself something to eat.  Well, really take something out of the fridge and put it on a plate and work my way to the table.
4) Shave my legs, fortunately I have this little step in my shower to bring my leg up higher otherwise this wouldn't be happening.
5) I'm able to get my son out of his crib if he holds onto my neck.  Good thing we had practice with this earlier in the year when I had my scope, but I'm going to save this for when we're in a jam.  Just not worth losing my balance or mis-stepping.
6) Get myself in & out of the CPM machine on my own, but with help it's so much easier.
7)  Able to put my pretty TED stockings on & off by myself, sometimes.
8) Make it to the edge of the driveway to get the mail, although I'm still too scared to actually step out into the street.  The exercise is good as I need to get the blood moving & muscles firing.  Plus fresh air does wonders for the brain & soul.

What I'm still working towards:
1)  Sitting in a regular chair for any long period of time.  Thank goodness for the recliner!
2) Sleeping through the night.  One of these meds has me waking up to use the bathroom every night--so annoying!
3) Sleeping on my side.  I called my PT this week and told her that I have to find a way to change positions.  She said I could gently start to side-sleep, so I tried it.  It was awesome to be off my back, but then I realized I was stuck and unable to flip back over.  Felt like our old overweight dog who had the same problem.
4) Having my medical tape fall off my incision, I can't wait to see what it looks like.

What has helped me get through these first 2 weeks?:
1) My husband.  He's helped with everything from getting me in & out of bed, the CPM machine, the shower, the car, feeding me, tracking my meds, making runs to the store, driving me to get blood draws, and taking care of our son.  Whew, what a list.  He's probably secretly happy to hit the road.
2) My parents & in-laws.  They are second to none when it comes to helping with my son. We're so fortunate to have everyone chipping in.
3)  My friends who have taken it upon themselves to supply us with all the yummy, delicious food!  A huge thank you for all the thoughtfulness.  It's almost been worth the surgery to not have to think "what's for dinner."  The coolest part is that everyone makes their best meal, so we are in heaven =)
4)  Visits from friends and family to breakup the boredom.
5) Comfy boxer shorts to make it above my incision.
6) Tons of Gatorade and water for hydration and to keep those veins plump. 
7) A laptop to stay connected to the outside world.
8) Metaucil smoothies & fresh fruit to ward off the effects of the Oxy. 
9)  Lots of ice.
10) Borrowing my mom's recliner.  It's an absolute must for this surgery and the only place I can really get comfortable.
11) Although not a necessity, Tiger Baseball has really helped the evenings go by.  For the first time I'm thankful baseball is on like everyday.  I'm still sad Pudge is gone.

What's Next?
I see Dr.Z this coming week, so I'll be posting what he has to say.  Also, in a strange twist of events as my hubby hits the road I will be gaining a couple of new roommates.  Our very good friends sold their house unexpectedly fast and have yet to find a new home.  So they will be taking over our lower-level.  I think this is a win-win for everyone--they get a place to stay, my son gets a couple playmates, and I get a little extra help if needed.  Plus this may help me kick the pain meds faster so I can hang out and drink!