Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I laid on my side!

Not to get ahead of myself, but that's a pretty huge accomplishment for just 6 days post-op (I believe it took about 3 weeks post-LPAO) and I'm feeling great! I was discharged from BI on Sunday, tying the record for shortest post-op hospital stay - you know how I roll! :D

The trip down to Boston was fairly uneventful, punctuated by dinner at Kitty's, our "traditional" (now that we've done it twice) stop - place is no joke! Got a call from Erin while we were there that I'd need to "pop in" to x-ray in the morning for one last view, which ended up taking just under an hour and a half - thanks in no small part to the fact that Dr. Kim is a Boston Children's dude performing my surgery at Beth Israel, which means nobody knows who the hell I am and what the hell I'm doing half the time. Surgery and recovery were painless (both logistically and thanks to my dear friend epidural), and my whole Boston crew showed up for a visit soon after I'd gotten settled in to my (second) room, bearing flowers AND a laptop, because they (and I'd have to say here Kelly especially) are awesome!

My folks headed home late Thursday morning, after hooking me up with some devilish almond croissant confection from Au Bon Pain, which I'm increasingly glad we don't have around here. Though the incision from hardware removal on the left side was definitely sore my pain overall was decidedly less than the last time 'round, leading them to remove the epidural Friday morning, a day earlier than before. Unfortunately due to some miscommunication my drain and foley didn't get taken out til that evening, so my first outing on crutches (skipped the walker altogether this time) involved two sacs hanging from my stylish johnny. Good thing the PTs are much more impressed by my crutches than my stellar appearance.

Unfortunately all the relative ease and goodness immediately post-op was interrupted Friday night by the most severe stomach discomfort I've ever experienced (including food poisoning!) because of the gas trapped by my immobility. When at 2am I finally felt like I could go to the bathroom I sat up and immediately vomited violently, which would have been bad enough without the pesky just-cut-open-pelvis aspect of my condition. Another round at 4am found me in the bathroom feeling worse than I ever have in my life, but by the morning it had worked itself out well enough that I could function, though without much of an appetite to speak of, probably best for all parties (including my poor roommate) concerned!

Alright I may have to take a snoozer before catching up to the present here at The Hipnotic - such is the life of a post-PAOer!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2 weeks

Oh barf! Yesterday Julie could tell I was dealing with some big stress and asked me to hold the biggest of the big in my mind while she worked her magic for a bit, then to hold the best possible outcome of that stress in my mind while she worked some more. And, as I should by now have come to expect from my Rushford Family Chiropractic experience, it was a revelation. I started tearing up right there on the table and thought I might lose it, whether from the sadness of the past 2 years or from the anticipated joy of recovery, it's hard to say. That best possible outcome, though, that was clear as a bell - I saw myself jumping from rock to rock in a little stream in the woods as the sun filtered down through the trees on one of those perfect mild Vermont summer days. Of all the things I miss, the ability to run ramshackle through the trees like a wildwoman has been the hardest to give up. Tiptoeing over an icy patch on my way home last night I realized I probably won't lose that caution for some time to come, but how nice it will be to fall without fearing I might snap my leg off at the root!

Thanks to February break next week I should be able to work in at least 3 or 4 more adjustments AND a massage before surgery, which is fantastic. My spine's been going through a lot of changes just in the past few weeks and I'm dreading losing that momentum post-op, though hopefully I won't have to go too long before being able to travel to the office and be adjusted comfortably again. If nothing else, the changes in my shoulders are sure to make for (relatively) easier crutching, and I'm interested to see if the alignment is different enough that my callouses will be different this time around. Yes, that's how narrow my field of interest becomes post-op - "Oooh, look at the palms of my hands!" :)

Break next week will afford me a goodly amount of time to get my apartment in order before it becomes too difficult to clean (physically, I mean!), as well as to deal with some of the anxiety I've been pushing away in favor of dealing with more immediate matters. Julie reminded me of a great breathing technique for getting calm and centered, perfect for when my mind starts going in 4 million directions. I think the contrast between that and 3-4 days spent immobile in the same bed post-op is one of the greatest I've experienced in my life! She also mentioned Silent Unity as a service I might avail myself of, saying "You put in a request and they hold you in prayer", such that in my mind's eye I saw a circle of strangers actually holding me and praying, which as it turns out is not how it actually works. Pretty cool concept, though! I'm reading Compassion in Action right now and there's a wonderful moment Ram Dass describes with a meditation group that has a similar effect on him - it feels like no accident that I picked up the book when I did, and I'm sure Ram Dass would agree!

Monday, February 15, 2010


I've been pondering a tattoo a lot lately (Don't tell my mama!) and whether or not I'd like to incorporate something hip-related to pay tribute to my dysplasia days - pretty well torn between it being something that defines me and something that I can and will move past...

In the interim, however, HOW COOL IS THIS?!

Oh etsy, what a pity for us both that I'll have so much time next month for browsing and so little money to back it up!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Well I'm 4 weeks pre-op today, but perhaps more importantly have stumbled upon the brandy-new International Hip Dysplasia Institute website, with totally apt and in no way bizarre spokesperson Larry the Cable Guy! Strange but true! So happy to see such a website go up (the first of its kind, to my knowledge) having been thwarted in my intrepid googling when I was first diagnosed - ending up with a whole lot of useless information about dogs and, if I was lucky, babies. I never thought I'd become any sort of rah-rah hip advocate, but stuff like this really makes my heart glad - now if only everyone would stop assuming I've had hip replacements and spellcheck would accept that "dysplasia" is actually a word! Then my life would truly be complete. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

5 weeks pre-op

Oh yes indeedy! Lately I've been weighing the relative merits of going in blind to this type of undertaking versus knowing what to expect. I think the distinction is really that between fear and dread. I'm not particularly scared this time around, but I am really really really not looking forward to going through it all again. Poop. But! Meanwhile my post-op hip is treating me fantastically, which is a good motivator for RPAO as well. Until recently my right hip has remained relatively asymptomatic, save for some incessant popping that only started after my LPAO. The past few days, though, have slayed me with sciatic pain on the right side, something I also experienced early on after diagnosis when I was just sorting out all the weird ways my left side had been coping. (Even then it was only on the right side, which I guess is fairly common for sciatica.)

I saw Dr. Hoo yesterday in so much pain I wasn't sure I could get up off the table, but of course she picked up immediately on the source of the discomfort and went to work. When I finally did get up the pain was somehow even worse and I could barely get back into my car. An evening's relaxing with three Lidoderm patches and a good night's sleep seem to have allowed the NSA voodoo to work its magic, though, as I woke up this morning with nothing but a dull ache remaining. Great success! Also a fine reminder of what it's going to be like when I can't bend on the right side - nearly busted out my hip kit grabber, but I think I'll save that for when I'm back on crutches for real. :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

8 weeks pre-op

Really? Really. I just counted on my calendar! Sort of feel a bit like slamming my head in a door, but there you have it - RPAO, here I come!

My principal has been kind enough to grant me permission (or, as I just typed, "persimmon") to take the month of March off for the next chapter in my medical odyssey. As such, I will likely be on crutches for John & Ali's wedding, but decidedly NOT on crutches for the summer, which makes me OH-so-happy. Hopefully the timing will also coincide with a dramatic decrease in snowcover on the sidewalks - this is, at least, my master plan.

Unfortunately Dr. Kim is traveling a good deal these days, so the only pre-op appointment available to me is less than a week before my surgery date. Annette, his wonderful scheduler, said "Well, what if there's some reason why you can't have the procedure?" and I went "Errr...", thinking simultaneously "Well, then I won't have it?" and "What the hell reason could there possibly be?!" I can't think of one, but then I'm not, you know, a doctor.

Regardless, I am equal parts dreading going through all this again and elated to be getting it over with so soon. By the time I'm off crutches from this surgery I'll have spent 6 months of a year on the bastards. Truly worth it, though, I'm sure. Now that I've passed the 6 month post-LPAO mark I'm beginning to appreciate just how big an impact it's had. My leg is solid, stable - the joint is fluid and pain-free (aside from the continued nerve-regeneration pain, but that's GOOD pain!). I have a good leg! A leg to stand on! It is, in a word, awesome.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a bit pariah-esque because of all this - having to take a break from the bulk of my physical life for years now - but the alternative is a notion I can't begin to entertain. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to get better, no matter the cost. Let's DO this! :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

5 months post-op

It's a little weird to think that I still haven't spent more time bipedal since surgery than I did on crutches - those days seem so far behind me! I think it's like they say about women having evolved to forget much of the pain of labor so that they might want to actually do it again. I've been thinking back on my hospital stay and realized how little I remember of the first couple of days, how the memory of getting out of bed for the first time is a visual one and not a sense one (though I seem to recall my sense was something like "HOLY SHIT THAT HURTS!"). Good thing, as I reluctantly look ahead to scheduling my RPAO in the spring. Though my right hip is deteriorating at an astonishing pace (having been entirely pain-free pre-op), I'm hopeful it will still be much better off than ol' lefty was going into surgery, and thus recovery will be easier. That's logical, right?!

Meanwhile my op leg seems to be coming along dandily. I walked a mile last week for the first time and Sunday played a full 18 holes of discgolf (in a t-shirt, no less!) - poorly, mind you, but it was still marvelous to get out there. Definitely slow on the inclines, but I make it up nonetheless, and don't experience pain so much as weakness. My dear PT Susan and I are working steadily on that, though, trying to shore up both sides as best I can without compromising one over the other. It's a balancing act, in more ways than one! I've been seeing her about once a week and getting regular ultrasound massage on my left IT band, which is tight like a tiger these days. I saw my GP, Dr. Crose, last week and, in addition to getting swine flu up the nose, got a prescription for lidocaine patches for my right hip as it worsens.

Intellectually I know that medicine is a science, but it's funny to me how just asking about something (in this case for a topical pain solution instead of the 1600+ milligrams of daily ibuprofen I was prescribed for 9 months leading to surgery) can completely change the doctor's approach. I definitely appreciate her willingness to hear me out on such things - we're both fairly new to this process! Haven't picked up the patches yet (and hope to use them only in dire circumstances) but Susan warns they're pretty powerful stuff and can seep meds into the capillary bed, meaning the numbness might spread any old which way. Regardless, I'll certainly not be keeping them on for the SIX TO EIGHT HOURS they supposedly work for. I'd like to at least be able to feel like I have a hip!

In terms of numbness on the op side (no meds needed there!) I've been getting a lot of surface sensation back, which is great, if painful. I truly welcome the pain, though, since it means I'm healing! The incision has reached a rather uncomfortable (burny/stabby) part of the healing process, but Susan assures me that as long as it's pinky-purpleish (which is definitely still is for the most part) it's still healing under there somewhere, so that's good. She claims that it will eventually just look like a thin white line, but at this point that seems, to quote Ralph Wiggum, unpossible. In any event, I'm feeling better and stronger (at least on the left side) with each passing day, and oh-so-pleased with my PAO. In case you couldn't tell. :)