FAI: update

Just over three weeks after surgery. It’s much better than it was. I’m weight bearing at 10% and that’s going okay.

My hip doesn’t like being in one position for too long; it gets sore. The front of my thigh is sore from physical therapy exercises. I was lying on my right side this evening with my leg draped over Xander but apparently not completely supported; when I got up, nerves all the way down my leg, all the way to my foot, suddenly felt like they were on fire. It was intensely painful for several minutes, enough that I had tears running down my face. It didn’t hurt while I was lying down, but it was very clear that I’d screwed up as soon as I stood up. I will make absolutely sure that my whole leg is supported from now on. My left foot gets cold more easily than my right, which is not that surprising since I don’t use it as much so there isn’t as much bloodflow. My left knee sometimes twinges at me.

On the other hand, I can put 10% of my weight on it. I can take a shower by myself as long as Xander shifts the shower head over towards the wall before I get in; I can do the rest. I can get dressed without help. I can make a sandwich, at least a basic peanut butter one, if I need to. I can pick up Katja and snuggle her as long as I’m careful about it. I’ve figured out how to stand up without putting weight on the left leg, which means that I can help a little bit more. I can change a diaper now as long as Katja cooperates, which she generally does. I can fold laundry, though I can’t put it away unless Xander carries the basket into other rooms.

I don’t take any painkillers during the day now. I sometimes take Ibuprofen at night, but it isn’t consistently necessary. My hip aches often, but not enough to force me to take drugs. My sleep schedule is still screwy, but taking melatonin seems to be evening that out slowly. I was waking up at 3:00 AM and not being able to go back to sleep, but this morning I slept until 6 and it felt good. I’m still tired all the time and my temper is shorter than it should be. I don’t have much patience. I’m having a hard time not feeling somewhat depressed because I’m not really pulling my weight, to say the least, and I’m not getting my endorphin fix. I’ll get to start swimming again soon, since the incisions are almost healed. One of them is completely healed. The other two are still scabbed over. Once I can get back in the water, I’m hoping my emotions will even out some and my frustrations will ease somewhat.

I’m trying to be patient with myself. Xander is taking very good care of me. My mom and his family have been helpful, too. Katja still flings herself at me, but we’re both learning to deal with it.

I knew it would be a slow process. Less than a month in, even with all the gains I know I’ve made, it’s very difficult to feel like it’s going well. I know intellectually that it’s going really well. Emotionally, though, it’s difficult to deal with getting tired just from spending a day at work when three months ago I ran (well, ran and walked) a half marathon.

Slow, steady progress. I have to be okay with that or I’ll do myself damage and it will take even longer.

FAI: Physical therapy

First day of physical therapy this morning. It went pretty well. I don’t seem to have ┬áscar tissue limiting movement so far. My range of motion is actually greater than I thought, which is nice. I was given exercises to do. Leg lifts used to be relatively easy, but at this point I can do four before I’m shaking and starting to sweat, so I’m supposed to do the same exercise while standing up instead of lying down so I’m not fighting gravity. I am tired and sore this evening.

I used to belly dance (and probably will again at some point) so the concept of isolating muscle groups is not alien to me. One set of exercises has me using my foot and calf without using my thigh muscles at all. For the most part that isn’t too hard, but there’s one that takes a lot of concentration to manage to not use my thigh muscle. It gives me something to focus on when my hip is aching from the earlier exercises.

One very nice thing is that the therapy appointments are before work. It means that I’m tired and sore when I get to work, which is hard, but it also means I’m not waiting for it all day. It’s just done with. I like that.

Thursday morning I start putting weight on my improved hip. I’m a little nervous about it, but I trust that they won’t push me past what I can do or past what is safe. I am looking forward to starting to get back to normal, though I know I’ll be on crutches for a while longer. In two or three months I’ll be back to something approaching normal. Sometime in the next few weeks I will get to go swimming again, though at first it will only be with my arms.

Whenever I start running again I’m going to work first on getting my cadence where it should be for running. 180 beats per minute; fast, light, small steps. I wasn’t anywhere near that before, but now I have a chance to recreate how I run and I’d like to learn how to do it better than I was before. It’s a chance to change, to get better; might as well take it! It’s something to look forward to.

FAI: Two weeks (and two days)

It’s been two weeks and two days since my surgery. I’m much better than I was to start with. I’m not great, of course, but it’s better. I’m mostly not taking naps, though today I took a short one because I was exhausted; I got a flu shot two days ago and it caught up with me today. I was hot and cold, achy most of the day, and feeling off. My left leg was also hurting more than it has in a while, which was irritating.

I’m only taking half a Vicodin at night now and none during the day. I am sometimes taking Ibuprofen to calm everything down a bit, but mostly the pain is tolerable. My hip does not appreciate being in one place for very long, so I shift a lot when I’m sitting. I don’t sleep very well yet. Last night I slept six hours, woke up, adjusted, slept another hour or so, and then I had to get up for a little bit. It’s not exactly restful. It is much better than having to take more Vicodin just to get to sleep, though.

I keep having to focus on what’s getting better. I am moving around more easily. It doesn’t hurt as much. I am getting some undrugged sleep. I am taking showers more regularly (very important for my happiness). I went back to work yesterday, which may be part of why I was so tired today. I have my first physical therapy session on Monday, so I’m really looking forward to that; it won’t be fun, but it will be progress.

It is still painful. I don’t move it any more than I have to. I don’t ever twist it. I sleep on my back with it pretty much immobilized against the side of the couch. If Katja is anywhere near me, I have a pillow on my thigh in case she heads my direction. There are times, however, that it doesn’t hurt, so that’s a nice change. I am very careful to not put any weight on it because I am very worried about hurting it more; there’s no chance I’ll push that boundary. I want to get better as soon as possible and I refuse to run the risk of hurting it more.

I’m working very hard on being patient with myself. It’s difficult. I’m used to being smart and useful and catching on quickly. Right now, I’m physically slow and my brain doesn’t work the way I expect it to. I’m rather far from useful, too. I’m dependent on Xander for most things and he has to deal with Katja because I can’t. I need to learn how to get up from the floor before I can get back to being more useful; changing a diaper right now is basically impossible, as is changing her clothes, playing with her, and many other things. I’m not strong enough to press my way up a wall (I tried) and pulling myself up without putting weight on the injured leg is extremely difficult. For the moment, I remain useless. That’s very hard for me.

It’s a long process. It might be a year or more before I’m able to run another half marathon. I plan to do it eventually, though, and the more I’m patient with myself now, the sooner that day will come. Patience is what I need most right now.

FAI: ouch

Note to self and anyone else with a small child after surgery: even if the child has spent the last two days being very careful of you and moving slowly, be very aware of the small child at all times or you could end up getting head butted at an incision site while the child is trying to show affection.

All my nerves all the way down my left leg completely went off. I iced for a while, then went and crutched around for a while to stretch everything out a little. I’m still hurting; definitely taking painkillers tonight. I will also be much more careful of Katja. She got tired and wired and was trying to give me a hug but was a little over-exuberant. It’s not a huge setback, but it definitely hurt.

I didn’t take any naps today, not on purpose but just because I didn’t push at all. The errands that needed to be run were ones that involved lots of walking, which I’m not up for at the moment. I got a lot of reading done and spent the day on the couch. Tomorrow I will try to get out a bit and crutch around more.

Tonight I am hurting and very glad that there are pain pills that I will take before trying to sleep. Once in a while they are necessary and very, very useful. Tomorrow will be better.

FAI: update – doctor’s visit

Stitches came out today! The incisions still have to stay covered for the next week to ten days, but it’s nice to not think about the stitches. Of course, one of the little pieces of tape came off by the end of the day so now it has a waterproof band-aid on it. The tape should stay on for 7-10 days, but they’re all on my thigh and sometimes get caught by clothing, so I’ll just keep replacing them if they fall off.

I also got anti-nausea drugs so I can take some painkillers and still also be able to eat. That helps a lot. I took a nice long nap this afternoon and I plan to be asleep by 11 tonight. I also learned that I’m supposed to do toe-touch on two crutches because it’s easier on my hip. That wasn’t very clear when it was first explained. Makes life easier, anyway.

Random leg cramps are irritating, as are muscle spasms.

I have physical therapy starting in a little over a week. Once the incisions are healed up I’ll be able to get back in the pool again, which will really help my state of mind.

No huge improvements, but having the stitches out makes me happy. Oh, I got to see the pictures from the inside of my hip – they’re fascinating! No sign of arthritis, which often follows FAI, so I got pretty lucky there.

FAI: One week from surgery

Surgery was a week ago today. I’m tired a lot, in pain a lot, and I am not particularly amused by crutches. I don’t like painkillers because my stomach rebels. I don’t much like eating either, though, because I sometimes get a little nauseous even without painkillers. This may have something to do with the hours and hours I spend lying down on the couch. I think digestion is set up to make use of gravity and this isn’t ideal.

On the good side, however, I can take a shower if I want to. I’m getting better at crutches, even though they make me very sore. Being off painkillers means I can engage with the world a little more, and I’m spending ridiculous amounts of time on Facebook and Twitter, which is a rather amusing way to spend my time. I’m reading a lot, too. I’m making sure to get out at least once a day to get practice in on the crutches, since I really need to build up my shoulders and arms. That’s hard, but at least I feel like I’m accomplishing something. I’m taking naps whenever I want to (which is often) and that feels rather decadent. I find out tomorrow when the stitches come out and when I start physical therapy.

I have been very careful to not push my healing leg. I don’t touch down unless I’m standing still and not putting any weight on it. I don’t twist it at all, having learned that it hurts if I do. I can pick up my leg a few inches to put a pillow under it and that doesn’t hurt, so that’s good, I think. Once the stitches are out I’ll be able to swim again, though I’m sure it will have to be without legs for a while. It will be good to get back to some kind of exercise, anyway.

My mom made me a beautiful bag that I can wear slung across my body. This will let me do things like take lunch to work with me and carry around files and pencils and such at work while I’m on two crutches. I’m really happy that she made it; it replaces an older bag I got at a conference which is not beautiful and is falling apart. This one will last for years and is quite lovely.

I’m tired all the time. I’m in pain to some extent much of the time. My sleep schedule is screwed up. I know, though, that it will get better. Thinking about last week, it has already gotten much better. Last week everything was constantly tender and in a lot of pain; now it’s an irritant, not a roaring pain, and I can get by without mind-numbing painkillers. I can do things by myself now. It will be a while before I will feel comfortable driving because my reflexes and my brain are both not working well, but there are other people who drive me around, so it’s not bad. I sat at a table to eat dinner tonight instead of eating on the couch as I’ve done since I got home; tonight I was strong enough to sit up and be stable. Last week my hands were shaking and I had to drink out of a straw to avoid spilling; this week I’m drinking out of a glass with no issue. Katja and I have adapted and she stays on the side away from the healing hip; it’s not ideal, but at least she gets snuggle time.

It’s getting better. When I get angry at myself for being so worn out, I think about last week and realize that I’m doing okay. It will take time. In two or three months I’ll be mostly back to normal. In six months I will hopefully be able to run again. In the meantime, my primary focus has to be healing well and completely so when I can get back to doing what I love I don’t have to stop again because I’ve re-injured my hip.

One week down. It’s a start.

FAI: Day seven

I went out today with my mom to get fabric for a new bag that I can carry while on two crutches. Hiking around the fabric store wore me out so much that I had to go sit in the car. I was drenched in sweat. We went to the grocery store afterwards and I got to ride around on one of those little motorized carts. That was fun – they have a surprisingly good turning radius! When we got home, a friend brought over lunch, which was wonderful. I figured I’d close my eyes for a few minutes. Almost three hours later I woke up, having slept through a phone call and a text message. In other words, healing still requires lots and lots and lots of rest. Big surprise.

The stitches have been itching and stinging a little today. They’re not infected, so I’m hoping it’s just a sign of healing.

So far I haven’t even done toe touch weight bearing because I’m very worried about doing more damage. I know I’m probably being overprotective, but I need to heal up as well as possible so I can start chasing Katja around again. At almost two, she’s a handful. Xander and my mom are completely capable of handling her, of course, but at some point my mom will go home and I’d prefer to be back fully on my feet as soon as possible.

My hip is pretty achey along the side and top. It also twinges sometimes in the joint itself. I didn’t twist anything today, so that seems to be a lesson learned. My lower back and shoulders are sore from the crutches because I still need to get stronger. I may start crutching up and down the driveway a little just to build up muscles. I’m trying to get out periodically, but it’s really hard work. All the more reason to do it, I suppose.

I’m working on being patient. I had the surgery on Thursday and it’s Wednesday now. I want to be able to be moving more, have more energy, not have to nap as much, but I’ll take what I have: it’s healing well, I am mobile to an extent, and people are taking care of me. I just have to keep on being patient with myself and letting it heal at its own pace.

Almost forgot to mention that all of the numbness in my pelvis is finally gone. That helps me mentally.

FAI: Day six

Today I actually left the house! It was amazing. Also rather exhausting. It was only really amazing because I’ve become quite so accustomed to the view of part of our living room that seeing anywhere else, even though the world is still pretty smoky because of the Rim fire in Yosemite, was really nice.

This morning I took off the bandages. I was kind of working myself up about it, so I just did it about 8 or so, I think. The thing I thought was a nasty bruise turned out to be pen from where the surgeon marked my leg. There is a bruise next to one of the incisions, but it isn’t too awful. There are three incisions, all fairly small. The stitches make me feel a little green so I put band-aids over them. I’m slowly working on getting rid of all of the adhesive from the initial bandage; that will take a while. Icing works much better now, though, which is nice; it doesn’t have to go through the very thick bandage anymore.

I took a nap. I do that a lot right now.

My mom took me to the gym where they have a shower chair in one of the showers. It’s a little odd that they also have stairs, so anyone in a wheelchair couldn’t actually use it, but that’s not uncommon in this town, unfortunately. I got to the locker room and we sat for a little while to wait while the swimming class cleared out, then I took a shower. I washed my hair. Can I just say that clean hair after this many days is a pretty wonderful thing? After I’d gotten dried off and dressed, I sat on a very comfortable chair in the lobby while my mom went swimming. I admit to spacing out and almost falling asleep. Apparently eight steps is a workout for me right now. We stopped at a local burrito place and got junk food (a bean and cheese burrito for me), drove around a bit to run an errand, and came home.

We ate, and then I took another nap.

I’m still in pain. Oh! Rotating my hip is a Bad Idea. I found this out while getting out of the car today; I turned my body before bringing my leg around (I pick up my leg to move it much of the time) and it was distinctly unpleasant. Note to self: don’t do that again, dimwit.

I’m having a hard time not thinking about the incisions and the stitches.

I’m still not sleeping consistently. No painkillers today, which is both good and bad. My stomach is still irritable, though I’m not sure why. I wake up for an hour or so in the middle of the night because I can’t get comfortable. I really want to be back in my own bed, but we sleep on a futon and I can’t figure out how to get up from it safely and how to keep our daughter’s nighttime wanderings from ending up on my hip or kicking it, so for the moment I’m relegated to the couch. It’s comfortable, basically, but it’s not my bed. I’m icing a couple of times a day when the pain bugs me too much.

I’m going to try to get some sleep now, though I expect it will be a long time coming tonight.

FAI: Day five

It’s been five days since the surgery? Wow.

The pain pills have been really screwing with my stomach to the point that I was up until almost midnight last night with stomach cramps. I took my last dose at 1:30 AM this morning and decided to try just going without to see how it went. There is more pain than I expected. Not more in terms of worse, because, while there’s pain, it isn’t overwhelmingly completely awful. There is more pain, however, in terms of the rest of my body. My left leg had surgery, so that hurts. That’s a given. The pain in the muscles and joints of my knee and ankle were somewhat unexpected, though, and my back, neck, and shoulders are all pretty achy.

All that being said, it’s okay. It isn’t great. It still hurts and it isn’t ignorable. On the other hand, it’s not bad enough pain to make me want to be sick or pass out, so that’s something.

Tomorrow is a big day. I get to take my bandage off (I’m a little afraid of what I’m going to see) and I get to actually take a shower. We’re going to go to the gym because they have a shower chair. My mom will help me get through a shower and then I’ll get dressed and relax on one of the big comfortable couches while she swims. I can’t wait to get my hair clean. It’s been bugging me a lot!

I still take two naps a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We’re figuring out how to let Katja snuggle without hurting me. We watched a silly movie tonight and all enjoyed it, so that was very nice. Tonight I will attempt to sleep without painkillers, but, if I need them, they’re within reach.

There’s no concept yet of being able to put my left foot down on the floor, but at least there’s some hope that this will eventually let me run again, even if it takes months. At least I’m healing now. It’s a start.

FAI: day four

I’ll only do daily updates until I get to a week and then I’ll do weekly updates or updates as things come up. For the moment, though, I’m a little bored, so I’m writing. Maybe it will help someone someday.

Today was frustrating. Katja is not getting her usual schedule because everyone is tired and out of sorts. That means she’s having a hard time, which aggravates everyone else, which ends up being a very unfortunate cycle. I really hope she sleeps better tonight. She may have a cold (I think Xander does, too) which doesn’t help anything either. I did figure out how I can snuggle her without running the risk of hurting my hip, though, so she’s gotten a bit more affection from me. She eats in her high chair in the living room because she wants to be close and it’s the only way everyone can eat together, since I’m staying on my couch for the time being. I feel bad for her; she doesn’t know what’s going on and her schedule is all screwed up.

I was irritable today. I don’t have the energy to actually do anything, but I am frustrated by not being able to help or to do what I usually do around the house. I will try to be less snappish tomorrow. Xander has been doing small, sweet things to keep my spirits up, which helps a lot. My mom has been picking up where we start fraying around the edges. We’ll get through and I will try to keep it from being worse than it has to be from my end.

I still have a little pelvic numbness, though less than yesterday. Pressure on the bandage hurts (yes, I know, that’s kind of a given) but it doesn’t feel infected, just painful. I did have a bout of stomach cramping and nausea this afternoon which may have been related to not eating much at all and then eating a lot when Xander brought food home from a wedding yesterday afternoon. I’m still not actively hungry.

I periodically think about how nice it would be to get up and crutch my way just down the driveway, and then I think about how I get tired just going to the bathroom and realize that I have a long way to go before I’m anywhere near back to normal.

It’s really irritating to only be able to sleep on my back. I want to sleep on my side or my stomach, as I usually do, but that’s not happening. Yet another small, niggling, irritating thing that doesn’t matter in the long run!