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Post-PAO exercises October 21, 2009

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Dont try this at home!

Don't try this at home!

Around three weeks after my operation I had quite achy knees as well as the hip. It was suggested that this was because I was sat in a chair all day and not moving enough. The hospital didn’t recommend any exercises for me to do between discharge and physio (though I think this would happen in most cases). Huge thanks to Annick who suggested the following exercises, they have helped a lot!

[Don’t try these unless you are certain you can do them. If you do, take it slowly – I don’t want to be responsible for anyone hurting themselves]

1. Ankles – point and flex feet alternatively, do briskly and keep legs straight, will stretch calf muscles.  Repeat 10 times.

2. Bend one leg and put your foot on the bed and put a cushion under the other knee.  Exercise straight leg by pulling your foot and toes up, tightening your thigh muscle and straightening the knee (keep knee on cushion) Hold for 5 secs approx.  Lower slowly and repeat 10 times.

3. Both legs together and straight.  Bend your ankles and push your knees down firmly against the bed.  Hold 5 secs, relax.  Repeat 10 times.

4. Bring your leg out to the side and then back again to mid position.  Use dressing gown belt or similar hooked round foot if needed to help.  Repeat 10 times.

5. Bend and straighten your leg.  Repeat 10 times

6. Lying face down hips straight and knees together.  Bend knee as far as poss keeping hip straight and ankle flexed.  Repeat 10 times.

7. Lying face down, bend knee to right angle and lift foot towards ceiling.  Repeat 5 times.

8. Clench and release your buttocks. Repeat 10 times.

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28 days later October 20, 2009

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One month today since my operation. I can’t believe it! Time has actually gone quite fast.

I had hoped to bring you an update today my first physio session but it was cancelled just hour before! I am so disappointed. This was my first major milestone and now it could be delayed by as much as two more weeks. Hopefully I’ll get a cancellation but I won’t hold my breath. Thankfully, another hip woman has given me some exercises to do (I’ll add these in another post) to stop me wasting away completely.

My pain levels have dropped a lot this week and the last of the surgical glue was come off. I am finally feeling like I am making a recovery now. I hope it lasts. The only bad thing to have happened is that I have had a really bad reaction to some moisturiser that I put on the dry skin around my scar. It is red, bumpy and VERY itchy. There’s always something…

Scar status: Glue is all off now. Scar looks okay, a bit uneven in places but has healed well.
Pain levels: Pain was really bad at end of last week but I started to do some more regular exercises and that seems to have helped a lot. Hardly any pain now, just the odd twinge.
Medication: Hardly any!
Crutch ability: Have been out most days now and definitely building up some stamina.
High point of the week: Leaving my local area yesterday for the first time in a month. The world hasn’t changed at all.
Low point of the week: This morning when UCLH called to cancel my physio appointment.
Lesson learned: People really don’t make concessions when they see someone on crutches. They’ll just walk into you.
Main achievement: Going to a meeting yesterday.
Gains: God awful rash around my scar.
Losses: A stomach full of pills and surgical glue.

The video I wished I hadn’t watched! October 15, 2009

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This video, presented by the amazing Andi Peters, is from City Hospital in 2005. Jenny is undergoing a PAO. Just look at the fricking tools they used. No wonder it hurts!

Sleep is no longer my friend October 14, 2009

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I used to look forward to going to bed at night. I love sleeping; I can’t get enough of it. It was one of my favourite things and I was good at it too.

Now, I don’t want to go to bed any more because I know it will be painful and uncomfortable. I’ve tried every position (apart from laying on my bad side) and have tried putting cushions everywhere and anywhere. It’s no use.

Help! Does anyone know of any exotic sleeping positions guaranteed to be comfy for a whole night? Please let me know.

Week three update October 13, 2009

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I found this picture on Matt’s blog today which is a helpful illustration of the carpentry done on my hip. You can see how they have to cut the pelvis to make the socket a bit deeper. I know I have three screws but until I have my next x-ray I won’t know exactly what position everything is in now.

What I do know is that I am now in real discomfort. Even immediately after the operation it didn’t hurt this much. I think I was getting too smug that I could manage on headache tablets (paracetamol and diclofenac) and this is my body’s way of reminding me who’s in charge. It feels like there are pins being stuck into different parts of my hip and thigh and it isn’t nice. I am hoping it is just the nerves starting to work again rather than a sign of something I have done wrong.

I have done really well so far in keeping weight off my right leg. I am flamingo-like in my ability to perform tasks balanced on one leg. It all went wrong on Sunday when I went to return some books to the library and tried to hold the door open for a lady who was coming out. We had an awkward moment of “after you”, “no, after you”. Since I was the one on crutches she insisted…as I tried to release the door that I was holding I lost my balance and had to put my foot down. It didn’t hurt at the time but felt tingly for a while after once I had sat down. I don’t think the pain I have now (Tuesday evening) is because of that but not sure what else it would be.

Scar status: Glue is really starting to peel off now and looks disgusting. The actual scar is showing through and is very neat and pink. If the whole thing is like that then it shouldn’t look too bad.
Pain levels: Most of the week has just been a manageable ache but the last 24 hours have been much worse. Strange firework sensations in different parts of my leg. Hope that’s the nerves fixing and not something bad.
Medication: Paracetamol and diclofenac still plus some co-codamol for nights. Purchased in bulk from the chemist.
Crutch ability: Went on a 15 minute journey back from Nandos which was exhasting. Need to get out more.
High point of the week: Visits from friends on Saturday (karaoke and curry) and Monday (lots of laughter, homemade food and wine). The wheelchair makes an excellent extra piece of furniture.
Low point of the week: Last night – hip pain + period pain is just not fair.
Lesson learned: Don’t try and open doors for other people when you are the less able.
Main achievement: Going out three times and not falling over.
Gains: Pretty flowers, get well cards from overseas colleagues and homemade macaroons.
Losses: The novelty of working from my living room and my love of sleeping.

Week two update October 6, 2009

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Two weeks since my operation now. I hope the next few weeks go as quickly. I am pretty much back to work as normal now except I am working from my chair and can’t go to any external meetings. I haven’t gone mad from spending all my time sat in the same chair in my living room – yet. I’ve had at least one visitor every day which is really nice, I am making the most of the attention whilst I can. A friend who had an operation a couple of years ago told me that the novelty will soon wear off and no one will visit. I have been out of the house on three occasions this week. The first time was exhausting and emotional but the second and third were easier. We have brought the wheelchair out with us so that I can sit down if I get too tired or if I am nervous about being knocked over. The embarrassment of going to a pub in a wheelchair is outweighed by the guarantee of getting a seat!

The most frustrating thing is not being able to do simple things yourself such as picking something off the floor, or making lunch, or having a shower, or putting your socks on! I AM fed up with these surgical stockings. I have in my head that I have to wear them for six weeks but I’m not 100% sure. I suppose it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Six weeks of these babies

Six weeks of these babies

I have my first appointment with the physiotherapist in two weeks. No information provided about what I will be doing or what I should bring though. My 6-week check up with the surgeon is also confirmed now for 6 November. I must behave until then.

Scar status: Same as before but the glue is starting to peel off now. My lovely sister has bought me some Bio Oil which I will use as soon as I can.
Pain levels: No more sharp pains every time I sneeze, cough, laugh etc but it is still aching like mad. Seems to have got worse in the last 2 days.
Medication: Paracetamol and diclofenac still. The latter will run out tomorrow so I will have to find something else.

Crutch ability: Few trips out but still not confident. Sore hands.
High point of the week: Going to the pub (albeit in a wheelchair).
Low point of the week: Taking so long to go out and collect a pizza that it was cold when we got home. I cried.
Lesson learned: Recovery is not linear – thank you Maggie for reminding me.
Main achievement: Going out three times and not falling over.
Gains: Weight if I’m not careful. I am sitting on my arse a lot. And there are still lots of treats around.
Losses: Any chance of skiving off work.