Thursday, April 18, 2013

The View from the Other Side

Well, here we are, one week later, and I'm healing up nicely. It feels so good to have the operation over and done with, to be moving forward into the next phase of my life.

I went in to the hospital early last Friday morning, escorted by my family. Got gowned up, talked with my anesthesiologist and surgeon, then was wheeled into the operating room. It seemed full of machines (where was the machine that goes 'ping'?), and people in surgical gowns with masks. They introduced themselves, then put the needle into my hand for the IV. I started to cry. They asked if I was in pain. 'No, I'm just scared.' I sobbed. They were sympathetic. "Nobody really likes to be in here with us", they said.

So I had a little cry, then got the needle for the epidural, which I almost immediately felt sending ice down my legs. They laid me on my side, and said I'd be awake, but woozy for the operation. I felt them moving my hip around, and was about to protest that they hadn't given me enough freezing, when someone said, "That's it. You're done." What a relief. I hadn't liked the idea of being awake while my hip was dislocated. 

I was wheeled to the recovery room, where I kept myself entertained waiting for the feeling to come back to my legs. They felt as if I'd put them asleep from sitting and meditating for way too long. The difference was, there was no pins and needles as they came back to life. Eventually I got wheeled into a lovely private room with a view, where I spent the next three days.

The staff were friendly, though of course the food was terrible. In a place where people are staying to heal, don't you think the food would be packed with nutrition, rather than devoid of it - and flavour? The first couple of days I could barely swing myself out of bed to a walker, then shuffle to sit on a commode beside it. But by the last day I was walking myself to my private bathroom, and the morning I left even got a shower. Pure bliss!

I came home on Monday, and it was so lovely to wake up the next morning in my own bed, with the birds singing outside the window. I learned that first night not to be too stingy with my meds, as I couldn't sleep for the pain. So far I have to sleep on my back, rather than on my side as I usually do. One of the hardest, and most painful things is getting in and out of bed.

My three precautions that I have to keep up for three months are:
1. Don't bend at the hip more than 90 degrees
2. Don't cross your legs
3. Don't twist at the hip

Not so hard now, but I have a feeling they'll be difficult as I feel more capable. Apparently these movements put my hip at risk for re-dislocation, though on physio did say it would probably only happen if I was in one of those positions and got knocked by the dog or something.

Anyway, it's almost a week later, and though I'm getting pretty good at hobbling around with my walker. Today I actually 'walked' just scooting it in front of me, stepping one foot in front of the other without limping. I can put more weight on my right leg every day, and have invented a little sideways shuffle of my feet for going short distances. More humorous than efficient. 

After a week off, I got back to restorative yoga practice yesterday, and it feels SO good! Sleeping on my back has been uncomfortable, with this crunchy feeling behind my ribs that I knew would be fixed by some Supta Baddha Konasana. I'm trying to incorporate breathing exercises, though it's hard to keep my mind present, as the drugs take me interesting places. This posture, who's name eludes me at the moment, feels the most delicious, as it opens up space in both my hips. 

I had a moment of standing without my walker this morning that started me jubilantly singing 'I'm Free!' It was an amazing sensation, tho I've only been hobbled for a week, and every day it's getting easier to move. It gives me empathy for those, my Mum among them, who need to use walking aids all day every day, with no end in sight. I am counting my blessings! 

Today's quote: “You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird. 

1 comment:

  1. Great account of your journey! I remember getting in and out of bed was the scariest after my surgery too, though I can only imagine how much more difficult it must be with a hip. Good to keep ahead of that pain too, as they always tell you but you don't really understand until you get behind it! Glad it's going swimmingly so far :)