Monday, June 3, 2013

Prepare for the long haul

I've been told more than once that I limp less now than I did before my surgery. Which makes me want to consider my healing finished. But it's a long process. In fact, as I move forward, I realize that my sore hip was affecting me more than I understood.

It's a weird thing, how chronic pain seeps into one's life. At first a few twinges, a pulled muscle that doesn't go away. Pain after a long, beautiful walk with the dogs. I saw most clearly how far things had progressed when I saw myself through the eyes of my brothers and sister last Christmas.

I still have pain in my hip, but it's changing every day, for the better. I walked the dogs today, and felt a familiar lightness slipping into my psyche like an old friend turning up for coffee. I realize now in coming out of the pain how much it was affecting me. Much as I do my best to accept what each day brings, each 'no' carries a little sadness. Each 'sorry, I can't jump on the trampoline', or 'I wish I could come skiing too'. Even 'sorry, I can't help you with that', doesn't feel so good. 

Surgeon Visit
So I'm excited to be on the mend, to be moving forward, though my visit to the surgeon on Friday was a bit anti-climactic. He and the nurse were happy with my progress, and after watching me walk agree I'm okay to walk without a cane. 

The sad thing is the precautions stay. The family was hoping to say goodbye to the tall toilet seat, that gets stinky quickly. Not yet. So I still can't bend past 90 degrees, cross my right leg past the midline of my body, or twist at my right hip. For another 6 weeks, and maybe another 6 months after that!

The Precautions Continue
Turns out the precautions are not just to avoid dislocation. It's important to allow the body to build some thick scar tissue around the joint capsule, for long-term stability in the joint. Sigh.

So, here are the things you get good at in the looooong recovery from hip replacement.

1. Golfer's Reach
Since you can't bend forward at the hip 
without going past the recommended
90 degrees, one leg trails out behind 
when you bend down to give the dogs 
their bowls, sweep fluff into a dustpan 
or...pick up a golf ball.
2. Sock Pulling
I have borrowed this ingenious contraption, called the sock pull. It makes it easy to put a sock on my right foot, since I can't bend towards that leg. 

3. Uneven Downward Dog
This is how I get up and down from the floor, through a downward dog with my right leg extended. It makes me think of older students, who have looked at me with disbelief when I asked them to sit on the floor.

4. Asking for Help
I can't reach forward from sitting to pick up a cup from the coffee table. So I ask for help a lot. It's a good thing.

I'm doing my best to stay patient, to be in each day, and not look forward to the day the precautions are off and I can stretch my muscles out. It's going to feel sooo good! But I'm not looking forward to it or anything. Not at all. ;)

Today's Quote: There is no way to Happiness. Happiness is the way. ~ Buddha


  1. Who knew there was such a thing as a sock puller!!! Man, is forward fold going to feel goooooood someday!