Monday, October 29, 2012

Watch that cyborg hip!

I'm thinking I have been very lucky with my THJR. I've had no swelling to speak of, no real pain and no bruising apart from a small bullseye around the drain site. I can easily walk with Simon and the dog and could probably even manage our super steep driveway if I had to but I'm not going to push it.

I've worked out how to lie on my left side, I call it my whale dance, so my back gets some respite. I'm still quite tired but that's thanks to the anaemia. I hope one day to be able to sit down and not feel like I have a phone in my pocket.

I did manage to do something stupid today - we'll see if I dodge the bullet. I bent over (a big no no) with straight legs ( even bigger no no) and felt the characteristic sensation of a hip joint about to part company. Being experienced in this happening with my previous original model hip joint I quickly corrected my error and I'm hoping I didn't do any damage to muscles or joint. That's the trouble with things going so well - you push the envelope. I even tried wall walking in the middle of the night and that was stupid and uncomfortable. I now swear to stick to my directions as advised by those wiser than myself and hopefully me and my hip joint replacement will be together for more than 20 years.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy one week anniversary

My bionic hip and I have been together just over one week and we're still happy. Though the hip is a little demanding. It insists I sleep on my back, don't bend over or kneel.

It's amazing how far I've come in a week. Last week getting in and out of bed was difficult. I hadn't even faced stairs and the thought of getting in a car was frightening. I can now easily get in and out of bed even if it is neither graceful nor elegant. I go up and down stairs easily repeating" Good goes to heaven, bad goes to hell". I can stand without my crutches longer and extend my leg further back and sideways when doing my exercises. I've tackled the steepish path to the letterbox and only needed a brief nap. I can pretty much dress myself apart from the TEDs and it only takes twice as long. I even cooked a meal and an emergency batch of cookies last night.

So things are going well. The Brufen is upsetting my stomach but I found some leftover omeprazole so hopefully that's old news. I have cut back my paracetamol/codeine intake. I haven't had anything close to pain - it is truly strange!

Now I'm counting down the days until I get to remove my manky dressing. Then my Frankenstein leg will be complete.

Based on how brilliantly things have gone I don't intend delaying the left hip. Hopefully this time next year I'll be a double cyborg. W00t!

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Going to the place the cyborgs belong.

Day 4 post THR found me at Armagghedon - the comic book/geek fest dressed as Oracle in my trusty wheelchair. I only managed a couple of hours but it was nice to be able to make the regular pilgrimage.

This morning I discovered that it is pretty much impossible to put compression tights on by yourself with only the use of a sock aid, shoe horn and grabber without getting seriously close to popping out that joint. I had taken the TEDs off overnight and intended wearing them during the day and having a rest at night but if I don't have a stocking assistant then I can't make sure I have them on before I get up so I think I'll be wearing the 24/7 for at least two weeks.

I seemed to have got the hang of getting into bed easily. I drag myself diagonally up the bed so my leg follows and end up easily positioned. The car is a bit more difficult. The guidelines say to get in from road level not from the curb. This is probably fine when you are getting into a family saloon but I'm trying to get into a Landrover so I end up trying to vault up. So now I try and find a curb and then pop my butt on the seat, lean back towards the driver's side, bend my knees and pivot around to get my feet into the foot well while still maintaining a greater than 90 degree angle. I have a slippy sheet on the seat to help with twisting.

I've been doing my leg exercises like a good little trooper but a little leery about weight bearing on my right leg while swinging the left one around.

I'm amazed how little pain I have. Much less pain than post- caesarean and I'm basically sitting on the wound. It must be magic. The only bruising I have is a small one by the drain site. I also have virtually no swelling. Amazing!

I'm still easily tired and had to have a nap after Armagghedon. The sudden hit of tiredness is amazing. I just suddenly find my eyes shutting and my head lolling right in the middle of doing things.

I do have the toileting and showering pretty much down pat. I had to use a disabled toilet today and it did not come close to my portable seat. I certainly agree a shower chair, a raised toilet chair and a grabber are essential tools. It's amazing how much stuff you drop when you can't bend over.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

The cyborg has left the building

Yesterday, two days after surgery I went home. There are certain parameters you need to meet to be discharged and I put on my over achiever's hat and did them. Part of the reason I was toileting and showering without assistance was thanks to the good ol MonSter. Basically when I need to PU I need to do it NOW! And can't really wait for someone to answer my bell. I also need to go a few times overnight because hip discomfort wakes me up and i notice that sometime in the near future it might be an idea to go to the loo - in fact why not now and it seems obsessive to call them in too often.

After surgery they want your bowels to work so laxatives are prescribed, particularly if you're on morphine. That would be fine but the medication that is failing to help my swallowing is working doubly well on my lower GI tract so when their powers combined I was impelled to rush to the bathroom quickly and repeatedly and again there is no time to wait for the nurse to be free. So toileting myself was pretty much ticked off day one, I could roll myself from my back to my left to sleep the night directly after surgery, I was hiking the corridors from the afternoon of day one and did stairs on the morning of day 2 - so much easier than I had expected!

The surgeon and anaesthetist came round at 6:45am on day 2 so I had to do something to fill in the time before breakfast so a shower seemed a good idea. When armed with a grabber no clothing item can defeat you.

So I basically negotiated staying until 7pm to get as much pampering as possible before going home to a house devoid of nurses, healthcare assistants and kitchen staff. There was a misunderstanding over drugs and I nearly ended up going home on just aspirin but the most excellent nurse queried this. When you fill in your initial registration form you have to list the drugs you're on and I of course listed the pain relief I had prescribed to take me up TO the operation day. This was interpreted as my having mountains of medication at home and needing nothing. The surgeon came and offered Brufen and Panadol. I saw his Panadol and raised him Panadeine. So I've come home with aspirin, Brufen 800mg and Panadeine. Not quite the cover of the nice morphine drugs but better than nothing.

Now I am trying to adjust my surroundings. It is easier getting into a double bed than a single one so I'm not missing the electric bed too much. I've showered with the crazy spinning shower chair. I've even watched some tv sitting on a chair stacked with cushions. I'm training everyone to not leave things in my path since I'm on the double crutches for another 3 weeks or so. My next progress marker is going for a walk - I have to driven due to our steep driveway. I'm not certain when I'll be able to surmount that but I will at least manage a walk in the park this afternoon.

So my recovery commences but for now I'm going to crash until its walkies time.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

The cyborg has arrived

Yesterday was a major day. I had a right total hip replacement and it was an experience! Because I have my crazy swallowing issue the anaesthetist was not keen on me having a general. So I had a spinal. Normally they give you a sedative but because of my MS she only wanted to give me a light no effect dose. So while my hip was sawn and reamed and hammered and glued I lay there listening to Queen on an iPod! We will rock you will never be the same.

It was actually really nice arriving in recovery compis mentus. I just hung around being monitored and watching all the other poor souls struggle out of their general fog.

The spinal took two goes because I had sharp pains shooting down my left side on the first attempt. Once it was all set I felt like I could still feel my feet. I asked if it would get stronger and the anaesthetist said it would. Then she announced that they'd started so I could relax because I was a bit worried I would still feel things. It was really strange - like some one was constantly pushing and pulling my feet. The only strange time was at the end when they pulled on my legs to check things were lined up and I moved up and down. The mild sedative was enough that I could hear all the sawing and hammering but feel relaxed. It didn't make me forget anything.

Because I'd been curled up in the fetal position for insertion of the spinal my brain told my body my legs were curled up on my chest. They felt really tired! I also had a spasmy right arm that shook madly and made people keep trying to cook me.

The anaesthetist had advised me so some studies that found a worsening of symptoms with epidural anaesthesia so when I couldn't feel anything in my right leg for 7 hours I was a little concerned. I definitely couldn't do my bed exercises in recovery or for some time on my return to my room.

The left leg started to get some sensation back after 5 hours but nothing major. My right leg finally got sensation back this morning.

I lost quite a bit of blood and my haemoglobin went down around 90. They hmmed and haaed about a transfusion. Finally at 10pm the nurse got really excited. I had a drain in but not just any drain apparently - I had a reinfusion drain and I had reached the magic equivalent of one unit of blood in it that could be put back into me! Freaky! I just made the 6 hour cut off.

My blood pressure was low but I felt fine. After breakfast this morning my drain was removed (hurray) and the Physio came to help me ambulate. I got up fine and went a reasonable distance on two crutches with no problems. Then when I was in sight of my bed a black hole appeared and sucked me in. The Physio yelled for a seat and held me up for what seemed like ages. Suddenly I couldn't hear anything and apparently just sat looking at the Physio. After a while everything seemed back to normal so we decided to finish the trek. The black hole came roaring back and this time I couldn't hear and couldn't speak. I had to be dragged into my room on the chair.

Very weird experience. After a cup of tea and some sweet dunking biscuits life returned to normal. I was escorted to have a shower and since I was a good girl I was allowed my nasty catheter out. So I left the bathroom feeling human again.

I've managed to go to the loo on my own so I think we're doing well. I still have to have oxygen due to the morphine in my spinal so my nose isn't that happy but everything else is. My biggest problem is I have to have a pillow between my legs when I get on and off the bed and my weak MS quads struggle to hold it. The last time I got on the bed I felt a slight clunk so I think the process needs some tweaking.

So now I'm a cyborg with sexy white tights. Such an attractive look. Now I just need to recover and learn to cope with stairs and then I can go home. Maybe Saturday ( today is Thursday). Yay!

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cyborgs don't feel pain. I do. Don't do that again

Three sleeps until I become a cyborg. I was going for the bionic woman angle but I just can't pull off the Jaime Summers hair toss.

Yep, on Wednesday my malformed acetabulum and femur head will be relieved of their duties. I will join the score of old age pensioners who haven't looked back since they had theirs done (probably taking those hip protecting precautions a little too far).

Thanks to the gift of MS I already have all the cool toys - toilet frame, shower chair (two because the OT who won't even consider recommending me for assistance towards a stairlift felt I needed a twisting one), sock puller and grab stick. Oh and my sexy crutches. Yep our beautiful new bathroom in no way resembles the communal bathroom at a rehab unit.

Just to make life interesting I've been given no information on preparation but good ol Google has helped there. Hence I now resemble a nervous marathoner days before a race. Woe betide anyone who has a cold who dares enter my air space. I will resemble a Sasquatch because you can't have any cuts or grazes on your legs from shaving. My wisdom teeth have decided now would be a good time to begin their annual pilgrimage along my jaw. Hopefully they will be on the return journey by Wednesday.

I have a bunch of attractive elastic waisted pants to wear. I think the slip on shoes will be such a fashion statement teamed up with them.

I'm hoping to be a really good patient and excel at my lessons so I can be released at the earliest possible point in time but it all depends on the MonSter. It may not like the blood loss, fiddling around with major limbs, bear hug rugs or simply being somewhere else. I don't like hospitals. I'm hoping this being a private facility it won't have the call bells which I always feel the need to answer hence never sleeping properly.

When I come home I'm pretty much confined to barracks for some time since I can't drive and can't walk up the driveway. Pity I can't use the time to do some painting or floor board laying. It'll have to be the Living channel and rewatching Buffy for the fifth time. I love Buffy.

So I'm a sittin and a waitin and trying to be positive. I'm not convinced by the promises of no more pain cos duh I have MS but it should be nicer pain than the bone grating hip popping stuff I've got now.

Now I just have to figure out how I can convince them to let me out in time for me to go to Armaghedan dressed as Oracle cos sometimes must never be missed.

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