Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another Milestone

Its New Year's Eve eve, and I have much to be thankful for! Today marks the 3rd week since surgery. At this time 3 weeks ago, I was under-the-knife. Time has just flown by so so fast! I still can't believe it.

Today is a big day for another reason- I'm getting the stitches taken out! That will make me feel even more healed. They've been itchy, which I guess means the incisions are healing, but I haven't been scratching because I was afraid of tearing the stitches out. I am curious to see what the scars will look like. Thank goodness they are small!

Physical therapy is going very well. Chris says I am moving well for being just 3 weeks out and I feel stronger every day! I've graduating to using one crutch the rest of this week and then (Happy New Year!) I don't have to use it unless I feel like I need to. Progress progress progress! I'll still be doing PT in January- I've booked through the end of the month.

One of the great things about next week is that I can return to work! I stopped by the Portland and Gorham offices on Wednesday, which was really nice. It got me excited to go back. Being home has been nice, but I'm a little stir-crazy. I need to get back into routine. I've been having trouble sleeping, and its because I am not really getting the same mental and physical stimulation I was used to pre-surgery, so I'm not really as tired. Makes sense. I used to be a champion sleeper, and these 3 weeks have been dicey. I'm only going back part time for the first week, but hopefully that will get me headed in the right direction and sleeping again.

2010 has been quite a ride, and I am so excited to start 2011 healthy and strong! I'm not done yet, but none-the-less I am feeling good, and should be pain-free by summer. That's an exciting prospect!

Have a wonderful, safe and healthy new year celebration. Catch you in 2011!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Two weeks

Merry Christmas to me (well, a bit early, but still)! Today is the two week mark since my surgery! It is hard to believe that time has gone by so fast already. Its a pretty big milestone too- I no longer have to wear the daytime or nighttime brace! Now I just have to figure out what to do with them. I am sure they can be donated somewhere. If anyone knows a place, please let me know.

I've really been enjoying physical therapy! I can feel myself getting stronger in many ways already! Chris, my physical therapist says he's impressed with how quickly I am progressing! My range of motion is already really good. There are a whole bunch of strength and motion exercising as well as biking. I can only do 15 minutes on the bike, but its something! I've realized that I've been moving incorrectly my whole life! Now's the time for me to start moving in the right direction- literally! And a lot of the exercises are good for my right hip/leg too. I know its working because I'm sore and sweaty when I come home. It feels so good to be moving though! I'll need the crutches for an other two weeks probably, but I am allowed to start putting more weight on that leg. Progress!

Tomorrow is Christmas eve. Tonight, I hope to get some solid sleep! I've had trouble sleeping since the surgery and I've been pretty dependent on Tylenol PMs. Hopefully I will start sleeping like normal soon. Its been nice to have the mornings to sleep in though. Regardless of mild sleeplessness, I LOVE this time of year. :) Ethan's brother Isaac came home from NYC with some friends that I've met before and they came over last night with his sister Brecken. It was nice to hang out and have some drinks and some laughs. We even had a dance party- I can make crutches groove like nobody's business! Hahaha I even got to have my Christmas present from Ethan early! Its a gorgeous diamond and sapphire ring (pictures to follow soon) that I totally love. He's been so supportive and helpful and loving, I feel I owe him- though he tells me that's not the case. I am just glad to have him this Christmas. I can't really ask for anything more.

I hope you all enjoy your holidays!



Saturday, December 18, 2010

Time flies!

I shaved my legs this morning. I had to sit on a shower chair like an old person, but I got the job done. I no longer look like Chewbacca. I've never appreciated showering until I couldn't do it every day. I've realized now just how revitalizing a shower can be!!

Its been more than a week since surgery. I can't believe how quickly time has gone by! Thursday, which marked a week from the original surgery date, I went out with Ethan to our favorite restaurant in Portland, Caiola's. His office was having their holiday gathering there and I HAD to get out of the house. I showered, put on jeans, did my hair and wore make-up. It was wonderful. It was hard to stay sitting on the hard chair but I iced when I got home, and it was worth it. His boss and coworkers were pretty impressed that just after a week, I was out and about. I was kind of surprised too.

Physical therapy has been good but intense. It started the day after, and will continue, twice a week, for the next 2-4 months. I am basically having to re-teach my hip to move again, now that all the gunky stuff from the joint has been cleaned out. The Physical therapist's name is Chris. He's nice to look at, but also knows what he is doing. He kicked my ass yesterday. Did some light exercises, then 8 minutes on the stationary bike (with my brace on, for saftey) which is harder than it sounds when the muscle is weak and the joint is sore. Then he had me do 5 more strength exercises. At the end of one of the tougher ones I legit said "you're killing me, here." He just laughed and said "do 20 more of those." FML.

All in all, I feel on the up-and-up. Had a bit of a rough night last night. The scopolamine patch for nausea had worn off and I made the mistake of taking a Vicodin. BAD IDEA. Apparently that stuff makes me violently ill. Spent the better part of last evening/night hurling into a bucket. It was like waking up from the anesthesia all over again. I had to call the on-call doctor at Ortho Associates and have them call in the patches. I left the message, and 5 minutes later I got a call back. Had the patches within a half hour. I can't say they haven't been speedy. And they've been nothing but nice and helpful. Thank goodness.

Off I go to enjoy some lunch (I didn't eat much yesterday, and what I did eat landed in the bucket).



Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Its been less than a week and I am already bored. Feeling a bit trapped! I have had some visitors though. Kacie and Brianna came by, and my dad and Father Jim. Its nice when people stop by. Makes me feel a little less lonely.

I've finally started getting some sleep, which is good. When I wake up is when my hip hurts the most. I usually wake up and pop pills. Makes me feel like a druggie! But they tell me its what I have to do. I try to get up and about as much as I can. Trying to get a glass of water or food is hard when I have to use two crutches, so I usually just hop around. It probably looks hilarious.

Speaking of hilarious (more like, totally embarrassing) I have a story about yesterday. Yesterday was Ethan's birthday. His parents had planned a nice dinner for us and I was dying to get out of the house. I had felt kinda crummy right before Ethan got home from work, but I took my meds, got dressed and we went over to his parents house. It was nice to get out for a while, even if it was raining. His sister hasn't been feeling well, so she didn't eat with us. Ethan's shoulder and back were bugging him, and of course I was a mess too. He opened his presents which was fun. There were even party hats! We sat down to eat. Dinner was great, one of Ethan's favorites. It was delicious but I suddenly had no appetite. I took a few bites, had some ginger ale and told them I was going to have to pass on dinner. After we had eaten (or rather after they had eaten) we got ready to go home. Just as we were leaving I got that "oh crap I am going to puke" feeling, the watery mouth, the overheating. I wanted so badly to make it back to our place before I threw up, but standing on their porch I knew I wouldn't make it. Martha told me to just do it, that I wasn't the first person to throw up over the edge of that porch. It made me feel awful, but I hurled (epically) over the side of the wall. I was totally mortified and kept apologizing. Martha and Jeff assured me that it was ok, and they felt bad that I was so sick. But I was still so embarrassed. :( Went home and decided that I wasn't going to eat anything the rest of the night. Probably for the better.

I got an email from Martha this morning checking in on me. She's such a sweetheart. Told me not to worry about last night and to call if I need anything. Ethan has the greatest parents. I'm not sure what did it- I haven't been sick since I woke up from the anesthesia. And I have been wearing the scopolamine patch since the day of surgery. Who knows. Weird fluke. Hopefully it doesn't happen again.

My incision sites are itchy! I am assuming this means they are healing but its annoying not to be able to scratch at it. The lovely anti-embolism stockings I have to wear make my legs itch. Shouldn't really scratch there either, thanks to my eczema. If its not one thing, its another!

Hoping for more visitors soon. My clergy-friend Kit is coming to give me communion this afternoon, which is nice. Hoping to see some other people as well. And tomorrow I have another round of PT, so at least that will get me out of the house.

Tonight: A shower! And a movie night (in, obviously) with Ethan.



Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Aftermath

I lay here today on the couch a little hopped-up on pain medication. Surgery has come and gone, it went by so fast. Everyone was so super nice. I got called in and had to put on a totally fashionable Johnny. Then they covered me with this awesome warming blanket of hot air, which made me feel kind of pampered. I had to put on a fancy OA knit cap to keep my hair from getting in the way and the nurse (Mary) started an IV. That's when it became real.

The next person I saw was the anesthesiologist (Dr. Kovarich I think). He was really nice and very funny. He reminded me of Alan Alda from the MASH days, and also Roger from Mad Men. He explained everything and made me feel much more comfortable. Then Dr. Huffard came in and wrote his initials on my left hip and then asked me to write mine there too. Wouldn't want them to do the wrong hip!

I remember being wheeled into the operating room and it was cold in there. I asked why, and Dr. Kovarich said that its because the doctors have full gear on and sit under hot lights. It helps if the temp is a little low. That explains my warming blanket! The last thing I remember is him putting an oxygen mask over my face and saying he was gonna give me the medicine to make me fall asleep. Pretty sure it worked. I don't remember anything after that until waking up.

Waking up was not so pleasant. I puked twice; I guess I have a pretty bad reaction to anesthesia meds. He even said they give you something in the IV to prevent that from happening. Apparently it didn't work for me. :( The ended up giving me 3 or 4 different things for nausea and the one that worked the best was the sea-sickness patch. I have another one to put on later today, as it wears off in about 72 hours. Dr. K came to see me and felt really bad that I was so sick. He said that if I have another surgery to tell them how badly I reacted so they can give me something else. Dr. Huffard came to see me too and said everything went well. That's sort of all I remember. The aftercare nurse's name was Ellen and she was a total sweetheart. Ethan was there with me too, but I was so sick and so out of it. They took good care of me, but kept me there quite a while. The surgery was over at about 1:15 but I didn't leave til about 5 so they could observe me.

I left with crutches and my contraption for sleeping. Went home, took more meds and passed in and out of alertness. I had to keep getting up to pee because they gave me 2 liters of fluids, so at least I wasn't dehydrated. Ethan has already done an amazing job taking care of me. His family gave me an awesome care package with lots of yummy things to eat and a pair of amazingly soft lounge-pants. I've also gotten so many well wishes and prayers from people.

Yesterday was the first pre-op appointment. I met with the physical therapist named Chris and we went over some exercises and muscle stretches I have to do. Then Ally, the physician's assistant came to check on my incisions and explain what they did. there are pictures, and if anyone wants to see them, let me know. They didn't have to do any repairs to the labrum, but there was a bone spur and a bunch of gunky build-up in the joint making it hard to move. They cleaned all that out and reshaped the bone. Everything else in the joint looks good she said.

I have to go to PT twice a week probably for the next few months. I have to be really careful not to dislocate my hip while its healing and I'll need to strengthen the muscles. My arms are getting stronger from the crutches too.

Overall I feel pretty good. Woke up this morning in a bunch of pain, but took my pills and felt better. Just taking it one day at a time. I have to rest but also be somewhat active (like by doing my stretches/exercises). I am looking forward to feeling better. Right now the incision sites are kind of sore, I think because of the adhesive they used. My skin is just too sensitive. Been icing to reduce the swelling and the stitches come out on the 30th. Tomorrow, I can take a shower finally! Ethan washed my hair yesterday, which was nice. Even that made me feel a bit better.

Dad and my priest are coming by this evening, and I am feeling like I'll be ready for visitors from now on, so just call, text or stop on over.

Thanks for all your love and support, and I will keep you posted.



Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today is the day

Its finally here. I still can't believe it. I'm sitting on the couch in sweatpants (that's what they told me to wear, awesome) starving (because I am not allowed to eat, and haven't 8:00 last night) but also with butterflies in my stomach. I've already received many well wishes from friends and family and I feel so blessed. Prayers, happy thoughts, and good luck wishes are all rising. This makes me feel so much better about everything. Still, I can't shake the nerves.

I have to be at Ortho Associates at 10:45, and the procedure starts at 11:15. Until then, no food, water, gum, mints. My breakfast will be two extra strength Tylenol and a tiny sip of water (to get the pills down). Ethan is cooking bacon right now. I told him it was ok. Maybe just smelling it will satisfy me. When I get back if I feel like eating, he said he'd cook me whatever I want. I really can't think that far ahead yet.

What's waiting for me when I get home is a lot of reading:

I have also received some really nice gifts. The first is a prayer shawl from the folks at St. Mary and St. Jude on Mount Desert Island.

The other is from some of the folks I work with. My boss Norma knows how much I like British culture, so she gave me some magazines to enjoy. She also gave me a packet of New Yorker cartoons that she usually gives out every day or so. She said, one for every day that I am gone is in the envelope (and I have to be back at the office before they run out!) The little purse is hand sewn and has chocolates in it!

They made me some banana bread to take home too. How thoughtful! Its pretty yummy. It also made me realize that I am really going to miss them.

I look forward to visits, cards, and a bunch of time for relaxing. Its going to be great to know that I can just lay around and read and be lazy. I know I will have PT to go to, but that will be my only "chore" and its definitely necessary. It will give me something to look forward to. Getting outta the house! :)

So, off I go. Thanks for all of your support! I love all of you, and I look forward to being back in action and back to normal! Catch you on the other side of surgery!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

One Week

So, due to some technical difficulties, the video entry is on hold. Apparently either I am technologically inept, or the computer is fussy, or its a combo of both. Either way, put your reading glasses on, kids, because this one is typed.

I had the pre-op appointment yesterday with Ali, Dr. Huffard's physician's assistant. She is really nice and gave me TONS of information. We started with going over all the family history, etc etc. Then she talked about the procedure itself. Let's just say I am REALLY, REALLY glad that I am going to be asleep during the procedure. Apparently, I am going to be on this medieval-style torture device that's going to literally pull me apart. I'm going to be strapped onto an inversion table and they are going to pull down on my legs and open up the joint so they can get in there. She said that most of the pain after will be in the knees and feet, from the pressure. Oh joy. Gonna be doubling up on Advil/Tylenol and such. Oh boy!

HUMOR BREAK: Apparently, because of the placement of part of the device, I could experience numbness in the.."nether" region, as in, I will know that I have to pee, but I won't be able to tell if I have actually peed or not. She said it doesn't always happen, but its possible. I kind of want it to happen because it would be pretty much hilarious!

The procedure is 2.5 hours, then the same amount of time in recovery. They are going to get in there, shave the bone, repair the labrum, and something called capsular plication, which means tightening up the ligaments in that hip. Sounds like a blast!

After I talked with her, I met with the people who do casts and braces. I am going to have TWO braces; one for day (the daytime ensemble) and one for sleeping (evening wear). I'll have those for two weeks. The day one is this one Its going to only allow that hip to be at a 60 degree angle at most. Sitting ought to be fun. The night time one I don't have yet, they will give it to me in recovery. It makes me pigeon-toed while I sleep and keeps me from moving my hip while sleeping. It might be 2 weeks before I get some real sleep with that one. I'll also have crutches for 3 weeks. Yahoo!

Finally, the end of the tour was the actual surgery center, where I met with a nurse and we talked logistics of "going under" and what I can expect. I have to take a shower the night before and the morning of with this super-powerful antibacterial soap. Funsies. At least I won't be at a hospital where I have more of a chance of picking up an infection.

Everyone was super nice. The people at Orthopedic Associates make me feel so comfortable. It helps with the nervousness. Still, this is unchartered territory for me, so I am pretty nervous still. Thankfully, my amazing boyfriend Ethan will be a great care-taker early on; he'll be there when I wake up. :) He's taking Thursday and Friday off, and then the following week I'll be kinda on my own. I've been promised visits, and I should be mobile-enough to be somewhat functional. My plan is to watch awesomely bad movies via Netflix (I've already had some great suggestions) and catch up on reading. I have a bunch of magazines I am behind in.

I am trying to stay positive and look to the future where I'll feel better overall. Still, prayers, visits and encouraging words will always be welcome!

I'll probably post the morning of, and then whenever I feel up to it after.