Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Six

Monday, February 15, is Emancipation Day for me. Six days from today I can give up the support of the cane. Maybe my husband will even let me drive.

To be fair, since my right hip is the operated one, I probably should be a little cautious about driving. But I also hate being so dependent on someone, when I've previously never had to be.

I set a modest four-mile walking goal for last week, and ended up logging about 5-3/4 miles. The weather this week is going to be brutal. We have a little snow on the ground now, and the temperatures are forecast to be below freezing all week. A high of 13 for this coming Saturday.

It is winter, after all, but still … snow and cold will keep me indoors, and while I both can and will walk inside, it won't quite be the same.

My ortho didn't prescribe physical therapy. I may end up requesting it. In the meantime, I'm going to do a little Googling to see what I should  be accomplishing at this point, and try to come up with my own set of exercises that are a little more challenging than what I came home from the hospital with.

That is all …

Saturday, February 6, 2016

How am I doing? Glad you asked.

Pretty well. In fact, much better than I ever thought I would be at not quite the weeks post-surgery.

The doctor says I have to keep using assistance for four weeks total, after which I can walk on my own, use the treadmill, bend more than 90 degrees ... in other words, all restrictions lifted.

I'm allowed to drive, but my husband is still a little nervous about letting me, so he's still the chauffeur.

We've walked outside three times this week, still on flat ground. I'll wait until mid-month to try hills. I've done stairs several times with no problems at all.

We've made quite a dent in the meals I prepared and froze before the operation. Two nights ago, though, I decided to cook dinner - spaghetti with mushroom sauce - and I did fine. And it was delicious.

Everything I do takes longer than normal, a combination of cane+careful. Good thing I have plenty of time on my hands. Heh.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Walking with a cane is still walking, right?

I switched from a walker to a cane last Thursday, and I also switched from Percocet to Tylenol that day. There's no stopping me now, baby. Heh.

My hip surgery was two weeks ago today. I've seen steady, daily improvement, and really dramatic increases in mobility and range of motion the last couple of days.

And yesterday … I took a walk. Outside. OUTSIDE!

I went about six-tenths of a mile. My husband didn't want me to try going uphill, so we turned back while we were still on the flat part of our road. I really wanted to do an outdoor mile, but my total steps for the day, according to FitBit, ended up putting me at 1.12 miles by the end of the day.

I hope I remember how happy I was yesterday when August rolls around, and it's hot and I'm not quite so motivated. I was a little tearful when I got home from my little jaunt. Yes, I was that happy.

Surgeon's appointment tomorrow. It's probably too soon to hope for driving privileges. But a girl can dream, right?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Home +7

I was discharged from the hospital a week ago today, and I'm making really good progress. No major setbacks. I had a slight fever for a day, high enough to call the doctor, but it was during the snowstorm and no one ever called back about it.

Dr. Office Fail, if you ask me.

Temperature went back to normal within 24 hours.

I'm doing my prescribed exercises several times daily. Two of them are helping increase range of motion (and they're working), the others are muscle strengthening.

I've gone to town once since I've been home, to the hospital for a blood test. I was started on a blood thinner in the hospital, and you have to monitor that carefully. Walking down long hospital corridors with the walker was no problem for me, but the FitBit didn't know how to count it and only gave me 130 steps.

I follow up with the surgeon next Tuesday. I'll be very happy to move from walker to cane.

The pain I'm having is quite manageable on 2 or 3 pain pills per day. I'll be very glad to not need those any more, and I'm hoping to discontinue completely by this weekend.

Still craving milk chocolate candy. The kind that comes in little paper cups, in a box. Soft centers. No nuts. Such a strange and very specific thing to want. My husband bought me a candy bar,but it just wasn't the same.

I ate it, though. Heh.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Home + 2

Surgery was Monday the 18th, spent Tuesday learning to walk with a walker, and was released Wednesday. I actually went up and down a flight of stairs Wednesday, which was a lot easier than getting in and out of bed.

The trip home was gruesome. Our normal hour-long trip took nearly two because of snow squalls. Nothing like what is predicted for today, though, and I'm very grateful I don't have to go anywhere through up to two feet of snow.

I have to do five exercises as many times a I want,  i can walk as much as I want, and there are no dressing changes to worry about.

I was sent home with prescriptions for Percocet (for pain) and coumadin (to prevent blood clots). No prescription for physical therapy, but that may happen later.

My husband has been a good nurse, especially after our chat about pain meds. I was taking 2 every 4 hours as needed in the hospital. The home prescription is one every 4 to 6 hours. I really do need them and am not afraid to take them. He's trying to have me stretch out the doses. Sometimes that's okay, but sometimes it isn't. I mean, SOMETIMES IT ISN'T!

He took my temperature yesterday and we discovered I had a slight fever, high enough to call the doctor per the after-care instructions. The doctor never called back, and my temperature went down, so I can assume it's nothing to worry about.

That's all for now. My sleep schedule is all messed up. I'm just counting on return to normal sometime in the future, as so many have assured me it happened to them. I appreciate all your messages, calls, texts, cards, and prayers. Thank you.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

24

So. Twenty-four hours from right about now (8:30-ish, Sunday, January 17, 2016), they'll be prepping me for surgery.

I wasn't going to write anything today, but I started it, and I guess it would be remiss not to continue the surgery saga.

I'm surprisingly calm. I have great confidence in my surgeon, in the hospital, and in my ability to understand and follow doctor's orders. Others I know who've had joint replacement surgery are doing fine today, and their experiences have been so valuable and helpful.

I'm fifth on the schedule, so I expect the actual procedure will happen somewhat later in the morning. I have no idea when I'll be able to update the blog again … but I expect only a day or so.

Have a good Sunday. And a good Monday. I'll be back in business in a couple of days.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Five

Today's Leap Year Photo Challenge prompt is "anticipation," and that's pretty much been my word of the year so far.

Five more days before I get my hip fixed.

I used to count down the days to a race. The times, they sure have changed.

Today is the day I'm to discontinue my daily Aleve. I'm not looking forward to several days of severe discomfort, but I'm definitely NOT going to defy doctor's orders.

I updated my living will – that makes it reallyreal – and it gets notarized today. Need to print a list of phone numbers so my husband can report that I survived the surgery Monday afternoon.

Trying to figure out what I should take to the hospital and what I can leave behind. I want to take every electronic device and charger I own, but I know that's not necessary and probably not encouraged. But … but … I hate the idea of being out of touch.

So silly.

I'm only going to be in the hospital for two or three days. Surely I can handle my digital life with just my phone. And the Kindle.

But what if I need Photoshop? Hahahahahahah. Better pack the laptop.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Ten

Don't worry, I'm not going to publish a daily countdown post. I've very little to write about these days, and I'm sure you don't want to read that I played umpteen million games of Scrabble on my phone while resting in bed for the next 10 days.

Because that's about what I do.

EXCEPT FOR YESTERDAY!

I went to the surgeon's office in the morning for an X-ray and to pick up orders for lab work. Then I went to the hospital to have the lab work done. Then I went to an internist (mine is not on staff at the hospital where my surgery will be done, so I had to establish a relationship with a new one) for an EKG and general physical, to make sure I was in good enough health to survive surgery.

I didn't actually see the internist, but I will after surgery, while I'm in the hospital. I saw a Nurse Practitioner, who was a hoot! She could be my family doctor anytime. (For anyone local looking for a health-care provider, her name is Beverly Whitt and she practices at Blue Ridge Internal Medicine in Princeton.)

It says a lot about my ego that what I liked about her was how many times she said I was so young and healthy and wow, I don't take any meds except a diuretic? Heh. She was very encouraging about post-surgery recovery, saying that my daily walking habit (up until July) was going to really help me with physical therapy. She felt like it wouldn't take long for me to get back to better-than-normal – three to four weeks.

That sounds optimistic to me, but it was great to hear.

So far this hip surgery experience has been very positive. Every medical professional I've had contact with has taken all the time I need to answer my questions, and all have been unfailingly reassuring. The waiting game begins in earnest today.

My favorite picture of my mother, taken
when she was maybe 7 or 8 years old.
On another note, my mother died 25 years ago today. I was with her when she died, watched her take her last breath. I still tear up thinking about it.

I've outlived her by 15 years. She was a yo-yo dieter all her life: Up and down and up and down. She didn't know much about nutrition, and when she was up (in weight), didn't care at all what she ate or drank.

She was diagnosed with colorectal cancer when she was 55, and lived 4 more years.

I know a little more about good food, and I feel like my diet is (mostly) better than hers was, but I'm a yo-yo dieter, as well. My hopewishdreamGOAL is to stop the cycle. This surgery will give me back the mobility and stamina and support I need to get back on track with exercise, which will elevate my mood and help me not eat my emotions.

I just wish she were here to help me through it.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Two

With surgery scheduled for two weeks from today, I'm beginning to get a little nervous.

I try to remind myself that this is routine, and not life-threatening, and I really need to get out of myself and quit focusing on it, but I wouldn't deny you your thoughts or feelings about anything regarding your health (or anything at all, really). So why would I deny me?

Well, I try to deny it because I don't think dwelling in despair is a good thing for my mental health.

But I gotta tell you … the idea of someone slicing and dicing me is not something I'm looking forward to. Being able to walk without pain and to bend over (wow, is not being able to a huge issue at times!)? Now that's something to look forward to!

And that's where I've been the last several weeks: Looking at the end game. The past couple days, however, I've been looking at the procedure itself.

I've read and heard that patients wake up from surgery simply amazed that the hip pain is gone. There's no describing this kind of bone-on-bone pain, really. And the sound it makes is almost nausea-inducing.

So post-surgical pain is limited to the incision itself, and that will be something new and wonderful to deal with. Heh. I've informed my surgeon I'm a recovering alcoholic and would prefer not to take narcotics. But I'm certainly open to it if it's necessary.

When I start feeling down about all of this, I try to remember that I have friends dealing with cancer and lung problems and depression and all kinds of health issues that are much more difficult to conquer. I feel better today than I did yesterday – yesterday was, for some reason, very rough on my emotions.

Soon it will all be over. Soon I'll have no excuse for unmopped floors and unswept porches. Soon I'll be able to walk, either outside or on the treadmill, pain-free.

Two weeks to go.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The end …

of 2015.

I've contemplated ending the blog. I've been writing (less frequently, lately, but still writing) here or on Shrinking Knitter since January 10, 2006. TEN YEARS OF DRIVEL!

And if you click through to that very first blog post, I don't look a whole lot different now then I did then. So I guess it didn't help much at all over the long run.

During the last 10 years, though, I did manage to

  • lose a bunch of weight (and gain it back, as we serial dieters are wont to do), 
  • run three half-marathons, 
  • get married, 
  • bury my father,
  • more than triple the number of grandchildren I had when I started blogging, and 
  • celebrate my 25th year of sobriety.

Among other things.

My focus today, and for the coming year, will be on regaining my mobility and improving my health. My top post from this year was January 25, in which I was recovering from some kind of stomach bug. I mentioned that I hoped taking a rest day might mean no more right-hip pain.

I think that's called foreshadowing. Although it never occurred to me that the pain would land me in a surgical unit almost a year later.

I see the surgeon for the final pre-op appointment a week from today. Soon, it will be the end of pain and not walking and feeling more than a little bit sorry for myself. I really can't wait.

Apropos of nothing at all, other than
my friend Lynne surprised me with
an Eiffel Tower ornament yesterday,
and I want to show it off!
Thoughtful, meaningful, lovely.
One of the 2015 goals was to log, partnering with one other person, 2015 miles. We were able to exceed that number, but only because I was allowed to count every step recorded by the FitBit, and not just the intentional walking miles. My goal at the beginning of the year was to do 100 miles/month. I came up a wee bit short. If I get another mile today, I'll have averaged 99 miles/month.

I'd like to set that goal again for 2016, knowing that January and at least part of February will be busts. Since my surgeon assured me I'd be able to walk 100 miles a DAY if I wanted to, following the hip replacement, I think I can at least set the goal, knowing it will take a lot of work later in the year to make up for missed miles the first two months.

I've missed taking daily photographs, something I did when I walked, and so my friend Vickie and I started the Leap Year Photo Challenge. Jump in if you like! We have a blog and a Facebook page and the only real "rule" is to use the hashtag #leapyearphotochallenge when you post your photos.

The other goal – perpetual, never-ending, omnipresent – is to get to a healthy weight and STAY there. Regaining the ability to exercise without pain will certainly help.

Gingerzingi likes to say we're all our own science experiments. I've proven to myself that I need to move that body in order to maintain and lose weight. I have spent an awful lot of time the second half of this year resting, since lying down is really the only way I can be pain-free.

Soon enough, I'll be moving this body and logging miles and taking pictures. In the meantime … happy new year! What are your goals/intentions/resolutions for 2016? Other than to remember to write a 6 instead of a 5?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Three …

Three weeks from today I'll be prepping for the hip surgery. I have a few thoughts this week between holidays …

  • I'm grateful that what's wrong with me can be fixed. 
  • I'm grateful for a financial cushion which makes the expenses for this procedure possible.
  • I'm grateful for the Affordable Care Act. Although insurance companies are still making a profit from human illness (which I think is wrong), my expenses for this procedure are not out of reach.
  • I'm grateful for the ability – still – to clean my house, cook food, do laundry. All of these things take more time than they used to, so …
  • I'm grateful for patience and willingness to work with what I have, instead of feeling frustrated about my loss of mobility.

I also have a few wishes:

  • I wish everyone who is in pain would find relief.
  • I wish everyone facing surgery has a successful outcome.
  • I wish everyone who has a much more serious illness or condition will find comfort and peace.

I'm so lucky. Generally I dismiss people who say "it could be worse," because each person's situation is unique to them.

But … it could be worse.

Looking ahead to next weekend, my friend Vickie and I have come up with a Leap Year Photo Challenge. She did all the prompts and created the website. I did the graphics. We're a team!

If you found a camera under the Christmas tree, or if your new phone's camera is still a mystery, we invite you to join the fun!

And with that … I'm having a new kitchen faucet and garbage disposal installed today. Whatever I need to do that requires water needs to be done prior to the start of the project. So I'd better get moving!

Slowly …

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Four weeks

On Sunday, January 17, I'll be admitted and anticipating the insertion of a new hip joint the next day.

When last we met, our new treadmill had just been assembled and I'd given it a trial run. I did fine that first day. I've used it three times since then and, well, maybe it's just not the thing to do. I haven't hurt myself, but I definitely exhaust myself. It's quite astonishing how much it takes out of me.

And even though it's very gentle and slow, I'm so stiff and sore afterward that I can barely move from one position (lying down, for instance) to another (upright).

My walking goal for the year was 1200 miles. According to FitBit, which converts every step to miles, not just the intentional let's-go-for-a-walk ones, I'm very close. At the end of the day yesterday, I'd logged enough steps to equal 1177.69 miles for the year. With 12 days to go, I need only a couple miles a day to reach 1200.

But a normal, non-treadmill day often yields less than a mile. So … what will be, will be, and while I won't shy away from everyday activities, I won't be hopping on the treadmill.

As you may have noticed, I'm having trouble blogging. I've been all about fitness and weight loss since the beginning, and since neither are happening right now, I'm kind of at loose ends. Yes, I still knit. But I'm choosing easy, mindless projects that don't need much brain power. While I love dreaming about intricately cabled sweaters or wraps, I'm actually working on simple caps (two gifts recently completed!) and a garter stitch poncho (for myself).

I worked on one of those caps while watching The Skeleton Twins yesterday (currently available on Amazon Prime). It's a quirky, funny, bittersweet story. I couldn't tell you who the actors are. But I've watched it twice now, and liked it both times. So there's that.

And with that … another journal entry is in the books. I'll be back when something interesting or exciting or blog-worthy happens.