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Herstory

So, last night was pretty epic, yes?

I haven't been around in a while, but it feels right to break out the keyboard and write down how I feel about the nomination of a woman for President of the United States.

I know this will sound odd in a post about a history-making woman, but I miss my dad. He was the political junkie in the family. I came to political activism much, much later. I suppose it's a testament to the good governing of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman (dad's heroes) that my childhood was fairly stable. Daddy was born at the beginning of the Great Depression and lived through WWII as a teen-ager.

What must that have been like?

Dad wanted Hillary to be the nominee in 2008. Hindsight's 20/20, and Father Knows Best. (I supported Obama all the way. As soon as he became the nominee, Dad was a hundred percent on board.) Looking at all that's happened over the past few years, we might have been better had Dad's preference prevailed.

But it didn't.

Six months later

I know I said I wouldn't post any more hip-surgery updates, but it seems like six months post-op is a good time to assess.

In the six months since the operation, I've walked nearly 500 miles (493.94 to be exact), and I'm now averaging about 14,000 steps per day. I'd logged 187 miles after four months, so the past two months have been pretty darned good.

Nice weather helps, of course. I have very few residual effects of the surgery. The pain I'd been living with is completely gone. I have trouble – still – getting up from a chair and getting started walking. I need to steady myself with a hand on a wall or table, for instance, until I feel secure. I have a lot of trouble if I need to get down on my hands and knees and then get back up again.

And despite all those miles walked, I've lost only seven pounds since the surgery. I am well and truly stuck where I am, and not happy about it at all. I eat reasonable portions of healthful foods. I'm not willing to wal…

No longer on the fence

I thought about having both Bernie and Hillary stickers on my car all during the primary season. In the end, I opted for neither and sported a Goodwin for Governor sticker.

Keepin' it local.

But last night? And last week? Secretary Clinton is and was on point in her two most recent major speeches. It's time for me to say #ImWithHer.

I hope Bernie says it, and soon. It won't make a difference here in WV. Trump is wildly popular among non-college-educated, low-income white men, which describes much of the population here. But Bernie's support for HRC could go a long way toward healing the rift in the Democratic party.

No candidate is perfect, which is why I wavered and couldn't commit.

But it's game on now, and if there's one thing I'm quite sure of it's #NeverTrump.

What a week!

My husband and I aren't anti-social, but we definitely don't do much socializing. At our age and in our circles, people really just don't get together much. Or at least we don't. Maybe everyone else does and we don't know about it.

Or care. Heh.

ANYWAY … beginning last Tuesday, May 24, we've gone somewhere or entertained someone every day. Today we get back to normal.

I enjoyed all the activity very much. Moreso than I expected to, actually. My biggest anxiety this week was finding enough clean clothes that fit. Mission accomplished! And one outfit didn't even get worn, because I didn't have enough time to hem the pants.

You short girls will relate.

This week is much less frenetic. A dentist appointment tomorrow and a lunch meeting Thursday. Easy-peasy.

So … retirement reception, birthday dinner, scholarship banquet, three-day family reunion, and dinner with friends … CHECK!

Over and out.

That was a nice little break

I can't quite believe it's been a month since I've updated the blog. Neither of you have missed it, or at least you haven't said you have. How about if I promise not to write about hip replacement surgery any more?

Today's my birthday. The big 65. I'm officially geriatric, although I don't feel like it. Even with a hip replacement, I don't feel old, or even oldER.

Time does, however, march on, and aging is certainly better than dying, at least when you feel good and are relatively healthy.

Google remembered my birthday with a special Google Doodle:
Starbucks has loaded a free drink onto my app and Ruby Tuesday's has a burger waiting for me. I could have gotten $5 off a pair of DSW shoes, but I don't need shoes.

That's one thing about getting oldER: My wants are way less important than my needs.

One thing I wanted, however, was for this birthday to be special. To be noted. My husband and children really don't make a big deal out of birthd…

The battle begins

In earnest. And it's two battles, really.

The ongoing battle with my weight is one I'm losing right now. I'd rather report that I'm losing weight, but in two months the loss is negligible.

I'm tired of paleo, but I know that carbs are killing me. As I'm now moving more (I averaged 11,000 steps per day last week), I hope the increased activity will help boost my metabolism. I naturally want to eat lighter when the weather warms up, so I'll work on taking advantage of that – fruit salad instead of pie, right? Heh. The goal is the proverbial move more, eat less, and I'm adding to that to eat less often. If I'm not hungry in the morning, why eat breakfast?

I'd like to think I'm winning the battle with the weeds. The asparagus bed is almost cleaned out, and asparagus is on the menu almost daily. I'm going to put some in omelets tonight. The peony bed is looking good – weeds are mostly gone and the old, dead lavender plants have been replaced …

Just in time for spring …

The busy-ness of my life is beginning to wind down, finally. The Big Event is over and was a Big Success – well attended and we made a little more money than we'd hoped for. That's always nice.

I've started spending some of the funds on newspaper advertising. My ads are mostly words with an evocative image. I tried boosting one on Facebook and it was, at first, approved, but then was disapproved because it exceeds Facebook's no-more-than-20-percent-type rule.

For Facebook marketers who are selling concepts or ideas, rather than products, the 20-percent rule is quite limiting. I haven't figured out any way to get around it, other than to reduce the size of the type to "insignificant." Which kind of makes a concept ad irrelevant.

At any rate, since these are newspaper ads and newspapers love type, I'll just share them on our Facebook page and ask for people to share them. It will save us money until I can figure out how to make an image look like the con…

Back to normal!

It's been 12 weeks today since my hip surgery, and I'm doing just about whatever I want to do. Except running, of course, which is forever prohibited. The physical therapy sessions were very beneficial, and I am again glad my doctor didn't push me into them right away. 
Certain movements are restricted immediately post-surgery – bending, crossing your legs, putting all your weight on the operated limb – and my therapy would have had to respect those limits. Waiting until the restrictions were lifted gave the therapists more leeway to push me a little harder.
At any rate, I'm now able to put my socks on, tie my shoes, enter and exit the car, bend, stretch, stoop, you name it and I can do it without discomfort. Pretty cool, huh? I still tire easily, and that was an issue this weekend.
The other back-to-normal thing is my life. Our county Democratic Executive Committee, of which I am a member, hosted a banquet honoring a retiring state senator this past Saturday, and banq…

Another post-surgical first

I know you're probably reallyreallyreally bored with all this hip surgery nonsense, and I apologize. I'm writing it here so I have a record of it, and documenting it in case anyone stumbles across it who is facing the same procedure. I didn't think about looking for others' personal experiences until after I'd been released from the hospital. Maybe my ramblings will help someone else.

At any rate – whether you're bored or not – I took a trip this weekend! I haven't seen my younger granddaughter since Halloween. She and her parents were having scheduling troubles finding time to head to our place, so I decided just to go for it and went to North Carolina.

It's about a five-hour trip for me, not counting time parked on the interstate waiting for accidents to clear (one on the way down Friday and two coming home yesterday). I'm not a fast driver. My son has made it to my house in four hours.

The only problem I had was getting out of the car after drivi…

I shall be have been released

I've been sprung!

No more trips to the hospital for PT … I thought tomorrow would be my last session, but we all agreed that I've made great progress and am motivated to continue on my own at home. So yay for that.


Yesterday was quite the active day. An three-mile outdoor walk in the morning (still s o o o   s l o o o o w), physical therapy (including 15 minutes on the exercise bike) in the afternoon followed by several errands. I don't mind telling you I was pretty tired and sore by the time dinner was done.

But the FitBit logged more than 5 miles, almost 14,000 steps and 40 flights of stairs (thank you, WV mountains!). Quite an impressive day. And I really don't feel too awfully bad this morning.

So now, if it is to be, it's up to me. Clean up the food. Continue the walking. Increase mobility and strength and stamina with targeted exercises.

Onward.

Physical therapy is AWESOME

Except for the part where I'm stiff and sore at the end of the day.

Like yesterday. But I know I wouldn't have made the progress I've made this last month or so without PT. I'm really glad the doctor offered to order it, and I'm even glad he waited until all post-surgery restrictions were lifted. I've definitely been able to do more than if I'd had to be careful about bending or twisting my operated leg.

I finally found my ankle weights. I'd been doing my exercises with a hand weight slipped over my ankle, but it wasn't very secure, while the real ankle weight definitely is.

I'm up to about 20 exercises daily now, and it takes a long time to get through them. Like close to an hour. I also walked for almost an hour yesterday and then kind of collapsed the rest of the day.

Doesn't that sound wimpy?

Even if it does, I'm getting better at listening to my body and trying to rest when I need to. I get up very early, so by mid-afternoon I'v…

Here we are, nine weeks later

So physical therapy continues to be good, and I'm making real progress. My therapist bumped me up a pound on the ankle weight, from two to three, last Friday.

Progress stopped for a day. Heh. Seriously, you wouldn't think one measly pound would kick my surgically altered arse so badly, but I took Saturday off. Completely. No walking and NO exercises.

Sunday I did them without any weight, and didn't have any trouble at all.

Yesterday we dropped back down to the two-pound weight, and added a 10-minute warm-up session on the bike before we did anything else. That helped a lot, and I got through all the moves without too much discomfort.

One of the exercises uses a resistance band, and they're color-coded from easiest to ouch. I started at green. Since they were out of blue, they gave me two greens to use together.

Each time I've gone they've added something else, and yesterday I got to march in place. My husband informed me Richard Nixon worked out in the Oval Offi…

Finally … physical therapy

Another post-surgery update. It's been 8.5 weeks now, and I continue to make progress. Slower, now, than earlier in the process, but I occasionally surprise myself by doing something I couldn't do a week or two ago.

Most folks begin physical therapy much sooner after surgery than I have. I think it's routinely prescribed to knee patients, but not so much for hips. When I went in for my last appointment (a week ago Tuesday) with my surgeon, he asked how I was doing.

How I'm doing, then and still, is pretty darned good. But I have a slight limp, especially when I'm tired, and I still need to use one of those sock-putter-onner-helpy-things. I'm doing better getting in and out of the car, but still need to steady myself when I stand up after sitting in a chair for a while.

He thought some physical therapy might be helpful to strengthen the muscles in the operated leg, and prescribed a dozen sessions. I've been to two this week.

It's a little early to notice…

Feeling the burn

Spring has sprung here in southern West Virginia, and as my mobility increases following my hip surgery, all I wanna do is have some fun be outside.

My energy level and stamina are still an issue, and will be for a while – or so I've been told – so I'm giving myself permission to do as much as I'm comfortable doing and then collapse at the end of the day.

Yesterday, for example, temperatures were in the upper 70s. A slight breeze was blowing. My husband and I walked together for about a half-mile, and I suggested we keep going. We ended up walking 2.5 miles outdoors – the farthest I've gone on foot in more than seven weeks.

I was definitely feeling the burn when I got back home. None of the household chores I'd planned to do got done. We had the simplest of dinners – green beans, ham, onions and potatoes, which some paleo purists would disqualify, but it was better than chicken pot pie, which we still have in the freezer. I rested. A lot.

With the additional steps I…

Returning to normal

And … returning to paleo.

Not walking regularly, after many years of daily activity, has resulted in yet another unacceptable weight gain. I knew it would happen, I was prepared for it. I'm not happy about it, not at all. But at least I know how to handle it.

I wasn't willing to handle it as long as I was either

in pain, orrecovering from surgery.
Since I'm not experiencing neither of those, it's time.

I started last Monday. I'm not doing a Whole 30, but am following the no dairy/grains/sugar/legumes protocol. I'm going to take a day off every couple of weeks.

I have not followed through with light weight training, as I said I would. My at-home physical therapy plan also has fallen by the wayside. I go back to the surgeon for my final appointment on Tuesday, and I'm not looking forward to confessing that I'm not doing my knee raises, adductions, and backward extensions. They just seem unnecessary at this point.

Range of motion is not 100 percent, but it&…

A tiny setback

It was a dark and stormy Wednesday this week, with lots of wind. Sometimes lots of wind means loss of electricity, and Wednesday was one of those days.
I had something to return in Princeton (about a 45-minute drive), and rather than sit in a cold-and-getting-colder house all afternoon waiting for the return of lights, heat, and water, the husband and I headed for Lowe's with the wrong-sized drip pans for our electric cooktop.
Note to self: Make sure you write down the brand of cooktop the next time you buy drip pans.
Lowe's is a big place, and we didn't know when our electric problem at home would be resolved, so we crawled through the aisles a couple of times in order to get some walking in. Walking is still my preferred activity, but I'm trying to remember to do the knee raises, adductions, and backward extensions. True confession: I've not started using dumbbells. Yet.
There's just so much plumbing and lighting one can look at, and we got bored pretty quick…

Five weeks out

So one week walking without a cane and I've totally overdone it.
I'm a bit, um, competitive. I'm only competing with myself, but I really didn't need to more than double my steps/miles from the fourth week to the fifth. It. Was. Too. Much.
I didn't hurt myself. But I exhausted myself, and I'd just gotten back into a fairly good sleep routine. Now I'm all messed up again.
Here's what I don't know: I don't know if feeling so tired all the time is a normal part of post-surgical recovery at the five-week point. I think my energy should be bouncing back. I was tired of being tired before the surgery, so I totally expected that once the source of the constant pain was gone, I'd feel fine.
And I don't.
At least I haven't the past few days.
This week I'm going to take it a little easier with the walking, and concentrate more on the physical therapy-type exercises that will build muscle. I also intend to use some light dumbbells to work o…

That went well

I feel the need.

The need … for some speed.

HAHAHAHAHA!

Not really. But wow, can I ever navigate my house better without a cane!

As both of you know, my post-surgery exercise regimen has consisted of some simple moves with the operated leg plus as much walking as I can comfortably manage.

Walking with the cane was certainly manageable, but very slow, and I ended up putting a lot of pressure on my left arm and hand (the one holding the cane, obviously). I couldn't walk for more than about 20 minutes without having to give it a rest.

Without the cane, I'm not walking for longer periods of time, because BORING, but I'm certainly walking more easily and efficiently.
No pain. No discomfort. The transitions – getting out of bed or going from sitting to standing – are still the biggest challenges, but compared to four weeks ago? WOW.

I'm doing better with everyday around-the-house kinds of things, too. Like cooking. We still have a couple weeks' worth of frozen meals (wha…

It's been fun, Cane

Not really.

It's been slow. And awkward. And, for the last several days, probably unnecessary, but I've been really good about following doctors' orders since my hip surgery January 18.

So today is the last day to use it.

I've been thinking that the last day to use the cane marks the first day I can use the treadmill, but I looked over my notes and I have to wait until my next appointment, which isn't until March 8. According to Dr. Google, I can use the treadmill after six weeks, which would be February 29. But Dr. Google didn't do my surgery, so I'll wait for an official release.

I have a lot of trouble being patient about this, especially when I feel as good as I do. But there are real hazards in doing too much too soon, the worst of which would be popping the ball out of the socket. I imagine that would be pretty painful.

Not using the cane has one, and only one, down side. I do get a lot of respect and consideration when I'm out in public. Think ab…

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 e…

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.

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?

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&…

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 …

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.

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 wi…

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…

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. Th…