Wednesday, March 30, 2016

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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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've depleted my energy reserves. Glad I don't have to work outside my home.

I'm going out of town this weekend, so only two therapy sessions at the hospital this week – one today, and the other one Thursday – and I suspect Thursday will be my final session. My surgeon wrote an order for 12 sessions. Thursday will be the eighth, but I'm now doing everything I said I wanted to do.

I have no trouble at all getting in and out of the car or a chair, and I've put my socks on without the assistance device for three days in a row now. I have every intention of continuing the exercises at home, as I've been doing since I started PT, and I'm trying to add a little extra time/mileage to my daily walks.

I don't think there's anything else I could be doing. I need to be patient with the lack of stamina. That will return in its own good time, I suspect.

But seriously? I can't wait! Heh.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

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 Office by marching in place, so I guess I'm presidential. SNORT.

The good thing about marching is it makes me raise my knee, and the good thing about raising my knee is it increases flexibility in the operated leg, and the good thing about increasing flexibility is … I can put my socks on!

With difficulty and effort, but hey … PROGRESS!

This week I'm going to increase my steps per day into the 8000-range. I'm pretty consistent on the weekdays, but drop down to only a couple thousand on Saturdays and Sundays, so an additional goal will be to make sure I get 8000 steps every day, not just during the "work" week.

So that's it for this week's post-surgery report. I feel just as positive this week about PT as I did last. It's been helpful and motivating and just what I needed to really feel like I'm recovering my strength and mobility.

Still working on stamina.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

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.

I'll be very happy when I don't need this any more!
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 any difference in my ability to do things. I certainly do notice muscle soreness, sometimes as soon as the same night as an appointment. I'm also doing the exercises at home on the days I don't go to the hospital for a session.

I gotta tell you … I love physical therapy appointments. It's like having a personal coach, but my insurance is paying for it! Heh. It's motivating me to try a little harder, stretch a little further, do things I wasn't sure I could do.

I've been assured I'm not going to do any damage (unless I run – NO RUNNING!). I've been released from all post-surgical precautions. So all that's left is to work on strength, mobility, and stamina.

Stamina is probably the hardest, because you can't really work on it. It just … comes. In its own good time. And for me, that's not soon enough. But I have a feeling that one of these days I'm going to look at my sadly neglected perennial beds and think, "I need to get out there and clean those up."

Instead of, like Scarlett, saying, "I'll think about that … tomorrow."

Friday, March 11, 2016

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 took throughout the day (and a couple laps up and down the driveway), I hit the FitBit 10,000-step goal after dinner. First time since last fall.

My final surgeon's appointment was this past Tuesday. Because of a couple lingering issues, he ordered some physical therapy sessions, which will begin Monday. I'm looking forward to working on strengthening and stretching and resuming all normal activities – including putting socks and shoes on without assistance!

Today … I'm a little stiff and sore. I'm not sure if I'll take a day off or if I'll use the treadmill, which I've been cleared to do. Or if I'll hit the road again, before the rain settles in.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

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

  1. in pain, or
  2. recovering 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's getting there. I still have difficulty bending over while sitting (to tie my right shoe, for instance).

I also still run out of steam by the end of an active day. It seems to work best to alternate days when I take it easy with days when I walk outside, go shopping, or do some other extended activity. I'm certain that will improve with time.

And with weather. It's pretty darned easy to declare a rest day when it's cold/snowy/rainy outdoors. Spring is on the way. We're going to see temperatures in the 70s next week.

It'll be pretty darned hard to stay indoors on my ass when the sun is shining and it's warm outside.