Reality check at 10 months PO

 

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I am slowly sneaking up to 1 year  PO  and what a year it has been. Ugh.

~~~

Two posts ago I wrote about the difficulties I had walking up and down a long hill. This made me think.

Before I broke my  R  hip, I had arthroscopic surgery for labral tears on both hips. I wrote blogs about both recoveries and was curious to see what I could do at 9 months  PO, for “comparison”.

Each surgery was unique in its way and had a different recovery and circumstances (whereas the recovery of a hip fracture hit the ball out of the park!!).

I know I should not be comparing but I have no one to compare myself with, so the closest is my second recovery and interestingly enough, at 10 months post operative hip scope, I went skiing already and did triple the resistance with weights, Elliptical etc.  in the gym.

 

Skiing @ 10 months PO hip scope

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Right now, at 10 months  PO  after hip fracture, I am where I was at 5 months (!) PO after hip arthroscopic surgery. BAM! 

It actually would even make sense because my muscle  strength and endurance is just not there yet. I could not imagine going skiing right now and I wonder if it will happen this winter at all. It takes  f-o-r-e-v-e-r  to build up muscle mass again.

This really shows me just how severe of an injury it was. Recovering from a labral tear was slow. This is at least twice as slow and requires twice the patience and the comparison to the previous hip surgery really put things in perspective.

 

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Did I mention the results of the Endocrinologist came back? He found absolutely nothing wrong with me.

I have had some bone density loss over the years but otherwise, healthy as can be which comes back to my theory all along, it was just bad luck and a freak accident and once I am stronger, I will go skiing again. Got the okay from my OS already to give it a gentle try from 1 year  PO  on, but of course I have to wait and see how I feel this winter.

Even if I could just do a few runs, some easy blues, that’d be a victory for me already.  I’d be happy with this for winter season 2019. I will be even stronger in 2020.

 

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And how am I doing at 10 months PO? I am doing fine, have almost no pain; here and there some aches but overall I have more good days than bad.

My other hip also really has calmed down and is a happy hip again.

 

Still doing my daily workouts and actually cut back on them. I am no longer aiming for 20 minutes on the Elliptical or stationary bike, it’s just not happening yet. With 15 minutes I am keeping everybody happy. Less is more. Maybe I try again for it in a few months.

If I think back what my  PT  put me through at 5 months PO, I could smack him for it. The amount of exercises was brutal (432 repetions in 1.5 hours). I wouldn’t even attempt doing all this now. But of course, afterwards one is always smarter.

 

But so far, I am happy. It is a very slow recovery but I take a slow & smooth recovery over complications along the way  ANY  day.

 

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Comments over the years…

I’d like to share some lovely comments and “great advice” I got over the years;  as a young person, having hip issues/ – surgery and/ or – recovery. I am sure some of my fellow hipsters can relate…

  • “Are you sure you are having hip problems? You “look” okay.”
  • “Why are you having hip ache today? You didn’t have any yesterday.”
  • “Why don’t you just suck it up and skip surgery?”
  • “Arthroscopic surgery is not real surgery.”
  • “Unless you are not being picked up by an ambulance – it’s not real surgery.”

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  • “What did you get your hip problems from?? Too much bull riding?”
  • “Why don’t you just ignore the pain?”
  • “There is no such thing as atrophy.”
  • “Why don’t you just move on?”
  • “It’s all in your head.”
  • “Shouldn’t you be done with rehab by now??”
  • “Aren’t you too young to have hip surgery?”
  • Also, recovering from a “hip fracture”  IS  different than recovering from “knee replacement”. No matter how many senior citizens feel the need to tell me otherwise.

And of course who can forget all those comparisons that start with “my Grandmother got her  THR  when she was soandso old and her recovery…….” ? Don’t want to sound mean, but one can not compare a lady in her 80’s, who got a  “THR” with somebody half her age, getting “hip pinning”.

Two complete different age groups, different activity & health levels, different surgeries and therefore different recoveries. So –  all those stories about “my Granny’s  THR…..”-  not helpful.

Another really  GREAT  advice I heard, regarding hip pain, was “you just have to hydrate more”. (That I didn’t think of this myself!)

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I am not sure which one was the “best/ worst”  comment but one of the most bizarre ones I ever got was… ( get ready for this!)  a friend of mine had pain from….  “earwax” and said, quote: “he does not wish that kind of pain upon anybody”. (I hope he never has to face worse in his life than dealing with “earwax”. For God’s sake.)

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Anyways, just wanted to share some goodies. If you have some smart comments that you came across, feel free to write me. I always enjoy a good laugh.

Walking a fine line

9,5 month PO; R  hip pinning from a complete hip fracture.

 

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I am still trying to figure out what my op hip can do and what it does not like. Last week my hip “updated” me.

 

Walking a hill of about 1 km length down hill resulted in my knees and quads shaking because the op side is not strong enough yet and after visiting a beach, making it up the hill again was tough. I was limping and walking real slow. I felt like I was back at 5 months PO. Hm.

Walking in sand is also pretty tiring because of the resistance of the sand and uneven ground, but still an upgrade doing it “without” crutches. ( “Beach & crutches” don’t match very well. Been there, done that – can not recommend it. See “PO week 11, “the traveling hipster”.)

 

I honestly thought I could do the hill and beach much better at this stage. Bummer. Still lots of atrophy and muscle imbalance going on, as well as strength and endurance need to improve. Same old song.

 

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The next day I had to sit quite a bit and did not get to move enough. Also not great. My soft tissue absolutely hated it.

Basically my whole quads on my op side were deeply aching all night long, like a 5/10, the side where my incisions are was also super aching and I had butt ache almost every night last week.

~~~

Now I know, too much is not good and neither is too little. Hills are tough, walking in sand is not easy and too much rest is also a no go.

Still need to find the sweet spot, keeping my hip and muscles happy, challenging them a bit but not stressing them out. It’s constant fine tuning.

 

The never ending story. My fifth year this month, dedicated to my hip/s, and counting.

 

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Update – 9 months PO hip pinning

 

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9 months under the belt, not bad.

Overall I am doing really well and I am more than grateful for it.

 

Here is where I am at, WORKOUT  wise:

  • Treadmill, 22 minutes/ 1.9 speed. Walking, no running.
  • Elliptical, 16 minutes/ level 1, medium speed walking
  • Stationary bike, 20 minutes/ level 1

I “tried” walking 25 minutes on the TM the other day, sucked the life out of me. Back to 22 minutes.

I also tried going for 17 minutes instead of 16 minutes on the Elliptical and paid for an entire week  for it. Not cool. (That much to “try to push yourself!”)

 

My workout routine consists of 2x the TM, 2x the Elliptical, 2x the stationary bike a week. Combined with different hip friendly exercises every day, 6x a week/ 1 h each time.

One thing is for sure, if you want to get fit, get yourself a nice little hip surgery recovery. Alone the ongoing PT will whip you in the best shape of your life.

 

(Get it??)

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~~~

Walking outdoors is fine, I aim for 10,000 steps a day.  I probably can do 1.5 miles now in one piece. I also noticed, if I walk slower, I can walk a bit longer. (Back to senior citizen speed.)

A big goal of mine is to do a 5 k walk. (At some point in the future.) I wanted to do it last year, to celebrate coming back after recovering for three years from two previous hip surgeries, but there were no 5 k’s offered.

So, whenever I am ready for this, I’d like to do one. I really don’t care about the time. I just want to be able to say “I did it and I made it.”

~~~

SPORTS:

Doing real sports is only happening in a very limited way so far.

I hit some balls with my husband on the tennis court once a week, to not stress anything out down there, for 20-30 minutes. My tennis game is at about 30% to where it used to be, before I broke my hip  BUT  it still might get some better. My optimism never dies.

 

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Afterall my  OS  told me it takes a minimum of one year for the bone to heal. Not taking in account that lovely atrophy I am still having  BIG  time and not even mentioning lacking endurance and strength.

So, talking of one year is very realistic and I believe it. (Not to be a partypooper but, I am counting on more like two years for me. Anything less is a bonus.)

 

Outdoor biking on a real bike also has not happened yet and will not happen this year. It is what it is.

 

'Are you sure this is legal?'

~~~

For everydays life, running the household & errands I am fine, but as soon as it gets it bit more… my hip/ muscles tell me loud and clear when it’s enough.

My  PAIN LEVEL   is very low, if I am not having a flare like last week, usually it’s around 2/10, which I am not complaining about at all. Aches get up to 4/10. Bad flares 5/10.

The “clicking” in my lower butt is also pretty much gone but I still get butt ache from the hip sometimes. (That’s the beauty in it, my hip is quite “flexible”, sometimes it aches in the groin and sometimes in the butt. Just to keep things interesting.)

~~~

Can I feel my   SCREWS ? Yes, sometimes, at weight transferal from one leg to the other. I learnt to do certain moves a bit slower. I feel the screws inside my femoral neck.

I also can feel them sometimes on the outside of my thigh, at the incision sites; it aches and the area around it is lumpy bumpy. I asked my  ART  (active release theraphy) lady if she feels any scar tissue and she said, she doesn’t; but I do. Well, I guess that’s not going anywhere.

But overall, the aches of the screws are tolerable. I have made my peace with the screws now. I had a hard time accepting those guys for the first few weeks, it’s just weird to know you have foreign objects in your body but I am good with it now.

~~~

Bending down to do pedicure is still a pain in the butt with my op side leg and honestly, I don’t see this getting better. Certain rotations and exercises are not great either yet but if this is all that’s not perfect, I thank my lucky stars.

Things could have gone wrong so many times and they didn’t. All considered,  I am a lucky girl.

 

Quotes About Optimism And Hope Best Optimistic Related Quote Ever

 

 

 

 

The fantastic logic of an Endocrinologist

The last few days I was wondering if I should write more in detail about my visit to the Endocrinologist and now I know. It was too  special  “not” to share.

Read on and you will see why.

 

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My Endocrinologist greeted me and said “so, you are here to get the results of the bone density scan.” So I told him “not really. I know the results already. I am here to find out if there is an underlying issue going on.”

Spends some time looking at the PC and tells me “You had another scan done in 2011. It looks like you had 12% bone density loss since then.” Takes a minute his time and asks “did you ever have another bone density scan done?” “Yes. In 2011.”

 

(This should have given me an idea of how the appointment would go…)

~~~

He asked if I lately had any fractures and there it went. I told him about my complete hip fracture and after determining it is unusal for somebody my age to get this, the investigation got started.

 

 

Doctor: “ What happened?”

Me: “ I had a ski accident. I slipped, both skis were pulled away right under me and I fell very fast and very hard on my right side. Like a log.”

Doctor: “ So you ran against a tree.”

Me: “ No. I had a “slip & fall”.”

Doctor: “ You mentioned a log.”

Me: “ Yes. I fell in a straight line. Like a log.”

~~~

Doctor: “ Did you know right away you broke it?” ( How would I know? It’s not like I do this on a regular basis.)
Me: “ No. I just knew something is majorly wrong. I was in severe pain and could not move.”
Doctor: “So you walked to the  ER  then? (I was just thinking to myself “you are not walking anywhere with a complete hip fracture!”)
Me :” I was picked up by ski patrol and their tabbagon.”
Doctor:” What did you fall on?”
Me :” Snow.”
Doctor:” Snow???” (Do I speak Chinese? 😶)
Me: “ Yes. Hard packed snow.”
~~~
Doctor :” To which  ER  did you go?”
Me:” Snowmass village in Colorado.”
Doctor :” Why there?”
Me:” Because that’s where we were skiing.”
And finally,  T-H-E   conclusion of the day…” so it was a skiing accident?” Aaaaaargh!
~~~
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And to finish it off, he asked if I was suicidal. Huh???
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I sure hope he is smarter, looking at lab results than he is talking to a patient. Geez!

And yet another interesting week…

Borderline 9 months PO –  R  hip pinning

 

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I tried playing tennis again. My precious 20 minutes on the court, very simplified and very careful.

Short balls? Nope. Wide balls? I am letting go as well. At this stage it’s not about improving my tennis technique or kicking butt, it’s about being out there and making contact with the ball. Back to the basics.

Might not be the best tennis I can play, but hey, beats being on crutches  ANY  day!

 

I still have to work on my  R  side. Especially the rotation part, strength and sprinting. I tried for a few balls to get to it and while my left side felt great, my op side leg felt like I am a marionette. Stiff and wooden.

 

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~~~

We got another bill from insurance, telling us my physical therapy cost of almost $ 3,000 was covered. Yeah.

This rounds the whole ski accident, with surgery, ambulance, hospital stay, meds ect. ect. up to a whooping $ 50,000. What a memorable vacation.

 

The one advice I can give to others who are going through this is, keep every single bill and paper you get. I have a whole folder with bills from the hospital, insurance and PT. They came for months afterwards and if one is not organized, one can lose track easily. I seriously felt like Harry Potter at some point…

 

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~~~

To make my strengthening exercises “fresh”, I got a book – “exercises for glutes and squats” and looked up some videos on youtube, using your own bodyweight. Kinda nice, doing something new after many months, doing the same old exercises.

Some exercises go well and confuse my muscles in a good way, others are barely to not at all happening.

 

“Bulgarian squats” aka one legged squats?

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Work well on my left leg, my right leg with the operated hip – much weaker and the balance is not the best either.

 

Sideplanks. (For the record, I hate “plank – anything”, but I guess they are good for you. So I have a love/ hate relationship with them.)

Ideally, this is what it looks like…

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Mine look like this on my left side. On my right, my hip stays firmly on the ground. It does not feel too well in the op hip and I guess my cores on that side also need more love.

~~~

The other day I saw my regular doctor and of course my latest hip surgery came up. She assumed I had “ORIF” = open reduction and internal fixation. (Basically the surgeon cuts the thigh, goes through muscles and opens up the hip capsule, to realign the bones with orthopedic hardware.) A way more invasive surgery than mine.

My surgery was percutaneous pinning.

Anyways, two different approaches and two different recoveries. When I corrected her and said I did not have  ORIF, her response was “oh…! So you just  had hip pinning done??”

(What the hell?) I have gotten this response several times already and each time from a medically trained person. “Just hip pinning?” Did I miss something? They make it sound like it was nothing. This was one brutal recovery, I am not sure why it is being belittled.

 

She did get a bonus point again when she told me, I am more active after recovering from a complete hip fracture than the average healthy person though.

 

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~~~

I also finally had my appointment with the Endocrinologist, to see if there is another reason why my hip broke. He said having borderline low bone density and  a fractured hip at my age  AND  being pre- menopausal makes it not just very uncommon but tricky. (Welcome to my world.)

He examined me, asked 1000 questions, blood was taken and as a special treat I am supposed to collect my urin for 24 h in this container. No comment.

 

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The results from the lab will be discussed at my next appointment.

 

Already about 10 minutes in my new doctor threw the name of a medication (“Fosamax”) at me and suggested trying it out for five years.

I have made enough research to know, this is not something I want to take. It increases your bone density but also makes it more brittle at the same time and it comes with an increased risk of hip, femur, shoulder and knee fractures. Nope. Definitely  NOT  signing up for this one.

 

Before I left a nurse shoved a little plastic container in my face and looked anxiously at me. I had no idea what she wanted from me and told her so. “Pee in it” was the response. (Talk about clear instructions and making minimalistic conversation with a patient.)

~~~

So, for now – back to the gym, work on my right side and one of those days is dedicated “orange bottle time”… The fun just never stops.

 

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Sports after hip pinning

8 months/ 1 week post operative – R  hip pinning

 

I was thinking for a while about it but didn’t feel quite ready for it – trying out for some tennis. Yesterday I went for it!

 

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It was only some light mini tennis, easy groundstrokes from the baseline and a bucket of balls for serving, all in all roughly 20 minutes and  VERY  simplified but hey, I was out there!

Of course it was no US Open material and nowhere close to where I used to be, ahem… three hip surgeries earlier, but still. One has to start somewhere!

 

I had a lot of fun and it was awesome to be back on the court.

Here is what I (hip wise) noticed:

  • footwork to the left forward works well, footwork (small, light steps) to the right & backwards feels like I move with the agility of an elephant.
  • (backhand) rotation with the hips to the L works well, (forehand) rotation with the hips to the R not great.
  • going for low balls – difficult, going down and coming up
  • overall stiff and tight feeling on my R side, mostly muscular
  • explosive and fast moves – nope.
  • Rotation, deep knee bends, weight transfer on the serve? Not really.
  • sudden change of direction? Not the best idea.
  • fast sprints? No.

 

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Lots of important things missing but I am sure it will get better with time. (Honestly, I thought it’d be worse with a lot of payback.)

It was a good try out and certainly a great way to confuse the muscles. My hip was NOT  hurting afterwards, I was a bit tight and tired but that was it. Considering where I am coming from, I was pretty happy.

 

So back to the usual – my op side needs more love and attention. Have to work on strengthening, building up muscle mass and gaining endurance. No rest for the weary.

 

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