On my own

Borderline 6 months PO.

 

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Last week was crappy. Every day my hip had something else in store for me, I just couldn’t do it right.

Either it was aching so bad I could not sleep at night or it was very cranky during the day; the hip flexor absolutely hated me and made me look like I just turned 100 when I tried getting up from a chair; or both hips were miserable and since I am being told to “keep pushing myself”, I tried that too.

It took me almost six months to get to 15 minutes on level 1 on my stationary bike, so I thought “let’s try 10 minutes on level 2” instead and see how that goes.

That fell in the category “felt good while I did it….” – not so good afterwards. The payback set in about six hours afterwards with  BOTH  hips being angry, 5/10. Bummer.

 

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My PT always wants to know how my week was and after I told him, he said it sounds like I have a burn out from PT. (No kidding.)

I counted the reps (of all exercises together) I do while I am at his place and counted 432 – in 1.5 hours! Anybody would have a burn out doing this for months (AND my daily PT exercises which went on for two hours/ day for months, reduced to one hour/ day only recently), leave alone trying to recover from a hip fracture.

 

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He wants me to take some time off from PT and ice more as I am already. Preferably twice a day.

~~~

My good hip is hanging in there, sometimes better than other times. In general it has calmed down quite a bit but it still gets upset easily. My PT even suggested getting an MRI  for the good hip or at least talking it over with my OS, next time I see him, which is in three weeks for another follow up.

 

So right now the plan is this, I let my hip/s calm down and continue with my exercises on my own for a while and see how that goes. In case I need help again, I can always go back to my PT.

Doing too little makes my hip stiff and achey, doing too much pisses things off. I need to find that golden middle that keeps my hip/s happy and challenges them just enough to keep improving.

Sounds like yet another fun journey ahead.

 

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Reality check at 5 months PO

I am back from vacation.

Had a great time and it was my first “sightseeing” vacation since my ski accident/ hip pinning surgery and I know now where I am at in my recovery (5 months PO).

The good news – I could do more than expected but I also learnt a few tough lessons.

At the airport I could walk to gates which where nearby, longer distances I still used the wheelchair assistance. Carrying my backpack not only slowed my walking down, it made me limp and used up more energy, faster.

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I had my crutches along and would have actually used them but at the time of need I was stuck nowhere near our hotel (where my crutches were) and had to deal with the situation, without them.

One time in particular I completely misjudged the walking distance and not only ran out of energy but went into pure survival mode. Sights which I usually would have enjoyed and taken photographs of did not matter to me anymore; I shuffled away in slow motion, tiny steps and with a big limp, till the next bench. It was brutal. I would have given something to have access to my crutches at this point.

It was not that the hip itself was hurting, it was the missing muscle mass, on my op side. Atrophy is a real bitch.

~~~

Most days I stayed around 8,000 steps which is all I can do right now and not be aching. I overdid it a few times and paid for it, every single time.

 

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  • Pulling a heavy suitcase? Pain level 5/10 in the hip throughout the entire night and the whole hip joint felt bruised on the inside.
  • Walking up and down hills results in an aching hip.
  • Walking over cobblestone and uneven ground – hip is not very forgiving.
  • Hip flexor on my op side joined the party pretty much every day and gave a lot of  additional “joy”.

 

On the bright side, I was able to walk behind a waterfall; sitting in trains, cars & planes was not a problem and my icepack was a lifesaver several times.

~~~

I certainly had my moments in which I thought “this is so lame” – for example, trying to take part in a 90 minute walking tour.  Brilliant idea!

The group took off and I was always the last one and never heard a word of what was being said.

At some point I called it quits and left the tour. I could not keep up and nobody cared or asked if I was okay either. So, another one for the list, “guided city walking tours” – not happening at the moment.

I was slow to begin with but the longer the vacation went on, the more aching my hip became and the slower I walked. My good hip was aching off and on as well.

~~~

Overall I could do many things though and had quality time with the hubby. Things went better than expected but still lots of work ahead.

Endurance and strength I have to continue working on. But I am sure my PT will have some good exercises up his sleeve when I see him next week. No rest for the weary.

 

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16 weeks PO after hip pinning

16 weeks post operative and yep, still very busy with my recovery.

Inside my home, for short distances, I am off my one crutch but still need many, many breaks throughout the day. Outside I am still dependent on both of them.

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I can crutch/ walk about 800 yards/ meters by now but I doubt I would have the strength or endurance to do a full grocery shopping in our local supermarket without my crutches. Just not there yet.

~~~

Last weeks physical therapy only took place once with a collegue of my regular PT. (My PT had a baby and is taking a few days off.)

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To summarize it – the guy was a joke and a waste of money & time.

He never looked once in my file, gave me only a handful of exercises to do which I did 10 weeks ago already and was more gone than there. I would have been happy just doing the exercises from last time and getting his input, instead I was sitting around, waiting for him to come back again.

I will wait till my regular PT comes back and continue with him. He seems to know me by now and I know him. Lots of home PT to do in the meantime.

~~~

Another big achievement is, I can do stairs again. Not all the way, the smooth, fluid motion; still Granny style, but it is improvement.

My op hip is okay if I stay within my limits, as well as the good hip. Both get stressed out and tired quickly and lately my left iliospsoas is giving me grief as well, it goes into spasms and really aches. Reminds me of the recovery of my second hip arthroscopy, the mirror image. Surgery on the L, angry hip flexor on the R.

The other day I read “the hip flexor – the queen of compensating”. (Makes sense but I have other names for it…)

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I am now in my 17th week on crutches and I sure hope it’s coming to an end soon. Let’s see what my PT will have in store for me when I see him next.

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Less is more

PO week 15. Crutches status? Same – outdoors 2, indoors 1.

My first attempt of “10 minutes walking without crutches inside my home” was a success but very, very slow. It also resulted in “two” angry hips for the rest of the day. Splendid.

 

film x-ray human's pelvis and arthritis at both hip joint

 

The next day I tried again and it already went much better.

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My PT was impressed with my progress just within three days but I still did not get the green light for going crutch free at home. He was very clear on that. I should practice good gait and balance during my dedicated 10 minutes freestyling, work on lateral movements as well, “a few” small and short tryouts without my crutch are ok but for 98% – still one crutch.

~~~

Next to selected old exercises I was told to walk “8’s”, 5x to the left and 5x to the right, around the tubes which was not that easy, without my crutch.

 

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He checked my gait which was okay, considering, but needed some finetuning. I am very thankful for him checking it, because truthfully, this is my third hip surgery recovery and nobody ever checked my gait or balance before. Sucks.

 

We also want to focus more on exercises on my feet from now on, maybe even consider the treadmill and/ or the Elliptical soon.

 

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I did two other new exercises, which were okay as long as I stood on my non op hip but very difficult, standing on my op hip/ leg, holding my entire bodyweight. My op hip was not a fan.

It takes a lot of strength to stand on the operated leg, there is a lot of pressure in my hip/ groin/ leg and it is quite exhausting.

~~~

The aftermath of my PT was seriously  NOT  pretty. My good hip felt like it’s ready to come through the tummy, and even after spending  HOURS  icing,  both were really angry. Another wasted night, when my hips kept me awake till 5 o’clock in the morning.

 

I personally feel, my PT should adjust my home exercises from now and then. He keeps piling them on and on. I am at 2 hours daily home exercises now and it is stressing my hips out.

I am sure one could skip a few old exercises and it’d be better to focus on other, more advanced ones, which include walking, standing and endurance. Every week I ask if there is any adjustment with the home exercises and every week the list gets longer.

”Less is more” in my opinion and especially in this recovery.

I don’t want to end up with a stress fracture from a fatigued bone on top of everything. After all, even without the recent surgery, both hips were already operated hips and I knew what they could do and what not. The amount of exercises right now is more than double what I did before the ski accident.

No wonder my usually super duper left hip is stressed out to the max.

 

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Attempting to walk

I am in my 14th week post operative in this very slow recovery. Progress is steady but things do take their sweet time.

 

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PT was “interesting” to say the least.

I told my PT that the exercise, when I step on and off a very low wooden box, scares me because especially at the step off, I feel like my hip, leg and knee at the op side can not hold it and I am afraid of falling. What’s the response to that from my therapist?? Goes away and comes back with a box  DOUBLE  as high!!

I tried it and could not do it. Surprise! I was stuck on top of the box, my feet were glued onto it and I was so scared of trying it, knowing I already can not hold it on the lower box,  I was on the verge of tears.

The box was exchanged for the lower one again and I struggled away. What was that good for??

If I say “I can not do it”,  I am not joking. I know what my hip is capable of doing and what not.

~~~

I learnt a new exercise as well, to strengthen the quads.

 

 

 

 

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But the definite highlight was trying to walk unassisted- without crutches! I only walked a few feet forth and back, and that super slow.

It did not hurt but tired my hip out, fast! The gait is awful at the moment, very stiff, wobbly, unbalanced and I feel like Pinoccio making his first steps. (I also did not look half as chippy as him…)

 

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The leg press was increased to 80 lbs. and that’s seriously enough now. I am not training for the Iron Man!

My list of home exercises is getting longer and longer and I am still on one crutch inside my home and on two outside. I am allowed “10 minutes per day” at home (which is  PLENTY) without crutches and should work on my endurance “standing” as well.

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We are still waiting for spring to arrive. In the meantime I bundle up and go to the park with my husband as often as I can. I am already walking better and need less strength in the arms. Good stuff!

 

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Till next time. 🙂

 

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Day 90 on crutches

Last weeks PT session with three new exercises, resulted in a rough night. I was really hurting and miserable and fell asleep at 5 am in the morning.

 

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My op hip felt the size of a grapefruit, and ached deeply. It was aggravated and swollen. On a pain scale a solid 5/10. I had to take the whole next day off to let things calm down again.

~~~

Since a couple of days my L hip also is acting up. I guess the left has officially had it for taking the majority of the load for many months. Right now I have two aching hips, aching for different reasons. Good times.

 

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I also had to set the record straight on what kind of surgery I had done. I overheard my PT talking to a collegue last week and was surprised to hear what my PT “thought” I had done.

When I told him the correct diagnoses and surgery technique, his response was “oh, you just had hip pinning done?” Said with a tone like “oh and I thought you had “real” surgery the whole time.” (What the….? Seriously!)

 

I am still convinced I am his first young hip pinning patient, and I am his personal guinea pig. He does give me good exercises and tries but sometimes he seems a bit clueless.

Oh well, I am sticking with him. It’s not like “other” PT’s will have a ton of experience with this. Again, young people usually don’t break their hip and old people often end up with a  THR  right away.

Leaves me – floating around in no man’s land.

 

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I let him know about the payback last time too and he adjusted some exercises. We skipped the ankle weights but still kept the wooden box and squats going. The squats (only a 1/4 going down) are going well, the step up and step down on the wooden box I don’t know.

Some go well and at other steps I feel like either my hip or knee is about to collapse right under me. Weird.

Hopefully that gets stronger real soon, it’s an awful feeling if you don’t know if your leg will hold you or give in any second. (I’d be the type to reinjure myself  AT  the physical therapy office, I swear.)

~~~

What else is new?

  • I am still on two crutches outside my home but I am allowed on one crutch inside. Walking is getting better and a bit faster.
  • Stairs? Getting better but still only with two crutches.
  • My daily home PT exercises take me 1.5 hours
  • My crutch walking ability with 2 crutches is about 800 yards/ meters
  • I can bike on my stationary bike twice a day,  NO  resistance, casual pace for 13 minutes
  • Driving is okay within the 10-15 minutes range

 

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Living it up!

Week 13 post operative.

 

It’s my fifth day (at home) with one crutch. My op hip is on the R, so I am using the crutch on my opposite side.

On my first day I was strongly leaning towards the left when walking but the balance and gait is improving every day.

One thing that’s not getting old is, being able to actually carry something and getting some stuff done.

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Technically we are having spring, but I guess mother nature did not get the memo. Nevertheless, we bundled up and went for a walk in the park. Crutches and all.

 

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Since I was told to “push myself” a little bit, I chose a tree about 300 yards/ meters away as my goal.

The distance is not long for somebody healthy but while you are recovering, have not a whole lot of muscle mass to show, basically no endurance and are rocking your crutches, it is quite a distance. It took me a while to do it but it felt very satisfying and it was nice to be out in the fresh air.

My op hip felt okay afterwards, a bit achy but not too bad.

~~~

Going to PT was exciting as I was driving myself.

 

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We practiced driving over the weekend. The sideways movement from the gas to the brakes pedal feels okay, the long and deep braking goes a bit in the hip.

I did a test drive and promptly ended up in a neighborhood I have never set foot in before. Oops.

For the moment I want to keep driving distances short, within the 10-15 minute range. I would not want to drive long distance yet.

~~~

Physical therapy is going well.

I did all of my exercises but was allowed to skip some and we replaced those with some upgraded ones, like doing “quarter squats” on the wall (see picture on the left and the targeted muscles on the right, below) or stepping on a low step.

 

 

The squats are going well, the stepping on the low box is hard as hell. The exercise is very mischiefing. The box is about 2 inches/ 5 cm high but geez – this thing sucks the life out of me!

It is such a small step and yet such a huge one.

 

 

I did 20x reps and towards the end my thigh was just shaking. It is pretty difficult to hold and transfer the weight, and keep the knee from giving out.

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Overall I think, the recovery of the labrum tear in the hip, which I had the pleasure of doing twice, was faster in the beginning but afterwards slow and   t-e-d-i-o-u-s  but compared to this recovery, it was a walk in the park.

Recovering from a hip fracture is an entirely different animal. Post op pain is severe, crutches time is about triple as long but I hope now things will be picking up a bit.

I am making really good progress and feel very optimistic but it’s exercises like these when I think “geez, still looong ways to go”.

 

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My walking ability on one crutch is pretty good but it’s at least another week on one crutch inside my home. Still on two crutches outdoors.

This is my 13th week on crutches but that’s ok. Rather do it right the first time than rushing it and risking a stress fracture or worse.

What cracks me up are medical articles, stating “the recovery takes 3 months”. I must be missing something.

 

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Oh and guess what came in the mail!? Two more bills for my ski accident/ surgery. Another $ 5,500! (We are now at $ 44,000. I wonder how many more bills will come.)

 

 

For now I keep icing away. My op hip is not happy and I think it will be a fun night. My hip is ready to rumble.

 

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