8 month PO update

Another 31st of the month and another milestone – 8 months post operative to hip pinning, to the day. (Longest 8 months ever.)

 

Fortunately I have more good to say than bad.

 

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The positive:

  • I can live a normal life again.
  • I am mostly pain free, aching now and then but nothing dramatic.
  • My good hip took quite a beating for many months but has calmed down quite a bit.
  • My workout routine is going well. (Elliptical – 15 minutes/ level 1; treadmill – 20 minutes walking medium pace; stationary bike – 17 minutes/ level 1. Of all of these exercises my op hip probably likes the bike the least.)
  • Good gait
  • I can walk a mile very nicely

 

Best compliment I have gotten recently?  From my husband, who said “if one does not know you had a hip fracture, one would never know it, just by looking at you.”

 

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The negative:

  • Sports are still not happening. Neither is outdoor biking on a real bike.
  • Walking anything over a mile gets tiring very quickly and the more I walk, the slower I get and the more the limp comes back.
  • Muscle atrophy is still a big subject
  • Muscle imbalance

 

Task ahead:

  • Keep doing what I am doing
  • Work on endurance
  • Build up strength
  • Keep  ROM  going
  • REPEAT! 

 

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Putting the hip to the test

 

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7.5 months  PO,  R hip pinning.

 

We just came back from vacation and it was a good test to see where I am at. It was a  pretty active few days, nothing too crazy but still, challenging enough for somebody in my situation.

What I learnt was, “speed walking” is not my friend, nor are many “uneven, high” steps, uneven ground or long distance walking. (All in one day…)

 

The mentioned uneven and challenging ground.

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For example – we did a day trip and first thing – a pretty long walk on uneven ground. I thought I was smart by walking behind some senior citizens (they had the perfect pace for me, as pathetic as that is…) but we were told by the tour guide to speed it up and put “a bit more passion into it”.

I did the walk but on the way back my knees were really shaking.

The day was pretty challenging and in the evening I had  NOTHING  left. Zero. I was limping heavily; walking very, very slowly and was exhausted. Once home, I fell onto my bed and slept for two hours like in a coma, only to wake up in the exact same position, pretty much like this guy…

 

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What I learnt this vacation was, 10.000 steps are not 10.000 steps.

I can do 10.000 steps/ day now again but it is a  h-u-g-e  difference if I accumulate this with many, many short distances (grocery shopping, household chores, doing the Elliptical etc.)  OR  if I have to crank it out in several long distance marches. Definitely not the same thing.

~~~

Was I surprised by it? Not really, since this is hip surgery recovery No. 3 and it was a more severe injury, more invasive surgery and yep, more time on crutches than after the first or second surgery ( FAI & labral tear).

I have lost  A LOT  of muscle mass during my time on crutches (20 weeks) and it takes forever to get it back. Probably around two years for me, but I was happy about what I could do.

 

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We had to take one day off, to recover and give my hip some rest but otherwise I did everything. Walked over lots of gravel and uneven ground, climbed up to see waterfalls and iceberg lagoons, hiked around the crater of a vulcano and did a good amount of sitting in busses too.

 

Hiking around the vulcano crater and taking a well deserved break. 

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I had to do the activities my own speed and choose my walking paths more careful than others but I did it. Most of the times my op hip and surrounding muscles started aching in the evening which was okay. That’s why I brought the icepack along.

~~~

So I know now I can walk in an airport without wheelchair assistance and I can do a whole vacation again. Endurance on vacation was at about 40 % to where I was before I broke my hip.

I still need more overall strength and endurance in my op hip, glutes and quads, strengthen the knees as well and work on muscle imbalance. Unfortunately this will take its sweet time.

Some people can just go ahead and really crank it up in the gym to see faster results. Good for them but it does not work for me. My body heals slowly and what I have going for myself is persistence and consistency with my hip friendly, PT based workouts, patience and time will work for in my favour.

 

But the good news is, even though I am not as strong yet as I want to be,  I see improvement to a few months ago and considering where I am at in my recovery, I did really good.

I am happy. The trend is still going uphill.

 

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One lesson smarter

 

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Well, last week was disappointing.

 

My workouts were going well, I was making slow but steady progress and thought, I can upgrade to the next level on the stationary bike.

Going from my hard earned “17 minutes/ level 1” to “12 minutes/level 1 and trying out 5 minutes/ level 2” – BIG  MISTAKE!!

Both of my hips were absolutely miserable at night, like 5/10 and especially my op hip was angry and deeply  aching for another two days. What a price to pay for 5 minutes…

 

I had to take three days off to rest and give the hips a break. And going back to my workout routine, it was a slow start and working my way up again, which took a whole week.

 

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I was really surprised by this since it felt absolutly fine “while I did it” and I thought for sure, being 7 months PO I can do it. Guess not.

With this I also can forget riding a bike outdoors anytime soon. To ride a real bike is a minimum of level 3 and if “5 minutes on level 2” already do this, I do not want to think about it what level 3 would do to me. Bummer.

~~~

But on the bright side, it’s another month closer to skiing! We are getting all those E-mails about ski resorts for winter 2019 and I really want to go.

People are always shocked when they hear I want to go skiing again after what happened but isn’t this the point of recovery? To go back doing what you love? And in all honesty, it didn’t really happen “during” skiing.

If I would have been going too fast and had a wipe out, then I would have kind of asked for it, but I wasn’t. I was standing still on my skies and sliding over, when I slipped and fell. (So lame…)

 

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Maybe that’s why I am not scared of going back. It was a super stupid accident, something that can happen in my own driveway or pretty much anywhere. Plus I think skiing will not be as tiring and demanding as let’s say playing tennis. Skiing is sliding and using gravity, tennis is more of an impact sport.

I am not seeing biking happening any time soon, but I do see myself skiing again and if it’s just some easy blues.

~~~

Till then – back to the park, walking my daily rounds and doing my hip friendly workouts in the gym. I’ll get there, one way or another.

 

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7 months and counting

 

 

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“7 months post operative” sound like a long time but it’s really not. Complete recovery from this takes a full year and since I had a lot of quality time on crutches (20 weeks), that’s not even including building up the muscle mass again.

But I am doing good, I feel stronger and less achier every month but I still have ways to go. I can not really tell the difference between week to week but I sure notice a difference to how I felt two months ago.

~~~

Right now I am waiting for an appointment with an Endocrinologist. I read “if a womens estrogen is too low, it can hinder calcium from getting absorbed into the bones.” Pre menopausal stuff….

 

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~~~

My workouts are going fine, still 5-6x a week for about an hour a day. I try to alternate between the Elliptical & treadmill every day and add PT exercises, stretches, planks (of which I  HATE every single second!), elastic bands and light weights to it.

Right now I am at:

  • Elliptical 14 minutes/ level 1
  • treadmill 18 minutes/ 1.7 walking speed
  • stationary bike 17 minutes/ lowest level

And I admit it, by the time Friday comes around my op hip is tired and aches.

(The one thing I am still struggling with is reaching my op side foot for doing a pedicure or putting lotion on. It has gotten much better, in the first few months my foot seemed like mile away and was very, very difficult to reach. It’s much better but it’s not as flexible as the good leg.)

 

Stairs are no longer a problem, walking goes fine but I am not sure how far really. I know I can for one mile nicely but I have not gone for longer walks yet. Anyways, I am enjoying my summer and it’s nice to be out in the park like everybody else.

 

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It’d be nice to get back into other things too, like tennis but it’s still too early for that. I am not very good with walking backwards or sidesteps yet, leave alone doing it with quick footwork. I know it for sure, if I try it right now, I stumble over my own feet and smack on the hard court.

 

I’d also love to ride a bike again. A real bike. Outdoors.

I have not ridden a real bike in four years. I am always in some kind of hip surgery recovery mode. So that’s my goal for this summer, go biking for a bit.

My goals in general are very modest. If I can get to 20 minutes on the Elliptical, the bike and the treadmill after going through three hip surgeries, I would be very, very happy.

 

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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.

~~~

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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