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Total Hip Replacement surgery: 4 week post op update

Today is the 4 week anniversary of my new hip. So this brings my recovery blogposts up to date - hurrah!

Overall things are going well. I feel like my muscles are strengthening with the physio exercises each day. I made it out the house for a couple of little walks at the weekend and even got to church on Sunday. 

I'm definitely gaining more independence around the house - I'm no longer restricted to using the loo with the height raise fitted but can carefully use the downstairs loo too. 

I can wash up and load the dishwasher. I can pick up most items off the floor most the time by doing a 'keeping operated leg straight out behind me whilst bending the other knee manoeuvre'. 

I'm still limited when it comes to the shower and need help and also for getting things in and out of low cupboards. 

I'm better with meal prep although spending too much time standing up wipes me out and leaves my toes throbbing. My ankles have been very 'clicky' and painful though which i'm hoping is just an adjustment thing and that they will settle down. My left ankle in particular has never been great since my JIA first began but it hasn't been this bad for a long time. Even my knees are playing up when I do my physio excercises and they've always been fine before. I try to get my 2 sessions of more intense physio done in the mornings to get them out the way - the exercises using the bands and ankle weights. And then that leaves two more sets of the initial bed exercises and standing exercises that I still do 4 times per day. 

I wish I could get out for a little walk each day but today it's wet again out there like it was yesterday and I find that I'm really fearful of a slip or fall. That's also the reason I am really fearing the school run too when that time comes as there is so much bustle up there with kids running around like crazy that I fear being knocked over.  

Some days I feel really optimistic and positive whilst other days I just feel bleugh and today happens to be a bleugh day. 

Today I feel nauseous from lack of sleep. I dread the night times and last night was one of those 'looking at the clock every hour' kind of nights. I reckon I managed a couple of hours sleep during the night and then after lying awake for hours afraid to move as I didn't want to disturb Richard as his sleep has been suffering because of me, I  finally managed about 30 mins more this morning once he was awake. 

So I'm feeling so groggy that I can't even face doing my first set of physio exercises this morning but I will do them because I know I have to. 

Granny is back in hospital which is a massive worry for us all - I can see it on Richard's face and the children's faces just how worried they are. I know she will be fine as she's the strongest person I know but  it is the not knowing what is causing the problem that is the worry. 

My dad is also in hospital right now and because he lives further away visiting him is out the question right now for me so that is another frustration. 

Gosh it's all sounding miserable again which I don't think it would have done if I'd written it after a better nights sleep. 

I came off all my pain releif meds yesterday except for paracetamol in the evening. Ive only got 1 more week of xarelto (riveroxaban) blood thinners to take and I've found that by taking it straight after dinner around 6pm rather than 10pm, my legs feel less agitated during the night.  I'm still feeling the heart palpitations when I lie down but the doctor didn't seem to think that was related to xarelto. Either way I will be glad when I no longer have to take that as then I'll stop the evening paracetamol too and see how I am without that. 

Now it's time time to get up and yawn my way through today. 

Here are a few notes from my 3 week milestone which never made it onto the blog yet...(I ended up sticking with the riveroxaban for now after all)

Day 21 - 3 week update - tues 13th feb. pancake day! Physio Pain in ankle - esp left ankle. Given a stick for outdoors. For better balance - standing taller . Indoors ok without anything. Late evening. Loads of clunking in hip with every step. Dr called re switching from riveroxiban to apixaban- not sure what to do. Day 22 weds 14th Feb Took riveroxaban earlier last night and had better nights sleep.   Also foot on a cushion after checking with physio to relieve heel sore pain.


Day 15 - Day 18 Post-op: Total Hip replacement surgery

Written on Wednesday 7th February 2018

Last night was horrible. I thought nightimes had got easier so it was an unpleasant surprise to find my legs felt extremely agitated again. Then the panicked feeling struck.

It's not a worry or anxiety but a feeling of darkness sitting on my chest. A feeling like I'm being buried alive and can't breathe. I just want to escape out of my own body.

And when it happens there's no way out - no distraction, no deep breathing seems to make any difference. I have to wait until the feeling passes.

The last time I looked at the time it was quarter to one. Then thankfully I must have slept until 4am.

My right shoulder was painful through the night. Possibly going onto one crutch has put too much pressure on it. I hope it resolves because if I can feel all this discomfort despite being on all the pain relief medication I dread to think what it would be like without pain relief.

Today I've felt tired all day. I didn't brush my teeth til 3pm. I didn't have a shower and get dressed until after that. I think I may have fallen asleep for a bit too.

Why the exhaustion? Possibly the lack of sleep or going for my first “walk” yesterday? Or both?

I'm still feeling really hungry too. Which is weird because I'm burning less calories than ever stuck at home and hardly moving. I dread to think how much weight I've gained these past two weeks - haven't dared stand on the scales yet.

The good news is that the slumber pillow I ordered a couple of days ago has arrived. I know they say a regular pillow will do for putting between your legs to stop the operated leg crossing over (risk of dislocation) but there's something reassuring about having a pillow especially designed for this purpose.

I'm not sure if I will be able to side sleep after all with the painful shoulder but I'm looking forward to giving it a try.

Consultant appointment this evening.

I've come home from my consultant appointment feeling really pleased. He's very happy with my progress. He said I can even try to walk around the house balancing on furniture in place of crutches but to stay on at least one crutch outdoors to avoid falls or being pushed.

I tried a little “walk” across the kitchen when I got home but it was definitely more of a penguin waddle!

He was happy with the wound and took the dressing off. He said it's fine for it to get wet and just to leave it uncovered now.

I can start to reduce the pain relief as and when I feel ready. I've already dropped pm dose of paracetamol and only take 1 ibuprofen for the two daytime doses. I take maximum of both for my bedtime dose to help at nightime.

He was happy for me to start my magnesium citrate again. From what I can find out it seems the leg jumps / restlessness at night can be quite common post op and so I'm hoping the magnesium may help. Some suggest quinine to help and some say its due to possible iron deficiency as there's often some blood lost during surgery- I only lost an average 600ml but my iron levels aren't great at the best of times as I have a hereditary condition causing smaller than normal red blood cells.

My consultant said I can also side sleep now with a pillow between legs. I tried out my slumber pillow earlier and I think it will take a bit of getting used to.

He said I can try lower chairs as long as it felt comfortable so a lot of the restrictions and worries I had seem to be gradually reducing over time.

I still long for these first 6 weeks to be over and just want to feel normal again.

Day 18 Saturday 10th February 2018:

Today is the first day that I've waddled less. Although I'm still only doing very short distances inside the house without crutches I feel like I'm walking more and more normally with less of a big waddly limp like I had on Wednesday night when I first tried.

I am still using one crutch for stairs and also when I first get up. Otherwise I feel too stiffened up to walk. If you'd told me on day one or two that I'd be taking steps without crutches within two and a half weeks of the hip replacement I would not have believed it.

Great big positives for today I've managed to sort some dry laundry, finish off a bit of cooking which Richard began. Cut down to 1 ibup and 1 paracetamol first thing and haven't had more since although I will take full dose at night and possibly 1 more paracetamol around dinner time depending how I feel.

The worst of the pain bizarrely comes from bed sores behind my ankles and the swelling under my knee rather than the hip itself. I have felt the wound twinging a bit since cutting down on pain relief.

I've tried my new slumber pillow a couple of times but not through the night. I use it for a short while first thing and for a few minutes before bedtime just to give my back a bit of relief from lying on my back the rest of the time.

Nighttimes still aren't brilliant but certainly better than the early days. I think the magnesium citrate has helped reduce the leg jumps / restless legs. I've noticed my heart feeling tachiocardic at night and so I looked up whether the riveroxiban anticoagulant can cause that and it seems that it can along with reports of anxiety and panic attacks which explains a lot.

I've got another couple of weeks to keep taking them but then hopefully there will be an improvement on that front.


Collect moments, Not things.

This blogpost was just going to be an Instagram photo but somehow there was so much more to say that it has become a blogpost. 

I'm not a materialistic person- I've never felt the need to have the latest clothes or shoes or gadgets. 

So it totally surprised my family just how heartbreaking it was when I was washing up my favourite Emma Bridgewater cup last night and accidentally managed to chip the lip of the cup. 

My husband tried to assure me that I could still drink from it despite the chip (but I know it would only upset me more each time I saw the chip).

My kids kept repeating to me over and over that it was just a cup and that it doesn't matter. 

Of course in so many ways they are right. But at the same time it showed me that none of my family 'get it' about just why this cup was so important to me. 

Of course it's pretty. Stunning in fact. Of course it's amazing for being an Emma Bridgewater cup - an absolute icon of pattern and design. Of course it's practical with its generous size enabling me to have a nice big cup of tea. But none of those things are the reason why I was so upset. 

The reason it meant SO much to me was what it represents. That cup was not just a cup. That cup was... 

...a collection  of moments. Snatched moments amidst the chaos of life. That cup totally epitomized the oh so rare commodity that is called "me time". 

At one point I realised that I was so stretched and thinly spread that I was lucky to sit down with a cuppa even once a week, let alone once a day. 

I was determined to change that and gradually gradually, one cup of tea a week became two. Then I managed to make time for a daily cuppa and more recently realising how important it was to everyone else to make sure I looked after myself I would even occasionally manage 2 cups of my favourite herbal teas in that gorgeous tea cup.  It was a prompt - a daily reminder- "look after yourself" those pretty polka dots would whisper. "Have a nice big cuppa" the generously sized cup would encourage me. "I'm bright. I'm beautiful. I'm here for you whenever life gets too much and to remind you not to let it get too much". 

My beautiful tea cup.  

I shan't be replacing it. Not immediately anyway. It will give the other tea cups a chance to shine for a while after this one had stolen the limelight for so long. ( And had stolen my heart)

Of course there was no way I was going to bin it though. So it will still sit centre stage and be put to use in another way. Here it is giving the last bit of foliage from my Pod and Pip bouquet a final lease of life as a makeshift vase. 

And whilst I do live by the motto of collecting moments and not things, I am grateful to this gorgeous tea cup for the moments it gave me and helping me to understand that I matter. 


Sissinghurst Photo Album

It was a glorious Autumn day. It wasn't long before my 40th birthday and because we had such an amazing day, it actually felt like it was my birthday.

Over the years we've been National Trust members at various points in time when the kids were younger, but after feeling that we'd 'been there and done that', we stopped visiting National Trust places for a while.

But on this particularly beautiful Autumn day, Sissinghurst Place felt like the perfect place to visit. We took D and Miss T with us as J had lots of homework on and he said he'd be happier to do that and then spend some time gaming.

We took dozens of photos because the grounds are so pretty especially with all the autumnal flowers showing their stunning beauty. And there the photos sat - stuck on my computer, which soon became the boys computer when the one they used for homework broke. In my fear of never looking at them again, I've pinched back the computer to pick out a few of my favourite photos from that day and get them onto the blog.

So here's my kind of online photo album from that day...

beautiful blue skies and stunning views

Photos taken 24th September 2017.
Country Kids

2 Week update post-op after Total Hip Replacement

Written on Tuesday 6th February 2018
a light flurry of morning snow on 5th Feb

Today is the two week milestone since the total hip replacement operation on my left hip. 

After my physio appointment yesterday I had a breakthrough milestone moving onto using just one of my crutches around the house. 

It was the first glimpse of getting back to walking again. Until that point I could see no benefit in having had the surgery. My husband would disagree as he would say I'm no longer screaming out in pain at night but as far as how I was walking and moving I had just been feeling so stiffened up and reliant on the crutches that I couldn't see an end in sight. 

Now using one crutch feels like progress and gives me the use of an arm back for carrying things and generally gaining a little more independence. 

In addition to the 3 bed exercises and 3 standing exercises I've been doing 4 times a day, the physio has given me an additional 3 exercises to do twice a day. 

Bridges, clam (lying on my back though) and clam using a theraband. 

After starting these additional exercises yesterday combined with the extra effort going into walking with one crutch, today I am feeling utterly wiped out. 
how the legs are looking without TEDs on - swelling and bruises still visible

Despite having a reasonably good night's sleep, I've also needed a nap this afternoon. That's not a bad thing in itself as a proper lie down each day is recommended to help reduce the swelling.  

I was awoken from my afternoon nap by the phone ringing. It was grandad explaining that granny wasn't able to go on her holiday to South Africa after all. She was due to fly tomorrow and after being rushed to hospital last Friday with heart palpitations we thought she'd been given the all clear to go but it turns out the doctor has advised against it. Feeling gutted for her after looking forward to it for so many months. 

Despite feeling groggy I thought it would be good to get some fresh air on a bright sunny day like this so when Richard went on the afternoon school run I went for my first "walk" (albeit with both crutches) and literally only managed a few minutes but progress nonetheless. My hands felt frozen as I hadn't realised just how cold it was. I had to be so focussed to avoid trips or falls and it was interesting how aware I was of all the lumps and bumps on the pavement. 

Feeling so hungry today too. 

Video of me walking with 1 crutch on day 13....


Total hip replacement - day 9 and 10 post op

Written on Friday 2nd February 2018
Cake from a friend. So many people have been so kind bringing meals and offering help. 

I think I've come to the end of daily updates for the time being as life has fallen into a kind of routine. I'm guessing there will be an update every few days now or possibly moving to weekly updates. Despite feeling like I need help with everything I did manage to fold and put a few items of clothing away once they were taken out the airing cupboard and I managed to take meal out the freezer (made by wonderful friends for us) and get it onto a baking tray and into the oven - even though it did prove rather tricky and I can't even remember how I managed it but somehow I did. 

I'm finding certain drawers I can pull open from the edge using my crutches, drop (non-breakable) items into them and then push them closed again with the end of my crutches. 

Showers are still very tricky so dry shampoo is my new best friend. I've only managed two showers since being home using a shower chair and lots of help from Richard. 

Pockets are also proving useful for carrying my phone with me in case of an emergency when I'm left home alone. I'm acutely aware that a moments lapse in concentration when walking around, going up or down stairs or even forgetting to lie on my back in bed could have serious consequences. 
D was brilliant loading the dishwasher with my instructions this evening.  If only both boys would be a bit more helpful around the house it would take the pressure if Richard a bit. 

Had a scare today with granny bring rushed to hospital. Her focus has been on helping us so much - early starts, late nights and particularly with getting Miss T to where she needs to be for various commitments that her own health is now suffering. Thankfully she was sent home from hospital this evening. Even the boys who are very much at a "whatever" stage with everything else, were mega concerned about granny. 
my wound on day 10
This morning was my wound check at the doctors surgery. They are happy that it is healing up nicely. It's been re-covered with a fresh dressing to be checked again next week. 

Doing those little chores - however basic they seem - has taken it out of me today as I drifted to sleep in the early evening. 

Another wonderful happy thing was seeing one of my best friends yesterday. Richard was out all day at a meeting and so my friend brought me lunch and we had a good couple of hours catching up, chatting and laughing. A real highlight of my day as it's easy to go stir crazy stuck at home like this. 

Generally night times are feeling a bit easier - I've come to accept the way I have to sleep and my legs are feeling less agitated at the moment. 

I think the stiffness in my legs is easing as the strength builds up again with the 4 sessions of physio exercises I'm doing each day at home. 

Although I'm not even at the 2 week mark and I know I need to get to 6 weeks to see the real improvement just the tiny improvements day by day are encouraging and the more I manage to do each day, the better I will feel. Interspersed with plenty of rest of course as I've been warned time and time again not to overdo things during these early days. 
2nd Feb - Definitely less swelling under the knee

3rd Feb - Bruising seems to be 'dispersing' / fading