Monday, 30 April 2012

Still broken :(

As promised a quick update to let you know how I got on at the hospital.
The X-ray revealed that the bone was healing but still had a 'line' showing. As my consultant was not available I will find out on Wednesday if I can begin to weight bear on my left leg or do I need to wait until the bone is 'line free!'
I must admit I am a little disappointed. I was hoping to ditch one crutch and begin the process of physio.
One positive of today was a successful retail therapy session resulting in the purchase of more clothing. Well I have given up smoking so deserve a little treat. Thank you Jen for again supporting me and pushing me continuously around for 6 hours!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Suppositories and showers :) 1-6 weeks post op.

As I am due for my 6 week post op X-ray this Monday I thought I should get a move on and do an update.
I was discharged from hospital on Weds March 21st after an eventful 5 day stay. My discharge was rather a surprise as up unto the previous evening I was not going home until the Friday!! There had been a lack of communication between the physio and O.T department throughout my stay with neither seeming to know what aids I needed for support, did I need to measure the height of my furniture, could I get up the stairs?
It was eventually my consultant who agreed to let me go home and I have never been happier.
Slight problem though. My husband was at work, he wasn't expecting me back til Friday and I had no door key.
Quick military operation and I was showered, packed and ready to go with my friend Jen patiently waiting. Actually Jen was on the verge of having a coronary after carrying a commode and raised toilet seat down several flights of stairs after being told there was no one available to help her!!!
One hour later I was safely at home, and started my first challenge of the week.
The stairs..........
As I suspected you might have well have asked me to climb Everest. I struggled getting to top hopping with one crutch but eventually did it. The problem though was the lack of bannister at the top then another few steps to the landing and the bathroom. This was impossible and needed the help of 2 people to get me up and down. I have never been in so much pain or felt so helpless. :(
I contacted the physio and O.T people who suggested that I was exaggerating and with time would be able to manage it! They did eventually arrange for grab rails to be fitted which I still use 6 weeks on despite being a lot fitter and more confident.
One of the less dignified parts of my recovery was as my son called, 'toilet corner.'
Due to the steepness of my staircase it was recommended that I ventured up and down as little as possible, therefore I had a commode along with gloves, loo roll and air freshner in a corner of my lounge! I detested it and down to pure determination only used it downstairs until the weekend and in my bedroom for about a week.
Love is emptying your wife's commode.
For those of you reading who have had a general anaesthetic or codeine based drugs you will know what they do to your digestive system. Although I hadn't eaten a great deal since going into hospital I also hadn't been to the loo and had a tummy like a Buddha.
I won't go into great detail but decided to take drastic measures which involved a rubber glove, glycerine suppositories and Jen nearly peeing herself laughing at the end of my bed threatening me with 'nurses soapy glove,' if I didn't do the deed.
For the first week at home I spent a lot of time in bed or laying on the sofa. I needed to have everything around me that I required with easy reach, with the help of hubby. He has been a star.
Kev has been great constantly fetching and carrying, helping me with dressing and undressing, getting in an out of the shower, but he has a habit of moving things!!
Whilst in bed early one evening I was desperate for the loo. Not a problem I thought as I still had the commode in my room. Unfortunately the commode was at the opposite end of the bedroom, along with my crutches and mobile phone!! Thankfully I had my iPad so sent a message on Facebook to a friend who then phoned Kev to tell him I needed the loo!!!
The weekend of my 'release' was busy with lots of visits from friends and Doctors. My foot and ankle had swollen up quite badly so GP recommended I use blood thinning injections as I was at risk of a blood clot. At first the district nurse would come out but I eventually injected myself until they stopped 2 weeks later.

My fat foot!!

A highlight was removal of my staples on day 9. There were 21 in total and it was bliss to have the dressings removed and feel warm water on the wound. Heaven.

By week two I was physically a lot stronger but still unable to move around much. Kev had gone back to work so I was relying on the good nature of friends to help me and still am. I honestly do not know what I would have done without this help.
One person in particular I have a lot to thank for is Jen. I am bloody lucky to have not just a good friend but one who works part time and also fits me in around her work calls. I do feel slightly guilty that I am taking up too much of her time and try not to ask too much.
I have appreciated all my visits from all my friends and calls from my Sister more than they could imagine. The trips into town, hanging out my washing, bringing home made soup and bread, cooking up dinners,trips to the supermarket, feeding the cat, bringing me cakes, lunch invites, holding belated birthday parties,stripping the bed, hoovering, texting.......
I have spent some days sat on my own until my family are home feeling at times quite helpless and miserable. It is amazing how a bit of human contact however small can have a positive affect on your day.
I would like to think that I am as good a friend to all those who have helped me.
I have gained a lot of empathy with the people I support at work whilst I have been incapacitated. I support adults with a learning disability and pride myself on a high standard of care respect and dignity.
I now have a understanding of how someone may feel when they are relying on others for their basic needs. I have hated not being able to go out when I have wanted and not to be in total control of my daily life. Even simple things like not having a shower until someone Is ready to help you,not being able to put your socks on, shave your legs or paint your nails. When out in a wheelchair it is alien to me to not be able to get up and socialise, or on the other extreme to not be able to get away from someone you may not want to talk to!
Going back to showering, I laugh whenever I think of this incident.
Kev would usually help me in the evenings but on one particular day Jen was round and offered to help me as I was feeling a bit yucky.
I'm not usually up for friends seeing me completely starkers but as Jen saw nakedness on a daily basis in her work (that's got you guessing ) I would make an exception.
So there I am sat on the loo seat trying to cover my modesty with my little vest top, Jen takes the shower hose off the wall and drapes it around the taps so I can access it easily. The plan was for Jen to help me onto the bath seat then support my legs over the side of the bath. From there I could shower myself,
Oh no, Jen had to be different. The next I knew someone had turned what was like garden sprinklers on in the bathroom!!! Jen had turned the shower on whilst hanging over the taps which had twirled around soaking up and the floor. Miss wet tshirt eat your heart out.
Now that is what I call an ice-breaker.
Ooh I can now get in the bath! I still need to use the seat but with a bit of patience I can lower myself up and down and relax in a haven of bubbles again. Simple pleasures.
One of my favourite pastimes has always been shopping. I am never happier than with a basket or trolley in my hands. Even more so when I'm actually eating. Imagine the frustration of not being able to get to the shops when you want, and when a kind friend takes you she wheels you away from the niceties( only joking.)
My first proper big shopping trip was fun. I so wanted to go around Asda on a mobility scooter but no amount of sulking was going to make Jen back down!! Meany. I had to resort to the clip on wheelchair trolley which was a bit like manoeuvring a tank round the aisles. I suddenly lost my ability to speak and constantly pointed at things just to annoy her :)
On one particular shopping spree before Easter Jen was beginning to lose patience with the very slow checkout lady. I suggested that Jen left me for a moment and popped outside for a ciggie, the queue probably wouldn't have moved by the time she came back! I had a plan. I got a lively employee of Asda to take pity on me and before you could say 'put that fag out its a dirty habit,' I had nearly all my shopping through the self service checkout and packed.

It is quite amazing how resourceful you become when in my position and how the being able to do the smallest thing gives you a huge sense of achievement.
Yes there are days when I would rather have someone help me as I'm tired, but most of the time if I can attempt something I will try.
Crutches are great for throwing laundry down the stairs. Walking frames are good for hanging wet laundry over and moving from machine to drier. Wheelchair is brilliant for pushing shopping from door to kitchen and even better when sitting in and pushing Hoover along the floor.
A lot of things I can now do sat down, washing up, ironing, cooking, food prep, although it takes me twice as long. I get frustrated at times, hop off to my room and cry. I hate night time when I can't sleep because of the pain and Lie there on my back listening to audio books.
I miss not being at work and having a purpose. I miss my friends and things we used to do together. I miss wearing high heels and dancing. I miss not being able to cuddle my Husband in bed. I am thankful that this is only short term and have the utmost respect for people who face these challenges on a daily basis.
Be back on Monday after my X-ray.

Me at the 80,s themed belated party thrown by Friends Deb and Glyn. Thank you. X

Sunday, 22 April 2012

You can't get on with everyone!!

I'm playing catch up at the moment so please bear with me.
So you can't get on with everyone as there were certainly a character of two on my hospital ward. I think in every group situation you will always have someone who will stand out from the rest, someone who will try and out do , the been there done that and get on everyone's nerves in the process.
I have only had one long previous general hospital stay and that was for a hysterectomy around 7 years ago now. I will always remember my 'neighbour' on the ward as she spent most of her time arguing with her partner either during visiting or when the coin ward telephone was wheeled into her!! It was a week of no sleep and my first experience of needing sleeping tablets.
It was because of this experience I looked into private after care for my operation, unfortunately orthopaedics was not covered under their private package so I had no choice but to stay on the ward.
I was in a bay which held 8 beds, all women. I was situated right next to the window with a good view of the helicopter landing pad (if i could stand up!) My little space also seemed to be a dumping ground for any mobile piece of medical equipment and stacks of visitors chairs which made for interesting manoeuvres. I had a bed which unbelievably collapsed twice until I got a lovely new electronic one.
Anyway back to the annoying woman in bed 1. I cannot remember her name which I really should as she spent most of her time shouting across the room at other patients. My first experience of mrs annoying was when she decided to enquire about my weight!! Yes, she shouted at the top of her voice across the ward wanting to know how much I weighed. I off course not wishing to offend politely replied that I did not know. She then proceeded to compare me with her daughter and how much she did or didn't eat. My attempts to ignore her were not working and my replies were getting more high pitched, thankfully a nurse intervened and diverted her with something else.
Mrs annoying had a dreadful habit of waiting until the nurses were busy ( either on drugs rounds or with other patients) then she would demand a wheelchair so she can go out and smoke. Now as an ex smoker I can appreciate her need for nicotine,but unfortunately on more than one occasion I did tell her that she was being unreasonable and was not the only person on the ward. In my defence, don't distract the nurse when she is helping me to the bathroom on my first go on crutches!!
As you can imagine this did not go down well and a few expletives were shared. Don't think me a complete cow, I did have empathy for this woman, she was obviously in discomfort and recovering from surgery but the experience was not helping good healing! She was eventually moved after an upsetting incident but could still be heard on her trips out for a fag!!
I must mention one particular lady on the ward who was delightful. She was in the bed next to me and was 80.
The evening before I came home Cath was laying in her bed with her personal cassette player on. Unfortunately as Cath was hard of hearing it was not very personal and could be heard by the whole ward! It was a joy to hear the 80's hooked on classics again with Cath singing along and tapping her feet and fingers in time to the music. When it ended she sat up and said in a very loud voice, 'you couldn't hear that could you?' A classic and makes me smile when I think of it.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

My Hipstory :)

So here I am nearly 5 weeks post op on the verge of cabin fever thinking, is this really worth it, will it make a difference? Let's go back to beginning and see.....
I can't remember exactly when I began to have problems with my hip, it crept up on me gradually before wham bang! there it is, a pain in the rear side.
It was probably around 5 years ago when I realised I had a problem. I had started a self defence class run by a colleague then progressed onto Ju Jitsu. Although I was never interested in being graded or maybe wasn't good enough I enjoyed the exercise, the physical activity and the getting rough with the lads! :) I particularly enjoyed the ground fighting and had a great ability to get myself out of tight situations and very small arm holes, but the one thing I struggled with we're the kicks. I just could not lift my right leg up without a considerable amount of pain. I persevered and decided to just use the left instead, and it seemed to work ok.
Moving on 12 months and I had changed work place. I was still with the same employer but our building had been sold and we were 'rehoused' so to speak a few miles up the road. No big deal, although I didn't drive there was shared transport, public transport and when the weather was fine my old trusted push bike. I went every where on my bike cycling furiously never being able to get into the right gear! Some people who I became friends with a few years later used to comment on, 'the mad looking woman'who cycled past their house every day. Not quite sure where the mad came into it!
By this time I had knocked the martial arts on the head, or should I say it knocked me on the head after an awkward fall but I was still having problems with my hip.
At that point I couldn't work out where the pain was coming from. It started in my groin, radiated down to my knee,was ok when I was laid down but painful when I was seated. My hip would often lock and when cycling I would have to stretch my leg out in order to release what was catching. Eventually I had to put the bike to rest as even getting my leg over posed a problem :)At this point I chose to ignore it, putting it down to just 'one of those things,'but the pain got worse.
Around 3 years ago I decided to ask the advise of my GP. Was this something that was happening with age, although at the time I was only 42 so not exactly over the hill, or could there be something done about it. After a physical exam and still an uncertainty where the pain was generating from I was referred to the physio dept. at my local hospital and was quite surprised at the result.
I had a full physical exam, discussed posture, how I used to sit on the floor with my legs right out at the side of me as a child (my party piece)and then sent me off for an X-ray. I was rather surprised with the results. I appeared to have a condition called 'hip impingement,' or otherwise known as femoroacetabular Impingement. (aka: Femoral Acetabular Impingement)

Femoroacetabular impingement or FAI is a condition where the bones of your hip joint come too close and pinch tissue or cause too much friction. Usually, the ball of the hip joint (femoral head) sits on the femoral neck similar to an ice cream sitting on a cone. The pinching and friction occurs when the femoral head and neck contact the socket (acetabulum), creating damage to the hip joint. The pinching or friction may cause damage to the labrum (a fibrous cartilage that lines the outer edge of the socket) and/or the articular cartilage (the white covering over the bony surfaces that results in the very smooth surface gliding of the joint).
In summary, one massive ouch!!
From there I was referred back to my local physio team and was given a programme of muscle strengthening exercises, a GP referral to the gym and several months of weight bearing exercises along with regular painkillers none of which helped.
The next step was an MRI scan which I had never had before and was an experience in itself.
The objective was to look closely at the hip cartilage and to see what damage if any had been caused by the friction from the hip joint.
The process took place under theatre conditions and involved firstly a local anaesthetic injected into the hip joint followed by a dye. I will point out that all of this I could see on a screen above me and was quite freaked out until I was told, that was not the actual size of the needle!!!! It was a very painful experience which to add insult to injury whilst putting the needle into the second hip the damn monitor broke down! After what seemed like an eternity, the man with the monitor knowledge had appeared and we were back on schedule with a very large prick. With both hips now totally numb and filled with some probably highly toxic substance I was escorted to he waiting area for my MRI scan. Now you would think that having slight mobility problems induced by local anaesthetic, the trip down a very long corridor and through 2 hospital departments would involve a wheelchair! Well you would be wrong. I was led to the waiting area, wearing my arse revealing hospital gown, no bra and exposing rather unshaven legs, to make matters worse the nurse had not taken me to the MRI scan waiting room but the public X-ray waiting area where I sat for an unmentionable length of time, wanting the floor to open and just eat me up. I remember feeling very exposed, vulnerable and humiliated whilst trying to avoid eye contact with the hobbling sling wearing patients.Eventually I was taken to the correct waiting area, changed into a sexy blue trouser suit ensemble and chose my cd of 80's classics to listen to whilst in the 'tube.'
This was my first experience of a MRI scanner and I would think its the closest to feeling like a sardine or the inside of a sausage roll I would ever get!! Im not sure how long I was enclosed for but despite the rattling noise and the bumps I still managed to fall asleep throughout the process.
The result of the scan showed that I had labral tears on both sides, the left being the worst. The first course of treatment for this would be local anaesthetic and steroid injections in both hips following a similar procedure to what I had just encountered.
I had these on two occasions, first without any sedation and the second time under a light anaesthetic. I remember waking up in recovery asking all the nurses if we have got off the bus yet!!!
After both sets of injections I did get relief from the pain from a short period
of time but ultimately they did not work long term.
For anyone who knew me and even those who knew me well it was easy to dismiss the pain I was encountering as it was not visible and I carried on with my normal every day life. I did things I shouldn't , but mostly that was down to my eating disorder and the desire to burn of excess calories came before any pain threshold!!! How stupid was I.
I had 2 consultant appointments in the 12 months before my op. The first last summer the consultant was willing to have me on the waiting list straight away but I refused. I pleaded to try the injections just one more time, but no that was not an option. I went away disheartened with a follow up in January 2012 to see how things were going. I soon brought this appointment forward and in October 2011 went on the waiting list for surgery with my prep assessment the following month.

Preop assessments!!! Now this made me laugh. They did the usual heart checks, height, weight, bloods etc and I completed the questionnaire.
Do you have a cold? No
Do you have a chest infection? No
Bearing in mind this was November and at that point don't think I had an admission date!
My date eventually came through and I was due in for surgery on February 14th, valentines day :)
Once I had a date I started to worry. Not so much about the operation itself but more about my limitations post op and how my Husband would cope.
One of my greatest concerns was around my environment, I had extremely steep stairs which I had come down a few times on my arse after one too many!! I also didn't have a downstairs loo and the thought of having to pee and poop in a commode in my lounge was just out of the question......
Going back to the pre op questions and I could answer yes to the ones about coughs and colds. December came and went with a bad cold, chest infection and antibiotics. January came and went with still a chest infection, several more courses of antibiotics, a bout of pleurisy, steroids and an inhaler.
February came, more antibiotics and one postponed operation!! I was gutted. After getting so worked up, batch cooking frozen dinners I now had to wait for another date. And a new date I got...
I was booked in for March 16th, the one year anniversary of my Mums death and the day before my Birthday. I suppose in one way this was a blessing as at least I had something else to focus on that day. Either that or I would be so dosed up on painkillers I wouldn't care. The next 4 weeks Went at a snails pace. I found it difficult to settle into anything at work and was paranoid about catching anyone's germs. I think I became so stressed that the week before my op I came down with a cold so I hid in my bed, dosed myself up with lemsip and hoped for the best.
It is a strange experience planning for an operation. I had to have new hospital pants just like I would have new holiday pants and compulsory nightdresses and dressing gown that I would probably never wear again until I got to the age of 80! I started to think about writing a will, something which I should have done a long time before,and something which I still haven't done.
The evening of the op I spent having my last supper, a lovely glass of wine and early birthday presents with friends. I'm surprised I managed to get any sleep that night, little did I realise it would have been the best nights sleep I was to have for a very long time.
My Son Toby took me to the hospital in the morning. I had decided not to go with hubby as I would have become too upset and I'm glad I made that decision.
Mum never slipped my mind that morning, and my tears of sadness were entwined with tears of happiness from the numerous text messages I received from friends. Well Toby practically chucked me out of the car, it was Friday and if he was late for work he couldn't leave early! Only jesting....
I arrived at Sheppard ward and was sent into an instant panic. I was in the wrong place, this wasn't a hospital, this was gods waiting room. The day before my 46th birthday and I actually felt young. I was shown to my bed by a very nice nurse whom I was soon to learn was bank staff and had never worked on an orthopaedic ward before. Name checked, yes that was me, bracelet put on, not Tiffany but plastic will suffice for one week,can I use 3G (priorities ;) and were on our way.
Very nice bank nurse went through the admissions form without a clue on what she was doing and eventually did my obs after finding a machine which worked. In the background breakfast was being served so I could take in the sensory delights of what to look forward to in the morning.
I got into the sexy hospital gown wondering how I could slip one into my overnight bag ready for an evening of drs and nurses with the hubby, but decided against it when I realised mine was faulty with a rather larger gap at the back. We would have to stick to suppositories and k-y ( later)
I was taken into the bathroom and weighed,I never enquiries as to why but I'm presuming it was to do with anaesthetic and not physical capabilities of the operating theatre beds. Proudest moment of the day was when asked by the nurse if I wanted my weight in kilos converted into stones and pounds. The answer being, a very large NO!!
I was first on the list which was good to know and would be taken down to theatre after seeing the surgeon and lots of other random important people. I had an arrow drawn on my left hip, slipped into the slinky paper pants and awaited my fate. The anaesthetist explained that i would also be having an epidural in my spine which should last about 6 hours as well as a general. For a brief moment I was filled with horror at the thought of an epidural but calmed when it was followed with a general!! Bloody hell I thought I was going to be awake! I was also told that they were waiting for the return of one of my blood results do have slipped down to second on the list.
No problem, I got myself comfy, slipped
my earpieces in and got settled into a relaxing iPod playlist, until my peace was shattered by two staff dressed in blue asking me to get onto a trolley!!
The next few minutes continued with discussions between the boys in blue and staff on the ward. Was it me next or the man in the next ward, and who did the notes on the trolley belong to because they weren't mine!! I must admit it wasn't a good start to a surgical procedure, I'm sure my blood pressure was increasing at a steady pace. They finally agreed yes it was me,and I was wheeled through several corridors, up a lift and finally taken into the anaesthetic room.
It was obviously very clinical, very bright and had people everywhere. I was shivering and shaking through fear as well as being cold. As a student was guided by his senior to put a cannular into my hand I couldnt stop a tear just running down the side of my face and drip into my neck. I could feel the vols liquid being injected into my vein and then I was out........
I awoke several hours later in recovery in excruciating pain. To this day I'm unsure if I had an epidural as I was certainly not numb and I didn't have any tell tail signs of injection site on my spine. I was giving morphine orally by a nurse and taken back to the ward.
The next few hours are a bit hazy and melt into one. I was visited in the afternoon by my son and a friend and in the evening by my husband and a friend. I could dwell on the issues I had with the hospital staff, the lack of communication between departments and write pages on it but I'm not going to, that is done. Instead I am going to concentrate on how the recovery process has made me feel, how I feel empathy for the people I support at work and how thankful I am for the support I have had from friends and family, with a little bit of toilet humour thrown in. Watch this space.
For anyone interested in the medical stuff this is what I had done,
Left hip trochanteric gantz osteotomy hip dislocation, labral repair and micro fracture of osteochondral lesion.

Hip hip hooray, in hospital on my birthday.

So it's March 17th 2012 and it's my 45th birthday (not 46 like I previously said) I wake up at approx 3am busting for a pee when it occurs to me I cant actually walk! Hmmm. I ring my call bell and wait for 35 minutes for two nurses to assist me in the bathroom department.
Now apparently I am not allowed to get out of bed until I have had an X-ray so I have the pleasure of peeing in a bedpan. Now for those of you who have not had this experience I can tell you it's not easy at the best of times,never mind when you have had a bone sawn through, your hip dislocated and have several pins and staples in place!!
Now I am usually a tolerant and polite person but combine severe pain with busting for a pee and I can turn into a bit of a monster.
Needless to say I had to apologise to the nursing staff as I didn't appreciate their efforts of ramming a plastic bath between my legs and told them so in no uncertain terms!!
My birthday did get better. My consultant arranged for some more pain relief, I was given a bowl of water and helped to wash (eventually) and had a nice trip out on the trolley to the X-ray department to be manhandled once more!! :) oh and I had some lovely visitors, wine, cupcakes and more balloons. Happy birthday to me.

Sshh don't tell nursey what's hidden in my locker

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