The Highs And Lows Of Week One

I can’t actually believe it has been a week since I had my hip replacement.  Sometimes I think the days are speeding past but other times it feels like time is moving so slowly.  I feel really positive about some of the progress I have made and I have exceeded my own expectations in some ways.  In others I feel like I am going nowhere and I am worried about whether I am going to achieve the goals I have set for myself or whether I have been far too ambitious.

One of the biggest highs of this week has been the outpourings of support and encouragement I have received in such a variety of ways.  I have had lots of cards (some of which have genuinely made me well up) and my window sills and tables are covered with beautiful summery bunches of flowers that remind me of the beautiful outside world during the many hours when I am too tired to be out there.  Top tip for anyone having a hip replacement is to get some vases – we are using a teapot, pint glasses, a tankard and a biscuit tin!  The messages from friends, family, acquaintances and new online connections have helped to keep me sane and levelled at a time when I feel like I could easily have completely lost the plot.  I have seen the full contingent of my siblings and my mum has been an absolute godsend.  If I didn’t have her to help me get sorted in the morning and to take the pressure off my boyfriend, I don’t know what I would do.  He is doing an amazing job and gets the worst of me (morning and evening), it can’t be easy being at work all day and coming home to this!

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The other high has been being able to go to the yard every day.  I knew this was what I wanted to do and what I intended to do but I never actually expected to be able to manage it!  Obviously this is all down to my super chauffeurs but I cannot underestimate the healing power of breathing in that familiar horsey smell and putting my arms round that fat cobby neck!  If I can keep up my horsey fix I know it is going to help keep the frustration of not being able to ride at bay.

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Another high has been the progress I have made since my operation.  Considering on day one I wasn’t allowed to move and by the end of day two I had gone up stairs and been signed off from hospital physio, I have done really well.  I couldn’t drag my leg across the bed unattended and now I can lift it up and move it outwards.  My muscles are getting less stiff, my leg is starting to feel like my own and I am moving in the right direction.  I had physio at the local hospital today and she was pretty impressed with how I’m doing so it is onwards and upwards with my exercises.

The lows of hospital were documented in The Big Day and An Even Bigger Day!  I am so relieved to be away from the bedpan drama, the sickness and the out of control pain.  I am glad that I hadn’t realised that I wouldn’t be up and using the toilet the day of my operation and I’m glad I hadn’t thought of the sickness.  I think I would have felt far less positive going into the operation if I had known what the first 48 hours was actually going to be like!

I talked about my first home based down day in The New ‘Normal’.  I tried to roll with my feelings during the day but it all came out when I hit the keyboard!  Yesterday was another down day.  After having a good few days of visitors and starting to feel more and more normal with everything becoming easier and easier, I had a rubbish night’s sleep, I was late on my first painkillers, I felt sick when I got up and then things didn’t get much better later.  My visit to the yard resulted in a major dizzy, nausea moment – a blinding fog came over my head.  I didn’t actually faint but if it wasn’t for my mum and the YO sticking a chair under me and a drink in my hand I would have.  I think it was too hot, too much standing, I hadn’t done much walking but evidently hadn’t quite got the balance right.  I ended up having a two hour sleep to recover which my mum decided to photograph (nothing quite like showing the reality of the situation!) Little things like spilling apple juice all over me, my dress, my blanket and my chair in the afternoon was just the icing on the cake of another frustrating day.

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Although one of my highs was how much progress I have made in terms of my hip, one of the lows of this week has been how slowly I feel like I am progressing in terms of my energy.  I feel so tired and every small activity completely knocks me out.  Each time I think I have some energy or I think it is a good day, it quickly turns into a tired day.  I’m not getting enough quality sleep to get me through the day but I am assuming that the anaesthetic and drugs aren’t helping either.  I don’t want to plateau and I want to do more walking (which I should be doing), I just need to get past this energy block.

Hopefully by this time next week I will be less tired, eating proper meals, walking more than once a day without crashing and.. excitingly, I will have had my wound checked and will have the all clear from everyone to shower!  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Adjustments, Improvements And Paranoia

The last time I blogged I was feeling what can only be described as the ‘post op blues’.  The fantastic community on the Hip Replacement for Active People group on Facebook which was started by Avril from https://avrilsjourney.com/ confirmed that it is completely normal to feel really rubbish for the first few days.  It has been so reassuring to be able to hear from other people who have come out the other side of a hip replacement.  Top advice was to get outside, make small plans, focus on eating and sleeping and to get stuck into mindless TV until I can focus on reading and writing (which is what I really want to be doing!)

I’m not doing too bad.  Each day since I have been back from hospital I have been down to the yard to see Pea which involves a bit of walking, fresh air, sunshine and some refreshing human and animal contact.  It is really hard to see other people riding Pea, untacking her, washing her, taking her to the field and all of that stuff that I can’t do but I appreciate so much that she is being looked after and getting exercise. I am immensely grateful for everyone at the yard that is doing that.

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I have had my first proper visitors; my little (not very little) brother and his girlfriend.  As top blog readers I didn’t have to start at the beginning of the journey I have been on since Tuesday because they already knew what had been going on!  It was lovely to get out of my head for a while and to be able to talk about other things.  I’ve got more visitors due this week along with a BBQ to go to tonight and a dressage competition to watch on Wednesday.  It is definitely helping to have stuff going on!

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Eating has certainly started getting easier though I’ve still got a long way to go.  Two pizza slices and some carrot and cucumber at Saturday lunch felt like the biggest achievement ever!  Two Weetabix this morning was the next.  Those of you who know me know that at least six Weetabix each morning is my life blood so I’m definitely not there yet but I am moving in the right direction.

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Sleep is still an area that I am finding quite distressing.  I have always been a pretty good sleeper, I could curl up in a ball in the corner of a stable if I had to and would probably sleep all night.  Sleeping flat on my back with my legs straight is not proving to be conducive to a whole night of sleep or comfort when I wake up.  I have tried a variety of pillow formations to sit me up more or support me more but nothing seems to be working so far.  I have been waking up with back ache and a tight tummy.  If anyone has any bright ideas that would be amazing.  Now that I am a lot less sleepy in the day I really need to sleep at night!

I am not usually a big TV watcher, curling up on the sofa for a bit of evening TV is one thing but on the advice of the hip replacement community, I have allowed myself to mindlessly get lost in TV when I don’t have visitors or when I am not going anywhere.  Love Island was a standard anyway but my boyfriend and I have got several series deep in The Walking Dead (not sure how well that will go with sleep) and I’m finding things like Cops UK: Bodycam Squad and GPs: Behind Closed Doors sufficiently mindless.  I’m starting to feel more and more mentally with it so reading and writing is next on my list.

Although I am feeling less drowsy and a little more positive, the next stage of mental recovery has hit hard.  I’m calling it the paranoia stage.  For a few days I have been panicking that my left leg is now lots longer than my right.  It was 1.5cms shorter before, they said they had made up some length but that it still might be short but to me it just feels like it looks longer.  I obviously won’t know for sure until my muscles are more normal, the implant is settled (ouch) and I can stand properly but I am struggling to get it out of my head.  I am fully aware that my legs are never going to be the same length and that regardless of leg length this operation is going to have done wonderful things for me but in my illogical head I would rather I was still short on the left than wonked the other way.  Don’t know why, can’t explain it, just another thing for my brain to worry about.

The other source of paranoia is my wound.  I haven’t been actually showering, just my ‘stagnant showers’ in front of the basin but I can’t get out of my head what the HCA said about infection getting into my wound and going straight to where the metal is.  Every time I splash water too vigorously and water goes on my thigh or the dressing I go into supreme panic mode.  I think part of it is that for the first few days my wound was numb but now I’ve got that old familiar ITCHY feeling of the skin and flesh knitting back together (sorry for the mental image on that one!)  When I think clearly I don’t think anything bad is happening to it, I have vague memories of my wound healing up when I was a child and it feels just like those memories.  I can’t help but worry though.  I wish I could see what is going on under the big dressing.  In case you are interested, the bottom half of the dressing is covering my old scar.  On Tuesday they opened up the top of it and carried on up from there.  If you don’t want to see some exposed flesh, look away now!

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The New ‘Normal’

Now that I am back in my own environment I am starting to get into the swing of a new routine.  My daily routine now revolves around my drug times and exercises.  I have written everything I need to take and do all down on a whiteboard in the hope that I can keep myself topped up with pain relief and spread out the physical demands on my body through the day.  My mum went to get me a drug organiser so I spent a good half an hour decanting the various drugs I am on into the little plastic cupboards.  I love a good bit of organisation and at least that way it is easier to keep track of what I am taking.  My exercises are hard work.  When I did them before the operation I could do the standing ones at work or whilst brushing my teeth, now I need to build up to each set and then have a good rest afterwards.

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The biggest challenge I am facing is that I am just so tired.  I went back to sleep this morning after one lot of drugs, woke up a few hours later and went back to sleep again.  I know my body is trying to cope with upheaval but as well as everything being so much effort because of my pain, stiffness and hip precautions, I literally feel like I could fall asleep at any moment.

I am almost too tired to be frustrated at how little I can do.  Mum helped me loads this morning by unpacking my hospital bags (and putting everything back where I told her it belonged) and setting me up for my ‘stagnant shower’ (new name for a strip wash – essentially scrubbing myself raw using soapy water from the sink and getting it all over the bathroom!)  She also washed my hair over the bath for me which felt so good and washed my lower legs and feet before putting my DVT socks back on.  It took pretty much all morning to get up and get ready for the day.  I hate being so dependent but equally I am so lucky that I have got the support I do.  I’m hoping I can get some energy back and will then be a bit safer to be more independent.  I’m too wobbly to do the stairs or basically any moving without someone close enough to save me if I need saving!

I really haven’t got my appetite back yet.  I don’t know if it is because I am so sendentary or because of the anaesthetic and drugs but I don’t really fancy anything and what I am eating just doesn’t taste normal.  I have never been a food orientated person but with so little else going on in my day, it would be nice to enjoy meals and if I’m not careful, my mum’s homemade chocolate cake will be gone before I’ve had any!  I know I have to eat as it is important for my recovery so I am.. it is just hard work!

I hope I don’t sound like I am moaning (although I’m pretty sure I am).  I haven’t forgotten I am very lucky to have had this operation in the first place, or how lucky I am to be so supported.  I am lucky to have a comfy chair to sit in and a little dog and guinea pigs to keep me entertained from my seat.  I am going to go to the yard to see Pea later when my chauffeur gets home from work which should cheer me up and I’m hoping that I can start enjoying some visitors before long.  Not sure how I would be coping without this outlet for my feelings.

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Home Sweet Home

I was so tired last night – not surprising really! I’m still reeling from my progress. I actually managed to sleep through until six o’clock this morning and then, after some much needed painkillers, back to sleep again until about eight. My family have always been ‘fresh air, exercise and sleep are the best healers’ kind of people as I totally stand by that.

I enjoyed my toast breakfast for the first time, the pain was managed and I didn’t feel sick AT ALL. I’m guessing that the anaesthetic or the morphine were responsible for the sickness and they’ve been kicked now. Such a massive relief.

The other young doctor (not the Scottish one) came to see me and told me that my X-ray looked great and so did my bloods. Felt rather smug actually! He said that from their point of view they were done with me too. I said I was worried that I was finding it hard to move my leg to the side when on the bed but he said that wasn’t a concern as I am allowed assistance to get me going and it is just because of the tissue affected when they went in. Ouch! He confirmed that they managed to do a ceramic implant in a ceramic socket which means they followed best case scenario plan A!

Although the doctor said I could have a shower when I went home, a healthcare assistant said absolutely not until my wound is properly healed as if steam lifts the dressing and anything gets into the wound I am in big trouble. I was allowed to give myself a wash in the bathroom this morning. It was a massive mission! With no one to help me, I had to somehow carry all my washing stuff, clothes and litter picker/‘helping hand’ into the bathroom and then negotiate the whole situation without dropping anything on the floor. Typically I managed to drop the ‘helping hand’ on the floor! It is a good job  I can pick things up with my right foot toes! For the first time I actually thought I would be better off at home now as I will have people around to make things like this a bit easier.

The nurse confirmed that once my drugs had come up from the pharmacy (and someone had come to pick me up) I could go home. Thankfully I don’t have to have the horrible tummy injections at home, I’ve got tablets instead to thin my blood. I don’t know who was more pleased, me or the boyfriend. When he arrived he did have to put a DVT stocking onto my bad leg though as apparently I should have had one there already! That was trust test number 1.

Trust test number 2 was wheeling me through the hospital and in and out of lifts and doors as carefully as he possibly could. Not a bad job. Trust test number 3 was somehow helping me into the truck without any bending or twisting followed closely by trust test number 4 – driving as smoothly as humanly possible which isn’t easy in a big truck. I told him to imagine he was towing precious Pea in the trailer! I could feel every bump in the road but aside from that the journey was pretty good.

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Home is where the horse is so first stop was to the yard to see Pea. It took me a million times longer to get across the yard than normal but it felt so good to be out in the fresh air, with all my usual people and animals. I played it safe and cuddled Pea over the stable door – the best therapy there is.

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Next stop was actual home where my parents had already settled in. They are staying nearby (but not in the house) for the next six weeks. Considering I had to be completely independent this morning, suddenly having two active fussing supporters (Mum and boyfriend) and one more stationary one (Dad) is a bit strange (though obviously I appreciate it!)

I am so pleased to be back home. I can tell I am going to find it frustrating to be back in my normal environment but in a completely abnormal situation. Once I have established my new drug and exercise routine I suppose I can establish a new ‘normal’. I shall just keep counting my chickens that it is all temporary and that things will get better.

An Even Bigger Day!

Yesterday’s feelings of triumph and disbelief at what had been achieved got totally overwhelmed by feelings of major indignity and frustration in the evening. It is nearly impossible to do anything without moving my hip and I wasn’t allowed to do that. I took all the pain relief I was offered and asked for more but it didn’t seem to really be kicking the pain. I was hoping to be transported to rainbow unicorn land in my head but sadly it was still very much in reality despite all the morphine. I was absolutely desperate to be able to move, get up out of bed and use the en suite facilities but no such luck.

I managed to get to sleep after Love Island (got to keep a good bit of routine) and a pot of drugs but it was short lived. I thought my biggest struggle would be making sure I didn’t move my hip but since I felt pretty much paralysed, that hasn’t transpired. The struggle was staying asleep. The pain just wouldn’t go away and when morning came I felt absolutely knackered.  Thank goodness I had Peaberry to keep me company – if you aren’t familiar with Wilberry Wonder Pony and Hannah Francis, check out https://www.willberrywonderpony.org which completely puts my predicament in  perspective.

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This morning a healthcare assistant came and put my taps on (not a euphemism, literally the taps in the sink which I frustratingly can’t get to). The nice Scottish doctor came in and said that it is an old school practice to clear the pipes of lead residue but they still seem to do it in the newly built Brunel building. Weird. He also told me that everything went to plan yesterday and they are pretty happy with my leg length though my left is still a bit shorter. I probably shouldn’t  have used a swear word to describe how I felt when he asked but I’m sure honesty is the best policy in hospital isn’t it?

Next challenge was breakfast, I had been really hungry but also petrified about being sick. The orange juice tasted amazing as did the piece of toast I tentatively nibbled.

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After that, the next visitor was a lovely student nurse with all the best intentions but who seemed to be getting a hard time from the ward nurse. I could totally relate, I remember being a student teacher on placement and my sister and sister in law went through midwife training, we have shared many a conversation about what it is like to be a student! She provided me with a bowl to wash with and I felt so much better for being cleaner and dressed in actual clothes (though people kept asking if my dress was a nightie – NO! I am the last person to want to be in a nightie!)

Washing was closely followed by the arrival of the physio and I was finally allowed to try out my hip exercises. I don’t know what I expected but I didn’t expect it to be so hard to move! Is it weird to say that it felt like my leg wasn’t mine? Funny that! Sitting up on the edge of the bed made my head spin but I did manage to get up using a zimmer frame and shuffle my way to the chair. Best.. feeling.. ever! Didn’t last long though as the much enjoyed toast made a reappearance. Gross!

Soon I had more visitors, two porters had arrived to whisk me off for an x-ray. Whilst I was parked in the corridor outside the x-ray rooms, I saw a couple of the men who had been at my hip education group. They both had their operations after me, so while I was pretty chirpy, they both seemed a bit more pained. It was quite nice to connect with some fellow new hip patients as when you are in your own room you don’t tend to see anyone else. It was also nice to be in a different part of the hospital, I felt a majestic sense of freedom! The blokes working in the X-ray room were very cheery and asked me if I’d fallen off my horse and if that was the reason for my op. They must have seen my farmers tan!

When I got back to my room, it had been invaded by the best sister in the world. She was armed with a goody bag of well thought out treats and toiletries. I was able to make my first trip to the real toilet and although it wasn’t a particularly comfortable sit, I have never been so pleased to be sat on a toilet in my life. My top sister treated me to a dry shampoo and an up-do. Although I looked like I had been up a chimney (thank you Batiste for brunettes) it felt amazing!

In true recovery style, just when I was feeling triumphant, I had another down hill turn. My lunch had arrived and with it came a wave of light headedness and nausea. As nurses put an oxygen tube back in my nose and tried to help me onto the bed, the retching started. Without going into details, it wasn’t great! I was given another different anti-sickness tablet and tasked with eating something (anything!) as my system was clearly empty. I managed a piece of bread and a bar of chocolate. Miraculously, even another trip to the toilet and the arrival of my boyfriend didn’t bring this up. Without wanting to count my chickens, I think this may have been me turning a corner.

An occupational therapist came to see me to check that I could independently get in and out of bed. I aced that test. I may have then heavily hinted that the physio had said she might come back and get me on crutches and that I would really like that to happen. She said she would see what she could do. Before long another occupational therapist came in and asked me if I had any other concerns about going home. HOME? I didn’t think it was time to talk about home yet.

Here’s where it got really exciting. True to my desires, the physio came back. She went through the proper procedure of getting up and down with the crutches, then I used them to walk to the bar in the corridor and there we went through the standing exercises. It still felt like my leg was not my own. It felt significantly longer than my old one, which means the length discrepancy must be better but I do believe that the spike of the new hip ball still has to settle into the bone! How grim is that!? As I was still feeling fairly with it, and if I’m honest, fairly ambitious, I then walked down the corridor and practiced going up and down stairs. I can’t quite believe that in the space of a day I have gone from completely immobile to what apparently is considered to be enough mobility to go home. HOME? I didn’t think it was time to talk about home yet?

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Most recently, I have consumed some Pringles, had my cannula taken out, sat out in my chair more and had another nasty injection in my tummy. I must have been out of it yesterday, because it didn’t really hurt me then. Even my nurse is starting to talk about me going home tomorrow. HOME? I didn’t think it was time to talk about home yet?

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Today has been quite a rollercoaster. I’m still worried about pain and sickness, but I feel a million times better for being dressed and mobile! I feel a bit apprehensive about tonight as I don’t know what it will bring. I don’t feel particularly ready to leave but if I keep progressing as I have today I should be ready to get back on my horse tomorrow.. NOT QUITE! I’m definitely going to take this at my own pace.

As ever, thank you so much for the support. It has made it feel a lot easier to know that other people are rooting for me. Big thanks go to my parents who have travelled up to my home town today and checked on my pony, my sister who has been the best nurse ever (though her hairdressing skills leave something to be desired) and my boyfriend, for putting up with yet more blog scribing.

 

The Big Day

Warning, this is going to be a long one!

We arrived at Southmead bright and early after a five o’clock start (which was very much out of character for my poor boyfriend who does get up early for work but it wasn’t quite the same).  After much fussing about what needed to go in which bag and what needed to be where, we went into the theatre waiting room.  Having felt so sick and nervous yesterday, I actually felt quite excited and possibly too hyperactive for the environment!  We were one of the first to go into the waiting room and there was a flurry of people who came after us. Just after seven, names started to be called. Every time a member of staff arrived the anticipation built. When it felt like nearly everybody else had gone, my name was called and we trotted down to a ’Mediroom’. I was provided with some glamorous hospital gowns, a DVT stocking and a bonus pair of XL baby poo brown slipper socks! I felt like a bit of a celebrity because I had so many visitors.

The anaesthetist arrived first, went through all the necessary questions and then told me I had two options for my anaesthetic. Although I had psyched myself up for a spinal block and sedation, she said that since I was so young and fit, she would be quite happy to give me a general anaesthetic. Although I have been trying to feel brave about the whole thing,  when someone told me I could have the option that made me least aware of what was going on, it was a bit of a no brainer. Particularly as she said my operation was likely to be longer than a standard hip replacement, due to having two previous surgeries on my hip. She was very pleased to be starting her day with an uncomplicated patient, anaesthetically speaking and couldn’t have been more friendly and reassuring.

Next in swept two men in snazzy burgundy scrubs. I could only understand one of them, as the other had a rather deep Scottish accent. They were also lovely and introduced themselves as two more members of the surgical team. There was a minor drawback, in that the consent form I had previously signed didn’t seem to be with the rest of my notes. So off they went on a treasure hunt to see if they could relocate it. Here is where I’d like to make a comment about men and administrative organisation, but I won’t.. They returned empty handed, although once I had signed a replacement, the original was found, so at least there was no doubt about me consenting to the op.

The lovely doctor men told me that my op had the upgraded title of a complex total hip replacement and that they had a range of implants available in addition to plans a,b,c,d,e and potentially more which was due to my childhood Perthes as opposed to the standard geriatric arthritic hips. I like to think it’s because I’m special! The all important arrow was drawn and off they went.

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My next visitors were two fresh faces medical students. People keep commenting on how young I am, but seeing them made me feel old! I had a lovely chat with the girls about how I got to this point. Although I would never want to do it myself, you could tell it was pretty exciting for them to be watching my operation.

The next visit wasn’t quite as enjoyable. A nice man came to take some blood from me. Now I’ve always been told I’ve got super good veins for blood taking, but him and my veins weren’t quite so compatible. Even though he asked me which arm I preferred and we settled on the left, that didn’t go quite as planned. He did however have more success on the right. It’s funny that even in hospital, I still get a laugh and an expression of disbelief when I tell someone my age and that I’m having a hip operation!

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My penultimate visitor was a very smiley doctor conducting a research questionnaire about patients with allergies. I was patient number one of day one and since I have no allergies, I was a quick and easy start to her day.

Finally it was time for a quick toilet break and then off to theatre. My OH was able to get a long awaited coffee (and later I found out, a slice of lemon drizzle cake too). It felt like an awkward walk of shame to theatre. When I was a child, I was put to sleep in a different room and then wheeled in. This time however, I walked into the theatre, to find the four surgeons getting their gear on and chatting about the football. My anaesthetist and her assistant continued to be wonderful as they hooked me up. The first thing that went in was a painkiller, which made me feel completely high! Not a feeling I enjoyed, but I was soon oblivious to it.

I woke up back in the ’mediroom’ (not that I could recognise it). I couldn’t really see, the pain was horrible and I just kept crying. There were three lovely ladies looking after me in recovery, they quickly pumped me full of painkillers and by the time my six foot tall, blonde comfort blanket came in, the pain was under control though the tears weren’t! Eventually, I got my emotions under control and was feeling triumphant.

Once the nurses were happy I was wheeled to my room. I had visions of being in a ward with five other people, just like I remember from being a child. But in fact, I’m in a private room with en suite shower room, a television and a big window. Much more like a hotel than I anticipated.

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The rest of the day has been a muddle of feeling very drowsy, perking up and then feeling rubbish again. I’m taking all the drugs I get offered and particularly enjoying my foot pumps, which is like a blood pressure pad on each foot. The challenges of the afternoon have been; being very itchy in hard to reach places,  going to the toilet (I’ll spare you the details), trying not to dislodge my cannula or oxygen and sudden overwhelming nausea whilst on the phone to my parents (bad timing). I had signed myself up for spag bol for dinner and although the anti sickness drugs kicked in beautifully, I tried to play it safe with some toast, but after one small bite it didn’t end well! I knew many daily activities would be difficult without bending or twisting, I hadn’t accounted for vomiting. I’ve gone a good 15 years without being sick!

Massive props go to my boyfriend who not only got up at the crack of dawn to bring me, but has been a complete rock all day. He is even transcribing all of this for me, as I’m not quite up to it myself.

Roll on tomorrow and getting out of this bed!

Final Countdown!

I have very few words tonight. I actually feel physically sick.. and not because of tonight’s ‘last supper’!

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I have to be at hospital tomorrow by seven in the morning so tonight I am cramming in some last minute packing and charging (toothbrush, Kindle, iPod and anything else that I think I might need).  In true style, the washing machine is rapidly doing a last wash of favourite things and the rest of my evening is going to consist of cleaning my shoes (yard dust isn’t welcome in hospital) in front of the TV!

Typically when I went to visit Pea this evening for a quick hello I found her maskless – I’m not sure trekking round a field trying to find a fly mask is quite what the doctor ordered but it will be the last time I’ll do it for a while!

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Thank you to everyone who has been sending me good vibes for tomorrow, I have had some lovely cards and messages, the support has been amazing.  See you on the other side!

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Positive Thoughts!

I have just got back from my ‘meet the surgeon’ appointment and I am feeling SO much better already!  This is the appointment I have been waiting for and I was able to ask all the questions that have been eating away at me for a while.

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‘Can you still get me the length?’

Back when it was decided it was time for a hip replacement, my surgeon said that he could get the 1.5cm back that I am missing from the length of my left leg. I wanted to check that this was the case and he reassured me that he thinks he can. Although there might be some discrepancy, it should be better than it is now!

‘What anaesthetic will be used?’

I have been feeling more than a bit wobbly about the concept of having just a spinal – I really don’t want to be aware of what is going on at all! My surgeon reassured me that I will be able to be asleep (sedated) as well.

‘When can I ride again?’

Obviously this is a crucial one. I like to know where I stand, I like time frames and goals. I’ve been saving this question for the surgeon because he is the expert and expert opinion is what I need. He said six to eight weeks! As long as I keep my hip precautions.. https://younghipandhorsey.com/2018/06/05/self-preservation-and-perspective/

‘When can I drive?’

At the hip education group I was told six weeks but he said as long as I can a. Get in the car, b. Do an emergency stop and c. Am off the hardcore drugs, I can drive when I want!

‘When can I swim?’

Swimming used to be a massive part of mundane life before it got kicked down the list by riding. I know it will be fantastic rehab for me though, I have vague memories of walking in the swimming pool when I was still wheelchair and crutch bound as a child. Providing my wound heels up nicely, I should be swimming pool safe by three weeks.

‘Can I have my hip afterwards?’

This was a largely boyfriend planned question – it would be cool to have my hip to show alongside the bit of metal I had in my leg as a child. Alas, they can’t give it to me. I would have to be preserved to stop it from rotting and the preservative is poisonous so not so lucky on that one.. can’t even give it to the yard dogs to gnaw on! He did say he would take some pictures for me though.

Overall it was a very encouraging meeting. My surgeon was very positive that this will make massive improvements for me and reassured me that the recovery shouldn’t be as bad as I think it will be! He mentioned riding before I did, I didn’t just feel like a number on a list, I felt like he really cared about doing the right thing for me. Big thanks also go to the best Yard Owner anyone could have for coming with me and debriefing over McDonalds!

This time next week I will be having an early night to prepare for hospital admission in the morning.. I am almost excited! As for this week, I have some plans for Pea and I to make the most of our last week of ‘normal’.. watch this space!

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Self Preservation And Perspective

Today I went for my hip education appointment at Southmead.  Myself and eleven other people (all, I would say, at least thirty years older than me) listened to the advice of a nurse and occupational therapists about what we need to do to prepare for our operations and what precautions we will have to follow afterwards.  Although I have read the booklet, looked at the pictures and endured my OH’s demonstrations of what HE has learnt from the booklet, it hadn’t quite hit home how tricky everyday activities are if you stick to the precautions.  Which I am going to do.  A good recovery is going to be absolutely crucial to getting the best I can out of this hip for as long as I possibly can.  Usually I live life at speed, I always have more to do than I can fit into my days.  It sounds like by the time I have got out of bed, managed to shower and dress myself it will be time to go back to bed!  Speaking of getting dressed, I now have a long shoe horn, a special sock ‘putter onner’ and what is essentially a litter picker – I think I’ve got a lot of practising to do in the next two weeks!

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After the talks and demonstrations we each had a short meeting with an OT to go through measurements of furniture and other information relating to home set ups.  We established that

  • My bed is too low so I am going to be provided with risers for it.
  • We are going to have to swap sides of the bed – just one of the many habits I will have to change and one that my boyfriend is certainly not going to like!
  • The sofa just isn’t going to work as my recover chair – I’m on the look out for an ‘old people’s home’ style armchair with a seat height of 47cm!
  • The toilets are too low (no surprise there) so I am going to be sent toilet risers
  • I shouldn’t drive for six weeks

Very crucially though – I am lucky.  I have a shower cubicle (people with showers over the bath aren’t allowed to use them for three months).  I also have a boyfriend who will feed me and help me in any way I need, I have parents who are coming to stay in the area for six weeks and I have friends who will make sure my pony is ok amongst other things!  Compared to the woman who has had two months notice that she needs a hip op, has a daughter with leukaemia and a three year old grand child who she looks after (and only a shower over a bath) I am VERY lucky and that hasn’t escaped me.

However lucky I feel, it hasn’t been a great week.  I have had one of those fluey colds, the kind I have had a million times over but rather than my usual ‘crack on’ attitude.  I’ve gone into self preservation mode.  I need to get over this cold quick.  I haven’t had time off work but I have rested, taken pills, wrapped up warm and not physically exerted myself which means next to no riding.  Pea has pretty much become a field pony and it shows.  She has got a major grass baby belly!  Again, I am lucky though, she loves being a wild herd pony.  Thank goodness I don’t have a sensitive stabled beast that needs riding all the time!  My leg pain has been worse because I’ve been all achy and rubbish.. not how I wanted to spend one of my last weeks.  I feel like I might actually be learning how to look after myself though, rather than just overdoing it like usual.  A lesson learnt just in time!

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In other news, even my guinea pigs are prepping for the changes ahead – they’ve got a new feeder that refills for a few days – one small thing to worry about less often!

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Making Preparations

It is now June which means I can no longer say that my operation is next month.. it is actually this month!  No more months to wait!  I still have plenty of unanswered questions about what is to come, even after reading the extensive booklet I was given at my pre op (https://younghipandhorsey.com/2018/05/17/practically-passable-in-every-way/), but proper preparations have started.

Firstly, my lovely boyfriend has started shifting the furniture so that it is more ‘crutch friendly’.  When we moved in together we amalgamated most of our furniture but the house isn’t really big enough to cope.  Until this week you had to be pretty slim to get past the furniture to the bedroom and the shower room but that clearly wasn’t going to work for me post op.  Now the spare room can only be accessed if you are a mouse but the important rooms are far more accessible.  We used to have an equal, foot wide passage either side of our bed but the bed is now shifted all the way to one side so he has been practising climbing whilst I have been enjoying the luxury of space!

After the conversations at my pre op about not being able to shower at least for the first day after my operation, hygiene and cleanliness have been at the forefront of my ‘first world problem’ panics.  I took a trip to Boots to stock up on the things I think I’m going to want whilst I’m in hospital to help me to try to feel more normal.  It felt a little funny buying one of those travel bags of empty bottles to fill for hospital rather than for a holiday.  I also got a free gift of travel sized Liz Earle products when I bought my usual products from them – again, perfect for hospital!  Two and a half weeks to go and my wash bag is packed – not bad considering these days I tend to take one day at a time.

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I also bought a few new, loose dresses.  I know that there are tips and tricks as to how to get trousers on – men must do it!  I can’t help thinking that in the early stages it might just be easier to wear dresses.  As for the funny gadgets to help you put your socks on (that I have seen in my booklet) I feel like if I don’t wear socks for the rest of June and July, it is not the end of the world!

Physically, I’m doing my best effort at my physio exercises and trying to keep my muscles going whilst not knackering myself out completely.  I am having varied success with that as I still have nights where the pain completely takes over and I realise I have  overdone it in one way or another.  It is hard to break the habit of a lifetime!  I have started to do a bit of yoga (strictly in house using videos to help me) and of course I am still riding.  Not for long, not far and since the pleasure ride (https://younghipandhorsey.com/2018/05/20/pleasure-and-pain/) barely out of a walk!  Sometimes I feel like I can’t actually move my leg while I’m riding (not good if you need to put a bit of leg on when your pony sees a monster in the bushes!)  Most nights I’m happy just to spend some time with Pea.  Apart from the walking required to get to her, that is relatively painless!

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At this stage I’m not sure what other preparations I need to make!  If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them.

 

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