Just Keep Swimming!

I actually feel amazing today, probably for the first time in a long time!  My wound has healed up really well into a pretty neat scar.  The horrible scabby, bumpy indented wound with the swollen, numb skin around it that I showed in Sleeping, Scoffing And Stepping Through Week Two is amazingly well healed.  I don’t think I even need to warn you not to look now.. unless you don’t want to see bare skin!

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My physio had okayed me to go swimming but I have been putting it off until my scar was good.  Today was the day.  As I mentioned in My Hip Journey So Far, swimming used to be a big part of my life and has been slightly pushed out by horses in the last few years.  Even so, every time I go, I love it.  This time last year I joined a team in an overnight 12 hour swimathon and racked up over three and a half miles of swimming in four sessions.  I hadn’t trained or prepared for it, it was knackering going through the night but it was amazing.  Today didn’t quite feel as triumphant but it was pretty good.

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Part of the reason I wanted to go swimming was to have a go at walking in the pool.  Although the resistance is greater in water, you are supported and it was so much easier to walk in the water (unattended) than it is on land.  I also did my standing exercises in the water and didn’t have to cling onto anything for support like I do normally.  Aside from all that, I swam, normally, just like I used to.  It felt incredible.  I also used my kick board to just do kick – with all this crutch work my arms don’t need anymore of a work out!  It would have been far too easy to overdo it but I made sure I didn’t do too much and I rested up and floated around the rest of the time!

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It is worth me mentioning that as amazing as the swimming was, getting changed and negotiating the wet changing rooms on crutches wasn’t easy.  Luckily I had my mum with me to help me with my stuff and to give and take away my crutches at the right time.  My local swimming pool has steps with a handrail in the shallow pool too which meant I could get into the pool myself once I was at the top of the steps!

Not quite sure how I’m going to feel tomorrow, if I’m not too knackered I’m definitely going to go swimming again this weekend.  Without sounding completely big headed, being the best swimmer in the pool even though I’m five weeks post hip replacement was great for my ego!

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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My Hip Journey So Far

When I was about 6 I started having pain in my left leg.  I don’t remember it but my mum does!  I was an active child, I used to do ballet, swimming and riding.  Originally the doctor didn’t know what it was but when we moved to Devon just before my seventh birthday, I struck lucky with my new doctor.  Another local child had the same pains and had been diagnosed with Perthes Disease.  Cut to many hospital appointments, surgery (a left hip osteotomy which essentially meant breaking, moving and pinning my hip bone and then removing the metal a year or so later) and ultimately being banned from all the good things in life.  No more ballet, no more riding, no PE.

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It wasn’t all bad, the pain was in existence but manageable and I still got involved in my overachieving family’s compulsory walks and cycling holidays.  Swimming was my one fully allowed activity.  It was an opportunity for exercise and for a bit of social engagement!  Swimming morphed into waterpolo when I moved to Gloucestershire in my university years and the pain increased but after all the years of a ‘dodgy hip’ it was just part of life.

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I started riding (more on that later) when I joined the working world.  I loved it, it was the best thing in my life (and still is) but it probably wasn’t the best thing for pain.  It was during these years that I got back into the hospital system.  I went from my GP to physio, to my GP, to my local hospital, to more physio and finally to a specialist in Bristol.  I had a steroid injection into my hip which did nothing and the discussion turned to a hip replacement.  It wasn’t the right time yet.

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In September last year I started a new job.  It was full time horsey but at a school, the perfect job for me.  I loved it but by December I was crying to my surgeon that my hip just couldn’t cope anymore and my name got put on the dreaded waiting list.

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To cut the trauma of the last few months short; I quit my awesome job, moved back to where I lived before, took up crutches for any proper walking (on the recommendation of my physio) and started a number of small jobs to pay my bills and bide my time until my op.  Now for the next part of the journey!

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