broadsideblog

One (slow, halting) step at a time

In aging, behavior, Health, life, Medicine, women on March 2, 2012 at 12:06 am
English: Walking with the parallel bars

Image via Wikipedia

There’s a new sound in my life — the click, click of my sexy French crutches — as I learn to walk normally again after two years of 24/7 pain and a gait so altered I started to look like Quasimodo, that ruined my shoes and swelled my right foot and increased the diameter of my right calf by an inch from overcompensation.

It’s been almost a month since my hip replacement, and I’m learning to trust my body again. It feels really good to stretch, to break a sweat and (yay!) to reach my toes.

“Patient”  — the adjective, not the noun — is not my most obvious quality. This recovery, from full hip replacement, includes dire warnings about doing too much too soon and how not to push it. More is not better. But you don’t know you’ve done too much until…

Daily, I circumambulate our apartment building and garage in warm, dry weather and our apartment building hallway, where 12.5 laps equals a mile, when it’s wet or really cold. My goal is a daily mile, only after which do I get to shed my $38/pair white surgical stockings I wear 23 hours a day to prevent blood clots.

Physical therapy, three times a week, (and $60 week in copays), is slow, incremental, dull, repetitive — and utterly essential to a full recovery.

When I met my surgeon, I handed him a list of a few of my many sports, and asked how soon I would be back at them. My softball team, having missed me for two years, keeps asking when I’ll return. I’m hoping within six months; friends my age (and much older) who’ve had this procedure have since climbed the Great Wall, hiked Guatemala and climbed four flights of stairs without trouble.

I’ve had to recuse myself from real life for a while, missing a friend’s book party, unable to get to my regular hairstylist in Manhattan, a 45-minute drive or train/cab away, closed off from movies, concerts and anything that would require me to sit more than than 60 minutes at a time I’m allowed.

Maybe because I did a silent 8-day retreat last summer, I’ve really appreciated a time of peace and quiet, of reflection and withdrawal. For weeks, I had to rely fully on my husband for the simplest of tasks, from helping scrub me in the shower, (after an 18-day wait!), to putting on my left sock and shoe, counting out my 10 pills a day, cooking.

I miss his companionship since he returned to work this week, leaving home at 7:30 and only returning 12 long hours later after his commute.

Soon, I hope, I’ll once more be my usual blur.

  1. I only hope is when you are back to your “usual blur” you will still find time for your blog. I wish you a speedy and full recovery. :)

  2. My wife is one week after surgery, hating the enforced lay-off,and sleeping on her back. but liking the lack of pain, she has her staples out next week and has started walking further each day. Slow going, but as her surgeon said, do as you are told for the first eight weeks, and you will not have any trouble after.

    Hope all continues to go as well for you.

    Jim

    • Best wishes to her!! Back-sleeping is no fun if it’s not what you normally do — you only do it out of exhaustion, as I did as well. I normally sleep on my right side (and the incision is on the left) so as soon as I could (about 7 days or so), I started sleeping normally, even with a pillow between my knees as needed. One effect of back-sleeping is how sweaty you get, so she may well appreciate a good scrubbing on her back when she finally gets to shower again.

      My sanity saver has been playing Scrabble on the Ipad, a fun and quick diversion without the concentration of having to read.

      Glad she is doing well…I am making terrific progress. Already doing straight leg lifts to a decent height and a 90-degree plus bend. Yay!

  3. Go you!!! I bet that daily mile has never felt more rewarding.

    (I’m catching up on all of your posts in order of writing)

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