8 weeks

Tomorrow will mark 8 weeks post-op.  which is amazing.  it feels like it’s been forever, but it also feels like my surgery was just yesterday.

i spent week 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 down with an ear infection.  it required me to take some pain killers.  i generally don’t mind living with some discomfort or even a minimum amount of pain (living with is probably not what i mean, temporarily tolerating is more like it.)  when i was asked pre-surgery what level of pain i could deal with i said 4 out of 10.  if we could keep the pain at a 4 i’d be happy.  i think it’s important that i feel at least discomfort and i don’t think pain is a bad thing, as long as it isn’t interfering with my daily life.  the pain reminds me that i’m recovering.  to not push myself.  when i’ve had enough.  so, i haven’t taken much pain killer since my eyebrow stitches incident and i discovered something amazing.  400mg of advil and i was pain free.  like nothing was wrong.  and in a very short amount of time it seemed i forgot i needed to be careful.  i knew not to go crazy – i didn’t start running or lifting or tackling the daily WOD, but i did push my range of motion a little further than i might should have doing my rehab exercises and i was up on my feet a lot.  once i quit taking the pain killers i was hit with a new fatigue and soreness that i hadn’t experienced since before the surgery.  no worries, it wasn’t anything like the pain i’d had pre-surgery, but i could definitely tell i’d done too much.

in order to recover from this i cancelled a few PT sessions.  I did my exercises, but i was much more careful about what i was doing and how i was doing it.  i did my stretches and i was much more conscientious about doing them.  i tend to be lazy when it comes to stretching and mobility work.  which is a little funny because it’s all i seem to do now.  i’m going to meet with a pilates instructor who attends one of my crossfit classes tomorrow.  she’s going to work with me on my core and my alignment and how to get the most out of the rehab i’m doing.  i’m excited about this because pilates is one of the things that has been recommended once i’m cleared to work out.

so, my 8 week report is (for the most part) good.  i’ve tried not to hassle my doctor in the states too much.  i have had a few question for his PA and he’s been good about responding.  the biggest thing i’m guilty of is forgetting this was major surgery.  sometimes the fact that i don’t have a massive scar causes me to believe i just had a little work done.  that shaving bones and repairing the labrum is no big thang.  i’m not considered healed until the 3 month mark (august 29).  that’s when i can begin the real work, because healed is not the same thing as fully recovered.  it’s just when the recovery can really begin – if i’ve done a good job on the rehab that is.

5 weeks

i’m 5 weeks post op. that’s crazy. but when i look at the recovery time ahead of me it also feels like no time at all. i’m doing my best to only look at the FAI success stories online. that would be so much easier if folks didn’t post their not so successful stories, but that’s the nature of the google, right? so i’ve tightened up my belt because i hear that i’ve got a 6-8 week slump/depression headed my way. i refuse to research this more. and i’m hoping that my stocking up of chocolate and dark chocolate is all i’ll need to weather this storm.

i moved off the crutches this week. spent almost the entire week crutch free. but today i’m back to one. i think this is normal. i returned to work this week, i’ve got 2 hours 3 times a week of PT going on, and another 2 hours a day of exercise/rehab stuff that i do on my own plus just daily life. added up that makes for one fatigued hip. not to mention my angry, angry adductor. and my glutes that aren’t keen to turn on.  i think that all means i’m right on track.  

speaking of PT.  one of my favorite/not favorite things is her tendency to remark how weak i am.  how very, very weak i am.  how surprisingly weak i am.  she says it a lot.  and she laughs.  and then she giggles.  i think it’s meant to be empathetic/encouraging.  but I’m not sure about that.  however, the 1 hour of heat packs and massage i get totally make it worth it.  she is awesome at delivering the hurts so good pain.  

totally off topic, we’ve just started watching The Sopranos.  we’re only 15 years late to this.  

shaving and stitches

surgery was last thursday.  it seems to have gone well.  i was worried about pain. i normally handle pain pretty well, but the pain i’d been experiencing before the surgery was making me think my pain tolerance had diminished.  thankfully, the pain is less than it was before the surgery.  and the lower back pain/tightness that i’d been experiencing for quite a while is gone.  i’m super impressed by that.  what did they do?  shaved some bone and repaired the labrum.  i have lots of pictures, but i’ll spare you from most of them.  (i know not everybody is a fan of surgical pictures.)   this one seems safe, it’s the bone shaving they did.

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i left the clinic with instructions to start physical therapy on monday (today), but i was given a pretty tough workout regimen to keep up with until then.  this is a workout for time and i’m supposed to do it three times a day.  it looks like this.

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5 – 10 minutes three times a day i’m supposed to lay on my stomach with my feet hanging off the bed.  it’s meant to help with adhesions.  and i’ve only missed one of these strenuous workouts.  because i was doing this instead.

IMG_1252i managed to pass out while on my crutches.  i have this cup they sent home from the surgical clinic with me.  it says, “always call.  never fall.”  turns out they mean to call before you are feeling like you’re going to pass out, because once you feel like it’s going to happen it’s too late to do much more than draw someone’s attention so they can see you falling.  i hit my head on the knob of a cabinet on my way down.  it doesn’t appear that i injured my leg – i’m really, really, really hoping i didn’t.  but i did get to go to the e.r.  and i did get to get some stitches.  and it’s possible i’ll get a scar.  they did lab work and gave me some i.v. fluids.  the e.r. doctor suspects i was dehydrated and that the dehydration on top of my body trying to recover from surgery was just too much.  i’ve felt fine since i left the hospital.  i do worry a bit that it will happen again, but i’m drinking plenty of fluids and my parents are being a little more watchful when i’m up.

here’s hoping the rest of the recovery is easier.

2nd opinion done and jet lag

i made it to america.  while not my favorite flight it was much better than i thought it would be, partly because the pain wasn’t as intense and i am able to stand fully upright and partly because i had an awesome seat.  not upgrade awesome, but more you can leave your seat back the entire flight awesome.

i saw the doctor friday morning.  he took some more x-rays and reviewed my MRI.  he could see the labrum tear in the MRI, so I don’t really need an MRA.  he did say it could provide more diagnostic information, but that it wouldn’t change the treatment.  which is arthroscopic surgery.  dr #1 said i had a pincer impingement and suspected a tear.  dr #2 says i have a pincer impingement, a cam impingement and a labrum tear.  i’ve been scheduled for surgery at the end of this month.  he’ll go in and reshape the hip bone, reshape the femur head, and repair the labrum.  i’ll be on crutches 2 or 3 weeks and he’ll clear me to fly home 3 weeks after surgery.  my surgery is scheduled for the end of this month, but i’m on the waiting list for a cancelation and it would be really, really great if i got in earlier.

the pain continues to get better.  it’s still constant, but it’s much more low grade with some peaks to medium strength if i try to pivot or bend or have to stand or sit.  but that is so much better than it was and so much more tolerable.

and the jet lag.  it’s currently 2:30 in the morning and i am wide awake.  this doesn’t bode well for tomorrow.

something or (with any luck at all) nothing new to document

my hip hurts.  it really, really hurts.  and by that i mean it really, really, really hurts.   but the really, really, really hurt has only been going on for the past two weeks.  before that it was only annoying with an occasional flair up of the maybe there’s really a problem variety.  i’d blamed it on turning 40 (you know, a few years ago) and one of the costs of leading a sedentary life for most of my 20s and 30s.  on occasion i had to make some adaptations, but they were temporary. this pain escalation caused me to go have it looked at.

one of the impressive things about medical care here is the lack of red tape.  i went to the orthopedic walk in clinic at the local hospital, the doctor there came highly recommended.  i waited about half an hour.  saw the doctor.  had an X-ray, the doctor consulted the X-ray and i was done in 45 minutes tops.  the X-ray showed a bone spur on my right hip.  this didn’t concern the doctor, but the pain and limited mobility did so he sent me for an MRI.

(funny X-ray story.  the tech had to consult a chart to determine where to set the dials on the X-ray machine.  then he consulted a book to find out what position i should be place in.)

i called the MRI clinic at 7pm.  they had me come in at 9pm.  i had my MRI, it included having my feet masking taped together, and was home by 11pm.  i went back to the doctor the next night, yes, within 24 hours, and he read the MRI report.  turns out the bone spur was an issue.  maybe the issue.  he diagnosed me with something called FAI - Femoroacetabular Impingement.  the MRI report also said suspect torn anterolateral labrum.  but they can’t confirm that here.  and i’ve been advised that it’s best to not have it treated here. so in a few days i’m going to fly to america for a second opinion.

i’m not looking forward to the flight.  the normal discomfort of tight seats and close neighbors and forever up in the air seems even less appealing when filtered through the really, really, really hurt and the inability to stand up straight.

a little background info

when i crafted my catch up by photo dump post i didn’t give much – or any – detail about my dad’s leg surgery.  so i’m gonna fill in a few of the blanks.

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my dad was out enjoying his last morning in chiang mai, visiting the market, just taking it easy and minding his own business.  my mom had stayed behind to do a little packing and wait for me to get back from working out.  once i got home the two of us headed out to grab a cup of coffee (or iced chocolate for her) and do a little reading, but before we could get into the coffee shop my mom got a call from my dad.  he was in the emergency room at maharaj nakorn chiang mai hospital.  he’d been hit by a car.  did i mention he was out and about taking it easy and minding his own business on a motorbike?  (a slightly sketchy motorbike at that.)  he told us he was certain his leg was broken.  my mom and i headed over to the hospital and after finding a parking spot – no small feat – we located the er and then located my dad.  he was right about his leg.  he had a spiral fracture of the tibia. it was his left leg – he has a history of injuries on that leg.

the orthopaedic resident informed us that surgery was necessary, but that it would take a week or two for them to get around to operating at this hospital.  this is a public hospital and the worst cases get seen first.  the resident suggested we move my dad to a private hospital.  thanks to some quick replies from friends here in chiang mai we were able to connect with an orthopaedic surgeon and get my dad moved to ram hospital just a few minutes down the road from maharaj nakorn chiang mai hospital.

we eventually met with the orthopaedic surgeon.  he was hoping to operate that night, but because of my dad’s prior injury and some blood clotting issues in that leg he needed to consult an internal medicine doctor first.  my mom and i left our phone numbers at the nurses station and headed home so she could take care of cancelling their flight home, check with traveler’s insurance requirements, and find out the date their visa’s expired.   it was 7:30 or so when we made it back to the hospital and my dad was in surgery – they’d wheeled him on down to the internal medicine doctor so she could give her yay or nay.  the surgeon came out to speak to us about 10.  he said the surgery had gone well and that my dad should be out of recovery in a few hours.  he answered my mom’s questions and then we waited for my dad to be rolled out of recovery.   they rolled my dad out about midnight and we all headed up to his hospital room.  we made sure he was situated and we headed home for some sleep.  i was a little alarmed that they hadn’t put a cast on his leg and that they had no intention of casting it at all, but i’ve been told that’s they way the do it now.

my dad was out of the hospital on saturday and they began figuring out when they could go home.  due to some constraints from their traveler’s insurance they needed to fly sooner rather than later and managed to book a flight that wednesday (or maybe it was thursday).  my dad went to see his doctor this week.  i haven’t heard how that appointment went, but i’m assuming no news is good news on that front.

another month

went to the doctor today for a follow up appointment. i am now 2 months into this 6 week treatment with at least another 4 weeks to go. I know, the math doesn’t quite work on that – unless you just go with the numbers and not how they are classified. 2+4=6 instead of (2×4)+4doesnot=6.  that might only make sense to me.

the vertigo is pretty constant along with the headache (still) and i feel like someone has taken cotton balls and stuck them in every available nook and cranny that can be found in my brain. and then jammed in 200 more just because. and then there is the feeling that someone has filled my tank with water instead of premium gasoline. but – hopefully – only one more month of this.

20121106-111349.jpgthat’s my good side, we’ve got our fingers crossed that it gets a lot worse.

20121106-111530.jpgthat’s my getting better side. at least it was. i thought i was done treating it. i thought wrong.