…is going to be fun.
I had my first day of PT on Friday at MGH and as I sat there with my intake form reading the page on “How much does your affected limb limit the following activities?” I just kind of sat in awe. It said something along the lines of…rate your level of difficulty with the following activities from no difficulty to extreme difficulty or cannot be performed at all – daily recreational activities, standing for more than one hour, sitting for more than one hour, going up and down stairs, picking up a heavy bag, doing household chores, walking 2 blocks, walking a mile, performing activities for your job, etc. All were either checked as cannot be performed or with extreme level of difficulty (I was bummed there was no back squatting option on that form). I could do nothing but laugh at how much I realized I was actually affected by all of this. Yeah I have a tough time getting around because I am not supposed to weight bear and I have these awesome crutches but when I came to understand the reality of what I can and cannot do, I kind of got upset/had a mini panic attack.
I think back to when I first went into that office to get a start on my diagnosis and I remember that everything was checked as no difficulty except sitting and standing for more than one hour and daily recreational activities were somewhat limited…aka CrossFit, running, heavy lifting. It’s funny because I remember thinking how discouraged and limited I felt then and the weeks which turned into days leading up to my surgery. At least then I could still walk, could still get my own coffee, could still grocery shop on my own, do my own laundry, cook with ease, clean with ease…you get the point. I guess I never realized how much this surgery would limit me…weird to think that it wouldn’t right?
So I get called back to meet with my physical therapist for the first time. He asks me how much pain I am in and I tell him that I figured I would be in more pain, that I can stand on my right foot and it doesn’t hurt and I can hobble around on it without pain. He then asks how long I am prescribed crutches…3 weeks total. Here I am thinking that because it doesn’t hurt to weight bear that I probably won’t have to have my crutches for the whole 3 weeks. At this point he kindly scared me into never wanting to put weight on my right foot again. The area of my surgery – my hip joint, specifically my labrum – is somewhat avascular as in very little blood supply and very few nerve endings and because of that, to put weight on my right leg isn’t going to hurt. He then kindly pointed out that what putting weight on my right leg does do is jam the femoral head into the hip joint – you know the joint that I had surgery on 11 days ago, that joint that because of it’s avascularity, doesn’t exactly heal quickly – and that compression too soon will only undo everything my poor little hip went through on January 7th. Ok, no more weight bearing, I get it.
He asked me what my goals for PT were….I kind of looked at him, scrunched together the rolls that are developing on my forehead, squinted my eyes, pursed my lips together and said, “Well, I would like to do CrossFit again. It’s not necessarily the CrossFit per say, but it is that level of intensity that I would like to get back to. Oh and run a half marathon again, specifically the Run to Remember held on Memorial Day. I know not this year, but next.” He kind of stared blankly at me. Great.
Moving on. So I laid down on the PT table and he assessed my hip. The next part is my favorite…he asked me what exercises I had been doing and I proudly said that I had been doing my toe raises and my hip pendulums. Crazy to me that I got excited about that. So he added a few more exercises to my small list. Lying on my back I now get to do the following…
1. With my leg straight, slowly internally and externally rotate my foot like a windshield wiper.
2. With my leg straight, squeeze my quad.
3. With my leg straight, squeeze my right butt cheek.
4. Heel slides.
Wow. At least I got to finish PT with 10 minutes with my new best friend…
I seriously cannot wait to see that machine again. Compression AND cold at the same time? Talk about crack for my hip. Before my PT left me with my new best friend he looked me dead in the eye and said, “Go to the front desk when you leave and schedule into February, at least twice a week. You and I will be getting very close over the next few months.” This did not make me feel very good.
I left PT feeling deflated and discouraged and my hip felt the same way too. The amount of pain and fatigued I felt in my hip the rest of the day on Friday was unreal for how little activity I forced it to do. And that pain and fatigued only carried over into the middle of last night when I woke up and had to pop 2 Oxycodone’s in order to go back to bed and into today when I was at work and my hip cramped up mid session and almost knocked me over. And as I sit here alone on a Saturday night with a painful hip that almost itches at the same time and a right foot that is so cold that not even a big winter sock and a slipper can warm it up I begin to realize that this whole process is going to test my patience and my ability to deal with boredom, a lot. I have never had an injury that has limited me so much. I feel for those who get injured all the time. I don’t know how you manage other than with the knowledge that it will get better.
But that’s the thing about injuries; you recover. I know that in 10 days I will be off crutches (yes I am counting down the days and my palms and shoulders are too) and I know that every day my hip will get a little stronger and a little more mobile and that in 6 months I will be 100%. I try not to think about that last part though. I know that I will be 100% again and I know that things could always be worse. I know that someday in the near future I will go into that office and look at that level of difficulty intake form and laugh at it because I have little to no difficulty doing everything on that list. Until then, I just need to practice patience and understanding for my body.
My body. That’s another story. But I will say that I am proud of myself at this very moment in time because on Tuesday when I left Vermont I had a complete meltdown as I stared at my broken body in the mirror…the needle holes and bruises on my stomach, the injection sites from my surgery, the swelling and bruising in my groin and just the general swelling all over my body…oh and the already noticeable loss of muscle in all areas of my body. But tonight I looked in the mirror and I didn’t see any of that for a few reasons. I got to stop my blood thinners 2 weeks early because I was one of the lucky few who actually developed the “internal bleeding” thing which means no more injections and no more bruising, the swelling and bruising around my incisions are reducing and the general swelling around my entire body seems to have dissipated.
Some then and now…
Oh and not to mention my arms are getting jacked from crutching around for hours every day trying to be a personal trainer and my abs are coming back because of having to stabilize myself as I crutch around…and I think the cessation of the Malbec drinking helped a bit. All in all how I feel right now compared to how I felt the last 24 hours is like night and day. I am starting to feel happy more often than sad. It is not quite Hunter Hayes “I Want Crazy” dancing around my apartment while drinking Malbec happy, but it’s getting there slowly…the whole dancing around my apartment part might take a little longer than the other two.
So with a spasming and painful hip, my last Valium, some sleep meds, my Cryo cuff and Bun Bun, I hope to make it through the night with no hip pain. Every day is a new day and not every day will be great but if you try to your hardest to enjoy the ups and appreciate the downs, this whole process becomes a little easier. And plus, Dora the Explorer is with me all the time on my crutches and she is pretty rad. 🙂
Very apt descriptions. Good writing!
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