Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One Month After Surgery

I've really fallen behind on this blog!  I got distracted with life - my husband, kids, visitors, chores, etc.  Anyways, I am doing very well in my recovery!  My hip has little to no pain!  Ice seems to really  do the trick if I start having some discomfort. 

I regained feeling in my right leg on Saturday, April 20th! It was a wonderful day, I was so happy!  BUT . . . my foot was still asleep.  The next day my right foot started to wake up, but never actually does.  So, since then I've really been struggling!  It feels like lightning bolts are hitting it, someone is stabbing it, I'm getting poked with a thousand needles, it's get strangled, etc.  It's the worst feeling in the world, even worse than childbirth, because it seems as though there is no end to it!  I emailed Dr. JS's nurse to let her know what is going on and also told her that the new pain pill (Vicodin) that they prescribed last week was not mixing well with me.  It gave me severe mood changes and just didn't work for me.  On Tuesday, they prescribed me Percocet.  That worked almost instantly to relieve the pain in my foot!  I was able to get a full six hours of sleep that night and it was just wonderful!  The only downfall to Percocet was that it gave me nausea.  But, it seemed to help if I ate something before taking it.  By the weekend, (4/27 - 4/28/13), the Percocet was no longer relieving the pain in my foot.  At least with my leg, I could sit and be pain-free.  My foot just keeps hurting - 24/7!  I called Dr. JS nurse on Saturday hoping that she would check her voicemail over the weekend, and let her know how much pain my foot was in.  I also told her that my hip pain is very minimal!  If I didn't have these nerve issues, I would be doing really well right about now!  I also called the On-Call Orthopedic Doctor/Nurse and they told me that I would have to come to the ER to be evaluated to get put on any other medications.  I really didn't want to do that, so I tough'd it out!  Yesterday (Monday morning) around 3:00am, I emailed Dr. JS's nurse and told her how much pain I was in.  I really could not stand it anymore!  I received a message back in the early morning and ultimately they decided to take me off the Percocet and increase the mg for the nerve pill (Gabapentin).  Last night, I got about 2 hours of sleep at a time!  Then would be up for about 1 or 2 hours before falling asleep for another 2 hours.  I really don't know what to do about this nerve pain!  We've tried massage, pills and physical therapy 5 days a week!  I just want it to wake up!  I need my life back.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Week 3

DAY 14 (Thursday 4/11/13):
Last night I was not able to sleep well, I was very uncomfortable most of the night.  It feels like my leg is trying to wake up while I am laying down now as well (not just standing for longer than 30 sec - 1 min).  It just never does actually wake up, so I am having a really hard time because it really hurts.  Around 6am I woke up to use the restroom and still felt tired so I laid back down.  I dosed off and was woken at 8am by the nurse asking if I was coming to breakfast (at 8am)?  I quickly got up and went to the restroom.  When I stood, I realized that somewhere between 6am and 8am my incision decided it was going to bulge out and become really hard to the touch.  It wasn't my whole incision, just about 3 inches or so.  I alerted the nurse and she then examined it.  She didn't feel as though it was too big of a concern because it wasn't on fire (hot), no drainage, I wasn't running a fever, etc.  To be on the safe she brought in her supervisor (head nurse) and called Dr. JS to see if he had any concerns.  

I had PT right away in the morning again, we worked on the stairs.  I needed to figure out how to go up the stairs without a railing, since the three stairs outside of my apartment building does not have one.  I mainly use the railing at the top and bottom to get myself up.  We used a wooden step that I boosted myself up to, and then I boosted myself up to a folding chair.  It worked out great!  Only problem was that I couldn't buy the step from them, darn!  Julie (the PT) and I then brainstormed what I could do at home.  I couldn't just use a step stool as I needed it wide enough to get my hands on it to boost me up on it and then to the chair.  She said she had a foam workout step at home and that I could possibly use it.  I told her that if that didn't work, then my husband could build something to the dimensions that I needed.

Carey (with OT) worked with me on sitting in a chair and then standing.  I basically have been doing this since I had the surgery, so I didn't need any practice.  I just whipped down and back up.  We went back to room and tried to think of anything that I might struggle with when I got back home.   I thought a bit and then remembered that I probably wouldn't be able to bring the walker into the bathroom with me as it's a small.  We decided that I could probably walk into the bathroom with the walker, pivot to the toilet and the pivot to a chair in front of the sink.  We tried to think of anything else that I might struggle with when I returned home, but couldn't think of anything.  

DAY 15 (Friday 4/12/13):
Again, last night I could not sleep well at all.  It still feels like my leg is trying to wake up while I am laying down.  The pain of my leg waking up is what is keeping me awake at night.  

My actual hip pain is very minimal.  Sometimes it hurts a little more, especially after PT, but ice usually helps relieve the pain.  I am just really struggling with the pain of my leg "waking up" . . . but, never actually waking up.

Carey (OT) worked with me this morning on standing up from my bed if it's really low to the ground.  I did it, easy breezy!  It probably helped that it was the morning though and I was ready for the day!   When I tried it later in the day on my own it was more difficult. But, practice makes perfect!

Julie (PT) had me work on walking with my new walker that I was going to be taking home.  That way I could get the feel of it and be comfortable with it at home.  We also did some more strength training.  We're still trying to lift my right foot up towards me.  But, I am still only able to wiggle my toes.  It's so frustrating trying to just move your foot and you're unable to.  In the afternoon, we attempted the stairs one last time.  I did it fairly easy, but still can only do it on my butt.  We went back to the PT gym and tried hopping over a half step as that is how I will need to get in the front door.  I was surprised how well I did it!  We finished off going over last minute things that I will need for the house.  Unfortunately, the items I ordered didn't get delivered because my doctor never sign the script for it.   So, I will be following up on Monday with the company that supplies the items.  Otherwise, I have a doctor appointment with Dr. JS on Monday and I can get it from him directly.  At least everything I really needed can wait since it's mainly shower items.

DAY 16 (Saturday 4/13/13):
It's been a long couple of weeks, but I feel like I've made a lot of progress.  They told me that I'd be here 3 weeks and I cut it in half!  But, I know that it was my determination and mindset that made it possible.  I really am going to miss the nurses and other residents here at Fransiscan Woods though.  I really got close with a lot of the good people here!  I said my goodbye's and they all told me how much they were going to miss me!   Everyone here has really prepared me to go home!  I appreciate all their hard work and determination to make me feel as prepared as possible.  

Mike (my husband) arrived just after 10am to pick me up.  We pack up the car, I signed the discharge papers and we were set to go.  I wheeled in the wheelchair up to the car door, stood up and got right in the car.  My husband about fell over with how easy I was able to do it.  He was still thinking I could barely stand on my own, as that was how I was in the hospital.  When he did come visit me while I was at Fransiscan Woods I mainly stayed in my wheelchair or the bed, so he didn't really get to see the progress I made.  It was so weird pulling up to our apartment with no snow on the ground!  The weather really changed in 2.5 weeks that I was gone.  I got myself out of the car and walked with the walker to the first set of steps.  I then sat on the new step my husband made me on the landing so I could scoot up to the chair to stand up.  I then hopped into the front door.  I scooted up the stairs and then my husband brought his homemade step up so I could scoot up to the chair to stand.  My husband was impressed once again!  I am so happy that Julie (PT) really worked with me so I was prepared for everything!

I quickly realized it is a huge transition being home!  My Mom borrowed us a recliner for my recovery, but I discovered that it wasn't going to work for me.  It's not your typical recliner, as it's like a zero gravity one.  To use the recliner feature, you really need the ability to use both feet to lift it, which I obviously can't.  I am also having a hard time not only getting up from my Mom's recliner, but also our couch.  So, we're going to have to either ask around if we can borrow something or we'll need to buy something that I can get up from more easily.

Our bathroom is pretty small, so I have to pivot on my left foot from the doorway to the toilet.  To use the sink, I have to sit on the toilet as I can't get the walker through the bathroom to the sink.  

I have been dealt a lot of obstacles being home, but I am so happy that I am with my boys!  And, I know that in time it will be easier and I will find better ways of doing things. 

DAY 15 (Sunday 4/14/13):
Today was still another day of transitioning and trying to figure out the best way of getting around.  My leg is still numb and still really hurts when standing longer than a minute, so my husband brought up a office chair with wheels for me to use.  I keep getting stuck on all of our area rugs, but I've been making it work.  

DAY 16 (Monday 4/15/13):
I had a doctor appointment to see Dr. JS this morning.  He removed my dressing and said everything looked good.  He showed me my x-rays and 3D CAT scan showing my correction.  It was so cool to see it!!!!   I can't wait to get a copy to show people, or to just keep checking it myself.  I thought he told me in previous appointments that I was ONE of the worst cases of Hip Dysplasia he's seen, but he told me today that I AM the worst case he's ever seen.  He asked if I would want to be featured on a website and give my testimonial.  I agreed, of course.  Why wouldn't I?  He really is changing my life for the better!  I can't wait to be able to walk almost pain-free!  

After the doctor appointment, we stopped at a medical supply store for all my goodies, haha!  I needed transfer bench for the shower, along with some grab bars for the shower, a raised toilet seat, and some grab bars that attach to the toilet to make it easier to sit and stand.  I initially tried a raised toilet seat (borrowed from my Mom) that had the bars attached to the seat, but I almost fell every time I stood when I would only hold onto one bar and not both, as the seat would pop out.  I would definitely recommend getting the grab bars that attach to the toilet and that are separate from raised toilet seat.  It's far safer!  

DAY 17 (Tuesday 4/16/13):
I finally got to take a shower today!  Woohoooooo!!!  I couldn't stand just taking a sponge bath anymore.  

Home Health Physical Therapy came today.  She pretty much just had me sign a bunch of paperwork and just assessed where I was at with my progress.  She will be coming 5 days a week to work on strength training and some stretching.  Although, Dr. JS stated to not do too much with the range of motion (stretching) as it could do more damage than good.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Making Progress

DAY 11 (Monday 4/8/13):
Today, while standing for longer than 30 seconds to 1 minute, My leg starts to feel like it is waking up.  Now the best way to explain this is, if you are sitting on your leg/foot and it falls asleep, then move it to get the blood flow back, it hurts like hell (excuse my language).  That is what I feel while standing, down my entire right leg.  Then as soon as I sit/lie back down, my leg/foot just goes numb again.  

During Physical Therapy (PT) I wanted to attempt to do the stairs.  We decided that scooting up the stairs on my butt would probably be the safest route.  The physical therapist (Julie) was having me hold onto both of the railings (on each side of the stairs) to bring myself down to sit.  I felt like I was going down too hard because of the position she had me doing it. Once I was seated, Julie had me put my left leg on the step below me to help push myself to the third step.  I couldn't even push myself up one step.  I was too nervous that I was going to push using my newly reconstructed leg.  I started crying because the stairs are the only thing holding me back to be home with my boys.  She reassured me that it will come in time with a little practice and that we can work on it again in the afternoon.  She had me stand back up and we just practiced walking with the walker instead.  To wrap it up, we did a little strength training to help build my muscle. 

Later in the day I had my second PT session.  Right away we tackled the stairs again.  I sat down on the second step but, this time I did it my way.  I used only one railing, held on and slowly sat down.  I felt like I had a lot more control going down as opposed to her way.  Julie agreed that it was probably safer for me too.  I started to put my left leg back up on the step and push myself up to the next step.  But, because my right leg is still numb it is a lot of dead weight and kept getting stuck on the step.  So, my therapist put a towel under it, used it like a sling and held it up while I pushed myself up the stairs.  I actually made it the entire flight!  She had me try to stand at the top of the stairs but I was struggling.  She brought in another person and a chair for the top of the stairs for me to sit down (the purpose of the chair is that I can lift my feet to the floor and pivot in the direction I want to walk).  I definitely needed assistance to stand and then sit.  I was so excited that I actually made it up, with help, but I made it!  I needed help again to sit back down on the step and then to sling up my right leg to get down.  It was a lot easier to go down, but still a little difficult.  Again, I needed assistance to stand at the bottom of the stairs.  When we finished, I did the 'happy dance' in my wheelchair because it was a big accomplishment for me!

DAY 12 (Tuesday 4/9/13):
Today, I still woke up to a numb leg.  I pray every night (and during the day) that it'll wake up, but it's been stubborn, just like me!  

I had OT right away this morning.  Again, they didn't do too much, but watch how I walk and dress myself.  They just want to make sure that I am doing everything the correct way so I don't mess up my newly reconstructed leg.

After breakfast I had PT.  Instead of doing the stairs this morning Julie decided that we should work on strength training.  We really worked a lot of my leg muscles!  She even added some weights to add resistance.  During my second PT session, we started out with some more strength training.  She then did about ten minutes of electric shock therapy.  We finished off the session by tackling the stairs.  I was able to sit down on the step far more easily than yesterday.  Julie held onto my belt, but more to make sure that I didn't fall down.  I then scooted up the stairs fairly fast.  I wore pants today instead of capris, hoping that it would help slide my right leg up the stairs more easily (and without having to sling it up with someone else's assistance).  Even though it was easier today, I felt more pain in my pelvic area than I did yesterday.  I got to the top of the stairs, was able to stand on my own and sit in the chair.  I then was able to sit on the step and scoot myself down on my own.  When I got to the bottom I was able to stand on my own again.  It felt really good not needing as much assistance as I needed yesterday!   

DAY 13 (Wednesday 4/10/13):
Today OT had me work on getting in and out of the bathtub/shower with a transfer chair.  I did it really well and felt like it was a piece of cake!  I can't wait until I can actually take a real shower.  I've been taking a sponge bath everyday now for almost two weeks and it has been driving me nuts.   I just don't feel clean, clean!  But, I will have to wait until my dressing is removed and my incision is healed.

After OT, I immediately had PT.  Julie did about ten minutes of electric shock therapy.  We then did a few strength training exercises and finished off walking with walker.

In the afternoon PT session, we started off doing the stairs again.  I was able to go up and down them even easier than yesterday and with less assistance.  After the stairs we did some exercises while laying in a bed.  I still am unable to scissor out/in my right leg.   But, she helped me do the motion while I tried to do it.  She stated that by trying to do the motion will help wake my muscles back up.  Near the end of the strength training, I had my knee up (while I was laying down) and was able to squeeze my knee inwards.  I woke up one of my muscles today, woohoo!!!!  Then, we practiced walking with the walker again.

I also spoke with Julie today to see if I could go home.  She then brought in another lady (in charge of discharging patients) and we decided that Saturday would be best!  They felt like I will be ready to go home by then because of how well I am doing.  Even though I will be ready to go home, they feel like I will still need at-home therapy.  So, they are going to look into that for me and try to get it approved through insurance.  I can't wait to go home to my boys!  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Day 10

Last night I laid in bed and was catching up on a few tv shows before I went to sleep.  Before I knew it, it was just midnight! I went to the restroom (and am able to walk there all by myself with the walker of course), brushed my teeth and snuggled back in bed.  When I laid back down I had to call the nurse in to put my "boot" on to prevent "drop foot."   Shortly after putting the boot back on, I started to get a feeling like my foot was on fire!  When I called the nurse back in my room, they stated that she just went on her lunch break.  So, I waited about a hour until she came in my room.  She felt my foot and said it was just slightly warmer, but nothing significant to cause concern.  The boot was put back on and she said she'd check back up on me.  At about 3:30am, another nurse came to check on me and basically brushed it off as well.  I was then up by 5:30am for the day, because the fire feeling wouldn't go away.  I got ready for the day and just relaxed until OT came in.  She was surprised I was ready to go for the day.  I explained what happened last night to her, and she felt like it was a good sign.  As much as it hurts/uncomfortable, it may mean my nerves are starting to wake up. I really hope that is the case, heck, this is getting old!  I went the whole day with my leg/foot still asleep.  But! . . . but, now if I am sitting down I can kick my foot forward about 6-ish inches!  I feel like everyday I can do something new!  I can't wait to see what tomorrow holds!  Hopefully, starting to work on stairs!

Saturday, April 6, 2013


It's been one week & one day since I had the PAO surgery on my right hip.  Sorry that I was unable to update sooner, but I will give an overview of my past week.

DAY 1  -  SURGERY DAY (Good Friday):
I woke up on surgery day pretty calm and ready to go.  I was surprised how calm I was, it didn't feel like I was having a major surgery in just a couple hours!  I showered right away and then had to use sterilizing cloths to wipe down my entire front and back of my right leg (I had to sterilize the leg the night before as well).  My husband gathered my bags and we were off to hospital!  When we arrived (about 6:45am) I had to check-in, and waited about 10 minutes to be taken back.  They took me to a small "prep room" where they changed me into a gown, put on my compression stockings and started my IV (the first of three while I was at the hospital).  I was asked several questions over and over and over (and over, ha) which was partially annoying, but I know they just making sure that they didn't make any mistakes.  My husband and I said a nice little prayer before I was taken into surgery at 8:15am.  It was really nice to have a moment to pray to God to take care of me during surgery if that was in his will.  They injected something into my IV that made me a tad loopy, I kissed my husband goodbye and they wheeled me into the operating room.  They said that I wouldn't remember any of that, but I do.  They put the gas mask over my mouth and I was out cold!  They checked-in with my husband about two after they started and let him know that everything was going wonderful!  And at about noon, Dr. JS came out to my husband and stated that everything went awesome!  He stated that the new placement was great especially with how severe my Hip Dysplasia was.  He also didn't have to use a plate, which I am honestly really happy about!  So, there are just the three screws holding my pelvic bone in place, and the bones will hopefully fuse back together.  When I woke up I was in the recovery room, but kept falling in and out of sleep.  I wasn't in too much pain and I felt fairly good after surgery, just very drowsy!  In the recovery room they put my leg in a machine that moved it up and down (bent knee up then moved leg straight).  While they wheeled me from the recovery room to my room, I got really nauseous.  But, it was really nice to see my husband waiting for me when I arrived.  They injected something into my IV to relieve some of the nausea that I was experiencing.  In the afternoon, I was able to keep my eyes open more and have several conversations.  Dr. JS came to check in on how I was doing and checked my reflexes.  At that time, I noticed that my foot and lower part of my leg fell asleep and never woke up after surgery.  Basically, it was completely numb and I could barely wiggle my toes.   

DAY 2 (Saturday 03/29/13):
I woke up on Saturday still feeling really good.  I was really surprised how good I felt and how alert I was considering they gave me pain medication every few hours.  I was also still in the leg machine until Dr. JS came to check on me.  He felt it wasn't doing exactly what he wanted as my leg just kept sliding in it rather then getting the motion of up and down.  He removed the machine and then wanted to check everything out.  He had me try to pull my foot towards me, move it side to side, and try to lift it, but I was unable to do all of the above except wiggling my toes.  My leg was still asleep at this point, but I still had hope it would wake up soon.  Also, Dr. JS had high hopes that I could possibly go home on Sunday or Monday, I was so excited!  Physical Therapy (PT) came in during the late morning and had me sit on the side of the bed.  Unfortunately, that was all I could do.  I got really nauseated and had to lie back down.  Since it was my first time sitting up since surgery, they stated that my blood pressure probably dropped so they said they would return in a couple hours.  When they came back they sat me up again and then had me try to stand for the first time.  I did it, but started to feel nauseated again.   I also felt really un-easy standing since my foot was numb, so I couldn't tell how much weight I was putting on my leg.  And since I am restricted to "no weight bearing/toe touch weight bearing" -  it made it very difficult.  All they made me do was stand and try to lift my foot and leg, which I couldn't.  They taught me a few leg exercises to do in bed, to start building my strength.  I really couldn't do them, since my leg was numb, but they told me to at least try.  Occupational Therapy (OT) also came in and gave me a exercise stretching band to work on my arm muscles.  They also gave me some other nifty tools for everyday function (a sock aid, clothes stick, invisible dog leash to move my leg, and a grabber).  These tools have been so helpful!   

DAY 3 (Easter Sunday 03/30/13):
Oh my goodness, Day 3! Day 3 I woke up so sick!  I threw up in the middle of the night and just couldn't get rid of the nausea!  I felt like I had a really bad case of the flu.  My leg/foot still didn't wake up today either.  And, again when PT came in, I couldn't even move my right leg when I was standing with the walker.  They just told me to continue to try to do the leg exercises they taught me yesterday.   Dr. JS came to check on me, and took off my compression stocking on my right leg in hopes that it would help the nerves to wake up.  The nurses also had to put me back on IV fluids because they thought I was dehydrated.

DAY 4 (Monday 4/1/13):
They stopped my nerve pill and pain pills in the middle of the night because I was so sick, even threw up!   I couldn't even think about trying to take them.  Since, prior to this surgery I have never taken anything other than the occasional Tylenol or Ibuprofen, they said that my body was just having a reaction to the narcotics (pain pills).  Dr. JS came in to follow up and told me that he would change me to a pain pill that would be less harsh.  I didn't actually take any pain meds throughout the day because I felt so crummy.  I really wasn't in pain though, just really nauseated and had flu-like symptoms and no appetite.  Dr. JS also ordered a CAT Scan to check out my right leg.  He wanted to make sure that no nerves were growing inside the bone since my leg and foot still had not woken up.  They were supposed to do it same day, but they didn't actually ever show up to do it.  

DAY 5 (Tuesday 4/2/13)
I woke up and could only eat some yogurt, yet again I didn't have an appetite. They tried giving me some Tylenol at about 6:00am, but I just couldn't take it as I still felt a little nauseated.  It sat there until about 9:00am, and I finally forced myself to take it since OT/PT was coming shortly.  And, again I was unable to do much but stand and then pivot to the commode.  By the lunch hour, I started to get my appetite back and felt a lot better!  I couldn't believe it, but I actually ate my entire lunch!  After lunch they took me off the IV Fluids and took me down for my CAT Scan.  Dr. JS came up by me a few hours later to let me know that everything looked wonderful and it was just going to be a matter of time until the nerves woke up.

DAY 6 (Wednesday 4/3/13):
I woke up feeling really good!  The nurse told me that I was going to be released today.  Unfortunately, because my leg/foot was still numb, I was not going to be able to go home due to living on the second floor with no elevator.  So, I was admitted into a Rehab Clinic in Brookfield.  They had a wheelchair accessible van pick me up to take me to the rehab clinic.  I was nervous to go because I heard horror stories about these after care places.   But, I was pleasantly surprised!  It was very clean and the staff was extremely nice.  My Mom came in the evening and helped me unpack my belongings.  It felt really good to have everything put away and not just thrown around.  

DAY 7 (Thursday 4/4/13):
They did an OT and PT session with me where they assessed me to see where I was at and what my estimated time in the clinic would be.  I was only able to walk about 5 feet but that was huge for me!  They estimated me being here for about three weeks - OMG - I really hope not!   I heard that and have been pushing ever since to get out of here.  During my second PT sessions they had me walk again with the walker.  She had to push my right leg though as I still couldn't raise it off the floor, but I was able to walk about 20 feet that time.  They then tried electric shock therapy in hopes that it would wake up my nerves.

DAY 8 (Friday 4/5/13):
They woke me up to do OT and taught me to stand in front of the sink to brush my teeth and wash my face.  I felt really good that I could stand there!  Then they took me down to PT after breakfast and I was able to walk about 30 feet.  During the afternoon PT session I learned to go on my left tippy toe and kind of swing my right hip forward.  That way I did have to have anyone push my foot along.  They also tried the electric shock therapy again.

DAY 9 (Saturday 4/6/13):
They woke me up again today to do OT.   She didn't actually teach me anything today, just kind of watched me.  But, she felt like I was really independent and stated that if I got practice doing stairs, then I could probably be released sooner, but that is up PT.  When PT came after breakfast, I asked to do the stairs.  She stated that she wanted me to walk more before doing the stairs to build my arm muscles.  So, I made it about 60 feet straight today!  That's double from yesterday!  I feel like progress is being made!  And even though I still can't feel my leg/foot, I feel as though I will definitely not be here three weeks!  I just hope that my leg wakes up soon!