PAO surgery and recovery update – week 2

Days 7 – 14

The relief to be home is overwhelming.  It’s not easy to get about though, and to be honest, I don’t think Irish or I realised the extent to which I’d be completely dependent on other people for a while.  I can’t even lift my leg in or out of bed by myself.  The pain radiates from my hip to my groin, and extends into my torso a little.  It is perfectly manageable on codeine and paracetamol (acetaminophen in the US), but I don’t really feel like doing much.  The exhaustion is the most surprising thing – despite having to sleep on my back, I slept all night, and most afternoons too.  The activities I’d normally do on a ‘bad hip day’ – like reading or knitting – are still beyond my concentration.  I’m gutted, because my good friends have leant me so many great books and I had been looking forward to getting stuck into them!  One sanity-saver is a good DVD box set.  We were recommended the Mad Men series and it’s great – gripping, but not so complicated that my dozy brain couldn’t follow the plot.  Even Irish was won over.  On the other hand, maybe I just like it because all those office politics make me feel better about legitimately not being at work!

Mad Men – because a PAO isn’t just another day at the office..

The stairs in our ancient house are pretty steep and unforgiving – so I limit myself to getting up and down them once a day, under full supervision.  I concentrate on the physio exercises I was given in the hospital – and gradually, my mobility starts to return.  It’s very difficult to even try to move my right leg out to the side and back in – but I notice that as the days pass, I can move it further and with less pain, which is very exciting and encouraging.  Once again, I find myself concentrating on the small wins – the day that I manage to hobble to the bathroom at night without waking Irish for help, the day that I decide to hobble outside and sit in the sun for five minutes.

Things to watch out for / not be surprised by:

1) Muscle twitches / weird feelings in your operated leg.  Because the nerves and muscles are healing too, my whole leg felt pretty weird sometimes.  The muscle twitches in my right thigh or glute were occasionally quite painful – and I could do nothing to stop them.    Once, I woke up with the feeling that cold water was dripping onto my right thigh – but when I rubbed my leg, I realised the sensation was just due to damaged nerves.  I am aware of a patch of numbness on my right thigh, from the incision downwards.  It feels pretty strange, but not overly painful.

2) Be careful on your crutches.  The first week I was home, I felt pretty unstable on my feet.  Just putting a crutch down too clumsily could send a bolt of pain into my pelvis, which took a few hours to recover from.  It’s nothing serious to worry about – but be prepared for the odd stumble – it will happen.

3) Be prepared to want / be able to do very little.   I mainly watched TV, cuddled my cat, leafed through magazines and watched endless episodes of Mad Men.

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