PAO surgery and recovery – week 3

PAO Recovery Days 14 – 21

This is where the recovery starts to get interesting.  During this week, my mobility and stamina noticeably increase.  I don’t need an afternoon nap every single day. My ability to complete the physiotherapy exercises and stretches really improves.  I am sore and stiff, but I find that I can lie more comfortably, sit for longer, and when sitting, reach for things like the telephone or a glass of water without feeling an uncomfortable pull in my hip.  Hooray!

Some of my friends drop in at random points during this week, and we sit and chat for a couple of hours.  The normality is heavenly.  I learn to pace myself – I spend the morning in bed, and get up in the afternoon, or vice versa.    My appetite is returning, as is my ability to read and hold a plot line in my head.  I become a little more confident on crutches, and putting my right foot down at the ‘wrong moment’ becomes less of a drama and more of an annoyance.

This week I begin to wonder when I can start physio.  I start to feel that I can complete the exercises given to me in hospital competently enough to progress to..what?  I chase up my physiotherapy department at my local hospital – but grrr, despite having been sent a copy of a referral letter from UCLH, they are clueless.   ‘We’ll call you back’, they say.  They don’t.  This is really frustrating.  I decide just to up the repetitions and frequency of the physio exercises I have been doing so far, until I get an appointment.

On the frustration front, I start to wonder if I am progressing as quickly as some other PAO-ers.  I read blogs where other people have felt like going miles on their crutches by week 3 – not me.  I can just about manage to get to the end of the driveway and back – and this feels like a big step for me!  I need a big lie down afterwards.  Reading about the experiences of lots of other ‘hip women’ on their eponymous Yahoo Group gives me a lot of confidence and helps me to realise that my recovery is actually pretty good – not the fastest, but by no means the slowest!  I try to bear in mind the smiley physiotherapist girls from UCLH who kept reminding me that PAO-ers are by nature a rather competitive bunch, and that I don’t need to make a race out of this.  A PAO is a tough operation, but I can’t help it!  I am so eager to reduce the pain and improve my mobility – or at least, have the energy to deal with the mobility that’s left.

Here’s a weird thing that really helped me push through the pain barrier that prevented me moving from lying in bed to sitting on the sofa.  You think sitting on the sofa doesn’t need stamina?  Believe me, I needed lots of it in week 3.  Anyway, one of my friends suggested I try an Xbox game to relieve boredom and take my mind off being still all the time.  They recommended a game called Skyrim.  Hmm, I thought, it looks a bit dungeons and dragons-y.  This is not normally my thing.

Skyrim – it’s not what you think. Well it is, actually, but you might like it anyway..

But hey – I can’t move, I can’t go anywhere, and I’m too tired to knit or concentrate on small print in a book.  Surprisingly, this game was the most absorbing thing I found to do.  I’m no game expert – in fact, it took me ages to work out how to prevent my little elf character from running into walls, but once that was done, I had a lovely time collecting flowers, making potions and generally faffing about.  The game is supposed to be about killing dragons, and carrying out quests, but I think I’ll save that for later.

Dragon problems? Nothing compared to a PAO, honest..

My youngest (step)daughter (8) is most disappointed in my lack of dragon fighting ability.  ‘HipOptimist’, she says.  ‘Look over there.  A dragon!  Kill it!  With your big axe!’

‘Nahhh’, I say.  ‘Why don’t I just catch this beautiful blue butterfly instead?  Look, isn’t it pretty?

‘DRAGON!’ she yells.  ‘Get your bow and arrow out!  You need to kill the dragon or you’ll never level up!’.

Oh dear.  She is right, isn’t she?   You can tell that the smiley-but-demanding physio terrorists are nothing new to me.  I get this all the time.

I’m not a natural dragon-fighter.  However, I am not a natural sofa-surfer either and well, needs must.  When I’m feeling a bit better, I suspect I might well go back to knitting, gardening and baking.  But if you can’t find something to occupy yourself on the sofa and daytime TV just doesn’t cut it for you, you might find yourself resorting to this.  You have been warned!

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