Last Thursday, 6:30 a.m.: I woke up stiff and sore from sleeping on my back, completely immobilized by 5 pillows. I sleep with my legs up on an elevated leg pillow with 2 additional pillows and my head and upper back propped up on 2 more pillows, which helps to press my spine into the bed. With my “good leg”, I kicked out the 3 pillows supporting my legs so that I can move. With the urgency to pee, I scooted myself to the edge of the bed, my shoulders cracking and creaking from bearing my body weight. I then aided my “dead” leg off to the edge of the bed. There I sat, staring at my walker. For the first time since my surgery, I looked at my walker with hate and dread. “4.5 more weeks more of this shit?” I thought bitterly. I knew my mood wouldn’t last forever, but spending an average of 20 hours a day in bed without the freedom to move as I please is wearing on me.
Today, 6:30 a.m.: I woke up stiff and sore. I kicked the 3 leg pillows out from under me so I can move. I scoot myself to the edge of the bed, my shoulders creaking and cracking from bearing my body weight. I aided my “dead” leg off to the edge of the bed. I sat in front of my walker. Without a second thought, I stand and make it to the bathroom to pee.
Today is different. Today is my 4-week post op anniversary. I am at the half-way mark of moving with restrictions (only toe touch aka 30 lb. weight bearing, no active hip flexion). Each day I get stronger: I can sit a little longer, move a little more. My shoulders still creak and crack and my wrist and elbow are sore, but I ignore it. I already know this surgery was worth it because the crippling pain that I had before PAO surgery is gone. And, I have learned a few things along the way:
- Daily naps help pass the time and aid in healing.
- Stairs aren’t as bad as you think. Practice pre-op paid off and always have a spotter the first few times going up and down the stairs. (Last night I made it down my 38 stairs for a Cinco de Mayo party. Going up took a little longer…thanks to the two margaritas!)
- A daily routine is critical; I just wrote mine out a few days ago. Even though its mostly comprised of activities of daily living, structure helps.
- Balance Facebook and email time with reading books or writing.
- Try to schedule a friend visit at least every other day. Human interaction is key to fighting depression. Isolation is the enemy, especially when one is house-bound.
- Have a project. My projects are blogging and my online gemology class. I highly recommend an online course in a topic that is of interest, or a craft.
- While I have a gazillion things to do with work, I realize my job for the initial 8-12 weeks following PAO surgery is to heal. Work has to take the back burner temporarily.
- Get out in the sun. I read that Vitamin D aids in fracture healing. I calculated my sun exposure time and I need and average of 6-10 minutes of sun a day to get my daily dose of vitamin D. In the late afternoon, I walker out to my west-facing deck. I sit quietly with no distractions. I imagine the sun rays absorbing into my skin, processing the Vitamin D and going straight to my pelvis. I can notice a difference already in my mood and energy level.
- Meal Train or similar websites are a God-send. And so are the people that are willing to sign up and provide a meal.
- Be polite to your caretakers. And be specific with what you need help with and what you can do on your own (this may change daily).
So while my shoulders creak and crack, my leg continues to feel “dead”, and I sleep immobilized with 5 pillows, I am excited to count down the days to where I can walk again unassisted, sleep on my side, and drive my car to wherever I please. The countdown begins!