Just read my last post from ages ago and thought I’d better update after all that whinging – wouldn’t want to frighten anyone. Turns out I’d worked so hard at physio and getting back up to the gym that I’d made my hip flexors ridiculously tight and that was what was causing me the problems. My physio pointed out that I couldn’t even straighten my leg properly – d’oh!! So he gave me some stretches to do and all was well.

Hope I haven’t worried anyone


One year on – an update

Well, I’m doing a grand job of keeping this up to date, don’t you think! I’ve been back at work since March and I can honestly say it’s been completely manic, non-stop, ever since! I also went back to Uni part time this September, after my two year intermission, and that has been full on too………take it easy, why don’t I! I did a presentation on Paula Rego last week for one assessment and tomorrow I have to give in my painting workshop submission – lots of bits and a series of three paintings related to my PAO, which I’ll photograph and try and stick on here. I also have a portrait I did of my consultant, which I think he liked but he can’t have it ’til it’s marked!

I saw my consultant last week for my one year check up on my PAO – all has healed brilliantly and I was very very chuffed – and impressed too. I was sure everything was OK – I should think you would know if it wasn’t after surgery like that – but it’s reassuring to see the x-ray evidence and incredible how the human body can mend itself.  So all good, I don’t have another check for two years, and nearly Christmas – no crutches this year woohoo!


One kilometre, one WHOLE kilometre

I’m getting good, I’ve been (mostly) very good at doing all my physio and noticed a step change (pun intended!) just over a week ago  – managed to lose the weeble walking style. Yesterday, I managed A WHOLE KILOMETRE on the treadmill! Had a bit of an emotional weepy – ridiculous I know but there you are. It’s good news, since I’m going to Twickenham (ha ha Daddy, Twickenham, sorry you can’t come too!) on Sunday to see England v Scotland and I need to be able to get around.

Back at work, mornings only, very busy but coping well and everybody is being very helpful – although if I hear one more quip about parrots someone might find they have a crutch inserted where they don’t want it!!

This walking lark is hard work………..

…………almost as difficult as keeping my blog up to date! It is, I apologise, a very long time since I posted but that’s because I have been doing physio exercises from dawn ’til dusk!! Well, sometimes it feels like it! Kept up the hydrotherapy for a month and then started to get some physio exercises I could do (just barely!) on dry land. My new physio continually lectures me on not overdoing it, then gives me enough exercises to keep me occupied on a full-time basis. The trick is to learn when to stop and to listen to your body I find, you don’t have to do wevery single exercise every single time (top tip for anyone else recovering from PAO…..).

Then, at the end of January, I saw the consultant again and was allowed to go to 30% weight-bearing on my left hip (from 10% or less since the operation) for a week, and then to 60% for a week – so basically dropping to one crutch – after which, all being well, I could be full weight-bearing. So I saw the physio at the end of that  and he asked me to walk along the corridor using just the one crutch – no problem – and then without. Very scary, very very scary indeed. But I did it without major mishap and not too noticeable a wobble. I had visions of collapsing on my face in front of the receptionists and all the people in the waiting room but it didn’t happen.

So I came home with yet more exercises and instructions to keep using the one crutch outdoors – i.e. longer distances – but to walk without at home. I also got permission to GO TO THE GYM!!! WOOHOOOOOO_OOOO-OO! – with a very strict programme of activities.

Of course, that was scary too – should I use the crutch to get across the gym car park and up the stairs? Would they send me straight home as an insurance risk? If I walked without a crutch would I fall over as I got in the door? Might the physio be following me to check up on what I was doing? Hah! None of those things – I decided to tough it out and wobble across the car par unaided, drag myself up the stairs by the banisters and smile sweetly at the Membership Manager on reception – who remembered my name, was delighted to see me and told me which trainer had specialist rehab experience. Fitness First Waterlooville, you are fab people!

Back to the physio yesterday who is very pleased with progress but wants me to “keep practising” for another month. The main problem I had, but am working on, is that my quads were really weak so they trembled if I tried to do any sort of squat, but all going well. This left hip seems to be easier than the right, maybe because I’ve been there before and am not so nervous but also the quad muscle is far les painful – for a long time the right felt as if it was catching and shredding.

Back up to see my consultant on Monday, hopefully he will sign me fit to go back to work………..

Hydrotherapy on ice…………

When I got home, there was something of a surprise waiting for me! Gary had been extremely busy whilst I was in the hospital – a couple of years ago we started on an extension at the back of the house and it all kind of ground to a halt when I was diagnosed with dysplasia because I could no longer do anything towards decorating and Gary was running round after me and worn out with work. We were left with a new living room plastered and full of “stuff”.

So imagine how chuffed I was to come home and find fireplace fitted, decorating completed and carpet laid! Well nearly – poor bloke, everything thing that could have gone wrong had done – the fireplace was the wrong size for the fire, the decorating had taken two days longer than promised, the carpet had therefore had to be postponed……… the first few days I was home it was completed around me by some very apologetic – and friendly – tradesmen. All the same, it is fabulous to have it finished and the Christmas tree looks perfect in there.

Spoke to my parents and my sister – had my Mum in stitches telling her about being asked to take a couple of steps with the walker to the chair and then being told I shouldn’t have been able to do it – she had to pass the phone to Dad!.  Nice to have a good old laugh and a chat with my Mum and Dad – they are  a very long way away.

I got a phone call from the physiotherapy centre (in Waterlooville – highly recommend it), which is where I went before, and set up a first appointment in the hydrotherapy pool. Unfortunately, my physio from last time has moved on >;o( and I miss her, but the new chap is fine, if rather more solemn! He gave me a very long lecture on not overdoing it – as if I look like the rebellious type!!

So we had a half hour session in the pool, much the same as last time – slightly different exercises but they achieve the same thing so not a problem. PS my personal trainer (see previous posts!) has taken note and promised to make sure I a) behave and b) do all my exercises but unfortunately we’ve been felled at the first hurdle. We’ve had snow recently and it’s very icy on the roads so I cancelled my appointment today – I wasn’t comfortable about using crutches on the icy ground and, more of an issue, PS is not the most confident driver and we live at the bottom of Purbrook hill on one side; the physio centre is at the bottom on the other side, so I wasn’t happy asking her to drive.

So I stayed at home and wiggled my foot a lot – do you think that’ll do it?

Fifteen pins………

Well I’m home now and I thought I should probably bring this up to date! I spent two days in HDU, during which it became apparent that some of the nurses didn’t know what was involved in a PAO. On one occasion I had three of them asking me to roll on to my operated side – within 24 hours of the operation – I refused point blank. They wanted to change my sheets, but after my previous experience being rolled I wasn’t having  any of it!  So they had to sit me up and it worked fine that way. The second problem was a nurse (or health assistant, not sure) who thought it was enough to lift/ support my operated leg by the ankle only- despite my telling her different. All this resulted in a bit of a scene (well a major scene if I’m honest!), with me ringing my other half in tears, him not understanding a word and ringing the ward back, they explained it was down to some totally spurious unrelated reason, I explained the real issue by text and eventually we got it all sorted out (with one of the nurses then asking me what my operation had actually involved and, therefore, understanding why I had made an issue of it. From then on, she took charge and made sure I was looked after perfectly). Unfortunately, there was a chap in the other HDU bed by then,  he’d just had surgery in his spine, and he had to listen to it all but he was very sweet and we had a chat through the curtain!

On the second day, my new friendly nurse removed the epidural (by sitting me up!) and the physio came by. I was able to stand with the aid of a walker and sit in a chair for a while, chatting with Kim, my daughter, and drinking a well deserved cup of tea! The physio was very impressed, said it was the best he’d ever seen after a PAO. Apparently they don’t really expect you to be able to stand on the first attempt, and if you can get to a chair and sit in it that’s a real bonus. Fortunately, I was able to do it without much problem.

So, on day three I was able to go to my own room, which was bliss! Funny how quickly I got back in to the routine! Got a shower the following morning and washed my hair – hair colour bled all over the towels and pillowcases – oops!

Made sure I got jollop right from the off, after my previous unpleasant experience of constipation. I did still have a problem (it seemed as if every nurse on the ward was talking about it!) but it was resolved within a couple of days and a suppository – enough said! The nurses were pretty fab, and this time I had a PCA (patient controlled analgesia) with my own morphine supply! I didn’t use it much – I was scared of it – and then one time I pressed the button and it leaked out all over my hand – the needle had come loose! The doctor  (not my beloved consultant) was sent to deal with it and couldn’t replace it in the same hand as it was a bit bruised and swollen, so we had a heated discussion about putting one in my left hand – after my phobia I’ve always asked not to have needles in my left hand as I’m left-handed, but it seemed to be too complicated for her to understand. She actually left the room for 10 minutes – I think to go away and calm down! Anyway,  I eventually agreed to have it in my left hand and see how it went, and the way she fitted it made it clear she still didn’t understand! Right in the middle of the back of my hand with the tube looped so it was across my fingers and interfered if I picked up a pen, a fork, tried to wipe my whatsit in the loo etc. D’oh!

Funnily enough, it was removed the next day, I didn’t really need the PCA by then anyway. Did my walk down the corridor with the physio, up the little flight of stairs and down again. Everybody happy, so I could come home on Monday just gone.

Monday morning I had an x-ray. It was very difficult to lay out flat on the x-ray table but the radiologist was very good and made sure it was only for a minimum amount of time. She also let me see the x-ray – for my RPAO I had 8 pins, for this one I have got another 7.  FIFTEEN PINS!! Meccano woman!

Mr. Hussell came by late morning (he must have ducked out of consultations) and told me he was pleased with the x-ray results, take a week resting and then start hydrotherapy so off I went home  with Gary (leaving my posh purple stick behind but we retrieved that later).

On the other side…..

So that’s it then – I now have PAOs done on both my hips. Came in to hospital on Monday at 11.15 and went up to surgery I think around 1.30. I walked up to the operating theatre – yes, me, walked. I didn’t do a runner although I will admit my legs went very heavy at one point! Took my posh purple stick with me too.

I then managed to have a chat with the anaesthetist – this was the fifth time I’d been in the room so I decided to confirm that it was in fact the operating theatre – which it is – and not some side room. We talked about the epidural and how I was so worried last time beforehand but can’t now remember a thing about it and he said that was deliberate on his part and he would do the same again this time round (which he did, I can’t tell you anything about it!!).

Worn my self out already! Be back later……….

Woke up in recovery – a place I’ve become familiar with! Felt a bit delicate and sore – when asked what my pain level was on a score of 0 -4 (0 being no pain, 4 being intolerable) I think I replied “same as being hit by a bus”! But that was quickly brought under control – by a nurse called Dawn I seem to remember. I remember that, but I can’t remember all the details. I think when I got in to recovery it was about 6.30, so that was around 5 hours in theatre, then I think I got down to HDU (High Dependency Unit) around 8.30. I know I got a bit snitty being told I’d have to wait an hour for a cup of tea because it had already been two hours – and I got my cuppa! Top tip for anyone going in for this type of surgery – do not order a cheese sandwich beforehand when you’re asked what you’d like to eat after surgery. Grated cheese and an enforced lying position DO NOT WORK! Made the consultant laugh, anyway, when he came to see how I was doing!

LPAO – here I go!

Well I’ve had the pre-op. checks, blood test, ECG, MRSA and all that over the last couple of weeks and today – is the day I have my left hip done. I absolutely don’t feel ready for it, it’s come round so quickly, and I’m sure I should be doing far more to get ready but I just can’t get as motivated as I did for the last one. I think that actually I’m not so scared, but we’ll see how I do when we leave in just over an hour…………………….!

Date set for LPAO

Went to see Mr. Hussell yesterday to follow up after the arthroscopy. We saw the video – it’s not as bad in there as we thought it might be but it’s still pretty raggedy and inflamed, so he wanted to do PAO sooner rather than later to avoid letting it deteriorate any further. He’d tidied up the cartilage as far as possible, and flushed out all the (ewwwww!) bits and pieces floating around in the joint. We’ve set the date for 29th November – here we go again! Still, as my old mate H says, it’s the last leg!

He also took out the stitches for me so that’s that dealt with. We agreed I didn’t need another appointment to go through the details of the operation as I already know, but I guess there’ll be a pre-op check appointment as before. I suppose I ought to address the smoking again – I did so well before, but then got bored and rebellious sitting around at home and blew it! D’oh!

So, Twickenham for England-South Africa November 27th and then PAO on the 29th.

Gary has been trying to stop me from doing anything since we saw the video, if he had his way I’d be sitting down from now til the end of November! I hope he doesnt overdo it himself, will have to watch that!

PAO r us!

Gary Sept 09

My wonderful Gary

So I waited – and I waited – and eventually they came to take me down to theatre at 6.30pm – by which time I was very hungry and pretty grouchy! The doctor that collected me understood and was very sweet and I WALKED DOWN to theatre! If I read back to my early posts about my (ex?) phobia when I was having CBT and huge amounts of sedation, I’m VERY proud of myself for that! I got on to the bed thing on my own, gave up my dressing gown (cold!) and made sure they only stuck needles in my right hand (I’m left handed) then———gone!

I woke up in the recovery room around 8.30, very very cold. I was given a cover which they blew hot air into – rather like those old hair drying hats that you attached to your hairdryer which you probably won’t remember if you’re under 40 – and that did the trick in no time. Lovely! The consultant came to see me, told me it went well and that my hip, although it had deteriorated (hence all the grief) IS a candidate for PAO – which was fabulous news. I was so hoarse I could hardly speak, so was given sips of water through a straw.

Back in to the room where Gary was waiting cos he’s a star – I thought he might have had enough of me getting grumpy earlier! Nurses came and did checks – one thing we’ve discovered is I have a very slow pulse and low blood pressure – the nurse was surprised I hadn’t fainted when I went to the loo but I felt absolutely fine. Apparently it’s likely to be due to being very fit – yay! All that time at the gym has paid off – I’d noticed on the machines that my pulse never reached the typical value for my age. Then they brought me a pot of tea, and the world was right again!

Slept fitfully through the night – with a 3am wake up for checks – woke early and sweet talked them out of a cup of tea.  (You see a theme here?!). More checks, showered and visit from the consultant. He thought I wouldn’t remember our conversation from the night before but I quoted most of it back to him – how could I forget something as important as that? He’d been and spoken to Gary last night as well, which was considerate of him – he’s that sort of person.

Gary came to pick me up – had to wait for physio and pharmacy before we could go. Physio recognised me from PAO so just said Hi, pharmacy turned up with a prescription for co-codamol – which I hadn’t asked for and didn’t want cos it makes me groggy so we didn’t take it – and then I was out!

Back to see consultant in two weeks to see the video and discuss detail of next moves…………