Entries tagged with “swelling”.


I came home, was on my walker for one week and showed enough progress with forward motion that my physical therapist graduated me to the cane. I did not trick out the cane tip with a tennis ball since that would be dangerous. Yes, it’d look cool, but…

I'm like House, without the bothersome brains.

I'm like House, without the bothersome brains.

My walker seems angry with me. It sits in the corner and sulks. The tennis balls shine bright yellow and beckon to be driven. Vroom! But there is no going back– I am a cane man, now. I still use my walker for support during many of my physical therapy exercises, but for walking, I don’t need my pimped-out walker. I walk like a big boy now! A big boy with a very pronounced limp.

I have not shaved since my surgery. A salt and pepper beard is coming in nicely; more salty than I’d like, but facial hair has a mind all its own. With my beard, my cane, my limp and my somewhat sour disposition brought on by pain, I am like Dr. Gregory House. Except unlike House, I don’t have a genius intellect. Why can’t life be more fair?

17 days after surgery, the visiting nurse comes to remove my 33-surgical staples. I’m not sure how she does this, but I don’t think it’s with an office staple remover. The surgical staple removal is a little discomforting, but not really painful. The nurse tells me that my scar looks good and applies eight adhesive scar-binder strips over the wound. These are temporary and will fall off naturally after a week or so.

I’m cutting back on the goof. Weaning myself off painkillers isn’t difficult. I don’t have to get all Sid Vicious or anything. As the wound heals, there is less pain. With less pain, there is less need for painkillers.

Night without Ambien sucks.

Night without Ambien sucks.

The one pill I won’t stop in the near term is my sleeping pill. I tried one night to go without it, but after a few hours of uncomfortably tossing and turning, I gobbled an Ambien and rode it to SleepyTown.

Although I don’t necessarily feel rested after my three short shifts of sleep in two different locations, I know my body MUST have sleep to repair– it’s been through a lot.

I am on the mend. It’s getting better but it’s slow going. The swelling has gone down, the bruising is healing from a dark brown to a shade of light tan and my regimen of hip- strengthening exercises are getting somewhat easier to do. My physical therapist adds more exercises to the list. I curse her and thank her. She knows best.

The road to recovery is long, and if I could, I’d hitchhike. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts. What a pity there aren’t.

Home.

A steady diet of painkillers, better-than-hospital food, rest and various spots to sit that are jacked-up with throw pillows so that my hiney and hips are hoisted out of harms way.

I receive visitors: my Nurse at Home and my Physical Therapist at Home.

The Nurse comes to take my temperature, blood pressure, pulse and get a blood sample. She is not great with getting blood work. She draws blood with little confidence. She ties-me-off clumsily and searches intently for a tapping spot, finally pricking me and filling the small sample tube… leaving a drop of blood on the carpet for good measure.

No, this isn't one of the exercises...

No, this isn't one of the exercises...

My Physical Therapist– Bonnie, however, is the best.

She has an exercise regimen that is challenging but not impossible. She takes my hip to the brink of pain with simple exercises that would make you giggle for their lack of physical challenge. But they are strenuous work for me, my new hip and its 33-surgically-stapled 12″ scar. I do the exercises and Bonnie brings me back from the brink o’ pain. I do exactly as she says and slowly my hip is getting stronger.

Then Bonnie does a dirty trick. She adds more exercises to my regimen. Curses! She is a physical therapist/dominatrix!

But this is the drill. The ONLY way to get back to normal is to do the physical therapy. And Bonnie is great at designing a program that builds the muscles.

I'm wearing hose, no garter belt required.

I'm wearing hose, no garter belt required.

My poor surgery leg is very swollen and bruised beyond belief. Bonnie suggests I get something called JOBST Compression Stockings. They are super-elastic hose that run to the top of the thigh and help improve overall circulation. They’re $60 a pair and I only need to wear one on my surgical leg. I take the suggestion and start wearing hosiery– but I will not succumb to stylish pumps. A man must know his limits.

Bonnie is right. After a couple days, the swelling in my leg goes down. My blood is now circulating well and reducing the bruising. I am healing.

My challenge at this point is simple: I must survive the nurse taking my blood work so that I have some circulation.