Entries tagged with “walker”.


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.

Believe it or not, one day after total hip replacement surgery, physical therapists will come around, get you out of bed, put you behind a walker and make you take some steps all by yourself— just like the big boys and big girls do!

No, you won’t be doing tap steps, soft shoes or leg kicks like a Rockette, but you will be taking Frankenstein-like motions forward, ably assisted by your trusty walker.

The highest seat in the land.

The highest seat in the land.

It feels good to be up out of bed, even if it is just to sit in a tall seat. Why a tall seat and elevated toilet seat? Why are you advised to place pillows on any seat? Because for the next 12 weeks, you must adhere to strict HIP PRECAUTIONS. If you do not follow these rules, your pretty new titanium hip could get dislocated. You do not want to double down on your pain.

Here’s the rules you MUST obey:
1. Don’t bend your operated hip beyond 90 degrees (sitting low is asking for trouble)
2. Do not cross your legs
3. Do not turn your operated leg foot inward

Think carefully before you pivot or bend to pick-up something. Guide yourself into a chair slowly and use your arms to lift yourself out of a chair. Take it easy on that hip! Suffice to say, doing cartwheels and summersaults are not advised (pity, that).

You can do it, yes you can!

You can do it, yes you can!

Adhere to the rules, they are your friends.

Two days after your hip surgery, you are encouraged to go for a longer walk– down the hospital hallway. It’s like walking The Green Mile, only not so green and not quite a mile long.

You move slowly forward, heel to step and go and go. Soon you’re eating up linoleum at a glacial pace. Your walker’s wheels are warming, your new hip is slowly getting broken-in. You’re smokin’, babe, you’re smokin’!

Three days after surgery, you are encouraged to do what seems impossible: go up and down stairs.

When you first look upon the stairs, they appear like Mt. Everest, without the snow. You cannot imagine making this journey solo, but your physical therapist becomes Knute Rockne and gives you faith– makes you believe in yourself.

Come, ascend into thin air...

Come, ascend into thin air...

For this journey you have two basic rules:
1. When going up, lead with your strong leg
2. When coming down, lead with your operated leg– very carefully

Hold the handrail and use your folded walker as a support. And whatever you do, do it slowly. You do not want to end up another senseless stairway casualty.

You do as instructed, your physical therapist cheering you on, and amazingly it works. You go up, you come down. You can do the impossible. You are truly incredible! You are absolutely amazing! You are a physical dynamo!

You are also tired as hell. You hobble back to bed anxiously awaiting your next dosage of pain meds. As the ancients said (after their hip surgeries), “The journey of 1,000 miles begins one pain-filled step after another.”