My Road to Recover from a Broken HipSharron Davies
So how do you break a hip… you fall on it very hard basically, unless you have osteoporosis, which actually accounts for most hip fractures. Then you don’t have to fall that hard. In fact statistics say sadly that 30% of hip fractures over the age of 50 are fatal due to complications… such as pneumonia & blood clots. The femur is the biggest bone in the body & needs 4000 Newton’s of force if healthy to break.
So on a sunny Thursday I was out cycling with my son and an old sporting friend. We had done 25km, stopped quickly for coffee & on our home straight, in fact my gate was practically in view.
My 12 yr old son being just ahead as he’d set off first from the cafe, had raised that old competitive spirit & we were determined to catch him. We were both coming down the hill to a mini roundabout fast, the road was clear so we took the curve at speed. Not 100% sure how it happened, it was in a flash, but my inside peddle touched the raised lip of the mini roundabout and caused a momentary stutter & wobble, sadly my friend being heavier & faster down the hill was right behind me and basically ploughed right into me at speed. Everything went into the air and landed in a pile of peddles, handlebars and bodies, on top of me, on my left side, which still had my foot cleated into the peddle. Luckily there was no traffic.
One of those slow motion moments you don’t remember well, but I do recall thinking this is going to hurt. My helmet was a god send (please wear cycling helmets, they save lives). I hit the floor hard with my head. I don’t recall a crack but there was a lot of clattering of bikes.
My friend rolled off onto the glass verge and I ended up in a semi sitting up position. My left leg was falling oddly to the side and I was pretty sure I’d broken it immediately. The pain was horrid. It was the collision of bodies that caused the damage as I didn’t really sustain any bad scrapes or bruises apart from a very sore left elbow and my sternum bending the carbon fibre handlebars of my beloved Boardman road bike.
The next car stopped and called the ambulance service. Finley wheeled the bikes back, one by one, and my friend sat back to back with me as I tried to support my weight with my arms. Every time I moved it was agony. I pride myself on my pain threshold having had 3 long deliveries, 2 at home only using a tens machine, and a birthing pool, as well as braking both my arms (falling off a tree swing) at 11 & walking home alone, then swimming three months with plaster casts on.
The ambulance took 40 minutes to get to us. Several people stopped and offered help. People are kind. One lady was a nurse and she stayed with me as well as a gentleman who directed the traffic around us. When they arrived I was so pleased to see them but at the same time knew it meant they had to move me. I kissed the nurse goodbye and thanked her. I was conscious & chatting but definitely suffering a little with shock.
An IV was put into my right hand and presume morphine was administered, along with gas and air. I’m not great on opiates. Years ago when I had my ACL knee reconstruction I’d had a morphine seizure which had scared me, but at that moment I just needed some pain relief so they could roll me onto a board and into the ambulance.
Finley stayed at home with the dog and my friend came to hospital with me, my daughter was rung and came into the RUH in Bath straight from work. Of course it was busy as every emergency department seems to be these days. Bless our wonderful NHS. It was confirmed via X-ray I had indeed broken my hip (the femur bone just under or in the hip socket), the good news was – it was just outside the socket, so they hoped to save the joint. It was what’s called a interchronchanteric fracture. Right across the top of the femur. I was given a femoral nerve block injection into the joint and scheduled for surgery the next day (Friday) then moved to an orthopaedic ward, and a catheter was fitted. All dignity goes out the window. We later found out they’d had a bumper Thursday with 7 hip fractures. Though I was the only high impact trauma case that day.
After a very uncomfortable night where nurses came in every hour to take blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen levels I had meetings with surgeons and anethatists to talk about what they needed to do. They intended to use what’s called a hip compression screw, a large screw going in the socket direction, a plate and a number of smaller screws to hold the plate, to stable up the broken femur bones. They hoped not to have to use the nail system which was longer steel rods crisscrossing the joint and went much further down the bones. The main aim was to preserve my hip joint.
It was suggested it would take about an hour and I’d be put in traction to get my legs the same length, pretty important. Anaesthetic was discussed and We decided instead of a full anaesthetic I’d have another femoral nerve block, a spinal block and sedation, so quite a few needles, which I was by now getting very used to. This would hopefully leave me with slightly more pain relief after the operation, as the spinal block wore off over a number of hours with less residual opiate sickness which I really suffer with. I was truly nervous as I was wheeled into theatre and manoeuvred for the different injections. My team were amazing of course and kept me informed all the time. Forever grateful to these wonderful people who are there in times of crisis.
Sadly once in there it was messier than they’d hoped and three and a half hours later I came round in theatre to see and feel the team stitching me up, though I have no memories of the bone being set or any traction or screws being placed. I remember asking a few questions but I’m not quite sure what I asked. I went into recovery and immediately had a shock or opiate reaction and madly started to shake, my teeth knocking wildly together. A nurse piled more blankets on and eventually I was wheeled back up to the ward where my kids were waiting.
Both the surgeon and anethatict visited that day and I was shown pictures of my operation. The complication of a broken greater trochanter was explained to me, which is the outside nobble at the top of the femur bone. It had also got crushed in the crash & pushed up into the hip joint, and they were hoping if I stayed religiously off any abductor/outwards movement (the piriformis muscle attaches to it) it might start to repair by its self. The bad news was having such strong muscles meant that it was risky and painful, as well as the level of spasm all my strong hip muscles were producing (gluts, quads, abs and ads). It truly was a painful time, to add to that I was determined not to do any more opiates ( morphine, codine etc) and survive on paracetamol & ibuprofen. Being in pain was bad enough without feeling that awful morning after the biggest night sickness feeling I get.
The cathatore stayed in that next night and again I was checked all through, getting pain relief and blood thinning injections to stop blood clots. I ate my first half a sandwich in 48 hours, and tried to drink fluids to flush out all the anaesthetics. I was able to rotate my feet and did this over and over again to keep my circulation going. Next morning the cathator was making me very uncomfortable so asked for it to be removed. I was also being given large intravenous doses of antibiotics that rather stung. My neck was killing me from the whip lash from either colliding with my friend or the road, or both. Moving my head hurt. With my hip fracture there is no plaster cast so I could see the outline of the raised 5/6 inch cut on the outside of my left thigh under a white bandage.
Now here’s the thing with being an elite athlete…. over years I’ve had a few operations….excessive training tends to over use joints….twenty years of 4-6 hours a day has had its consequences: lower back has two prolapsed discs from my 30s, which had to be injected to shrink because swimmers, as a breed, have very long, flexible backs which we over tax especially in butterfly. I’ve had rotator cuff issues on both shoulders with several cortisone injections and one rotator cuff repair, about three years ago. Cracked two ribs doing Dancing on ice. My right knee had an ACL reconstruction in the 90s after a Gladiators incident and subsequently 8 operations to remove torn cartilage by arthroscope. I’m often seen wearing my brilliant Ossur unloaded brace which keeps it going. At 11 I broke both bones in both arms, falling off a tree swing, and walked home alone as out playing by myself. At 8 I broke my collar bone, playing in a box. By now I’m sure you’re thinking what a Tom boy at best! Last year on a ranch in Arizona whilst rounding up cows at a rodeo I crushed three vertebra and herniated two more discs in my mid back, that annoyingly where very slow to heal because I kept doing sit ups! My point being the joints I had no issue with where my wonderful, strong and flexible hips, till now!
So back to lying in bed. And it was time to have a normal wee. Something I’d been putting off. How on earth was I going to manoeuvre my pinned hip. My daughter had been in and out with supplies, a fan, wash stuff and clean cloths, though I stayed mainly in a vest top and pants as we were having a heat wave bank holiday weekend and my room was over 30 degrees. My shoulders were aching from pulling my body weight around, as was my very sore bruised elbow. My head felt like it weighed a ton due to the whiplash. My elbow bursar (fluid protector pad) had swelled to half a tennis ball size. However I was very grateful for my upper body strength. Between us we got a bed pan under my bum, but it goes down as my most difficult pee every. Again all dignity goes out the window. Grace was amazing, after waiting 40 minutes one day for a super busy nurse to come in with a bed pan she decided to move in. She slept on three plastic chairs pushed together and did everything she could for me. Physios came in the day after my operation to see if I could get up but after quite a few tears which resulted in dropped blood pressure, heaving over a frame and sweating like a pig, we decided it was a bit soon. I was frustrated.. and hurting.
My other children did a relay and popped in to let Grace go home to collect stuff or pick up work. Her bosses were great and let her be with me. Fin wanted to stay too but he’d not seen me in that much pain and it was too much for him I thought. Elliott moved him about between trips to his work in Bristol. I was feeling incredibly guilty. We had booked an exciting zip wire Adrenalin jump off one of the tallest buildings in London on the Friday & I had hospitality tickets for England v Ireland at twickenham on the Saturday, both of which we’d missed.
I was determined to do everything I could to be better the next day with the physios so they’d let me go home. I did all the ‘in bed’ exercises they left me with every twenty minutes. After another very hot 24 hours the physios were back with crutches. It was explained to me that my compression metal work moved with my fracture so my bones could grown in and around, which helped to reassure me why there was still so much pain, the fracture was moving as well as the broken unrepaired greater trochanter ( large nobly bit at the top of the femur). I had to keep a wide foot stance, put no more than 50% body weight through my left leg, and work in parallel with my feet as much as possible, and absolutely not use my abductor (outwards) muscles at all. My bad leg had to be lifted and moved round the side of the bed whilst I swivelled my hips as best I could. I gingerly got up, took slow steps down the corridor & was shown how to get up & down stairs with crutches. Shaking with determination I could feel my sternum every time the weight went through my chest, but I was so happy to be up right. I made my first private loo visit in four days, lowering myself onto a raised seat, and putting my weight through my pelvic bone not my femur. I was ok’ed to go home.
The kids walked me out, with all my flowers & my fan. Elliott drove, with the passenger seat as far back as possible & avoiding every bump he could. It took me an age to get in. Corners were challenging & brought sharp knife like pains even though I padded my bad leg & tried to wedge it with the other. It was wonderful to get home on the Sunday night. Elliott cooked the most amazing meal as I ordered a number of home help items on amazon prime (local authorities do loan them) … perch seat (much higher) raised loo seat, loo seat bars (to lower yourself), Velcro gel ice packs, rotator pad (swivels for the car) large bum bag to carry my phone & pills. On another more personal note I was dreading sitting on the loo without these items, which were in the hospital, with terrible constipation. A side effect of pain relief & anaesthetic is to slow your system, basically your bowels go to sleep. Tons of fresh fruit & vegetables were bought. I only wanted to eat super healthy food. It was a real challenge lowering myself with my bad leg out straight, with my hands behind me on the back of the toilet seat. I wondered what would happen if I slipped? It plays with your head sitting with your weight anywhere near the broken bone. Clean sheets, a huge fan & my own bed however was heaven.
Broken sleep with paracetamol top ups was uncomfortable but more peaceful than a busy, hot hospital. I tried one time to move on my good side & got stuck. I had promised I’d judge a fun class at the Bath cats & dogs home where I’m an ambassador on the bank holiday Monday. Finley loves dogs & I didn’t want to disappoint him again so after breakfast, loads of icing, vigorous rehab exercises & a pile of Amazon deliveries I managed a shower & to manoeuvre myself back into Elliott’s car. Grace went off to enjoy herself at a much deserved Notting hill carnival. It was 34 degrees & there were giggling children & bouncing dogs everywhere, probably not an ideal first outing on crutches. The kids tried to encircle me but it surprised me how many people sometimes just don’t see crutches or wheel chairs if having fun in the sun. I’ll be better at spotting others and giving a wide berth in future. It was a little nerve racking but a nice change of scenery. Flash won best hand shake (paw) & we judged young rescue dog where I felt every owner was a hero. We stayed from 12-2pm by which time my leg was swollen & throbbing & it was time to re ice, elevate and do more exercises.
This is where the athlete brain comes in useful … Tuesday I started a very strict routine of ice, rehab, elevate, walk, pain relief (mainly paracetamol) repeat….if I was up right too long my left calf would get so full of fluid it became twice the size of my good leg. You could bounce pennies off it. My quad muscle felt like an electric band that was stretched to breaking point. Sciatica ached down my backside and into my thighs, and shins. Little my little I was trying to get more bend out of my knee. Outward motion had to be done by Grace daily to mobilise the joint but without me using my muscles, so we did it nightly lying on the bed. The first few days I didn’t see much improvement and I was still very swollen. A huge purple bruise the length of my whole thigh appeared on the back of my leg to go with the few I had from the fall. On the plus side the elbow was getting better but my sternum was still hurting. I spoke to a surgeon and he suggested it might be cracked but there wasn’t much they could do and after two weeks he hoped it might settle down. It hurt when I coughed or sneezed.
More gorgeous flowers & fruit parcels arrive, more friends popped in with gifts of food & hugs. Truly grateful for my wonderful fiends and family. I watched what I ate carefully as I wasn’t very active. I only wanted really healthy stuff, especially Alpen, soup and ice cold fresh orange juice. I took the odd ibuprofen but still mainly paracetamol. I did however (for a month) still have to give myself a daily injection into my stomach of a blood thinner to stop clots. After four years of ivf I’d done that before. It was a challenge to try not to make another bruise on my already purple tummy.
By day 10 I’d progressed to doing the stairs twice a day, and getting a 90 degree knee and hip bend. Up to that point I’d only come down in the morning and gone back up in the evening. The kids took my book, glasses, diary, phone etc up and down but now I felt confident enough to be left as they had to go back to school/work. Using a wide stance I could stand at my kitchen island and keep my weight off my bad leg whilst shuffling to make a cup of tea. Using a small back pack I could move my own stuff. Every time I made a tea I made myself do twenty mini squats and a few leaning press ups. My routine was still rehab, ice, elevate, walk, repeat. A lot of glut and quad clenching.
When the suns out I try to get outside to read and get some vitamin D. The dog is still shadowing me and knows something is up. I have to watch for him when I stand up. I’m getting better with crutches but not yet a natural. I spent an hour doing rehab exercises in bed with the sun streaming though the window as I looked out towards the Westbury white horse, listening to the kids go to the local primary school. Eventually I needed my cold milk and an ice pack so ventured down, the stairs are a slow job. I did my mini squats at the breakfast bar as I waited for the kettle to boil. I’m bored now. I’m not used to being house bound. Stitched up some button holes for Grace & watched more Brooklyn 99 on Netflix. Decided I wanted to try to get into my car as I’ve got good knee bend and less pain. It’s an automatic so no left leg needed. Turned them all around on the drive twice! My hardest rehab exercise is straight leg lifts which seems to give me a lot of pain deep into the back and groin of my hip, as well as a shaky quad. Muscles not fully firing yet. Swelling continues to go down with at least three ice sessions a day, which also helps pain. Flexible gel pads in Velcro strap-able pockets are great & can be used for picnic boxes later! Usually put two on together. Cold but not cold enough to skin burn. Do remember to put a tea cloth between an ice bag & skin. Little & often is best. My gym girlfriend came over with lunch so we sat outside & chatted away. Nice to have slightly less sciatica today.
Several visits to the loo during the night are a challenge, each time I wake up I seem to revert to being stiff all through my hip, knees, ankles and lower back. I have to stretch out before I grab my crutches and hobble off whilst hoping I’ve got enough time to make it at snail pace. Most times I get back into bed & feel I have to do a few leg lifts and quad clenches before trying to sleep. I leave my feet out so there’s less pressure on my feet to turn my hip left or right. Yearning to sleep on my side or front. Grace pops in before work to say bye and move my toilet support system downstairs for the day. Exercises in bed for an hour then more fresh milk and mini squats at the breakfast bar. Paracetamol. Ground hog day. Another girlfriend comes by to take me out to lunch. My wonderful friends are all rallying to relieve the monotony. Couldn’t help myself today. I had to put a bleach covered damp cloth in my bum bag and wipe a few surfaces.
Two weeks since my operation: mile stone day. Started with a visit to the fracture clinic at the RUH at 8.30am. Grace drove me in & dropped me at the door. Had new X-rays done and the nurse took off my stitches cover. Nasty looking scar about 6 inches long, which is healing nicely, a little raised at the moment. Will be applying something like bio oil to that every day. My 12 son said it’s discussing! Thanks son. My surgeon Julian Foote showed me my original X-rays again and how badly I’d pushed the bones in, then how they’d set it on the day, having spent a long time on traction ( process and results) & then today’s X-rays showing everything still as they’d left it and starting to heal, though there were still visible gaps in the greater trochanter at the top of my femur, that my body needs to fill in. Apparently I’d broken it into 4/5 pieces. Talked about my routine and he said more of the same. Absolutely NO abductor work. So my muscle don’t pull that loose bone apart. 4 more weeks on crutches. Keep the mobility going. He seemed very happy. Came home and decided I wanted to have a super productive day so I drove back in to Bath with a pillow cradling my bad leg just in case. Getting in was a little slow but my knee bend is good now. And pain more of a thickness/ tightness providing I keep things parallel. I’d been waiting three weeks to get my cherished plates on my car. Once home toasted some cheese sandwiches & it was a long soak in the tub time. Made sure there were towels and non slip surfaces everywhere. Washed my stitches and had a gentle massage of them whilst enjoying the warm water. After a serious coco butter session put on shorts and a T-shirt and when Finley was home, for safety, just in case, tackles the spiral staircase to the basement gym and did a gentle 30 minutes on the exercises bike with the seat set far back with low resistance. A few odd pains deep in my groin but nothing that was a dangerous pain, more muscles waking up. Least favourite thing is still my 6pm blood thinning injection, meant to ask if I’m very mobile if I still need them? But will keep them up. Ate home made lasagna one of my girlfriends dropped off. More ice more rehab….Good day…
Normal day, pretty much like the others. Friend dropped some jewellery making stuff off to keep me amused. Usual routine However annoyingly, on what seemed a day where I was getting more range and less pain I stumbled on my crutches at tea time and put my full weight through my bad leg to get my balance. Super painful, like a knife and took three day step backwards, so frustrating. Took Nurofen & paracetamol. Hate hate doing blood thinning injections at 6pm each day. Hurt more than it had for a few days doing the stairs. Started using some silicone scar strips today on my 6 inch cut.
Had a sore night due to the stumble. Couldn’t get comfy. Desperately want to lie on my side. About 1am I woke up with the most horrendous itching of my palms where they press into my crutches. Not sure if allergy or nerve reaction. Thought I might make them bleed it was so irritating. Tried cortisone cream. Tried anti histamine. Tried ice ( which I shouted for Finley to get as I’m too slow on the stairs), which gave me temporary relief. So another fitful night. Sunday is a busy sports day in our house. My big son came over to help with the driving. Sat in the car sunbathing watching rugby, chatting, feeling a useless mum i couldn’t get down the steep bank and chat with the other parents about the summer holidays. I got out occasionally only to stretch/ do exercises. Had lunch but was shattered, lack of sleep I think, sat on the sofa and watched the Grand Prix and dozed whilst Elliott took fin to football. Elliott then duct taped some sponges to my crutch handles. Let’s see tonight. Only iced once today but did my rehab of course. Physio tomorrow.
Up at 6.30am, thank goodness palms seem a little better, time to get fin off to school, can’t run him to the station at present but can still make his toast, and ask him three times like every mum does at this time “do you have everything you need for today”! Went back up stairs ( don’t enjoy stairs with crutches) and had a super long shower (still makes me nervous standing in the shower on a wet floor) then sat/laid down on my bed and did an hours rehab exercises. The hardest exercise is still straight leg lifts but I’m doing them. Worked on flexibility of the joint whilst protecting the abductors. Also do knee lifts when I walk with my crutches, squats at the Kitchen island and hamstring lifts when I’m standing still. Not bothering with much make up, just about trading off the healthy look from surfing but going quickly as more grey days arrive. Can’t help thinking my winter surfing plans will have to be put on hold. Disappointing. Hate the fact I can’t get to the gym to do my cv & core work especially. I’m not used to not training, it definitely effects my mental well being as well as my physical well being, but I know right now being patient is vital. Right gluts got sciatica again, which niggles. My back needs constant curls/stretching to keep the lower prolapsed discs free, which is what’s causing most of the nerve pain. My body is a juggle of old injury management that I’ve just added to. Took one paracetamol yesterday and non today. Pretty much off pain relief. The physiotherapist was pleased with my progress, and only added a couple of quad band resistance reps (x30 a day) to my routine. More of the same. Booked my next appointment for 4 weeks when I should be weight bearing. Did twenty minutes on my exercise bike & a few bicep curls.
Woke up three times for the loo, hip stiffens up every time. Took two paracetamol at 3am as hip & leg was throbbing. The good news is I don’t have to lift my bad leg off the bed now as have the movement/strength to do it unaided if I keep them together. Been massaging my scar & using silicone strips and kelo-cote, it was suggested by the physio that cross scar massage is the main way to reduce the raised surface. One end is much worse than the other. The middle part of my cut is very neat, but there’s still a lot of glue on it. Dreamt about doing water exercises …. maybe my brains trying to tell me something? Went into Bath today just for an outing and to pick up Finley from school, can get in the car much easier. Nice to have some independence. Did twenty mins on the static bike and a few arm weights which are making my biceps ache. Feeling like my fitness has been ebbing away.
Up early to get Finley to pre school rugby training. Itchy palms again. Think the crutch handles are causing some sort of eczema. Re wrapped them in bandages. A bit demoralising just how much I stiffen up from being in bed (or sitting still). So don’t sit for long. When I wake up through out the night I do a few stretches and muscles tensions each time too. Can’t imagine how bad it would be if I slept all through? Managed a little time on my side with a pillow between my legs. Have to stretch and find my balance to feel safe on my crutches each time. Not so much sharp pain as just thickness and deep feelings of unevenness between the hips. Feels like hip flexors don’t fire and I have to concentrate to lift my bad leg to do simple things like step into my skirt. Try to do as much with both legs together as possible, eg swinging legs on to & out of bed, so that my bad leg can mimic my good one. Feel a bit disheartened today. Plateauing (or slowing down) on my progress I guess. Unhappy I’m not mobile, cant carry things, do anything quickly, and have to think how I’m going to manoeuvre to do simple things I took for granted before the accident. We do take our health for granted. Though I carefully look after myself, with diet and exercise, my flexibility has always been good. Managed to kneel down today ( leaning on a table not on my heels) which was nice. Next challenge for me is to get on the floor so I can do sit ups/crutches?
Still feeling a bit sorry for myself today….it’s boredom & repetition probably. Not being able to clean or tidy as i want, jet off to friends or events. I’m sure not being in the gym and producing endorphins is impacting hugely. I’m so used to it. Done it all my life. The feel good factor it brings, is my drug of choice. For that I need to raise my heart rate and get bit of a sweat on. Know I’m doing my rehab but it’s incredibly sedentary and a totally different sort of pain. I hate feeling this way… feels lethargic & unproductive, which isn’t true and I’m making great strides I know. I’m a very reactive, spontaneous kind of person and right now everything takes planning and time to do the simple things. I’ve started using one crutch and walking as gently as I can on my broken hip leg, maintaining my 50% body weight bearing, walking round the kitchen island using the surface. Trying to remember how to walk correctly. When I do high knee lifts, I push through the pain and stiffness but when I lower my leg the pain goes though my hip in waves for ten seconds then goes. I know it’s coming. My shins hurt yesterday but they’ve eased today. One less irritant. Went to the gym for a change of scenery and did 30 mins easy resistance bike, three different upper body weight exercises, 100 sit-ups, after gingerly getting down on my knees first, then some straight leg lifts and flexibility. Had a coffee with one girlfriend and a wine with another that night (first one in a month) … feeling a little chirpier.
The suns out and I’m going to get a vitamin boost. Happier on one crutch, it brings independence as can carry things, and open doors without putting crutches down. Moving freer and faster. If I do high knee lifts really slowly up & down I don’t get the same hip pain. Trying to hold lifts for ten. Went into the gym downstairs and did sit ups and upper body weights. Did squats & toe raises (balancing on toes) at the kitchen island and leaning press ups, but my sternum still giving me pain. Shins back aching a little bit. Still some pulling on internal stitches when I do thigh and glut clenches. Helps to press hard on scar when doing them. Working at my scar. Rubbing across it with kelo. Another good step today…I realised I’m not always putting my hands down first behind me when I sit down. So obviously subconsciously have more faith in my hip to sit unaided. Baby steps.. Went in to Bath at 4pm for a reception at the mineral hospital who are relocating to the RUH, they asked me to be a patron of the rheumatoid association a few months ago. Then did a little shop…retail therapy.
Another broken night but not due to pain just needing the loo as usual. Gorgeous day so sat outside and read for an hour finishing off my Wilbur Smith over breakfast. Life’s so much easier on one crutch. Can carry tea, and laundry. Took the dog with grace for a walk and a sneaky shared cheesecake. Trip into town afterwards to do some jobs all the time making sure I walk with a good gate and not full weight on my hip. Several lovely people stopped me and asked how I was doing. Occasionally I get a wobbly knee. Ended up in tkmax trying clothes on, vanity made me lift my leg! Came home and did my rehab then at 7pm when into the the gym watching the film Tolkien and did 30 mins bike resistance 3, 100 crunches, with 40 straight leg lifts on my bad leg. A few upper body weights. Definitely better each day. Good strides today.
Family time & a day off gym although still periodically did my rehab lifts and squeezes all day. Decided to stop taking my blood thinner injection only because I can’t get the itchy hands to stop and it’s not the crutches as now I’m using one my left hand should be fine and it’s not. Looked on side effects and itching was there. Haven’t taken pain killers for a week. Can’t see what else it is. I’m moving lots and on my bike most days so happy my mobility is good. Weighted myself today… drum roll, big moment, haven’t been on scales in three weeks! Was worried. And of course been off cv work. It was fine, pretty much where I was pre operation but I’ve had to be strict with my food. Tried to do it by just eating salads and healthy options, with few sugary treats. Our little road had a street barbecue so we popped along but left after an hour, didn’t want to answer questions on hip operations all afternoon or stand up too long, it was also very hot. Everyone was lovely and it was a beautiful day. Elliott cooked a nice late lunch and fixed some bulbs/stuff I can’t do on crutches. Grace swept the patios for me after I’d started with the broom, and she told me off. It’s purgatory not being able to clean and tidy as I do usually. Got on my knees and cleaned the downstairs loo floor yesterday.
Boredom is really setting in….. usually if I’m not busy with work I visit friends or travel or train more…. basically find things to do. Always been accused of having ants in my pants (thanks mum). Can’t do that at present. Rarely sit down for long though now, which is good I guess, but I don’t feel productive. Everyone going off to school or work and I’m just resting, rehabing and recovering. It’s a battle between body and brain. I know I have to give my body the time it needs to heal correctly. And I’m so much better off than some other people. Did have nice chats yesterday with the kids about us all taking a break once I’m back walking well, and going to Dubrovnik with a girlfriend. Lining up treats. So more of the same for now…Breakfast then gym .. 30 mins bike, arm weights, sit ups with leg lifts. Rehab at the kitchen island. Little massage of my scar with kilo cito silicone gel.
Drove the kids to the train. Met a friend at the gym for a workout. I’ve spoken to another friend who’s an exercise professor, shes recently had a paper published about how maintaining strength on your good leg stops some atrophy ( muscle loss) on your bad leg. So did quite a few leg exercises today but only going though the motion with my left ( injured) leg and just using my good leg. Usual 30 mins bike and floor exercises. Plus a few upper body exercises. Off to Sainsbury’s afterwards, who do a great cup of coffee. Quick iceing session. Then into town to meet Finley to buy more school uniform. He’s a bean pole growing out of everything.. he’s 12 with size 11 feet! Quite a bit of walking. Slow and difficult. I wonder if there is an option to get a disabled space for an interim period, just till off my crutches would be nice.
More of the same really. Had loads of visitors. Which has been nice. My brother was over from Thailand where he runs a hotel. Great to see him. Can hoover with one crutch but not so good with my left hand. Can’t really change sheets or do serious house work. Not icing so much, just when I push the joint a bit eg up my resistance on the bike. I’m now on level 4 for 30 mins. It’s not a damage pain just a thickness that comes from working it just a little more each time. Still doing everything in straight lines. No abductors. Carefully getting on the floor for core work. Even managed a few press ups sets. Can’t roll on to my injured hip. Straight Leg lifts still the hardest. Doing them periodically all day when sat on the sofa or in bed. Went to the opening night of mamma Mia the party which was brilliant fun but quite a challenge being in a car for that long… sciatica set in a few times. My good friend Lauren drove. It was nice to get out to something different, put on some dressier cloths and a full make up. First time I’ve done red carpet with a crutch. Rugby World Cup started so Finley & I up for all games Saturday & Sunday. The great news is I can rehab and watch rugby and athletics until my hearts content! The scars settling a little, still pretty ugly. Healing well. Religiously applying kelo cote twice a day. Soaking in a bath once a week, showers the rest of the time. Still some glue left on the incision. The pulling has almost stopped from the internal stitches. Another plus is the ability to sit down on a chair or sofa without having to put a hand down behind me first… either as a safety or to lower myself… small positive steps. Great weather has meant reading in the garden. Getting through a few books.
Counting down; only two weeks of crutches to go. In fact 10 days really now…. gym most days, where I do several leg exercise but just going through the motions with my bad hip. Letting my good leg do very much most of the work, but trying to wake up muscle memory. Careful sliding on & off machines. Have worked out I can walk my hands down to do full press-ups. Doing 3×10. But no planks as yet. Can roll onto my good hip to get on the floor for core. If I try to do squats I seem to lean towards my good leg, so have to balance on a box with my hands to try and be strict but then my bad legs shakes. Trying to go deeper. Did a few on a Swiss ball, but made sure the ball was wedged still. Odd feeling because the nerves are not firing as they should yet. In the gym mirrors I can see the hip/thigh is still swollen but it’s not hugely noticeable to others… just me. Added in protein powder, creatine & glucosamine to my diet on the advise of a joint specialist. Better late than never. By the end of week 5 able to put less weight through my crutch, more on my hip, with no pain. Being very careful with my steps though & No sudden movements. Sleeping on my side a little with big pillows between my knees. Feels good.
Counting down the days on my crutch, which I’ve started using more as a balance than putting loads of weight through. Just pay attention to when my hips hurts & when it seems very comfortable. Weird though because if I try to walk without it I have an odd limp. Not sure if it’s in my head, just a little lack of confidence in the leg, and forgetting how to walk unaided? Bike most days and gradually up-ing resistance to the point I can tell the hips not 100% happy, then I drop it back to where I get no pain. Got a swollen throat gland this week that was very persistent, can’t say I’ve had that before. Paracetamol for that. Grace who gets tonsillitis staying away from me. Can Hoover, use the washing machine and some general cleaning but not attacked my massive pile of cloths till I have both hands and full confidence in my balance. My scars quite quite red. I know I have to think next summer not next month for the kelo cote and silicone strips to work. Still taking protein powder and vitamins each morning. Doing rehab routine and stretches. But no abductors. Can’t tell you how excited I am about getting a 6 week X-ray and seeing if I’m healing well. I feel I am but I’m keen to know that the greater trochanter is mending. I’m also keen to lie on both sides but that might be a while off yet.
6 week check up…
My surgeon is very happy with progress. Had more X-rays done. Can see fuzziness (he calls it) along the break line, however it’s still pretty visible. He says it will be 3-6 months before that’s gone. Impressed with my range but reiterated I have to protect the greater trochanter where the bottom muscles that stabilise side ways movement attach. It’s amazing how much it effects my walking gate. He’s still keen I’m careful not to dislodge it. Though there is more metal they can add to help he says it will irritate soft tissue activity in an athlete, and he doesn’t want that. Nor do I. Short term loss of muscle/ activity for long term gain. Be patience Sharron ! Hate I can’t walk properly. I drop my bad hip to use the wrong muscles to stabilise the joint. Driving now as no pain getting in or out and could do a full emergency stop but using an automatic anyway, so no left leg. No pain killers now for a month. Nice to have that freedom. First job in a while and long drive up to Leeds, scheduled in stops. Loved being back at work. Meeting new people. A few days of normality. Can wipe the dogs feet, empty dish washer & fix a proper home made dinner. Nicer having that ability to be self sufficient & to be mum of course, but can’t do it easily, because of that ill functioning abductor muscles, they’re the ones you work in the gym, the inside and outside of the thigh right up top next to the hip joint. I do get pain when I stress that knobbly bit at the top of my femur that took such a bash, and was broken into a few bits, but think some of it is just lack of use. Also get a sharp pain right in the socket when I put full weight through my left leg. Which I did with the surgeon. Come on body keep doing a good job. Bodies are such amazing things… always been fascinated with human biology. It’s been the tool of my trade all my life. Elbow nearly fully healed, meant to ask about that as can’t lean on my elbow on a hard surface even after 6 weeks, be nice to know what i did to it. Sternum stopped hurting at about 5 weeks.
Visit to specialist hip physio at the RUH in Bath. Really useful. Spent half and hour just logging previous injuries! Really is a juggling act now which I guess is what happens when you get older and have lived a very full on active lifestyle, fully tested ( and breaking at times ) my body. Allowed to start using the abductor carefully. Hurray. Have three new exercises including a yellow band to resist whilst watching tv, to do but must use my crutch so I don’t keep dropping my hip and in grain bad walking habits. Wont lie was really hoping I was going to walk unaided by now but “again” being told to be patient. Mantra… Short term loss long term gain. Was also told to find a warm shallow pool where I can walk normally helped by the water taking some of my weight. Could have tried that earlier maybe? So that’s my quest this week… plus add more specific exercises, three times a day (which I suspect will be 5 times a day for me 🙈) back to icing when I tire the joint, but be careful it’s not damage pain, just waking up muscles pain and re-writing those nerve pathways to muscles and actions I’ve not done for over 6 weeks. A little niggling concern about the pain I get deep in my hip when I try to stand on my bad leg alone? Still doing my bike/gym/core 3/4 times a week.