Friday, December 16, 2011

Jumping The Gun

Remind me to NEVER write new posts on a weekend....when my ability to somewhat "take it easy" and sit and stand and walk at my choosing creates a false sense of "hey, this isn't so bad...I'm getting better!"  'Cause this past Monday and Tuesday just slapped that optimistic grin right off my face!  Came home from work Monday to hubby's greeting of "woah, you're limping again!"  And I probably could've gotten a speeding ticket after work Tuesday, from rushing home to my Norco and ice.
Well, there you have it.  Foot in mouth.  I am not invincible, nor am I recovering at a "speed of light" pace.  Sounds like I'm right alongside all my other hipchicks (and dudes!) in this 'what feels like slow as molasses' recovery.  And this is only scratching the surface.  Day by day by day.....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

One Month Post-Op

One month since my hip arthroscopy....honestly, it does get a little better day by day.  And I'll be starting hydrotherapy with PT next week, cannot wait to get moving!!!  But, there are still a few things I cannot do and I'm sure this is more to do with the underlying dysplasia and not from the hip scope itself.  For example, tying shoes is quite the challenge!  I can't sit and bend over without pain and I can't cross my legs without pain, so I wind up in this funny contorted state just to tie my shoes!  Also I find that certain chairs, sofas, stools at work, the pews at church, etc. are just NOT suited to my funky, anatomically messed-up hips!  No matter how I fidget and adjust, there is something pinching in much so, that it's a relief to stand up!  And it's standing and walking that is typically most painful...go figure!  But, all in is much less painful than it was last week and even more so than the week before.  I am very rarely taking my "narc-y-narcs" (another adorable term from my dear friend, Carla) and haven't seen an ice pack in nearly a whole week.  Just taking the NSAIDS seem to do the trick.  My crutches and cane are in the corner, resting up until my next surgical adventure.  Thank you again to all of you who have been praying for me and sending me well-wishes!  You just don't know how very much it means to me to know that I'm not on this road all to all!!! xoxo

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fire and Ice

Not gonna lie.  Not gonna sugar-coat it.  Worked two "full" days...and I feel like I've been stabbed in both hips with a fiery hot poker.  It has been absolutely WONDERFUL to be back at work, and my Day Surgery girls have been amazing to me!  But, when my very sweet nursing manager called me to let me know that we were overstaffed for tomorrow, and would I like to be called-off...well, I nearly leaped through the phone!  Ummm YEAH I'll take a day off!  So, here I am...back on the Tempur Pedic, with my ice packs and laptop.  I am starting to wonder what exactly IS this pain I am experiencing.  Is this just the residual pain from the underlying deformity, that really isn't going to go away until surgically fixed?  Or am I simply just still healing from the scope, nearly 4 weeks ago?  Or, has the labral tear that Dr. Stocks trimmed, torn all over again?  He said that was a likely possibility if I'm walking at all...but this soon??  And...not only am I having the typical sharp, bone grinding, catching, popping pain in the groin...but having those sensations deep into the buttocks as well.  What's up with that???  Well, all I know HURTS!!!  Like, "I wanna cry and hollar and throw things" hurts!  And that's just not 'me'.  I'm not my typical "ziploc bag full of sunshine and crack" Amy (as my dear friend, Carla calls me).  I'm not my usual smiley and fun and uber-friendly self....not at all.  And that hurts more than anything....
Yup.  Feels kinda like this....

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Helloooo Nurse!

I survived!  Back to work was wonderful...albeit very painful, but so great to be back!  I only worked about 5 hours on both Thursday and Friday, which was about perfect.  I'm a nurse again!  I even made it back to "Nutcracker" rehearsal today!  My daughter, Lily and I are both performing in our local ballet performance of "The Nutcracker" this year.  She is doubling as a very sneaky mouse AND a mischievous, but adorable clown.  As for me...well, I'm a very exuberant "party goer" in the opening scene.  No big complicated dance steps...the occasional pas de bourree, but that's it.  Nothing crazy and painful.  And that's just peachy keen with me!  Very, very happy to be back doing the things I love!  I might even get a little wild and try to put the Christmas tree up later... we need a little Christmas, right this very minute!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A three-legged chicken...

Been a week since my visit with Ortho Doc #2, Dr. Rosenfeld...and things have sunk in a little deeper.  For one thing, starting this blog has been incredibly therapeutic for me...much more so than I thought it would.  It is a tremendous feeling to have the support of family and friends and I thank God for all of you each and every day!!!

So, I was originally scheduled to return to work yesterday, which I postponed after my Dr's visits last week.  Now, I'm on for this Thursday...almost 3 weeks post-op.  I am BEYOND ready to return to work!!!  I am missing my Day Surgery girlies so bad!!!  But, I really, really miss my patients too!  I miss what I do and being a helper to dear husband will enthusiastically agree that I DO NOT make a good patient, AT ALL.  This is simply not how nurses are hard-wired, y'all.  We're the nurse.  You're the patient.  Period.  I don't like feeling helpless.  I don't like asking for assistance reaching a lamp that is literally 3 feet from me, but I can't quite reach without causing a funky twist and painfully loud POP in my hips.  I don't like sitting around and, what feels like, wasting the day.  On the other hand, during this recovery I have spent some absolutely precious time with my kids.  Like "moments I will cherish for the rest of my life" kind of time.  It's awesome!  I am so in love with those two little people I swear I could just weep!  What on earth I've done to deserve those two incredible blessings, I'll never know....they are a gift from God, plain and simple.  A gift!!!  *sigh*

Still using my "Tiny Tim" one-crutch method when I leave the house.  I'm totally fine indoors.  Just walking any good distance I don't feel entirely secure, I need the extra support to walk with a fairly balanced gait.  Without it, not only am I still limping, but the pain comes on quicker.  However, at work, I won't be allowed to use my "third leg"...and this makes me a little (alright, a lot) nervous (yeah, I know...chicken!).  And let's just come clean and get all the confessions out there on the table shall we?  The pain...the pain's gonna be bad.  Real bad.  I mean, it's bad just sitting on the couch doing nothing...and that's WITH medication.  Can't use any of those fabulous pharmaceuticals on the job either.  Yes, the nursing profession is a bit sadistic and no, we don't mind because we're there for YOU!  Just remember, the next time you're irritated at your nurse for whatever reason...give her a hug, she probably needs it.  Now granted, there are railings up and down the hallways in the hospital should I need them in the coming days ahead....but the very nature of my job defies the "take it easy now and let that hip totally recover before stressing it out all over again!" advice I received from Dr. R last week.  Well, luckily he's not reading these posts anyway!  Umm, right???  *wincing like a big (you guessed it...chicken!)*

My precious gifts...Lily, 8 and Parker, 13  

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm Retro AND Hip!

November 22, 2011:
Longest day of my life (okay not really, but it was pretty dreadful), but sooo thankful to have my Mama with me...she makes everything better!  Post-op appointment with my wonderful orthopedic surgeon Dr. Greg Stocks at Fondren Group, Houston, TX.  Pretty straightforward....removed sutures and went over images from the scope.  He didn't really have any new information that was much different than what Big Daddy told me.  He is sticking by his story that the Hip Dysplasia was much worse than he anticipated and that he cleaned up the torn labrum as best as he could, but stopped there to avoid causing any further damage.  He asked me when I was able to get appointment with the 'new' hip doc and I was happy to report "as a matter of fact, TODAY!"  Think he was a little impressed....  I'll admit, I'm a little sad to be leaving Dr. Stocks and moving onward and upward (something like that).  You see, he and I sort of bonded over insurance madness these past several months...trying to get Tricare-Humana Military to approve my surgery in the first place.  Tricare claims that "Debridement with Labral Repair for the treatment of FAI is not a 'proven procedure'" and therefore wouldn't cover it.  Dr. Stocks' assistant said that Tricare was the ONLY insurance they had ever dealt with that wouldn't approve this procedure...but that their Active Duty patients had no problems getting it approved.  So basically, Tricare will take care of the soldier, 'cause it's magically a PROVEN fix for FAI, in order to get them back out in the field.  Yet, somehow it's NOT a proven fix for their spouses.  Interesting, hmm?  *stepping off soapbox*  So, I went through months of appeals with no budge on the part of Tricare, when Dr. Stocks had a brilliant idea!  Just "fiddle" the codes a bit...we're basically doing the same procedure, just wording it a little differently.  And, you guessed was APPROVED within 24 hours.  Crazy!  I sent Dr. Stocks and his precious assistant a beautiful autumn bouquet of flowers to show my appreciation...but really, I can't possibly express my thanks enough!  Without this surgery we would have never known just how bad my hips are, and would have never been prompted to seek out another hip specialist.  God truly works in incredible ways, doesn't He???

So, a quick lunch and off to the 'new' hip doc *drumroll please* Dr. Scott Rosenfeld at Texas Children's Hospital- Hip Preservation Clinic.  Alright we'll just get this part out of the way...'cause I know what you're thinking.  Ummm, didn't she say she was, errrr THIRTY-FIVE???  What on earth is she doing at a children's hospital???  Very, very good question!  Dr. Rosenfeld is a specialist in Hip Preservation in not only children and adolescents, but young (well, younger than 50) adults as well!  And, yes...I WAS the oldest patient in the waiting room.  But, no...I didn't care!  I had sent a very brief email, with an overview of my recent surgery and why Dr. Stocks was sending me to Dr. Rosenfeld, the week earlier.  I heard back first thing Monday morning with a "how soon can you come in??"  So, either he felt this was somewhat urgent...or he just found the case interesting and wanted to get started right away.  Well, either way, I got my appointment and was scheduled as a "work in"...which means I had to wait.  A very, very, very LONG time.  Barely a week post-op, with extremely painful hips, on less than ideal seating with everyone looking at me like "did she take a wrong turn somewhere, 'cause she doesn't look like a kid to me!"....very, very LONG time.  But, at last...they call my name!  It's time!  *more whispers..."dude, she's old and why is she limping, but hey, cute crutches!"*  The man wants xrays.  Seriously?  MORE xrays?  Can he not pick and choose from the plethora of films already taken?  Nope.  Okeedokee... I change into a hospital gown (do they have my size???) and say cheese for the radiology girls.  Then to an exam room.  We're getting closer!  I feel like a dog at the vet's ears perk up with every sound outside the door, until... THE KNOCK.  Lemme tell y'all non-medical people, that's just a little polite "hey, I'm coming in" announcement that we use with patients.  And it's a good litmus test for y'all...  For instance, say your doctor just bursts into the room without "the knock".  First of all, that's just plain rude, but more importantly do you want to work with this guy (yes, it's a guy, women would never do this!) who has no regard for your personal space or respect for your privacy??  I think not!  On the flip side, say you have a doctor that issues "the knock", but waits for a response from you.... this just feels weird to me.  It's not MY office, why would I "invite" him in?  HE'S (again, a woman would never do this either) the doctor!  And apparently a ridiculously busy one, otherwise why on earth have I been in the waiting room for the past TWO HOURS???  So, don't make me wait even more because you need permission from me to enter a room that doesn't belong to me....get in here, buddy and let's get started!  Perhaps that's why the wait is so long...doctors standing out in hallways, waiting for permission from their patients to enter the exam room.  Hmmm...  Luckily Dr. Rosenfeld is a "knock and bust on in" kind of guy.  I like him already... 

Dr. Rosenfeld is a young, happy and chipper man (Pediatrics is clearly a good fit for him)...pretty funny (which I love!) and kinda cute (this doesn't hurt either).  I think Mom wants to ask him if he's got an older single brother....  Ahem!  Helloooo?  Back to the patient!  So, Doc asks me all the general pertinent questions and I try to squish the past 14 years in a few short statements.  Then he looks at my brand spankin' new xrays and begins to measure this and that, all the while explaining what he's doing and what he's looking for.  I'm still impressed.  Then he says "well, if you DO have Hip Dysplasia (I'm sorry...what???) it's mild"  The tears are starting the burn and my heart is getting all flutter-y (remain calm, Amy...breathe).  *then why the heck am I here, why on earth have I hurt for sooo many years, why didn't Doc Stocks complete his surgery when he had the chance and was in there, don't tell me it's nothing and I'm just nuts and there's nothing you can do and have a nice day...don't you even THINK about doing that!!!!*  Luckily I managed to keep all this on the inside and just issued a "deer in the headlights" look instead.  Then he did some more clicking of the mouse and measuring and such and such... *Dude...what's WRONG with me???  Errr, lemme rephrase that.  What's wrong with my HIPS???*  After what seemed like a never-ending dramatic pause...he says "you know what I think is wrong?"  *I know that you better TELL ME before I come unglued!!!*  "You have Retroverted Acetabulum!"...He seems almost excited about this.  Then he attempts to explain through a rather impressive pantomime of hand (acetabulum) over fist (neck of femur) and I try to keep up.  I'm still getting over the "your Hip Dysplasia is mild" and not yet realizing that he's trying to tell me "your hips are even more screwed up than we thought!"  Soooo, Retrovert---WHAT???
Retro AND Hip...just like me! 

Tiny Steps

Nov. 18, 2011: 
One week post-op....Big Daddy has taken me to the movies.  It's the first time I've left the house since my R Hip Arthroscopy and it feels glorious and indulgent!  The past week has been a blur of painkillers, ice packs and tiny steps....from bed to bathroom, from bed to kitchen, from kitchen to bathroom, you get the idea.  Little by little by little... day by day, putting a bit more weight on the R leg.  Still using only one crutch, mainly for support.  Hip is still extremely painful and feels very, very unstable...  Family has been a God-send!  Big Daddy is my rock, as always.  My precious children, Parker and Lily have been so sweet and supportive, jumping up to fetch me this or that.  And having my own mother here has been a absolute life-saver...she helps me keep my sanity, either just listening or making me laugh or letting me cry.  You're NEVER too old for your Mama, y'all!
MY Mama :-)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Big Launch!

Well, smash a bottle over my she goes!  With just over 2 weeks to catch up on, let's get started!!

Nov. 11, 2011~ Arthroscopic Surgery on Right Hip:
Being a Pre-op RN, I suppose I'm a little more (ahem) picky than most.  I mean, certainly it's understandable considering how much I know can go wrong, right??  Just remember, ignorance is bliss, folks!  Well, my surgical process at Texas Orthopedic Hospital was as smooth and seamless as it could possibly be.  From the ancillary staff to the nurses to was absolutely fantastic!  Riiiight up until the part where they were "sending me home too soon!!!"  You see, I was having a very simple, straightforward scope of my right hip to repair my torn labrum and to do some debridement (that's "shaving off") of the excess bone on both the femur and the acetabulum (hip socket rim) causing the impingement, which was causing me sooo much pain for sooo long.  It was to be a 2 hour procedure and I was to be admitted and stay overnight for observation, then go home on crutches the next day.  Recovery was to be a piece of cake...weightbearing after only 2 days on crutches, back to work after 2 weeks and hip would be fixed.  Done.  No more pain...all better!  *insert screeching record player sound effect here*  

The first thing I remember after surgery was pain.  Well, duh!  No surprise there...I just had my hip dislocated and pulled into traction (I later found out) for over 3 hours!  Then I remember a nurse (rather stinkin' aggressive in my opinion) trying to get me to drink a Coke, that apparently I requested, and choke down a saltine cracker.  In my extremely groggy mind (I'm kind of a lightweight...anesthesia knocks me O-U-T, out!) I'm thinking "why on earth do they want me to eat a cracker if I'm in PACU, about to go to my room?"  Remember, what I said about blissful ignorance??  THEN, the nurse insists I get up, do crutch training with PT and go pee.  Wait...WHAT???  Why am I doing all these "things that must be done before discharge" if I'm staying overnight?  At this point, I'm pretty darn awake...panic-stricken a wee bit, my dear husband is finally (seemed like eternity) at my bedside and I completely LOSE IT!  Like, can't catch your breath, full-blown sniveling and sobbing "What is going on?  WHY am I going home?  Was the surgery not successful?  Did he not do ANYTHING in there?  Is there nothing wrong with my hips after all and it's all in my head and I'm just a big baby and I'm imagining the pain I've had for YEARS???"  Lemme tell y'all, for those of you who don't know my husband...for starters, I call him Big Daddy, well everyone does really.  Don't ask me how it got started, it just did, and it stuck.  Now, Big Daddy is a very, VERY large man...a big hunk of a guy, with a very soft gooey center (especially when it comes to his "girls").  Big Daddy is an ex-Green Beret with the U.S. Army.  This man could kill you just by lookin' at ya real mean.  He could eat rocks for breakfast and steel for dinner.  Yet, he is the calmest, coolest man I know...easygoing, sweet and friendly...and everyone who has ever met him, absolutely loves him.  And, no it's not 'cause they're scared of him!  So, anyway, here's Big Daddy calm as ever...which only irritates me even more.  He just keeps saying (in a nutshell) "It's okay baby, let's just get you home, I'll fill you in on everything when we're in the car"  So, I'm blubbering while getting dressed, blubbering while I'm doing my stupid "walker training" (PT opted for a grandma walker instead of crutches after I assured them I already knew how to use the darn things...blubbering through my words of course), sobbing while I'm up to pee.  Again, being the smart nurse I am (yeah, something like that) I realize that my uncontrollable emotions are most likely the direct effect of lots and lots of anesthesia.  However, this knowledge does not make me feel any less ridiculous for the lack of control of tears streaming down my face...pitiful, really.  The nurse's aide wheels me to the door....poor dude, doesn't have a clue what to do with this pathetic woman in his chair.  He helps me into the car and gives a cheery "Have A Great Day and Happy Holidays!"...I want to throw up.  So, here we are...moment of truth.  I tell Big Daddy to "just lay it on me" as I've now at this point already prepared for the worst.  I mean, why else would I be going home?  There really wasn't anything to fix in my hip after all, it was all just my imagination, there's nothing really wrong with hips are perfectly healthy and fine.  Big Daddy takes a deep breath, "Nope.  Just the opposite.  Your hips are even WORSE than the doc anticipated and he is sending us to another hip specialist to be evaluated for Hip Dysplasia.  He repaired the torn labrum, but that's all.  He didn't want to risk damaging anything further.  He says he doesn't know how you've even been able to walk on these damaged hips for as long as you have!"  Well, knock me over with a feather....I really AM screwed up! 

Here's Big Daddy and I...much younger and MUCH skinnier! ;-)