Alex the Cat

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Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
4:43 pm
Just posting to keep my account alive.

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Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
11:11 am
Oh noz! They want to delete my account! I don't like that idea, so here is a post to keep it open!

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Sunday, January 30th, 2011
7:42 pm
I don't write here often and I don't have much to say. I'm still dealing with various aspects of that leg. It seems to be more about atrophy and the secondary effects of sitting around for a year, than about the actual injury. I am finally getting close to being pain-free, which is a big change.

I'm following a bike-training program that I found in a book. It's been really helpful for improving my endurance and giving me something to do every day. I'm able to bike outside sometimes, when the weather is good. Most of the time, I'm on a stationary bike, which is fine.

I'm not putting myself into the kind of hole that I was during the first six months or so after surgery. I may feel achy or tired after my workouts, but I'm not messed up for days, like I was during the summer. I'm still doing Pilates and I'm almost at the level of a normal person. There are still a few things that I can't do, so I just avoid them. I don't think anyone knows the difference.

My major project right now is my piriformis, which is severely atrophied. I'm working on building some tone there so I can get some flexibility back into it. I see the surgeon again in March. If I'm still having problems with it then, I'll ask for a referral to physical therapy. I hope that doesn't happen. I don't want to go back to PT.

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Friday, September 17th, 2010
9:50 am
So, I haven’t written here in a while. I think that’s okay though. I just got tired of being disabled and talking about disability and not feeling like I was recovering at all. Plus, things started moving kind of quickly… more quickly than I could write about.

It’s a funny thing with my recovery. There are a few people around me who were really supportive of my recovery, as long as I was doing kind of mundane stuff. They could get excited about bathing or shoe tying or whatever. Once I crossed some invisible line from that sort of thing to the stuff that I actually enjoy, that changed fast.

It seems strange to me because I’m just talking about doing things that I enjoy, like travelling or exercise. I think there are some people who decided that I would never go back to that or maybe it was a way to justify their own laziness. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I bought a bike and I’m reluctant to tell anyone about it because I don’t know what the reaction is going to be. I’m not supposed to want to do stuff like that. I think I’m supposed to be resigned to my fate as a disabled person or something.

There is no reason for me to be though. It’s just a choice. Getting back on my feet was a choice. Becoming active again is also a choice. I’m not saying that it’s easy or fun, but it’s still a choice. I chose short-term pain and difficulty in order to have a better quality of life in the long term.

Maybe other people would make a different choice and that is fine. I’m not judging that, but, for me, this was hardly even a choice. It’s important to me to be able to do the things that I enjoy, so that is what is going to happen. I work hard at rehabbing myself every day and it’s worth it because I feel better and better… not every day… but I do see that I am progressing.

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Friday, April 23rd, 2010
8:01 am - Day 2
The next morning, I was hungry before the PT came, so I ordered some breakfast and then had a CNA held me get settled into the chair to eat. I don't know why I didn't want to eat in bed. I guess I just knew from previous surgeries that they like you to sit up to eat, so that was what I wanted to do.

OT came by while I was eating. When I finished, he showed me how to step in and out of the bathtub with crutches. PT came right after that and we just continued with the crutches, since I was already using them. I only felt unsteady for the first few steps. Then everything evened out. I've been on crutches so long that it really didn't seem like a big deal to me. So, we did a couple of laps around the nurses' station and then I went back to bed and took a nap.

Day 2 wasn't that exciting. I was finally able to keep food down, so I ate a lot. Oh, and I got to practice on stairs on the afternoon. The stairs were actually there for my roommate but she didn't feel like getting out of bed, so I got to use them instead.

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Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
9:33 am
So, I haven't updated here in a long time. I had hip replacement on March 30. Surgery took about five hours because there was hardware that needed to be removed first.

The morning after surgery, PT came and dragged me out of bed. I toddled around a little with a walker and then they parked me in a chair to eat breakfast. Then OT came and we got in an argument because he doesn't like the way I do things. I don't really care. I've been living with this for nine months and I have my own ways of doing things and that is how it's going to be. That afternoon, I took a longer walk, around the nurse's station.

I couldn't seem to keep any food down that day. That was sort of a pain. I think they may have had me on too much pain med. Once we started backing off on that, things got a little better.

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Thursday, March 25th, 2010
8:21 pm
I finished the "pre-hab" for my hip replacement today. I mean, I'll still be doing the exercises at home, but I don't have any more PT sessions until after surgery. In the hospital, I'll have PT twice a day for the three days that I am there. I think there will be a session on the day of my surgery and then two on the next two days and one on the day of my discharge. Four days later, I will be back at the outpatient PT clinic.

I've had to quit ibuprofen, in preparation for surgery. I thought it would be a big deal, but it has turned out not to be. I switched to tylenol and that seems to be working. I also take darvocet once in a while. I think that is the real reason why I am feeling mostly okay. I told my PT that I was feeling okay today and I didn't think I needed the surgery after all. He got very serious and told me that I needed to get this done. Yeah... I kind of already knew that.

I got a call from the hospital today that my insurance has approved my surgery. I did not see that coming. I expected to have to find some way to come up with this out of pocket or have to beg the hospital for assistance again. I still kind of feel like it is a pre-existing condition but, if they are willing to pay for it, that's fine with me. The insurance covers up to sixty PT visits per year, so I think I'm going to be able to get the treatment I need to get back on my feet after this.

Yesterday there was a "joint replacement" class at the hospital. I went for half of it and then left. It was really, really boring and the weather was so nice. I just wanted to go off and do something. The first half of the class was about what happens in the hospital, before, during, and after surgery. I already knew that stuff because I've already been through it twice. The second half of the class was about how to bathe and dress and stuff like that after hip replacement. I've been dealing with this injury for almost nine months. I know how to do that stuff. I don't regret leaving early.

I'm still not excited about this surgery. I'm not excited about living the rest of my life like this though. It's all going to be okay.

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Thursday, March 11th, 2010
10:46 am
I haven't written anything here in quite a while and a lot has happened. It turned out that I am not done with PT. Right now, I'm in the middle of "pre-hab" for surgery, which is scheduled for March 30.

PT kind of sucks because everything is painful and it is keeping me from making much progress. I want to drop out, but the therapist keeps telling me that it's a bad idea, so I stick with it.

Last night, after a long day that included a particularly awful PT session, I took a Darvocet at bedtime. That was nice. I got a good night's sleep, which I really needed, and it got me through the worst of the pain. I'm not feeling too bad right now.

I woke up at 3 am and there was almost no pain. I've been in constant pain for months and it was so different not to have it there. People keep telling me that, once I recover from the next surgery, there won't be any pain at all. That's hard to imagine. I do look forward to sleeping better though. For now... I'm glad I have enough Darvocet to last until my surgery.

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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010
9:13 am
I had a check up with my surgeon yesterday and I got some bad news. The hardware in my femur has failed. It's not a dramatic, total failure, like my first surgery. However, the hardware has shifted and it backing out. That explains the pain I've been experiencing lately.

So, I have an appointment with a different surgeon next Monday. He is the one who will be performing my next surgery. I'm not sure what the timeframe is for that, but I'm guessing within the next month or so.

I'm done with PT, but I'm going to stop by the clinic on Monday, after I see the surgeon, to drop out in person. I want to say goodbye to my PT and to the other people there who have helped me. Even though they weren't able to get me to where I wanted to be, I am doing better than I was back in October, when I first rolled in there. They gave me a few months of relative independence and that is worth someting to me.

I'm so disappointed. I thought things were getting better because my pain was decreasing and I was backing off on the ibuprofen. It still takes days for me to recover, if I do much walking around. Anyway, I've increased my dosage of ibuprofen and it is going to stay at this level until my next surgery. The surgeon's assistant offered me a narcotic prescription. I don't want that though. The pain isn't that bad and I like being able to use my brain.

He also tried to cheer me up by saying that we had "bought some time" before I needed a hip replacement at the relatively young age of 42. That is true, but my quality of life has been extremely poor in that time. I told him that, which may not have been the most polite thing, but it's true. I really miss my old life and having a few extra months with my natural hip doesn't make up for everything I've missed out on.

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Monday, February 15th, 2010
12:33 pm
I guess I haven't written much lately. Things aren't going that well and I don't feel like I have that much to say. I'll just do a quick recap of the last week.

I had PT last Tuesday. That seriously wrecked me. I had a long night following that session and then ended up sleeping very late the next day. By the following day (Thursday), I was feeling pretty good. I used that to catch up on errands.

Friday I went to the exercise room in the apartment complex and did 25 minutes on the exercise bike. It went okay at the time, but I was pretty sore afterwards, so I rested on Saturday.

On Sunday I went back to the exercise room, but I was feeling a lot weaker than I had on Friday. I took the session a little easier, but I still felt pretty rough for the rest of the day.

Sunday night, I didn't sleep too well because of the pain. I'm feeling okay this morning though. I'm taking today as a rest day, because I have PT tomorrow. I'm not going to the gym or doing anything more stenuous than taking out the trash today, because I want to be fresh for tomorrow.

As of this morning, I have finally mastered the leg lifts that I've been working on for the last several weeks. I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to show that off tomorrow...

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
7:43 pm
Okay. PT today actually went okay. Except that his next appointment cancelled while I was there and he used it as an excuse to keep me late. I'm sure that was a good thing, but I was feeling ready to leave.

I seem to be bouncing back from the whole tendonitis thing. I don't feel like things are improving, but the PT says that they are, so I'll take that. Still no clue when I am going to be done with this. That's a big concern for me right now. I just want to move on. I guess it will happen eventually. I'm just not feeling very patient anymore.

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Monday, February 1st, 2010
12:56 pm
Things are going a lot better. Two weeks ago, I went to PT and I really didn't seem to be able to do much. He kept trying to get me to do things and I just couldn't do it. Then he would get frustrated or I would and it just wasn't going well.

Last week, I didn't think I was doing well but, once I got there, I loosened up and things actually started coming together for me. I think I had reached the point where I needed to get moving in order to feel better.

That's what I've been doing the last few days and it seems to be working okay. I'm pushing hard, so I'm tired and sore in the evening. I'm getting around okay during the day and I seem to be able to sleep off the pain, so it's fine. I feel like I'm getting stronger and that is all that really matters. I've been through this before and I know that it doesn't last forever... just a few weeks is more like it.

So, I have to go back to PT tomorrow and that should be an adventure. I still don't want to go. I still want to have a vacation from that stuff. It's coming at the end of the month, but I don't feel like being that patient. Well, maybe tomorrow will go okay, since I do seem to have regained a lot of strength in the last week or so.

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Friday, January 29th, 2010
7:34 pm - Things change
I'm feeling a little more cheerful since my last entry. I rested up for a few days and, when I went into PT on Wednesday, I actually had made some progress. It wasn't huge, but it was noticeable. So, I'm sticking with it for now. I have three more weeks scheduled and then I will be taking a week off. I have a follow-up with the surgeon during the week of my vacation from PT, so I guess it all evens out.

I feel like I should write more than that, because a lot really has been going on. I'm not sure what to say though. I'm getting around somewhat better than I was and I'm catching up on things like getting groceries in and trash out of the house. It's kind of like a return to normal life I guess.

I'm still torn about whether to schedule an appointment with the surgeon to see if there is something seriously wrong that caused that huge setback. I feel like things are moving forward now though, so I may just wait until my regular check up in a few weeks.

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Sunday, January 24th, 2010
6:32 am
I'm considering dropping out of PT. I haven't mentioned this anywhere else online, but no one reads this, so I feel safe. Anyway, PT has gotten a whole lot more painful recently and I don't seem to be making any progress. Actually, I'm currently about where I was in mid-November, when I had just a few weeks of PT behind me.

So, I'm not progressing and I'm really not enjoying what is going on there at all. I'm not happy with where I am physically, but I'm not convinced that PT is going to be able to do anything about that.

I don't have any appointments scheduled after this week, so I think I'm going to suggest that we take a break. It's not what I want to do. I want to be moving toward walking independently. That doesn't seem to be happening though and I'm not sure that it is going to happen. If I've reached the limit of my physical capacity, maybe I need to accept that and get on with my life.

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Friday, January 22nd, 2010
6:19 pm
I'm still battling the muscle strain in my hip. I took a couple of days off to rest and get the pain under control. Now I'm slowly increasing my activity level. It's going okay. It's just a little frustrating because I want to push ahead and do more things. It's annoying to laze around and wait for my leg to feel better.

In spite of that, I'm actually progressing quickly, if I look at it day to day. I mean, yesterday I went to the library and the ice cream shop and that just about did me in. Today, I went to the supermarket, which was huge. I ended up exhausted and sore, but I can do so much more now than I could yesterday or the day before.

So, things are coming together again. I'm glad. I don't have PT again until Wednesday next week. The plan is to continue easing back into normal activities and hope for great things by then. I'm feeling better right now, in general, than I have in weeks, so that is a positive.

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Saturday, January 16th, 2010
9:46 am - What happened
I somehow managed to strain a hip flexor muscle. I have no idea how that happened. It seemed like it came on kind of slowly, but it still hard to say. The PT says that it may be a repetitive stress type thing. We agree that it is not something specific that happened in PT.

By my PT session on Tuesday the worst of the pain had passed but the hip was still very stiff. That was when the PT decided that I had strained a muscle. He stretched the heck out of it. That hurt like crazy at the time, but it restored the range of motion, so it's a good thing.

Right now, it still hurts to put weight on that leg. It's moving better though and I think things are improving. It's hard to say because I have a lot more pain than I did a month ago. I can't tolerate full weight on that leg, so I'm not sure where things are going from here. I'm trying to rest a little over the weekend and hope that hip is working better by Tuesday.

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Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
3:03 pm - NaBloPo
I had a bad day in PT yesterday. I think I'll write about that another time. For today, I just want to make some general observations.

There are times when this injury is really painful. There are times when the rehab is really painful too. There are times when PT hurts more than the injury. It's all kind of... depressing, really. I mean that literally. The pain can just go on and on and it messes with my brain. I haven't been able to find a comfortable position for sleeping in several nights, so I'm really pushing the sleep-debt thing. It's a lot to deal with emotionally.

So, I had PT yesterday and it was tough. I was expecting an easier session, because we are supposed to be wrapping things up. It didn't work out that way and we are not wrapping things up. That has happened before and it's not a huge deal. I was in a lot of pain for ten or twelve hours afterwards. Then it started to clear up a little and I felt better than I have in weeks.

It's so strange. When I'm in that kind of pain, it seems like the most tragic thing in the world and it's really hard to deal with. Then, when it clears, everything seems really great and it's like the pain never happened. I can remember being distressed by the pain, but I can't actually remember what it felt like.

I guess that is going to be what gets me to PT again tomorrow and pushes me to give it my best effort. It will hurt for a while and then it will stop and I'll be in a better place than I was when it started out.

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Monday, January 11th, 2010
9:10 pm - Just a random entry
My pain level has continued to be a little high since my last entry. After PT last Tuesday, I was in the most pain I've experienced in a really long time. I had already adapted to it though, so it didn't interfere with sleep or anything. That's weird because it did hurt a lot and I was sleeping... but aware of the pain... in my sleep... and still sleeping. It's hard to explain.

Wednesday I had a 9 am class, which I did attend. It was a tough two hours. Especially the last 20 minutes or so. I went home after that and just crashed for a couple of days. Seriously.

On Friday I was starting to feel better, so I went to the gym. The pain was decreasing, but I was still really stiff. I thought I could pedal a stationary bike and shake off some of the stiffness. It didn't work out that way at all. I just got stiffer and more sore.

That night I was in enough pain to interfere with sleeping. I got about three hours that night and spent the next day curled up on the couch in front of the television. It wasn't that much fun.

I was feeling better the next day... that was yesterday... Sunday... so I went to the gym again. I tried to do something like my normal workout but I was still weak and sore and I had to crank back on the intensity a little. I was a little sore but not too bad.

I didn't sleep that well last night though. I had a lot of trouble finding a comfortable position and I kept having to wake up and move. I must have landed in a goofy position at some point because I have a stiff neck today.

This morning, I woke up feeling mostly okay. That was good because I had a few errands to run. Mainly just buying food for the cats and picking up an item I had reserved at the library. I did that and mostly just rested the rest of the day.

The leg sometimes hurts and other times doesn't. I have PT tomorrow morning. I haven't had a morning session in months. That should be interesting. I will have my regular morning stiffness, plus whatever is going on right now, in general. I guess it's okay though. I mean, the pain is something that I have to deal with on my own. I think this stiffness is something that he may be able to help with. He has in the past, anyway...

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Thursday, January 7th, 2010
9:44 pm - NaBloPoMo 7
I have no idea what to write about today... especially on this "best" theme... Let's see...

I'm not really giving my best to physical rehab at the moment. I need to get that turned around. It hurts a lot to walk. I'm not sure whether to blame it on a muscle imbalance and push through or rest up and wait for things to feel better. Resting up isn't the best option for me because it means I am going to lose gains that I have already made. It seems like I have had similar experiences with various joints while I rehab this injury. Maybe I just need to suck it up and get through it. I am so ready for this to be over.

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Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
9:48 pm - NaBloPoMo 6
My new Spanish class started today. I'm not the best speaker in the class, but I'm not the worst either. The Spanish class is actually a lot like the German class I used to take. There is a core group of people who have been taking that class for years and who are highly fluent. Then there are newcomers, like me, who drift through. Some of the newcomers have very little knowlege of the language. Others have more understanding and will probably stick around. The thing is that the class is taught entirely in Spanish, so real beginners aren't going to be able to work with that.

That is a weird thing to me. The course description says that the class is taught entirely in Spanish, but there are still beginners who show up and expect the class to work for them. I don't know if they are thinking that an adult enrichment class at a community college can't be that tough.

Then again, the college offers a bunch of beginner classes in Spanish... not so many in German... Then these folks hit the "advanced" class and expect it to be a continuation of what they have already learned. The problem is that there are all these people who are using the class for conversation practice. Maybe they finished the beginner/intermediate series, came into the advanced class, and never left. Maybe they studied the language somewhere else and decided that this would be a fun class to try.

I do feel sorry for people who come into a language class and find themselves over their heads. In the German class last winter there was a woman who didn't seem to speak one word of German. I tried to talk to her and she couldn't even tell me her name. I don't know how she landed in our class instead of with the beginners. The description of that course has been modified to suggest that students have at least one year of German at the university level. That is probably helpful.

I miss my German class. I wish I could take it and Spanish, but the classes are offered on the same day and I think that would be a little too much for me. I'm planning to take Spanish this term and German in the spring. If I'm still not working by then, I might consider taking both. I guess I'll decide that when the time comes...

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