Thursday, April 30, 2009

1 week down

Today marks my official 1 week past surgery. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be on the countdown to get rid of all of the machinery as well as the crutches. I tried to complain to my physical therapist today about my inability to sleep more than 3 hours. She smiled and said, "that's good for someone who has just had hip surgery". She gave me absolutely no sympathy. I have tried every thing you can possibly imagine to sleep -- drugs, positions, music, reading boring stuff -- all to no avail. I wake up after 3 hours - wide awake - no matter what. I am constantly tired.

The good news -- the hip pain that I had pre-surgery is completely gone. Vanished. What I have now is the surgical pain -- soft tissue swelling, tight muscles and tendons that have been moved around. That will go away with time. For those who know me well, you know that patience is not something that I really have so of course, I want all of that to be gone today. My therapists laugh. I am pushing myself really hard and so far I am about a day ahead of schedule. In fact, I did new exercises this morning that usually aren't done until sometime during the 2nd week. I realize they could just be telling me all of this to shut me up. :-)

I spend about 11 hours a day doing some sort of rehab for my hip . . continuous passive motion machine, pt, exercises at home, etc. It's become my full time job. I am sorry if you have called and I haven't called you back. I have been coming off the pain meds and it's not been easy. I had a really tough day yesterday. Today is better and I am optimistic that things will improve with each passing day.

Time to go lie on my stomach before I head back to pt this afternoon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When Does This Get Easier?

Day 6 after surgery and here's what i want to know -- when does the miracle occur? You know the one where I sleep all night, wake up and realize the pain is gone and the swelling is gone and I look forward to doing new things in physical therapy? Let me assure you - it's not happened yet. In fact, if I slept 2 hours last night I would be surprised. I simply cannot sleep with the foam boots on . . it makes me panic and I spend 1/2 the night in a complete and total meltdown. I don't know what it is but i still have one more week to do this and I am not sure how I am going to make it. I can sleep like a baby in the continuous passive motion machine but i am not supposed to be in it more than 6 hours a day. I may have to make that 6 hours at night. At least then I would get 6 hours of sleep instead of none.

My ankle continues to concern me. We changed the bandages today and that was quite disheartening. I have 3 huge blisters across the top of my ankle and still little to no feeling in the ankle and top of my foot. At least the swelling is down a bit and it's not purple anymore. :-) Maybe that is progress.

I had an x-ray done yesterday at Dr. Philippon's office. They showed me the difference in the joint pre and post surgery. When I can tell on an x-ray that they cut away a large amount of bone, it's something. Normally x-rays tell me absolutely nothing. They were very pleased with the outcome and expect a full recovery for me with no additional problems. Now THAT'S good news!!

I continue to be happy about my decision to stay here for 6 weeks for physical therapy. Dr. Philippon visits PT on a regular basis and checks on his patients. The physical therapists also report in to Dr. P on a regular basis so they can change up a protocol depending on your progress. I feel very lucky to be able to do that. Most everyone else is only staying the 2 weeks and then going home. The cast of characters in pt constantly changes. It's interesting to talk to people. Many, many athletes in there. Lots of skiers with blown knees but an equal amount of hip patients. Everyone goes thru the same therapy no matter how famous they are. :-)

So, the time for lying on my stomach and icing my hip is almost done which means it's time to shower, get dressed and off for another day of therapy. I am really hoping for a break through sometime soon!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Physical Therapy or Torture?

So, here's a typical day for me:

Wake at 4 am and get into the continuous passive motion machine. Sleep (sort of) for 2 hours with my feet in foot pumps that help prevent me from getting a blood clot and with my left leg slowly moving back and forth from 15 degrees to 90 degrees. By Friday, my leg has to move from 0 degrees to 125 degrees . . . right!!! Wake back up at 6, get up and have some breakfast, take a plethora of meds and then back to the foot pumps and a game ready ice machine while lying on my stomach (which is where I am right now) for 2 hours. Take a shower (a major undertaking when you cannot stand up on both legs), drive 1/2 hour to physical therapy by 11 am. Exercise bike for 20 minutes then either Lindsey or Laurie arrives with that "look" that says we're going to move this hip no matter how loudly you scream. For the next 40 minutes, they physically move my hip around in the socket and stretch the incredibly tight muscles that are trying to prevent them from moving my hip around in the socket. I guess I make lots of faces because they tell me they know when they are getting somewhere when my eyes are so wide and bulged out that they think they might actually pop out. Then that is followed by about 30 minutes of isometric exercises and then 40 minutes of lying on my stomach and icing the hip. Repeat entire procedure at 4:00 pm. There really isn't enough time to drive back to the house so we tend to hang out at the hospital for a couple of hours and then back to PT. Race home after PT, have something to eat, hit the continuous passive motion machine for another 2 to 3 hours, more icing and lying on my stomach while trying to catch some sleep. Start the 4 am process all over again. Whew!! No wonder I am tired and cranky! And, today, I am back to Dr. Philippon's office to have an x-ray on top of all of that.

I am trying to back down the pain meds a bit although I am not sure that is going to be successful . . .especially through physical therapy. The swelling in my leg is still pretty disgusting. Hopefully that starts to go away soon too.

There are people in PT with me that gets lots of special attention so I think they must be pro athletes of some kind, I just don't recognize them. We all have some fun with the therapists so it's a pretty good experience. I will just be happy when it's less painful!! Apparently I have very tight hip flexors and my left quad is locked in place trying to protect my hip. They seem to be no match for Lindsey and Laurie though. I wish they would surrender peacefully instead of putting up such a fight. I know . . more time lying on my stomach. yikes!!! I am pretty sure at some point, my leg is going to completely come off.

ok, 40 more minutes of lying on my stomach this morning and that will make almost 2 hours. We'll see what difference it makes today.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Physical Therapy

Since I had my right hip done 6 years ago things have changed on the physical therapy front drastically. I have had 5 pt appointments since surgery and Lindsey is already moving the hip around in the socket. Today I started strengthening exercises to begin to rebuild all the muscle that I am already losing. Small steps but making significant differences already. The other thing that's new is the amount of time that i need to spend lying on my stomach. It stretches the hip flexors and allows my leg to lie completely flat. It's painful . . not hugely . . but my hip flexors in particular are very tight so I get scolded by Lindsey every time I see her to spend more time lying on my stomach. So, my day consists of 4 to 6 hours in the continuous passive motion machine, at least 2 hours lying on my stomach (Lindsey would like me to do more and I have promised to do so), about 1 1/2 hours actually in physical therapy, 1/2 hour driving each way and about 2 more hours a day icing my hip. The day flies by just by trying to fit everything in that I need to get done. As of today, I also have some isometric exercises to add to all of this outside of PT. And, of course, at some point in there the drug cocktail that I am taking to keep the pain down just knocks me out for awhile.

Here's another thing about me . . . I am even competitive at rehab. :-) Dr. P did 4 surgeries on my day. One was a girl who had 3 other hip surgeries . . all unsuccessful done by other dr's and found Dr. P to fix the damage that the others had done. One was a woman from Colorado Springs in her mid-40's and the last was a guy from Denver in his early to mid-40's. So, of course, each time we all show up in PT, I try to do more than they do. How crazy is that? There are lots of people who have come here from out of town for knee or hip surgery and we all tend to be in pt about the same time. We all joke around and tell stories so it's kind of like having a family away from home. There is a soccer player here from Kuwait who is having both of his knees done. There is a dark side to physical therapy though -- and that would be the girl just out of surgery who threw up all over the place today. Gruesome. Glad it wasn't me.

Today is the first day that I have really eaten much too. No appetite so absolutely nothing sounded good. I had a salad in the cafeteria here after PT and am currently hanging out for another hour before my next PT appointment. Then 1/2 hour drive home, 4 hours in the continuous passive motion machine, at least 2 hours lying on my stomach and then figuring out how to sleep on my side tonite.

I did manage to take a shower this morning to scrub off all the yellow surgical goo and changed my bandages. They looked swollen and puffy but relatively clean so I get to switch to bandaids. It looks like i may have to have some touch up work on my tattoo too. Oh well . . .

Right now I am sitting in a surgical waiting room, watching the IRL race in Kansas City with a magnificent view of the mountains out the window. It snowed here last night so everything is a bit more magical. I am glad the really hard part is over and I have such a phenomenal rehab team.

:-) < - - - - - that's me . ..smiling. It could be the Percocet/Robaxin cocktail or it could be that I am truly happy.

Thank goodness for drugs!!

Wow . . so many things have happened since I last posted (the morning before surgery.

Let's start with surgery -- arrived at the hospital at 7:30 and they took me immediately to pre-op prep. No idle waiting time at all. I had a great nurse, Rusty, who did all my vitals and then put my IV in. My anesthesiologist came in around 8:30 - Dr. Billig and did a spinal nerve block for my hip. Also injected something into my iv to help me relax. . . amen!! They wheeled me off to the operating room around 9:00 am and I remember that they were strapping me down and that's it . .light's out. The next thing I remember, I was waking up in recovery and they were trying to get pain and nausea under control. As soon as we accomplished that, I was carted directly to my room. The nerve block was still working to the pain was manageable with some diladid injected into my iv every few hours. Great nursing staff at Vail Valley Medical center!! I was up on an excercise bike within an hour of arriving in my room and was on it for 20 minutes even though I couldn't walk on crutches yet due to no feeling in my hip. One of the purposes of the excercise bike is to get excess fluid out of the hip joint. I won't go into the gory details but let's just say it worked effectively. In fact, it took 2 bandage changes that night.

Friday morning, an occupational therapist came and helped me get dressed and showed me a few things about walking on crutches and let me brush my teeth!! Soon after, I was put in a wheelchair and taken downstairs to physical therapy where I met Meghan and Lindsey (who I have spent a lot of time with this weekend). Meghan went over post-op instructions with me but it was about this time that the real pain begain to kick in. I started taking some serious drugs but it wasn't helping much. Finally got the pain under control and then Lindsey came in to move my hip around in the socket. Wow!!! This is totally different than my last surgery where I didn't move my hip at all for a long time. Therapy made me feel a little better and we came back to house where I did the continuous passive motion machine and the game ready ice machine for the entire time before I went back for more physical therapy. Friday was kind of a bad day. Lots of pain that was only somewhat relieved by medicine and it was very hard to sleep.

Saturday, all of Dr. Philippon's patients were to be in at 9:00 to meet with him for a post surgical check. I found out why the pain is so much worse for me this time --he had to shave down more of the bone than he expected or did last time. And, in some very rare cases, the 100 lbs of traction that they put on your ankle to pull your hip out of socket causes an issue with the ankle. That would be me. I will spare you the gory details but my ankle pain is significant too. I then did PT with Lindsey, got a bite of lunch and did more physical therapy with Lindsey. We arrived there yesterday morning at 9 and left at 5:30.

oops -- i just looked at the time and have to get ready for more physical therapy this morning so will write more later.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

3 1/2 hours to go

Since I will be spending tonite in the hospital, I won't be able to post until I get home sometime on Friday. I am strangely calm for someone who is about to have surgery. I hope that lasts once I actually get to the hospital. I suspect it won't . . .especially when the anesthesiologist walks in. If it's anything like last time, he will shoot something into my iv pretty quickly just to make me shut up. I tend to talk when I get nervous. :-)

I still have the altitude headache and am looking forward to gettting oxygen so hopefully that will take care of it.

Thank you everyone for all of the thoughts, prayers and well wishes. I will hopefully be posting tomorrow to let everyone know what happened during surgery and how the recovery is going post op 1 day.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

All Systems Go

Let me start by saying that if I had any doubts at all about this surgery, they were quickly dispelled when I met with Dr. Philippon and his team today. Wow!!! I am actually looking forward to surgery now with absolutely no dread.

In 14 hours I will be checking in at Vail Valley Medical for surgery. So, here's the details -- check-in at 7:30 am, surgery probably around 9:00 am and hopefully in recovery by early afternoon. Will spend tomorrow night in the hospital where I will start physical therapy at 8:40 Friday morning. As soon as I am cognizant, I will be on an excercise bike in the recovery room.

So, today, I met with a physical therapist who did a strength and flexibility evaluation. The weight lifting before surgery paid off and she commented about the strength in my legs. (big pat on the back). After that, I had a 30 minute MRI and then headed up to the Steadman Hawkins clinic for my appointment with Dr. Philippon. It was fun to walk down the "hall of fame" and see all of the signed jerseys from the famous sports figures who have been there. Let's just say it's a long hallway and it is full.

I first completed about a inch of paperwork and then Dr. King came in to see me. Dr. King is training under Dr. Philippon and did the initial evaluation today. He did a fantastic job explaining exactly what the problem is with my hip and how they intend to fix it tomorrow. The ball of my hip sits too deep in the socket and has torn the labrum (cartilage that surrounds the hip socket and keeps fluid inside). They plan to repair the labrum and shave down my hip socket to make the ball move more freely. He also did a thorough evaluation of both my already repaired right hip and the damaged left. It was amazing to see the difference in range of motion between the two. I also found out that I will not have matching scars. Dr. Philippon has changed the site for the portals. There is a slight chance that my labrum will be too badly damaged and they will have to harvest some of my IT band and fashion a new labrum but they won't know that until they get in there. Whatever it is, I am completely confident that they will fix me.

Then Dr. Philippon came in. He wanted to know how my right hip felt and if I had any issues with it over the years. Then he did his own examination. He was incredibly pleased with my right hip and said that it is performing perfectly. No issues there whatsoever. On my left, he explained that he is doing exactly the same thing as he did 6 years ago for the right as it is exactly the same issue I had with the right hip. He expects a full and complete recovery. And, the best news . . . . only 2 weeks on crutches. I just about hugged him. Last time it was 6 weeks. He also explained that they have changed many other things since the last time I had this done. You know that I have been living with the constant dread of waking up after surgery with immense pain. Well, now the first thing they do is a spinal nerve block that lasts somewhere between 24 and 48 hours so the pain after surgery is less. Yipeee!!! And, the meds taken after surgery have changed up somewhat too. Still Vicodin but I also have a muscle relaxer that may solve the root cause of the pain allowing me to stay off of the Vicodin or at least take a minimum amount.

I wrapped up my appointment with his surgical nurse, Penny who gave me all my prescriptions and detailed instructions about who I had to see before I left the hospital. She has also had a labrum repair done by Dr. Philippon and so we were discussing the difference pre and post surgery. I also found out that I am #2 on the surgery schedule tomorrow so he will be warming up on someone else. :-) She sent us on our way to lunch at a fabulous Italian restaurant just down the street and then I came back to complete everything at the hospital -- admissions, payment and a pregnancy test. Ok, really? A pregnancy test??? Lawyers run the world (sorry to all my lawyer friends but you know it's true).

After lunch, I did a little shoe shopping and walking around Vail village. My hip was absolutely killing me after all the twisting and turning during 3 earlier examinations so I cut the walking short and headed back to complete all of my pre-surgery assignments.

Here's what I walked away with today -- Dr. Philippon is confident but not arrogant. He has assembled one of the best teams that I have ever dealt with. He instilled confidence in me that I will be repaired and better than ever once I get through about 2 months of physical therapy.

So . . . here's a picture of me . .the last one you will ever see of me with hip pain. I bid farewell to a life limited by pain and embrace one with endless possibilities. That, my friends, is the big smile on my face!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My home away from home for 6 weeks

For all of you in Indiana and other flat places, eat your heart out . .. here's my reward for having hip surgery . . . my home away from home is only gotten to by driving up a mountain adjacent to a national forest. The picture window looks out over the forest and the mountains but the best part is the deck . . . . I was sitting out there a few minutes ago drinking a very fine glass of wine and saw a fox hunting just a few yards away. Ok, I know I am about to have surgery but this certainly takes some of the "sucky" factor away.

We went to the grocery store today and got easy to fix food and are now about to go out for dinner in Edwards. It's a very cute little mountain town. We ventured out to Avon today and got groceries at Walmart and went to get some beer. For you beer lovers - I bought New Belgium Pale Ale. The clerk at Beaver Liquors recommended Odell 90 Schilling after he saw what I was buying. Guess I may have to try that also . . . eventually . . . well after vicodin and crutches. :-) Maybe my very nice sister will pick some up on her way up to see me next week if she makes it up the mountain.

It's amazing what the mountains can do for my state of mind. Today I am pretty relaxed and at peace with what is about to come. Tomorrow at 9:20, I get plugged into the Philippon process and all I can do from there is cooperate and let the expert do his thing. Deep breath, find my happy place which seems to be in Colorado and a big smile. Life is good!


I always forget how much I love Colorado and equally hate driving across Kansas to get to Colorado. I think it took us 3 days to drive across Kansas yesterday. It was incredibly windy so you had to fight with the car every step of the way.

We did one fun thing before we left Kansas, however. I found a fun, very old, drive-in called Bobo's who claimed to have the best burgers and onion rings so, of course, we had to check it out. It's in Topeka, KS so it was a good stop for lunch after my meeting in Kansas City. Indeed, their burgers and onion rings are hard to beat. The funniest thing though was that there was a very odd man who appeared there, very nicely dressed with a hair-do that could rival Donald Trump. As he went inside and then came back outside to his car no less than 8 times, we noticed that he was obviously impaired. In fact, I think he was coming back and forth to his car while waiting on his food to have more of whatever was making it difficult to stay upright and walk in a straight line. Mildly amusing and trust me -- when driving across Kansas, you'll look for anything to amuse yourself!!

On our way to Vail today. An easy drive. We are just outside of Denver so it's probably less than 3 hours to Vail. Have to find the house, a grocery store and get everything ready. The big countdown to surgery has arrived. Tomorrow is my day of appointments with the physical therapists and Dr. Philippon. My heart starts to pound a bit as I even type that. I didn't sleep very well last night because I had dreams all night about surgery and the things that were going wrong. Yikes!! More Fat Tire ale tonite I think will be the solution for that. :-)

And, as soon as we started climbing in altitude, the headache arrived. I always struggle with adjusting to altitude and this time seems to be no exception. I am hoping that, with lots of water, it will magically disappear. I can't take aspirin because I am too close to surgery so I will have to tough it out. :-(

My hip is screaming from the long car ride and my lower back desperately needs Kathy so I think I can still convince myself that I need this surgery.

That being said . . . off to Vail!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Road to Kansas City

Ugh! I hate long car rides. I am good for about 2 hours and then I get very fidgety and find it hard to contain myself. Today was no exception. Add to that running into a sign in the middle of Missouri that read "Accident - I-70 CLOSED at 115 mile marker". I won't actually repeat here what I said and immediately started looking for an alternate route. A GPS is good for lots of things . . finding a way around a closed interstate is not one of them. Luckily, I pulled off to get gas and found a very helpful gas station attendant who sent us to Jefferson City and then on to Kansas City . . .not exactly a direct route but it worked. And, for some cheap entertainment along the way . . I found a sign outside a gas station/bait shop that read "Minners". It still makes me giggle. For those of you without relatives in southern Indiana -- what they really meant to write was "Minnows". :-) And, THAT my friends was the highlight of the trip.

Had some really great Kansas City Bar-b-Q for dinner - Arthur Bryant's. It's a hole in the wall but the pit cook has been doing it there for almost 50 years. He's experienced and it shows. Very tasty.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with a client and then driving across Kansas. Yikes!! Hopefully staying somewhere around Denver tomorrow night and then heading on to Vail on Tuesday.

I was hoping to take a picture of the "minners" sign today but somehow my camera battery is dead so I couldn't. I am charging it tonite in case I find another equally entertaining photo op tomorrow.

I came close to a couple of melt downs today -- one when I pulled out of my driveway and one when I said good bye to my parents -- but I managed to pull it together, take a deep breath and drive west. I actually feel good about things right now and am looking forward to seeing the mountains. Spring in the mountains . . .does it get any better than that?

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I have answered the question on what to pack to be away from home for 7 weeks. Now, the question remains . . did I get everything that I needed? I guess I'll find out. It's 10:30 and I have been at this almost all day. Almost meaning that I took time out to run errands and have a little fun. You know what they say about all work and no play.

I was going to pack the car tonite but there are things that I will need to use in the morning so it seemed futile to pack some things but not others so I have decided to wait and do everything in the morning. I guess that shouldn't be surprising since I tend to put everything single thing off to the last possible moment. This will be no exception. No need to change now. This system seems to work so well for me. :-)

At this point, I am just ready to go get this done and over with. It occurred to me today that this is the last weekend that I will be walking around without crutches, braces and other assorted paraphernalia. I will miss that. Taking away my independence does not come easy for me and that may be some of the hardest part of this recovery. I hate to ask someone else to get or do something for me.

Good news though -- I have finally worn Mitchell down and he has agreed to shave my legs. I think he has agreed just to make me shut up about it but I figure if it worked once it should work again. Wish me luck on that.

In 10 hours, we will pack the car and I won't see my house again until June. My hip was especially painful today. I dropped something in the kitchen and bent over to pick it up. When I stood again, my hip seemed to be out of place and it took a minute for the pain to subside. It has also been very tight and pops periodically. I will be grateful for all of that to stop as I know it will since I never have any of it with my right hip.

So, Vail here I come. Let the adventure begin . . . .

Friday, April 17, 2009

36 hours to go

I am leaving Sunday to drive to Kansas City to see a client on Monday so today was my last official day in the office. The Indy office is great! In fact, they took me out for beers to celebrate today. I am not entirely sure what they were celebrating but I suspect it might be the fact that they won't have to put up with me for the next 7 weeks. :-) Whatever the reason, it was lots of fun. In fact, here's a picture of the motley crew that makes up the Indy office. They actually are very wonderful to me and I appreciate the beers today everyone . . .THANKS!!

I had to face facts today that not everything was going to be finished when I walked out the door. I brought lots of files with me and I promise not to look at them until I am completely out of Vicodin . .. with a couple of exceptions . . . the only way I may be able to make sense of them is with Vicodin -- you know who you are!!

I have been running errands and packing tonite. I have a much better handle on what goes with me. I am totally focused on the task at hand . . remember 36 hours and I work exceptionally well under pressure.

More music on the i-touch tonite. Finger Eleven was the band of choice tonite.

I talked to a co-worker in Denver today who told me they were getting 24 inches of snow. Yikes!! Glad I bought the new tires and have all wheel drive. Getting up to Vail could be a bit tricky. I was hoping for warm 70 degree weather there. Guess I'm going to have to wait awhile. Oh well . . .

I am definitely ready to get on the road and let the adventure begin.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Last minute details

Details are excruciating for me. I am a big picture girl . . let someone else worry about the spreadsheets listing all the pros and cons and the lists with everything that needs to get done. I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants. Except, of course, when selecting the restaurants that one must try along the 1200 mile drive . . those have all been researched and thoughtfully planned out. Are you starting to understand the level of my lack of preparedness here?

My focus now is absolutely not on the clothes, toiletries, pills and other things that are absolute essentials but instead on making sure that i have new music on my i-pod and that i make sure to take my bose noise cancelling headphones. And, let's not forget the stack of books that will be packed first in the car. Here's the current list of what goes (in no particular order):

1. Angels & Demons -- I read The DaVinci code and liked it and have tried to read Angels & Demons about 10 times but have never really gotten into it. I figure since I will be trapped it might just be the time to finish it. We'll see.

2. Talent is Overrated - Recently recommended to me by a dear friend, the premise of this book is that there is no innate talent. Success comes from pure hard work.

3. Survivor - Written by Chuck Palahniuk who also wrote Fight Club and Choke. Recommended by my nephew, Mitch.

4. The Pillars of the Earth - An Oprah book club choice and recommended by Julie. How can I go wrong? Plus it's 973 pages long so it should keep me busy for awhile

5. Explorers of the Infinite - This may be my first read as it is about a subject that fascinates me. Why do people risk their lives for the sport they enjoy. It's a question that is difficult for me to answer about skydiving so I am looking forward to reading how others explain it.

6. Marley & Me -- Light and fluffy . .maybe for the Vicodin days.

7. Edgar Sawtelle - I think another Oprah book recommendation and definitely recommended by Kathy.

8. The Traveler's Wife - I don't really know much about it. Again recommended by Julie who I trust with my life so I figure I should take the book.

9. Mutant Message Down Under - I read this book years ago and have wanted to read it again. It's about a woman who goes on a walk-about with an Aboriginal tribe in Australia. Awesome book!

10. An assortment of Christopher Moore books -- haven't chosen them yet but will probably include his newest - Fool - and some golden oldies.

I am strangely calm and relaxed having convinced myself that I am taking an extended vacation with a personal trainer who will work with me twice a day every day for 6 weeks. I am blocking out the waking up from anesthesia and the inevitable pain that comes from having your hip dislocated and an expert surgeon poking around in the socket, cutting things away and tacking others back in place. I have talked to awesome people from the Howard Head sports medicine facility as well as Dr. Philippon's surgery scheduler and they are starting to execute on their end of the plan. They confirmed today that they have received all of pre-surgery lab works and physician release so I am good to go. One week from tonite, I will be heavily medicated and on my way to a life with no more hip pain.

I dug out my brace from my first hip surgery with Dr. Philippon and tried it on tonite just to prepare myself for the inevitable. Ugh!! I read in the instructions again that I will only have to wear it for 10 to 17 days. Ok, I can do just about anything for 10 to 17 days. Same with the anti-rotational boots. I got those out again today and shuddered so quickly put them away. These are the worst part for me. When you sleep, someone puts a pair of foam boots on your feet that have a strap that goes around your ankles. They keep you from accidental hip movement. For someone who is claustrophobic, all they end up doing is making you feel trapped. Yikes!! It's only 10 to 17 days though. I can do it!!

But for now . . . back to the details . . I think my i-pod is ready to sync new music.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I love pressure

What is it about me that makes me put everything off to the last possible minute, fret about it and then suddenly kick into high gear and get it all done? When the chips are down and things HAVE to be done and there is no time to get them done, I think more clearly, know exactly what to do and do some of my best work. The other thing that's weird is that it actually relaxes me. So tonite, having had one of my most productive days, I am relaxed, happy and ready to get to Vail.

The other thing that I realized today is how truly important friends and family are because, just like me under pressure, when I really need them, they totally kick in and are there for me. It makes me feel like I am the luckiest girl alive. So, thanks everyone!!

And, now the hip update. What I don't think I have actually written about in any great detail is the lengths I have gone to in my head to try and convince myself that I really don't need this surgery. In fact, on Tuesday as I was walking through my house, I decided to cancel surgery because I was having no hip pain. Dr. April decided that, with all of the exercise and building of quad muscle, I had built up enough support to carry a torn labrum without having it fixed. Well, apparently my hip had it's own evil plan. I went shopping downtown tonite for last minute things -- more yoga pants, capris and loungewear as well as athletic shoes that slip on -- so I walked a bit more than I have been doing. Let me just say . .the hip is bad and needs to be fixed. In fact, it's currently throbbing just to make sure that I got the message loud and clear and so there will no further fantasies of canceling surgery. Ok. . .got it!

So, one week from tonite, I will be enjoying my last dinner thinking about what's to come. I also realized tonite that I will be spending 6 weeks working out twice a day every single day. It almost feels like I am going to a fat farm or leading the life of a hollywood starlet getting ready for a bikini scene in a movie. I've never worked out twice a day 7 days a week for 6 weeks ever in my life. What is the potential here??? Well, we're about to find out. Yippee!!

The adventure begins Sunday morning around 8:30 am when we pack and car and hit the road. Whatever is undone at that point stays undone until June and my focus will be looking forward onto bigger and better things.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The countdown continues

Today is Tuesday and my time is running short. Since I always work better under pressure, I am actually starting to get things accomplished. I have brand new tires on my car, I have an appointment to get the oil changed and the car checked out before I drive 1200 miles and I have a stack of things that need to go with me.

Vail Valley Medical and Howard Head Sports Medicine has also kicked into high gear. Apparently there is a magical number of a week away from surgery that causes them to call with some frequency to get you on the "plan". Now, let me assure you that I am VERY good with that. It gives me great comfort to know that someone else is thinking through details other than me. :-) I talked to a lovely person named Chelsea today who is the patient coordinator for physical therapy. I confirmed that I will be staying out there for 6 weeks of physical therapy and she applauded. She said that half of her job these days is convincing people to stay longer than absolutely required. She explained that Dr. P has a fairly intense therapy schedule but it is tried and true and told me that I will have a much easier recovery by staying out there rather than trying to coordinate it from Indy. Yipppeeee!! And just to show how truly organized they are: here's my own personal schedule - on Wednesday, April 22, I arrive for a PT assessment at 9:20. At 10:00 I have an MRI. At 10:30, I see Dr. Philippon and his surgical staff. Chelsea told me that he is doing 3 surgeries that day and will determine who goes in what order after he assesses all of us. There is a chance, if I am last, that I will spend the night in the hospital. Boo!! If I am released on Thursday, I will come and have a PT session before I leave the hospital. If I spend the night, I will see them at 8:20 on Friday morning. Starting on Saturday, April 25 and continuing through May 31, I will have PT every day at 11:20 and 4:30. I keep thinking . . . flat stomach and great legs. :-)

I promise to post pictures so you can see the progress I am making.

I will close tonite with a giant THANK YOU to all of my friends who are doing their best to keep me calm and focused on the end result. I appreciate you more than I can ever tell you.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

One week to go

I hate last minute details. Since I am driving to Colorado, I decided that I should take a look at the tires on my car yesterday. There really is something to the saying, ignorance is bliss. Yep, you guessed it . . need new tires. So, I did the call around to all of the local tire stores to find out what they had in the right size and spent way too much time listening to lectures about what I should do. Just answer my questions please . .. I am not stupid. I settled on Goodyears but no one had them in stock so i have to wait until Monday to actually get them put on.

Probably the worst part of yesterday was going to Walmart. I realized that I will need prescriptions refilled before I get back to Indy. The only way to get it done was to register them with a national chain with a location close to where I am staying in Edwards. My most hated store -- Walmart -- has a location 10 miles away from me . . on my daily drive to and from Vail. I swear the people at Walmart are worse than those who hang out at the BMV. The pharmacist, however, was awesome and extremely helpful so the almost 2 hours that I had to spend there was worthwhile.

Today, I will continue to pile things in my bedroom that need to go with me and then next Saturday will decide what actually goes. One week from right now I will be driving out of my garage for the long drive west. Wow. It's sunday morning, I have really good coffee and am cooking so, for a change, I am calm and rational.

I even watched some video on youtube of the actual surgery and was fascinated by what they really can do. In fact, for those of you who aren't sqeamish, here are a couple of links that actually show an arthroscopic labrum debridement and repair. If you can get past the dislocated hip, it's pretty cool.

The pain level in my left hip is up a bit today and my lower back is killing me which appears to be providing the proper motivation to look forward to this surgery rather than dread it. As I prepare for my conversation with Dr. Philippon, I have been thinking about all of the different pains and problems I have had in the past year. Most of the time, when I walk, it clicks or snaps but that has stopped happening recently. I still have to hesitate for a minute when I first stand up to make sure it's going to snap back into place and allow me to walk forward without falling down. There was a time last summer that my hip simply would give out without notice followed by me hitting the ground. That seems to have stopped also.

Bottom line . . . I am looking forward to working with the physical therapists at Howard Head Sport Medicine and working my way back to being in great shape again!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sometimes I am my own worst enemy

This morning I came dangerously close to a full blown meltdown. I decided that I needed to surf the web to see if I could find the exact post operative physical therapy protocols. Why you ask?. . . . Why do I do anything I do??? So, I find this dr in new york who trained under Philippon and has all of his pre and post surgery pt protocols posted online. Excellent I think and immediately click through. What I find initially is that he does indeed follow Philippon's post op instructions -- CPM machine, crutches, etc. so I feel confident that I will have something similar in physical therapy to what he prescribes. There are several pages of boring PT stuff which i quickly lose interest in . . . especially when I find that he has posted videos of the actual surgery. For those of you who are sqeamish . . stop reading right here!

I immediately click right to the video of how they establish portals for the arthroscopic instruments into the hip socket. What was I thinking????? So, the first thing I notice is that something doesn't look quite right in the upper thigh area then I realize that's because the hip is dislocated and is causing a grotesque bulge in an area where there shouldn't be a bulge. Yikes, a little freaky I think. Ok, got through that. Then, of course, the next step is actually making incisions to get through the skin. Fine with that too . . a little blood but the incisions are small and the scalpel is really sharp so no big trauma there. What came next caused me to scream out loud, stand up out of my seat and immediately exit out of the web site. In order to get the camera into the hip socket . . . well, let's just say there is MUCH force applied. It literally made me feel like i was going to throw up. I so understand now why the pain is so great immediately after surgery. Wow. . . . I know I would have been better off not having actually seen that. It's now seared into my brain and I can't close my eyes without seeing it. Yikes!!!

All of this being said, I am forever thankful that there are people like Dr. Philippon who things like this obviously don't bother. And, I am infinitely thankful that I have found him and that he is willing to do this to me. So, two weeks from today, I will be one day post surgery in a blissful Vicodin haze.

This is my last full weekend at home so there will many, many things to do as I prepare to move to Vail for 7 weeks. For those SRM's and CSM's reading this blog -- THANK YOU for all you will do to help my clients while I am out. You have my eternal gratitude. For all of my friends -- no calling and making fun of me in my Vicodin haze.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

2 weeks from today

It will all be over . . .and just beginning.

I need to start making a list of things to do this weekend. I have to admit, when I feel overwhelmed I have a hard time getting things done because I really don't even know where to start. That's basically how I feel right now yet somehow I have to make this work. My stomach feels like I swallowed a boulder and I can barely eat. I wake up in the middle of the night after having dreamed that i am in Colorado and have forgotten to bring something with me. I am oddly hyper yet get nothing accomplished. I feel like the energizer bunny that simply spins in circles.

I am not doing very well in focusing on the positives rather than the negatives. I tend to be a worst case scenario girl so I can be pleasantly surprised if things turn out better. It drives me crazy. I go over every possible outcome in my head over and over.

I am working out like a maniac yet I know that these lovely muscles in my legs will disappear right before my eyes and I will be helpless to do much about it.

I am worried that Mitchell really won't shave my legs and I'll have to go to physical therapy with hairy legs. What will A-Rod think? It might ruin my chances with him. :-)

But in the end, when I can relax for just a minute and breathe, I know everything is going to be ok. Actually, I know everything is going to be better than ok. I will have my life back once again.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

15 days till surgery

Today I got a phone call from a coordinator at the Howard Head Sports Medicine facility. They have sent me a very thorough email outlining all of the requirements for therapy. Looks like I will be quite busy. She left a message on my cell phone and laughed when she said I would be surprised how much physical therapy protocols have changed since I had my last surgery 6 years ago. It was sort of an evil laugh. There are also multiple instructions to bring an extra gym bag to the hospital to pack all of the post-op braces, instruments and assorted "things" that will need to go home with me. I think I am beginning to understand the evil laugh. I did read an article today that said A-Rod was spotted in Vail 2 weeks after surgery without crutches. That would truly be my dream come true . . .not spotting A-Rod without crutches mind you . . .me being without crutches after two weeks!! In the post-surgery instruction manual, there is also a reference to having an occupational therapist come by to teach me how to dress and go to the bathroom. Ok, now what's up with that???? It's hip surgery . .what exactly happens while I am under???? Do I forget how to dress myself and go to the bathroom? Mitchell - get the Depends.

So yesterday I said that I am having a major freak out over the waking up after surgery part and have promised myself to stop focusing on that and look forward to all of things that I will be able to do again after surgery. So, here's my initial list of things:

1. go for a long walk with buzz
2. spend a weekend kayaking down a lazy river and camp on a sandy beach
3. plan my canyoneering trip for next spring/summer
4. sleep without waking up when i move my leg wrong
5. spend all sunday cooking
6. yard work
7. learn to snowboard or ski
8. plan a trip to use up some frequent flier miles
9. spend 2 days walking through the St James art fair with my sister
10. buy some new clothes

I am feeling a little apprehensive but ready to get it done and move on to having my life back!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Good news!

The physical therapy clinic in Vail is part of my PPO! Yippeeee!!! I got a call today from them and they had actually called my insurance company so they had all sorts of good information. I am thrilled. I am wondering . . . if they can get A-Rod back to playing baseball and Kurt Warner back to playing football, can they get me back to playing something? anything? :-) Maybe I'll have surgery and suddenly become a pro ______________ (you fill in the blank).

As the time gets closer, I get more and more anxious. Even though he's done my right hip, I keep going through all of the what if's . . . what if it doesn't work, what if it can't be fixed, what if . . . . . Well, the last one is a result of a phone call with a friend of mine today who informed me that a co-worker of his went in for knee surgery and died at age 51. Now THAT'S something that I really didn't need to hear today.

It's also time to worry about the really stupid stuff -- do i leave the outside lights on or off? How will I get my sprinkler system turned on and running for the year? I won't get to see all of the landscaping that I did last year bloom this year. Who's going to shave my legs and paint my toenails after surgery? Who will pick up the pamphlets that the Jehovah Witness people keep leaving at my door?

Ok, and my last thought for the night -- I am obsessed about the pain and nausea when waking up from anesthesia. It's a dread that has begun to take over any thought I have about the upcoming surgery. I have to get it out of my head and focus on the positives that will come about as a result of surgery. That is my focus for the remainder of the week. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Any thoughts or suggestions would be welcomed.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Two weeks before I leave

Ahhhh Sunday morning . . mostly a time for some serious peace and quiet but not the case this morning. Remember that I said I had been having no hip pain . . . HA!!! So, as typical, I did yard work yesterday for about 3 hours which appears was about 2 hours and 59 minutes longer than my hip could stand. I guess in a way it's ok. At least now I can say, with 100% confidence, that I am ready to get to Vail and get this over with. In fact, I am even going to start packing today to make sure I get all of the things that I will need for 7 weeks away from home. Which, in fact, brings up an interesting question . . . what exactly will I need for 7 weeks away from home?? If I sit and think about the coordination of all of this, I will have a complete and total freak-out, meltdown so I don't. I just plug away one step at a time.

Still no word on whether or not the physical therapy facility is a PPO with my health insurance. I am hoping to get a final answer on that on Monday so I can go to Plan B if necessary.

I also get to go have even more blood drawn tomorrow morning. Yippee!!! I think that will take care of all of my pre-op testing though.

I still need to notify all of the neighbors that I will be missing for some time and ask for their help in insuring that some, nice family doesn't take up residence in my house . . . a la The Visitor for those movie buffs. I also need to get my car in for the "please do everything you can to make sure it doesn't strand me in the middle of Kansas" check-up.

Ok, must stop now and get a whole list of things done.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Still counting down

Ok. It's been a week since I last posted. Sorry! I have a really great excuse because my sister has been in town and she makes me drink and forget to do things. :-) Are you buying that?

So, here's the update. I was just noticing this morning that I am not having much hip pain. It's kind of like the noise in your car that disappears the moment you pull into the mechanic's bay. Now I am fantasizing about seeing Dr. Philippon on April 22 and having him tell me that it's healed itself and sending me on my way with some fabulous physical therapy (I am picturing a big, strapping physical therapist named Hans with the piercing blue eyes). Deep down I know it's crazy talk but a girl can dream, right?

As of today, I have 10 office days left (and I am in a total state of panic over that). Many things to do and not enough time to get them all done.

I am seeing a lawn service this weekend and having that strange new noise in my furnace looked at and getting the stray leaves from the winter picked up. Oh yeah and I am working out like crazy and trying to have a little fun at least. All of my friends are trying to see me before I leave. Do you think they think I am never coming back????

Everything is set with Dr. Philippon's office. I am still waiting to hear whether or not the physical therapy place is a PPO with my insurance. That could be a HUGE wrinkle for me. Worst case scenario is that I stay out there for 2 weeks and do physical therapy and pay non-PPO rates (YIKES) and then fly home to do the remainder. Not ideal but it may be all I can afford to do. Stay tuned on that one.

3 weeks from today, I will be one day post-op, drugged up on Vicodin and looking forward to scheduling my canyoneering trip!!