Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Week AP (after Philippon)

It's been one week since I saw Dr. Philippon and got the shot. I guess in some ways, I think Dr. Philippon is capable of nothing short of a miracle. :-) If I had to admit it, deep down inside I always think that my hip will be better just by the fact that Dr. Philippon looked at it.

So, I have been diligently doing all of my assigned PT exercises - 2 times per day in fact. I think I can feel my gluteus medius getting stronger as I write this. HA!! Maybe it's the placebo effect of being at Howard Head and having the physical therapy team tell me that they think I can solve this through exercise and stretching but I actually do feel the tiniest bit better. I went for a walk last night and worked in my garden a little and wasn't in excruciating pain so I think that's an improvement. I am cautiously optimistic I will say. I am still having lower back pain but that could be from what I found out last week is, "narrowing joint space in my lower spine". Ugh!!!

And, under the category of, "when it rains; it pours", I came home from Colorado to find my toilet in my 1/2 bath leaking. The plumber was out yesterday and reported that, when the previous owners put in the hardwood floors, the toilet was not set properly and that is has been leaking for some time. I need to call a contractor to check my subfloor and get my hardwood floor replaced. That, of course, after I call my insurance agent. Ugh!!! And, on top of everything else, I am starting a pretty intense travel schedule for work. Great!! There may not be a toilet in there for some time to come.

And, lastly, for all of my fellow hip pain sufferers - I bought a memory foam mattress topper for my bed - 3" thick - because I was having so much trouble getting comfortable at night to sleep. I found that if I stayed in one place too long, I would wake up from the pain. I am pleased to report - NO MORE! I love this thing. No more waking up and I am pretty sure that I don't move much at all during the night. It is marvelous. It provides a perfect cushion and I no longer feel the pressure of lying on a hip or a stiff back from lying too long on my back. I can highly recommend it. I bought mine at Sam's Club but I have seen them at Costco and online at If you are having trouble sleeping, it could be the best $150 you ever spent.

On a completely different note, it's going to be 96 here today with another day of a heat advisory. I am so over this!!! It's so humid that the windows are wet on my house. There is no end in sight and it's making me more than a bit crabby. I looked at the calendar today and instead of lamenting the fact that summer is almost over, I considered doing my happy dance. Bring on fall!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Day in Vail

So here it was - THE day. I arrived at Howard Head to have LJ do my strength assessment. She didn't make any significant comments to me but I could definitely feel that I had some weak areas. Then off to Lindsay for physical therapy. Weak (very weak) gluteus medius. Yikes -- I was in big trouble for that. She prescribed two specific exercises to strengthen those. Also found that my hip flexors are inflamed! Painfully inflamed. Adductors a little tight and grouchy but Lindsay attributes both of those to the fact that I have weak glute meds. Ok, ok. . . i'm on the program!

Next it was off to the Steadman Hawkins mri. I have never done an mri in my life without valium. I hate, dread, abhor, freak out at and generally dislike being enclosed. MRI's are especially bad for me. But there I was lying down on the slider without any artificial courage. I asked for some reggae music to be played thinking that would send me to my Jamaica vacation memories. What I had forgotten is that the MRI is so loud it's hard to hear anything let alone music. I had a slight panic attack when they slid me in but then I opened my eyes and realized that my head was actually almost out the other end. I love being 5'10"!! I was able to relax and calm down and it was over before i knew it. Whew!

Now, my favorite part - I had about an hour and a half before my dr appointment so I headed into Vail village and had a fabulous lunch at La Bottega. Sat outside on the patio and enjoyed a perfectly beautiful day in the village. A little shoe shopping after lunch made my walk back to Vail Valley Medical all the more pleasant.

Now for the scary but much anticipated piece - seeing Dr. Philippon. I don't think I have said this for awhile - I LOVE Dr. Philippon - not in the freaky stalker way but in the he is one of the coolest people I know way. He is truly interested in listening and figuring out what works well and what doesn't work and how to constantly improve. I trust him completely, 100% and can't imagine what my life would be like if I had never found him. I am eternally grateful to my hip dr in Indy who sent me to him in 2003.

Anyway, I digress. Dr. Philippon looked at my MRI and was relieved to see that there are no adhesions (scar tissue) impeding my recovery. Everything looked good but there was indication of inflammation in my hip flexors. We discussed my psoas and I told him of my trials and tribulations with it over the winter. Time for examination - up on the table and poking on the hip flexors. VERY TENDER . . .OUCH!!! So, to make a very long story short - he decided that the best course for me was a shot of Kenalog directly into the hip flexor, wait 3 months and if no improvement, back to surgery to do a psoas release. He explained that he just completed a new study over the weekend and found a correlation between the angle of the femoral head in the socket and the psoas. Apparently I am one of the lucky ones that is not "normal" and could have an issue with it. And, the best part, apparently he is well versed in the art of giving shots. No pain, no wincing, no wailing and no cursing. I barely noticed that he had given me a shot. Whew!! The part I was dreading most was nothing!

So, what do I feel? Relief and nervous anticipation of what the next 3 months bring. I am headed to physical therapy tomorrow for a new regimen which will include lots of pool time. I am 100% committed to doing everything I can to avoid surgery although I think Dr. Philippon believes that will be the eventual outcome. Ugh!!! Third time's a charm???

Dinner at Montauk's tonite - 1/2 price martini and raw bar. I'll drown my sorrows, adjust my attitude and forge on. Apparently this journey is not over yet.

But, if I have to be on this journey, there is no place I would rather be than Vail, Colorado and NO ONE that I would trust my recovery to than Dr. Philippon!!


Monday, August 2, 2010

My happy place

Ft Collins, Colorado. Maybe a little too touristy, college(y) and busy but a fabulous place nonetheless. Had a fantastic steak dinner in Loveland last night, brewery tours on tap (no pun intended) today and no big plans for the evening. I am amazed at the peaceful feeling that comes over me as soon as I see the big sky and the mountains. I absolutely love it here and must figure out a way to live here someday. It's definitely my happy place.

I usually get an altitude headache the moment I arrive in Colorado. Thankfully (knock on wood) I have escaped so far. I am hoping that I can spend a few days at 5,000 feet, acclimatize and then head to higher country in Vail with no ill effects.

I am dying to hike in Rocky Mountain National Park but know that is not to be on this trip. Grrrrrrr

Feeling rested, relaxed and ready to tackle whatever comes on Wednesday. Of course, it's Monday and I am only faced with which beer to taste and whether to plan a light dinner so I can have ice cream later. I love this!