Monday, March 17, 2008

The apples and pears

More "firsts" abounded last night, making my sorrowful goodbyes and series of "lasts" before the surgery seem somewhat pitiful.

First, when Hubby was out at work and I was forced to fend for myself, I realized it was actually much easier to get around on one crutch vs. two. Two crutches are more unwieldy and pretty much made me more focused on how to coordinate or avoid hitting stuff with them, rather than zeroing-in on what to do with my leg/hip. In addition, both of my hands were tied-up, meaning there was no way to take something from one room or surface to another: I couldn't make myself a cup of tea unless I drank it where I made it, or bring in an oatmeal cookie to munch on while I watched movies. Finally, I realized, I wasn't really 'using' the one on my right side - I just didn't seem to need it - so, I ditched it for a few minutes to see how it felt. Again, it felt better, more stable not less. I tried the cane instead (which would seem to make sense if I've dropped a crutch) but I didn't feel as supported or stable. Decision pretty much made there. So, I'm down to one crutch and walking relatively normally overall. Small, slow steps but toes, knees, hips straight ahead, with barely any limp. Yipee!

Last night, after Hubby got home, I decided I wanted to see if I could get up the stairs (hence the title of this blog: apples and pears are cockney rhyming slang for "stairs"). Since there are 13, unbroken stairs between the top and bottom floor of our house, I was pefectly prepared not to make it all the way up but I wanted to try. In the afternoon I did some research on proper crutch/cane technique for climbing stairs on the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website and my plan was to test their tips on 4-5 stairs up, then down, to see how it felt, Hubby standing by just in case. So, after dinner, we geared-up and I nervously followed the instructions I'd printed up from the web. I was prepared for pain, stiffness, and (especially on the way down) instability and feeling top-heavy. However, it was surprisingly easy. So easy, I was a little miffed, as was Hubby. As I reached the bottom stair without problem, we both looked at each other and sort of mumbled, "Huh." Like, who knew? We'd really built this stair-climbing thing up to be a monumental task and it seemed like it really wasn't going to be.

So, after initial reconnaissance, the plan was hatched: we would get me up the stairs approximately 30 minutes before scheduled bed time, I would take a shower (whoeeee, my first since the op), get in my PJs and.... wait for it... SLEEP IN BED! Hubby was practically giddy with anticipation - this could mean he could also sleep in bed for the first time since the surgery. No more cricked-necks from the couch for us, baby!

The plan went really well. Getting up the stairs was slow but not physically painful or taxing. Showering was a little harder, even with my cool 'spa-seat'. Issues came up like: how do you get your own pants off when you can't bend down to pull them off and can't lift your leg high enough to facilitate, or where do you put the crutches once you've got yourself in the stall, and how do you reach over to pick up the shower gel from the floor? But generally speaking it wasn't too bad and it was certainly nice to have warm water flowing all over my body. Then Hubby got me set-up on the bed with my books, pills, a hot chocolate, the remote controls, blankets, heating pads, and a bevvy of pillows large and small. It was delicious, laying there on my comfy, cozy bed - a place I didn't think I'd see for a couple of weeks at least.

I also started doing some post-op exercises that were listed on the AAOS site for patients who had complete hip replacement. They were bed exercises that were recommended immediately following surgery to help ensure good circulation and avoid muscle stiffness or atrophy. I had found them when looking for crutch and cane techniques. (Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?) Before you start worrying, the exercises are very mild, done whilst laying on the bed and, again, designed for patients with total hip replacement immediately after surgery. Given then my op wasn't anywhere near as drastic, that it's been 4 days since my procedure, and that I found the workout on a reputable site, I felt very confident that they would not hinder my recovery. However, I was prepared to stop if anything hurt or felt funky. I also had Hubby standing by to support the movement with the first few reps, to ease me in slowly. They weren't exactly easy, especially the one involving abduction of the leg (I was nervous about that) but I did them and felt pleased I was able to. I'm going to do them every night before I go to sleep now. Hopefully they will help me be in good shape for PT in a week or so from now.

Sleeping in bed was wonderful for both Hubby and I. You would have thought you'd just put us in the Queen's rooms at Buckingham Palace, we were so giggly and excited to be back in bed for the night. Not only could we actually sleep next to each other again (something we missed) but we had more room, AND I was closer to a bathroom, meaning Hubby didn't have to get up to clear the way for me during the night. Talk about win-win all round! We could barely force ourselves out of bed this morning, it was so comfy-cozy.

But we had to get up because this morning we had our appointment with the tax consultant at 8:30am.

More good news there, too. Our tax guy recommended we file married/jointly this year as it would reduce my effective tax rate from 28% to 15%. Um, like... WOW! He also gave us some tips on how to use the townhouse rental to it's full decuctible advantage in '08. The only disadvantage, of course, is that instead of me getting a fat refund this year, my refund and Hubby's taxes (which he pays at year end, being self-employed) may cancel each other out. Either way, it's a better financial outcome for us and will help us pay for our upcoming trip to Jamaica. Woohooo!

The only bad news about visiting this guy was that he didn't have a bathroom in his office. It was one of those business parks where several suites share a common bathroom and you get a key to access it. When the receptionist began to describe the walk to the bathroom from their suite, I had to shake my head - I'm doing well but there was no way I could walk that far in one go! It was bad enough they were on the 2nd floor without an elevator. Oh well, my adjusted tax rate made up for having to cork it for 30 minutes.

Back at home now and excited about a day relaxing in front of the tv, watching some chick-flicks. I still get the occasional wave of sleepiness come over me and I plan to indulge it perhaps once today and again tomorrow. I'm back to work on Wednesday, so I'm resolved to enjoy what's left of my medical leave.


1 comment:

CGBCYouth said...

What? He didn't get into the shower with you? Hehe...

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