Saturday, April 26, 2008

Getting personal

Looking at my posts in the last week, it seems it might be time for a personal update. Hence, this is a long one.

I haven't felt much like posting much of anything in the past seven days (aside from my AI rant) for a number of reasons.

Let's start with WORK

I've been pretty tired at the end of the day and the last thing I've wanted to do is bury my head back in a computer on my personal time. Work is very busy right now. Incoming inquiries have picked-up and, at the same time, I'm pro-actively prospecting for new business for the first time.

In the first year of this job I was really getting the lay of the land: organizating, creating systems, contracts, marketing pieces, understanding the customer etc... Virtually all the deals I closed were a result of incoming inquiries either from word-of-mouth, web-searches, or customer referrals - in other words, passive business. This was great because we still had a killer year but, obviously, the job of a sales director is not to sit and wait for the deals to find you, you have to get out there and find the deals.

So, this year I have some sales goals, and I gotta meet them. Unfortunately, the first quarter of the year was taken up with getting a new CRM program online (CRM = customer relationship management) which would enable me to automate a lot of the lead tracking and follow-up so I could effectively manage more leads at one time. In addition, the same program helps us to manage existing customer communication and data (the other 1/2 of my job) so, as a company, we can all work from the same set of information. Researching the program that was right for us, test-driving different products, speaking to sales people, and then eventually getting the product online, customized, all our existing customer data in there, all my leads in there, and then setting up e-marketing materials in there... all of this took a heck of a lot of time. And at the same time I am dealing with incoming inquiries AND trying to create content and web pages for a customer support site.

Fortunately incoming inquiries dipped to virtually nothing in the first quarter, which enabled me to get some of this stuff done. Unfortunately, when it was done, I had nothing serious in my sales pipeline. Hence, yesterday, I closed the first deal I've closed in almost 3 months. What a relief - for me and the team! Incoming inquiries have also picked up and I have some seriously good leads in my pipeline now. But it all adds up to work and at the end of the day I'm too tired to rehash my day or whatever else is going on with me in a blog post.


The weather here is beautiful in April and May - mid 70s, sunny, clear, and a slight breeze. Because of this, the last thing I've wanted to do is to sit inside and type on a computer, or even just have my head looking at a computer screen (because of course I could take my laptop outside.) When I'm done with work I want to sit outside and play with my dogs, or just enjoy the sounds of frogs croaking or birds chirping or the wind in the trees. Also, when Hubby gets home early enough, getting out on our bikes has become our new favorite (and most importantly free) thing to do after work. When the weather is like this, the last thing I want to do is sit and write about life... I want to be out there living it.

Full HIP disclosure

I've been waiting to post some info on my hip because I wanted to pull together a number of different things that are going on, and summarize them in one post vs. blabbing about things that may or may not be true or surmising vs. knowing.

In general, as you know from my gleefully boasty-posts, I have been recovering at warp speed. I've beaten almost every timeline or expectation for recovery that was set pre-surgery and, for the most part, am back to doing all the things I did before I went under the knife. It's been just over 6 weeks at this point and, all things considered, I am very happy with how fast I've regained my mobility. In fact, I came along so quickly that my Physical Therapist "graduated" me two Wednesdays ago, after only three 30 minute sessions.

Now I know what you're thinking: Wow, this is great! You must be so happy!

Well, let me give you a little reality check: despite having gained back a decent range of motion for the average person, I still have the same pain in the same ranges of motion that I had before the surgery (actually a lot worse), don't have back the full range of motion I had before the surgery, and am still popping like a nuked bag of Orville Redenbacher.

Aparently my HMO PT only covers getting me back to functional, not getting me back to optimal. Within my network, in terms of post-operative care, that is the goal. The PT even told me that the pain I am experiencing may be "in the joint" and may never go away. Ditto the clicking.

Well, I gotta tell you, I may be in my dreaded 30s where everyone tells you things are supposed to start going down-hill, but I aint ready to concede any level of pain, flexibility, range of motion, strength, or ability. I eat right (mostly), I don't do drugs, I exercise regularly, I moisturize, and aside from this hip thing, I consider myself to be in excellent health. I take the time to look after myself and I see the results of that every day. "Graduating" for me isn't walking without a limp, it's seeing not only an improvement from pre-surgery to post-surgery me, but also working back to where I was pre-injury - which for me was better than the average person of my age. Otherwise, what was the point of the surgery, right?

So, as is pretty typical for me, I took matters into my own hands. I Googled "sports physical therapists Sacramento" and started calling around. My goal was to find someone who worked with active people, athletes, getting them back in shape after injury or surgery; an expert who would spend more than 30, interrupted minutes with me, would evaluate me week-to-week, perform some hands-on manual therapy, and have a higher goal for my recovery than for that of a 60 year old woman post hip replacement.

And I think I found him.

Eric is a partner in a physical therapy practice about 10 miles from where I live. Both he and his partner, Chris, have degrees in kinesiology, are licensed physical therapists and personal trainers. I had my 90 minute evaluation with Eric on Monday and immediately started to feel like there was hope for a more complete recovery. He spent the entire 90 minutes with me (no jumping between me and the 2 other people cloaked away in a private room getting ice or ultrasound therapy) and managed to identify some specific problems that are causing my pain:

1) Yes, my IT band is still extremely tight. This is causing the pain around my knee joint and outer hip/thigh in lateral planes of motion. As we know, this can be worked out through manual therapy, massage, some exercises, and some stretching.

2) I also have a tight psoas muscle. The psoas muscles lie behind the abdominal contents, running from the lumbar spine to the inner thighs near the hip joints. (More explanation here, if you're interested). Prescription here is stretching again.

3) I still have swelling in my joint from the surgery. Must not forget, despite appearing to most like I never even had a surgery, I'm just 5-6 weeks out. My body is still repairing itself. The swelling is, of course, preventing full, unobstructed range of motion in my joint and, is in itself, probably painful. Solution? Ice. Still! 5-6 weeks later. Ice!

4) I probably have scar tissue from the surgery in my joint that is preventing my femur from sliding around smoothly in there, meaning that when I pivot I'm still impinging the femur against my acetabular (the edge of the hip socket) resulting in the pain feeling a lot like the initial problem I had surgery to cure - acetabular impingement. Range of motion exercises and some stretching that forces my femur to move within the socket is the solution here.

5) I have weak gluteal (butt) muscles on the right side, probably a result of not really engaging them while being 'injured'. Any weakness in one muscle obviously causes compensation in related or opposing muscles. The related and opposing muscles to the gluteals? The psoas and the IT band!

Aha! It all starts to come together. And it should for a $100 evaluation visit and $80 an hour thereafter. Yes. Ouch. Getting back to optimal health is going to be expensive. Hence, I need to close some more sales!

All of Eric's diagnosis was proven true when I had my 6 week follow-up with my surgeon this past Wednesday. He reassured me that he was confident that everything, structurally, had been taken care of in the surgery. It is very unlikely, he says, that there is any structural reason behind my remaining issues. I told him about my experience with the initial PT and he didn't seem surprised and, while he also thought it sucked that I had to pay, agreed with my course of action in finding a private therapist who could work with me on the remaining issues. I told him the new PT's diagnosis and he felt it made sense also. However, he does want to see me back in 4-6 weeks, perhaps for some x-rays at that time, just to be sure.

So, that's where we're at. Despite having health insurance it's going to cost me $320 a month to get back into shape. It's a lot of money but it's also non-negotiable for me.

So, that about sums it up. This took way too long to write and it's already half way through my Saturday morning. I've got a laundry list of chores to do, including laundry itself, so I'm outta here....

Have a great weekend.


e said...

I think you're doing the right thing w/ your hip. And I wouldn't worry about the pain, it will get better. All the things you're doing, the PT you'll be adding, will work.

As I read your post, I think what my surgeon said about taking 4 months to heal meant that it would take about 4 months to be 100%, as in, pre-surgery, pre-injury, pain, full range of motion, even muscles strength. It sounds like you're heading in a similar direction, though you most likely will get there a little sooner than 4 months.

I know that after 6 weeks I still had some significant pain. I still have some pain around the portals, as you know.

The popping and clicking might actually go away as your scar tissue works its way out of there.

I think you will continue to improve at lighting speed over the next few weeks, and you will be back to full range of motion and everything else you need to get from the surgery.

It just takes time. Not a lot of time, but some time. I'm still in PT (only for another 3 weeks or so, but still in PT, and my surgery was 1/17!), they're keeping me until all the muscles have rebuilt and all those bad habits I developed from the pain are gone.

Good on ya for being proactive. Surgery is only part of the picture.

Mala said...

Loved the update. Now I'm all caught up. I have too many things going on too, and once I get a breather I'll post an update too. Let me know how long Pauline plans to be here - Evani needs to pay her a visit. Hugs...

Meagan said...
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