I am going to continue updating this blog periodically but I have also created a website that I can use as a science blog/ portfolio just so I can practise my writing before it becomes time to start my thesis. If anyone is interested the address is: https://eleanorsnr.wixsite.com/bionicbiologist
Thanks in advance and any constructive criticism would be greatly received.
So although my technical 1st hip anniversary was on September 11th 2018, due to my appointments being pushed back till the end of October I didn’t have my latest check up until Halloween.
The check up itself was short and sweet and boring…nothing has changed since last year which is really good news. This at least makes me realise that I can live a relatively normal life even without the hip. I’ve been on holiday to Budapest, Vienna and Bratislava and travelled across England and everything has been fine 🙂 I have also now joined the University of Liverpool Swim team which is really good fun, even though I’m not allowed to do breaststroke due to the chance of dislocation. But it’s really good for getting me back into cardio without stressing out my joints. I’m also back spinning and going to gym classes and lifting weights, all things I’ve sorely miss over the past year or 2 when my hip was really bad and I was struggling to walk.
All in all this is a pretty positive post, I’m off to Thailand in a few days, I’m over half way through my PhD and I’m coming to the end of a really fun placement in public engagement.
I am also thinking of expanding this blog as a place where I can create a mini science writing portfolio for myself, partly so I can remember what I have written and can practise my writing (which I know needs a lot of help) and partly so anyone who’s interested can have a nosy at what I actually do.
Thanks for reading,
So a couple of weeks ago I finally hit the 6 month mark since having my hip replacement. I can honestly say these have been the best 6 months I’ve had in the past 3 years. No pain, no awkward limping and no horrible snapping noises coming from my hip every-time I move. It did take a couple of months for my muscles to settle down, which I guess is to be expected, especially since any muscle I build will pull on my scar tissue.
I’ve been discharged from physio, but I’m still doing the exercises as much as possible to keep my muscles strong enough to hold my hip in position. I’m also so happy I can finally use the cross trainer for a reasonable length of time rather than my legs screaming at me after 2 minutes.
So all in all, a good 6 months and I’m happy I’m getting back to my normal, pre-injury self even though it’s going to be a long journey and I’ll post my recovery workouts on here later 🙂
Again, sorry for this being a few days later than my actual check up, been very busy with Christmas stuff and work. So I went to see my surgeon to have my 3 month check up, feels like it has been a long 3 months, especially with recovery and having all of my mobility restrictions. I got another x-ray done and finally got to see what my new hip actually looks like which was pretty cool and I was told that everything looks perfectly fine which was great news.
Everything seems to be healing well although I still keep getting muscle twinges which kept freaking me out, I was told that this is normal and will settle down eventually. It’s probably not helped by all the physio I’m doing which is (slowly) building back my muscle in my leg. I was also told that I don’t need to be as careful with my movements but to still exercise caution just in case.
I’ve been given loads more physio exercises and now I have a full circuit going for my leg featuring single legged glute bridges, single leg squats and crab walks. I’m the proud owner of a wobble board to help with my balance, so a spend a lot of time stood on it watching TV. Core strength is being incorporated into the workout with crunches and planks, in addition to my swimming and gymming.
Feeling more positive now that I know I haven’t damaged anything and hopefully I’ll start to get my leg strength back and have legs that look vaguely the same size.
Haven’t been posting for a while since I’ve been at home and then super busy with moving into my new flat and starting back at work. It is now just over 7 weeks since I had surgery and everything seems to be going well. I don’t have any pain in my hip/knee anymore, however, when I started walking further I did get quite a bit of pain in my hamstrings and calves due to not using them for so long. That does seem to have passed now though.
I’m allowed to sleep on my operated side now which makes sleeping easier for me and I can do most things apart from cross my legs and squat down, but this should come in time. I’m still having issues reaching my foot for things like tying shoes so at the moment I’m using elastic laces which convert my trainers to slip on shoes.
The physio is happy with my progress and now I just need to work on building back my strength in my glutes and quads. She also said I can go swimming and to the gym again as long as I am careful so I need to get a note from the doctors about that.
All in all everything seems positive and it’s just a case of continuing to do my exercises for the time being.
So I’m back at home after surgery and I officially a titanium hipster. I had surgery on Monday (11.9.17) and was out on the Wednesday. The doctors said I could have gone home the day after the op as I was medically fit, however I had to be signed off by the physios. My main problems were: feeling sick after the op due to the anaesthetic and having low blood pressure.
Immediately after surgery I felt ok (and took this oh so flattering photo, complete with oxygen tube)
But pretty soon after I felt nauseous and felt pretty rough for the rest of the day, so eating anything or drinking anything apart from water was out. I did manage to stand and walk about 3 hours after coming back onto the ward under the guidance of the physios. I got as far as the toilets until my blood pressure dropped to about 85/40 and I nearly passed out. Ended up being put in a chair and carried back to bed, but my leg didn’t actually hurt when I was walking. So the pain I have had for the last 9 months/ a year is gone…and replaced my a sore scar atm. As far as I can tell the scar is pretty neat, luckily I had an amazing surgeon and team, and I can’t fault the nurses at the hospital at all, they all did a great job.
After getting my low blood pressure sorted and proving I could walk and do stairs, I was allowed to go home. The car ride wasn’t pleasant, even when I was sat on pillows and fell asleep for part of it. I’ve ended up with a really bad back when I lie down for long periods of time so sleeping isn’t fun. My leg itself though isn’t very sore really and I only have to take painkillers in the morning and last thing at night which is a good sign. Just need to sort my back out now.
I’m doing physio exercises 3 times a day and I’m going back to see the physios in 3 weeks to get some more, but everything seems to be going ok so far.
So tomorrow is the big one, time for the main operation, the total hip replacement. Not going to lie I’m pretty terrified, not sure I’ll get much sleep tonight. I’ll be staying in a hotel in Liverpool so I can get up nice at early and make it to the hospital for 7.30am. That sounds fun! I have to be up at 6 to take my final ‘preload’ sachet. In total I have to take 3 over the course of the night and morning, I assume it is to stop dehydration and to make my recovery tomorrow quicker although I have never had to take them before any of my other operations. The op should only be 1h-1.5h all being well so if I’m first on then I should be back on the ward before 12. So this is short and sweet, hope everything goes to plan tomorrow and i’ll finally be able to recover and not worry about this stupid thing. I met one of my mum’s friends in Sainsburys yesterday who had one done in March and she says it was the best thing ever, no more pain and she is back to being able to bend and move as normal, hopefully I’ll see the same results.
Wish me luck
So last Wednesday I went to see the hospital physio about what implements I’ll be needing after surgery. I won’t be allowed to cross my legs or bend from the waist for 3 months so I’ll need some things to help me with day to day tasks. I also won’t be able to sit on anything that’s low down or makes my hips drop below 90 degrees.
I’ve already bought myself some elasticated shoelaces since I won’t be able to tie them and I had my legs measured so I know how high chairs have to be, approximately 15 inches. I was also given what I have termed my ‘hip kit’ a selection of long handled instruments that I can use to help me. I’ve put a link to one here. I get an extra long shoe horn, a sponge on a stick, a reacher (like one of those things people use to pick up litter) and a sock-putter-onner known as a soxon. It’s going to be a fun few months: no baths, no bending, no doing shoes or socks and no sitting on sofas or low seats.
Also I’ve finally been discharged from my nice physio, after being given a few more exercises: crab walks and side leg raises. Hopefully I’ll have the same one or an equally nice one once I’ve been referred after the surgery. Only a few weeks to go now!
Well I’ve finally got my date for my next op, September 11th (not a hard date to remember) which makes everything very real now and I’m getting pretty nervous. Thankfully it means I don’t miss anything important like my conference at the start of September.
The surgeon told me that I’m having a posterior replacement made of titanium and coated with ceramic and plastic. Apparently that’s the most common one now for younger people. I am hoping that this means that it’ll last longer. It is likely to be un-cemented which will make it easier for the next surgeon to remove it in about 20 years, although it depends on what size implant will fit in my teeny tiny leg. My supervisor is also letting me work from home once I’ve had it done and am recovering which is so helpful and one less thing to worry about. Still stressed about not having an official house for next year and not having enough data for my poster but I guess it’ll work itself out eventually.
Still having physio which is helping quite a bit, I’ve lost so much muscle though that it’s going to be a long time before that’s back to normal. Walking is getting a bit easier, a week or so ago I couldn’t walk for longer than about 20 minutes before my leg wouldn’t take it anymore and I’d have shooting pains around my knee but that seems to have stopped. I’m hoping that if I keep up with the physio and exercises my leg will get stronger which will make September easier.
So I’ve been back at work and in the lab for a while now and came off crutches about a week ago. They were getting so annoying, especially as it meant I only had 1 hand to carry things with. I saw my surgeon last week and asked about the actual type of implant I am going to have: a posterior replacement with ceramic on plastic. Finding this out made it all feel very real which is pretty scary, and the registrar said that I may never be able to lift my knee up towards my chest again or cross my legs. He also said that the replacement might now improve my movement (which at the moment is basically nothing) in the hip or the pain (which does make me wonder what is the actual point then). So got a bit frustrated with it all last week and probably made my parents a bit stressed with me being upset.
I also went back to physio, which does seem to be helping a little bit, but when he made me flex both my quads there was such a big difference even he was surprised. There is a huge amount of muscle wastage in my quads and glutes on my bad leg which is why I’m finding it painful to walk. So I have to do loads of glute bridges and single leg squats to try ad build up as much muscle as I can before the op.
On to happier things, I managed to go to Newcastle for the weekend which was lovely (even if my leg crippled me) and got to go to the beach 🙂 and then on to Durham for a PhD student conference and . I actually wore heels for the 1st time since New Year, albeit tiny ones and it was fun to be with my lab mates outside of the actual lab. Hopefully the physio will continue to help my leg so I can walk more normally without favoring the good leg even though it really hurts-prescription painkillers everyday