Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Two weeks, two walks

Today marks two weeks since my Total Hip Replacement. I decided to mark the occasion by attempting two longer walks today, having managed 400m just yesterday. 

This morning I managed roughly 600m (12% of a parkrun) in about 14 minutes, giving a projected parkrun time of 1 hour 56 minutes.

And this afternoon I did a full lap of the block we live on (previously measured on mapmyrun at just over half a mile or 800m). This equates to 16% of a parkrun and totalled with the morning walk gives over a quarter of a parkrun in the day. This walk took roughly 18 minutes, giving a projected parkrun time of 1 hour 49 minutes.

The most important things are that I am being very careful, it is getting easier, the aches and pains are lessening, the flexibility and strength are returning and my gait is gradually feeling more natural every day.

Tomorrow I see my consultant and am hoping that he is pleased with the progress and encourages me to keep upping the distance and regularity of the walks and other exercises. With a bit of luck I might get his approval to swim and also to get on a static exercise bike before too long.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Improvement measured in parkruns

I recently entered the more active part of my hip replacement recovery.

Up until the end of last week, all exercise (hobbling with crutches and various strengthening and flexibility exercises) had been strictly limited to around the house.

On Saturday, being parkrunday, I was drawn into stepping outside the house for my first "longer" walk. I set my sights pretty low and headed for the top of the road, roughly 50 metres away. The 100m round trip took roughly 8 minutes. Giving a projected parkrun time of roughly 6 hours 40 minutes. I know all us parkrunners deal in distances based on the unit of a "parkrun". That wasn't quite PB territory, but that wasn't really the aim on this occasion.

On Sunday I decided to follow the post-op advice to the letter, of increasing walking distance daily. So this time I headed down the hill aiming for the second telegraph pole, roughly a 200m round trip. This time it took about 11 minutes, for a projected parkrun time of 4 hours 35 minutes. Getting quicker but still a struggle and not feeling like normal walking at all.

Yesterday (Monday) I upped the target to the third telegraph pole, for a 300m round trip. This time it took about 15 minutes, still feeling anything but comfortable. Project parkrun time at a very similar pace of 4 hours 20 minutes.

I have just been for today's expedition in glorious sunshine and this time I aimed for the end of the road, 4 telegraph poles away and a fully 400m round trip. 

Two gas engineers were setting up some barriers across the path half way down the road, and much as I was tempted to test my post-op hurdling technique they were kind enough to move the barriers out of my way. I mentioned that I was going to the end of the road and would be back in a minute. They jokingly pointed out it would "be more like 15!", and duly took a well deserved tea-break. Needless to say I was down and back in around 6 minutes...in your face gas men! The round trip took only just over 11 minutes, for a projected parkrun time of 2 hours 18 minutes. And this time it almost felt like a natural walking gait, certainly more so than any other time since the op. Today felt like a huge step forward, without being risky. 

Slow and steady wins the race!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Hip replacement recovery - the early days

I had my left hip replaced on Wednesday 1st April 2015. More superstitious people might have wanted to avoid that date, but it didn't bother me. The odd joke relating to "which leg" and even "which eye" certainly helped to lighten the mood. I have to say that I surprised myself with how relaxed I was about the whole thing.

I opted for a spinal epidural and sedation rather than a general anaesthetic purely based on the advice of the anaesthetist relating to better pain relief in the first few hours and less nausea. As it turned out, I apparently became a bit fidgety during the operation so was given a general anaesthetic too at that stage.

The first day I was quite sleepy and fairly pain free whilst the effects of the epidural lasted. I wouldn't realise how much help that was giving until later! There were some frustrations in those early hours as I was unable to move my toes, feet or legs due to the epidural. I did notice that I was wearing some rather fetching Paula Radcliffe style long compression socks. These are intended to help fight off DVT but I'm sure they will also make me fast like Paula!

The first night was horrible. The effects of the epidural had worn off, regular doses including 7 different tables, plus liquid morphine were not enough and sleep was impossible. That bit wasn't at all nice. It was a very long night!

The day after the operation I knew a Physio session was due and that they were going to get me out of bed for a walk! Perhaps word hadn't reached them that I just had a new hip and they were still dining out on the "which eye " April Fools Day gags! I have had a lot of muscle injuries in my sporting life and plenty of Physio as a result, but somehow I really built up how hard this was going to be in my own head. My obs were taken and all were apparently very good/normal. 

My first period of standing wasn't particularly successful. It was successful in that I was able to be positioned in a standing position, though my role in the action of moving from lying to standing was purely limited to being there. I had a Zimmer frame and clutched it firmly. I had a Physio on one arm and my wife (Charlotte) near to the other arm. I was asked if I was ok and recall saying "yes", shortly followed by "I'm going".....

The next thing I remember is being held by Charlotte and said Physio, lots of shouting for more hands on deck and basically looking up at the ceiling with that Zimmer frame still gripped firmly in my hands but pointing slightly too far away from the ground to be of any use. I had feinted! My fingers were peeled from the handle of the Zimmer frame one by one with a fair degree of resistance from me, and I was relocated to the bed. The oxygen mask went on and the Physio session was abandoned until later in the day....something to look forward to!

Physios and nurses agreed that the feinting was probably due to the double morphine concoction that I was on, but personally I think I had psyched myself out by over thinking it. I was just stunned that they wanted the hip to be weight bearing less than 24 hours after the op. 

The afternoon Physio session arrived (oh joy!) and this time my years of sporting determination and willingness to push through the pain barrier were brought into the equation. Just before the process started I gave myself a few slaps around the face and even a little Andy Murray esque "come on!". I was determined to succeed this time, after all I bet the old dears manage this first time!

Standing position was achieved...I'll let the Physio's take credit for that again, and with Zimmer frame in hand the marathon into the corridor (just outside my room) commenced. Much pain and grimacing later I reach the middle of the corridor, at least 5 metres from where I had started! Immediately the Physio upped the ante and had the Zimmer frame replaced by crutches. Not playing fair! I then somehow managed to walk back into my room with the crutches. Boy was that hard work! I don't think I sweat that much on a summer long-run!

On the next day I was out of my room with the Physio for a longer walk with the crutches and shown some standing rehabilitation exercises to start on and to build up the number of repetitions over the next 6 weeks. At least this part I was used to from all my injury recoveries of the past. To a runner, this type of repetitious exercising is our bread and butter!

The next few days saw increasing distances with the crutches and finally stairs as I built up the confidence and mobility to be allowed home, which is where I am now.