Monday, 16 January 2012

The story so far....

So yes, I have yet to run a parkrun. I am waiting patiently for my hip to repair following surgery 6 weeks ago. At the age of 29, why on earth would I need a hip operation?! This is not for certain but I'm pretty sure it was because I fell over on some ice. I landed directly on my hip (in front of a fair few people) very hard. I was spared some impressive bruising due to being on a health kick at the time, I had a pocket full of corn cakes so they cushioned my fall. Yes my hip was stiff and sore but no more than I'd expect following a hard fall on the ice.

This happened almost 3 years ago. I only noticed a problem a few weeks later when I had a nasty pain in my left buttock and hamstrings during my first run of spring. I thought I'd just "pulled a hammy" and I'd get over it. Alas, no. It continued, made me limp, got better sometimes but then got worse again, despite numerous examinations, treatments and special exercises and of course month after month of rest. It dawned on me about a year into the problem that perhaps it was my hip. I went to the GP and I was put in the 'system'.

I am very pleased to share with you that my experience of "the system" has been nothing short of amazing! My first appointment with a sports doctor involved me running up and down the hospital car park having my running technique assessed and he gave me some tips that even despite the pain managed to make me run faster! (Yes I DID mean the NHS when I said 'system'). Following that I had an ultrasound of my hamstrings, MRI of my back and pelvis, a cortisone injection in my hip and an MRa of my hip which finally revealed the torn labrum I had suspected for over a year! So following a chat with the sports doctor and the surgeon I was scheduled in for arthroscopic surgery less than 3 months later! (Yes I am STILL talking about the NHS). It had made running, cycling, kayaking and working painful and difficult so I was relieved to hear that they might be able to help me with surgery as conservative treatment was failing miserably. I was told to carry on as normal before the op but not to do anything 'stupid'. It turns out that running a half marathon may have been 'stupid' but I managed it in 1:53:17 so I was over the moon, even though I could barely walk the next day. But that was it, no running until 2012, my hip had well and truly had it.

After my surgery it was explained that I had managed to tear a quarter of the labrum so they re-attached it to my hip socket with the plan being that it would heal fully given the opportunity to do so. As you may already be aware, cartilage takes a very long time to heal so I was told absolutely no bending my hip past 90 degrees for 8 weeks! It's amazing what you need to be able to bend your hip for. Putting on shoes, socks, bending down to pick things up and ermmmm sitting on the toilet. But before I get any pitty, that SAME NHS sent me home with an enormous party bag! Those of you who have friends or relatives that have had a hip replacement (or maybe you've had the op yourself!) may be familiar with some of the objects in the party bag, including the toilet seat raiser, which is not great if you don't like heights. I have to say though, my favourite tool has been the grabber....excellent for causing mischief!

Naturally, I searched forum after forum before my surgery and most stories were rather painful and frustrated ones so I am pleased to share something positive for anyone who is staring down the barrel of the same op and happens to read this post. I have been virtually pain free and very well looked after. I know not everyone's experience with the NHS has been so delightful but I believe in giving credit when credit is due and I hope that it will spawn more positive experiences for others.

So I have 2 weeks to go before I can start moving relatively normally again and yes I am desperate to get running and see if I am rid of this pain in the back-side but I have to be patient. For now I am just looking forward to tying my own shoelaces! :)

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