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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Things I've Tried

There are several different things I have tried to help manage the pain since this all started.  I thought I'd make a list to see if I can't think of anything else I could be doing:

  • Rest
  • Medications (oral and topical)
  • Ice
  • Heat
  • PT
  • Chiropractor
  • Massage Therapy
  • TENS machine
  • Acupuncture
  • Steroid injections (I want one of these now but am not allowed....surgeon's orders)
  • Surgery

Forgetting anything?

< 6 months now before I land me-self a full hip socket.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Off my feet for one week

Me being on vacation is glorious rest for my hips.  Seriously.  MUCH needed.  Although the drive home killed my back.  I realize that most of the pain is muscular, but this is unnecessary pain.  I had to use a portable heating package thing all day. I literally feel like everything hurts, even with my time off.  I can't imagine how crabby I'd be if I was doing rotations now.

Plus, I had decided that I needed to start strengthening core and upper body because I have to be able to hold myself up on crutches in six months and I'm so weak in the arms that it could cause problems (since I am prone to dislocations in the shoulders, clavicles, wrists).  I can't see how I could do 8 or so weeks on crutches without making my upper body miserable in my current state of strength.  Yesterday I tried with VERY light weights upper body exercises.  I will stress that I was taking it VERY easy.  Nonetheless, my shoulder hurt immediately after I finished, as did my darn hip.  So I haven't done anything and need to let things heal up.  I may email my previous PT to have him send me some upper body isometrics/stretching/etc.  I need to build up strength without hurting myself.

I also gathered up enough courage to call the surgeon's office to have a chat with his nurse about my medications.  I literally ration out my tramadol so I don't have to call back to have refills (they seemed very leery about giving me meds previously).  Now though, I can call once a month, leave a message, and she will call in tramadol and voltaren no questions asked until I can get surgery.  I should have asked about scheduling, but totally forgot because I was so elated about getting the medications so easily.  I will surely ask about scheduling next time I one month.

In exactly six months I will hopefully have had my PAO.  Yay and eek.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Driving Ain't So Hot for Dem Hips

I could have told you that my hips would suck prior to me driving home, but THEY HURT.  I suppose 12 hours and 1,176 km later, this is what I should expect.  But, it had to be done, I had to get home.  I managed to stop twice for pee/gas/food breaks. I hobbled out of the car each time.  It was prolly a sight to behold.  But, I just sucked it up and drove on through.  Frankly, I'm not sure how I did it, but I did and I got to sleep in my own bed last night which was glorious!

I have a week long vacation this week.  Which will be full of residency applications, sleeping, resting, etc.  I have to return an outdated library book from my base hospital (which I didn't even realize I had until they emailed me a rather nasty email!).  I also have to do some paper work, organize some school papers, call the doctor, and I want to stain an old coffee table we have (I painted it bright blue to move away for med school and essentially ruined it and I want to make it look lovely again).

I have a lot planned and hope these hippies settle down cuz I hate feelin' like this.  I mean, really!!?? It is just a bit of instability.  My angles aren't even really severe and I'm hobbling around all day hurting.  It doesn't make sense how much it can hurt.  I realize that chronic pain becomes centrally sensitized, but dang!  I need better meds or reduce my activity (the former may be easier than the latter since I can't really tone down the school stuff).

~186 days until I get fixed.  woot woot. (which is also the same number of days left in school).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lazy Rainy Summer Days

Despite the fact that I have been extremely busy for the last few months, this weekend has been quite the opposite.  I have laid around and rested for the majority (meaning 95%) of my entire weekend.  I know that this is kind of lame being that this is my last week here on my rotation down south but I had no choice.  Yesterday I spent the entire day on my bed reading, emailing, and wasting my life away on Facebook and other modes of social media.  It was entirely welcomed!  I wish I could have done more, but I enjoyed the resting and relaxation that comes along with pouring rain all day and bum hips.

Today, even though the rain continued, I managed to get my butt up and go out.  I went to an art festival downtown.  It was really neat.  Lots of fancy, handmade jewelry, and crafts. I wish I could have afforded to buy a pair of earrings.  But, when one is a student, needs and wants are heavily weighed.  It rained the entire time we were there but I did manage to get a good picture from the park of the downtown area:

 We also walked around the perimeter.  It was so nice to get outside and get some fresh, albeit damp, air.  It is difficult for me to get around and walk for any significant period of time.  So we do random stops on wet park benches sitting just long enough to get my butt soaking wet.  It was real sexy!  As we walked around the park looking at the various tents of crafty things, I noticed several drinking fountains of peculiar shape.  They were all over the place.  No disrespect, but who would think that this water fountain is okay to put all around public parks?! This is not okay.  Like, really?! What were they thinking when they approved this design?


After hobbling around the park for an hour and a half, eating some amazing Italian ice (raspberry-lemonade flavour), we came home and I made some amazing tortellini.  I had purchased this from the international market in town and was excited to make these spinach flavoured delights for supper.  Fix it up with a fresh salad and I was good to go!  I am thoroughly enjoying my time here cooking with all these different foods available.  When I go home we tend to eat the same things as always, not very adventurous.  But when I get to get out on my own, I love trying new things and cooking up a storm.  Yum!

Spinach tortellini 
 So, I finish up my relatively relaxing weekend and psych myself up for yet another week on rotations.  This is my last week until I get a week vacation.  A week vacation that is SO NEEDED!!!!!!!  Oh gall. So excited.  I just have to get through this week!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

You Know When.

You know you need surgery when:
  • first clue was when my hip started hurting when going over bumps in the car
  • Maxing out the daily recommended Tylenol dose every day (plus needing other meds)
  • Waking up every time I roll over in bed (assuming subluxing the dang hip)
  • Ice becoming my best friend (don't forget the constantly on heating pad for the back)
  • Choosing to wear slip on shoes as much as possible because I can barely tie up laces
  • Developing amazing, yet awkward ways of shaving my legs (it can be done in the shower without having to flex hip near 90 degrees!)
  • Having to decline social outings because I have just worked all day and need to lie down
  • Hating the damp and rainy weather....yes I am an amazing weatherwoman these days
  • Having a countdown on my phone that keeps track of my anticipated surgery date (I am actually looking forward to getting fixed)
  • Other hip starting to hurt because that is the only leg I really stand on these days
  • Hurting before I even get out of bed in the morning (which is highly depressing)

Although depressing, this is certainly personally justifying that I in fact do require more surgery.  It's so tough to keep pretending that things are fine, having previous surgeons tell me things are fine, when they are actually not fine.  I am not very vocal about my hip problem socially with my friends and at school.  It's almost embarrassing to say that I need even more surgery and that all of the previous surgeries were essentially a waste as they did not fix the underlying structural abnormality.  I am, myself, disgusted that it has come to this point.  I had put my life on hold a year ago to have two more scopes (one on each side) and now I am no better fact, my left is even worse!

I have been thinking, as of late, that I should notify my previous surgeon's staff of the final outcome of my hip.  He had performed three surgeries on me last year and the surgeon has no idea how I am doing.  I would have kept in touch with them and "complained" to them regarding my inability to return to normal activity, but they were very insistent that I need a break from medications and was outright told not to call back for several months.  I feel like if this isn't the biggest hint to not call back ever, I'm not sure what is!  I wish there was a good way to go about notifying the staff of my situation.  I may construct an email and send it off to them when I get closer to my PAO in the new year.  I do seriously believe that they should know what is going on and how their work helped (or did not help).  This is one of the ways surgeons can become better surgeons.  Perhaps if I notify them, they will look more thoroughly at dysplastic hips and have a lower threshold for referring out to a surgeon who does PAOs.  Despite the fact that the surgeon I previously saw was the hip scope guru, I think he is too scope happy....and add this with a bit of over-confidence in his abilities to fix pathology with hips, spells out a recipe for over-scoping and under-PAO/FO/SDD-ing.  Having said this, with proper patient selection, the hip scope can be very successful and help a lot of people with hip pain.

That's my two cents from a rambling-annoyed-and-hurting-gal-trying-to-survive-through-med-school-with-bum-hips point of view.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Walking Around All Day = Ouchie.

Yesterday was very eye-opening for me and where I stand with this hip deal.  I know that I hurt and have difficulty doing rotations, but it didn't strike me that I can barely be on my feet for any significant period of time without being in significant pain.  I realize that pain is all relative, and that by this point, I undoubtedly have some sort of central sensitization and feel more pain, but this does not excuse the reality: I can barely do anything extra beyond my necessary activities. 

Albeit, I did see some amazing wildlife at the aquarium!!  It was a blast!  Just very very very hard for me to walk around.  I suppose this is a very important lesson to learn because I do not want to do more damage.  But I also need to live my life.  I only have one!  Sitting around and icing every moment not on wards is not exactly the most healthy way to live.

On another note, I really feel like I am scared to take my tramadol because I am afraid I will run out.  I am only given 40 pills with no refills.  This is not a very strong medication and there is no way that I should be scared to take meds to make it through the day.  I only feel this way because the nurse with whom I speak to on the phone isn't very receptive to my asking for refills.  In general, she isn't very receptive during any of our phone conversations.  I realize that my surgeon is a surgeon first and deals with operations and post-op care, so I can't blame him to not want to deal with pre-op people like myself.  But, it was his idea to call in as much tramadol as I needed, not mine.  Which makes me wonder if I should get myself a new PCP who will be willing to prescribe more than simply Aleve (which is what my current PCP believes will help me get through my days).  I should be able to have medications to help me get through my days and be able to take my tramadol every evening and not be worrying if I am going to run out.  Why suffer when there are medications out there to help?  I am not asking for narcotics (although the odd one at night would really help), I just need somebody willing to refills scripts.  The surgeon himself keeps saying he is willing to do so, but the nurse is the one who does the actual calling in, and she is a bit persnickety.  Ah well.  I suppose a phone call when I am on vacation will clarify the confusion. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

208 Days

I may sound like a freak, but if all goes according to plan, I will be able to get my surgery done in 208 days.  That's not too too far way when you put it into days like that.  I can survive 208 more days of this, right? 

My hip slips out of the socket every so often.  Rolling over in bed, standing or twisting the wrong way and BAM! Sharp pain that makes me gasp for breath.  The other side does not hurt very much.  It does on occasion but not nearly like the left hip.  It does slip outwards but it goes right back in and then doesn't cause me any further grief.  I hope to avoid any type of surgery on that side for many many years, but will see how things shape up after I get the left hip all sorted out.

I was looking at an article of the PAO surgery and had to stop reading because it was making me worked up.  The article included some pictures.  Talk about graphic!  It amazes me that people can break peoples pelvises and other bones for a living.  This type of work is definitely not for me on so many levels.  But I am extremely thankful that there are special people out there that can do it....this gives me a chance at getting my life back!

As far as pain management goes, now I am taking Tylenol--3000mg total in a day, and Voltaren 75mg daily, and then in the evenings taking Tramadol when I need it and a muscle relaxant at night to help me sleep.  This regimen is ok, but does not really cut it for when I am on my feet all day.  Ideally I'd be taking the Tramadol during the day, but I can't chance it being that my mind has to be sharp all day.  Maybe after my important rotations are up in September I can fiddle around with meds during the day...until then, I'm sucking it up.  I didn't ever think that I could have such a sore hip and keep on going on with life.  I mean, I have hurt for many years but this is, by far, the most daily pain I've been in since this whole ordeal started.  I never have good days, I just have bad and worse ones.  I'm not even 30 years old and am popping pills within 5 minutes of waking up and throughout the day just to get through the day on my feet.

And, to add on to the issues, I have seriously hurt my shoulder.  About a month ago I dislocated my shoulder putting on my purse and something inside REALLY hurt.  I knew I had hurt it.  I took it really easy and it eventually started to feel better after 2 weeks.  So as soon as I started using it again the pain has come back.  The pain is definitely coming from within the joint.  I am icing and putting Voltaren gel on it as well.  So back to taking it easy on this shoulder.  Gotta love being a bendy person. UGH.