#9 Navigating the Rehabilitation Ship
So! I am home, in a safe harbor. The six-week journey of the imaginary ship representing the first phase of my recovery is about to begin.
The first thing to figure out is the medication schedule and the post-op exercises. Also, how and when to use the battery operated calf-compressors, which were designed to prevent blood clots forming in my legs. Important! And I kind of liked them. I end up using them at night and after every exercise session, and when I am resting on the couch with my legs up on a wedge pillow.
I sleep a lot the first day. I debate about whether to take any of the narcotic pain-relieving medication I've been given. I don't have an addiction history, and I want to start the exercising right away, so I go with it. Note to self: if I ever have to take that stuff again, take the suggested laxative medicine right away! I thought I should wait to see if I needed it. No. Don't wait! Let's just say that part of my recovery was most unpleasant. I would see if I could get by on non-aspirin over-the-counter pain relievers first, if I had it to do over again.
The day after I got home, my PT Mike, from the local visiting nurse association arrived to get me started with rehab exercises, mostly in my bed at this point. Of course, the exercises were very basic, and were about getting the muscles all around my hip joint and leg to get back on board. Which they weren't at first. As a movement professional, it was sobering to feel how far I had to go. Flexing ankles was OK. Leg slides, not too easy. Could hardly feel my right buttocks for the glute squeezes. Slide my leg to the side? Barely. Lift my straight leg? Might have hurt myself a bit trying to do that. The sitting exercises were not bad. The standing exercises and walking highlighted the fact that the inflammation in my hip joint made that leg feel bigger and longer, and I walked and did standing exercises with a discomfiting feeling of unevenness. I was assured that the leg length difference would improve in time. Adrian, who has taken a week off from work to help me with rehab, learns to help me do the exercises and watch how I am moving. After a few days though, I am able to do them on my own. I'm surprised and happy at how quickly I seem to be recovering!