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#11 Week 6 Post-Surgery

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

The snow is gone! I am walking with more confidence, even on the uneven uphill walkway to my house.

By now there are a number of "firsts" I have accomplished, post-surgery. Many times, I notice later that I did something for the first time since surgery. Ordinary things, like lift a full laundry basket or carry out the trash. I knew to avoid doing these things at first, even if I felt I could, because my hip muscles weren't ready for supporting extra weight.

I am driving again. That first time I just had to get over my fear of having to step on the brakes suddenly with my still-vulnerable leg/hip.

I've begun to see a few of my regular Pilates clients, although I am not yet ready myself to use the Pilates machines for resistance work in my lower body. I discover that if I work too much (I stand to do my work, mostly) I get that deep fatigue feeling, with my eyes retreating back and my body-mind-spirit saying "I want to lie down!" I have anticipated that, and schedule my clients with lots of time before and after so I can lie down, and ideally do some of my on-my-back movement therapy exercises between clients in the studio.

I'm a little nervous about going to my 6-week follow-up appointment with Dr. Murphy. I've done my best to temper my go-go-go temperament, to not push myself when my tissues are still healing. But after six weeks, the largest part of that healing work has been done. Did I mess myself up with that 1-mile walk on the trail at three weeks? I continue to have good days and bad days with stair-climbing since then. I've done a lot of exercises on my own, without other eyes watching to see if my form is optimal. What if I've been inadvertently strengthening my muscles in an unbalanced way? Why do my right buttock muscles continue to feel so easily "turned off?"

I get the xrays and MRI redone, and meet with Dr. Murphy. I peek over his shoulder to see the unmistakable image of a metal shaft in my right thighbone. Eeesh. I can't deny that it creeps me out a bit. I am a bionic woman now.

Still, from his point of view, everything is fine. He watches me walk, puts me up on the examining table and swings my leg around a bit. My husband is there taking note of what Dr. Murphy says, and what seems to be being said in between the lines. For example, I ask about leg length difference, and if that will diminish more in time. I heard "Yes." My husband heard "Pretty much."

From that follow-up visit, my take-away is this: I didn't damage myself. I'm going to be fine. In fact, Dr. Murphy was impressed with my healing process, and in his laid-back way seemed to suggest I was ahead of the game. However, there's no getting around the fact sticking my leg back into my hip with an artificial joint will not be a perfect fit, plus there's the residual trauma to the surgical area. It was minimally invasive surgery, and it went very well, but it was still invasive! I expect that I will need to work on neuromuscular repatterning in my lower body for some time to come, to harmonize my movement.

I remember with a smile, though, the first time I worked with my rehab PT at Fairview Hospital Rehabilitation Center, Victoria Guy. As I lay on the examining table, with her holding my bent leg and gently taking my hip through it's full range of motion, she said "Smooth as silk, Dr. Murphy, smooth as silk." Nice.

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