#10 What Helps, What Doesn't
I become aware of a new kind of exhaustion I've never experienced before. Remember Paula Josa-Jones, the dancer-colleague who recommended Dr. Murphy? I was fortunate that she was willing to come many miles to my home to do somatic movement therapy with me in my home. She and I speak the same bodymindspirit language. As much as I appreciated insurance-provided PT Mike, it was a HUGE comfort to me to be seen and touched and communicated with in a way that feels like home to me--the somatic approach to the body, which looks at not only the injured area but also how the rest of the body and mind and spirit are coping or not coping.
I was feeling so ready to go! But Paula was insistent. Don't push yourself! I had to write it down on a post-it note in my kitchen. It takes at least 6 weeks for surgery-traumatized soft tissue to heal, longer for bone tissue. I learned that the waves of exhaustion I often felt after doing the rehab exercises were messages from my tissues saying "Enough!" So I learned to do less. To stop when I felt exhausted. To rest whenever I needed to. And to wait a couple of beats and ask again, if my "Go, go, go" way of doing things was trying to run things instead of my deeper, wiser self.
For example, after three weeks I was excited on a warm early spring day to try to walk a familiar trail with my husband and my dog. It was a little less than a mile long, on level ground, and I thought I'd be fine. About three-quarters into the walk, I started to feel that exhausted feeling. By then I knew that if my eyes started to retreat back into their sockets, like they would do if I was in the process of lying down to sleep, I had overdone it. But, there was nothing to do but finish the walk. I was strong enough to do it, but I was inflaming my tissues. That walk set my rehab back about two weeks. How did I know? My "indicator" exercise told me. If I was doing things right, I was able to climb stairs normally. When I overdid it, my right leg needed a little hop from my left to make it up the step. and my groin muscles hurt. I was doing stairs pretty normally by two and a half weeks. After the walk and some other over-eager activities outside my home, I couldn't do stairs normally for a while.
By the way, I learned that uneven ground, such as on a trail outside, is quite challenging for a new hip! I hadn't considered that, but in retrospect, yes of course that would be true. Each step would require some adjusting to the terrain by the foot, knee, hip and torso, and all of them getting used to the new hip and still-inflamed tissues. Plus the goal of keeping me upright and not keeling over!
Don't push. I needed to tell myself that again and again! Even if I feel able and strong, give it time.
The attached video was taken just 10 days after surgery. I'm thrilled! No walker! No crutches! But . . . I got over-eager, and set myself back. That's OK. Live and learn. My 6-week follow-up with my surgeon would confirm whether I was on the right track or needing to change course.