So I saw the consultant on Wednesday, and despite my worries, he thinks I’m doing a lot better than I do! He feels that I am exactly where I should be six weeks post-surgery. He was absolutely lovely and allayed so many of my fears, and didn’t make me feel that I was asking stupid questions or wasting his time. I’m sure he hears most of the anxieties that I have every time he sees his post-op patients at 6 weeks. Despite this he answered my questions patiently and listened to what I had to say. What has been worrying more than anything is the fact that my operated leg feels longer than the other, reading about this (the forums again!) I realise that this is quite common, and I know that it is a risk with this type of surgery, but it has been something that I have fretted about more than once in the wee small (sleepless!) hours. Mr Evans was able not only to reassure me, but give me and explanation and evidence to show that any discrepancy was miniscule and most of what I was experiencing was down to my body adjusting to having a fully functioning hip, instead of one which was totally stuck and had no rotation at all. This is obviously something that affects most patients post-surgery, but being given the time to have this explained to me properly meant so much, and was such a relief.
Mr Evans asked me why I felt I wasn’t progressing as well as he obviously did, I told him pretty much what I’d put in my last blog, mainly that based on what I had been told by people who have had this surgery, my mobility was way below my expectations. He then said something which I have been reflecting on since I’ve seen him. He said that what people had described to me was what they wanted to be the best version of themselves at that stage in their recovery. In other words their perception of themselves. As I’ve reflected on this I’ve realised something else, it’s not just other people’s perceptions of themselves, its my interpretation of what they have said to me. When they’ve told me that they were walking without crutches at 6 weeks, I’ve assumed they meant they were walking ‘normally’ – of course, this may be true for some people, but my guess is most people are like me – I can walk without crutches, but I’m certainly not completely mobile, I’ve still got a lot of work to do. This has been a massive light bulb moment for me, possibly obvious to most people, but as usual I’ve been putting pressure on myself!
Another thing I was told on Wednesday was that I could start exercising again, obviously within reason, but I’m sure this will help my recovery both physically and mentally. One of the things Mr Evans told me I could do was to start swimming again. He also told me I could do any stroke without restrictions. Previously the advice has been to avoid breaststroke after hip replacement surgery. Mr Evans and other clinicians from the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) have carried out research which shows it is safe for patients to swim breaststroke after surgery. You can read the research here.
I feel so incredibly lucky to have had this operation at such a wonderful hospital, I have known for years what an amazing place it is, but to experience first hand the care that is given has given me a whole new perspective on what is involved. I am so proud that my lovely daughter Claire is running the London Marathon in April 2017, to raise funds for this incredible hospital. She’s written about it here, and if you are able to support her we would be so very grateful. The link to her fundraising page is below:
So this week was really a milestone on my road to recovery, not least because I no longer have to sleep on my back, surrounded by pillows! Oh my goodness, the relief, the first decent night’s sleep in six weeks certainly helps put a lot of things in perspective!