Progress and Lessons Learned

forsythia1 Spring is finally rising up from its winter slumber. Forsythia bushes are arrayed in yellow, daffodils are in full bloom and there are even a few buds on my primroses. Everything is full of new life, hope and promise. Although still stiff, even my hip is feeling better. I guess things just look and feel better when the sun is shining and the days are longer.

To give some background I had a total hip replacement in October, the day super storm Sandy came roaring through the area. Even though I had been using a cane for several months prior to the surgery I still walked every day. In fact, I did a short hike up the back side of Maiden Cliff  in Camden Maine in early September. As a result, I would not consider myself in terrible physical condition going into the surgery.

I had  read about people in top physical condition who were hiking high peaks within 6 weeks after the surgery, talked with people who were back at work in 4 weeks and saw one or two who took longer to heal. Given this information, I figured I would fall somewhere in the middle; I would be walking around the block within 3 weeks and back at work by 6 weeks. Well, Primrose1during the surgery the bone developed a hairline fracture. This meant using a walker for 7 weeks and a delay in progressing to full physical therapy. So lesson number 1: Things don’t always work out the way you expect.

During my time doing physical therapy, both my therapists and doctors claimed I was doing great but I always felt I should be further along. At 4 months I was still stiff and sore and using a cane (although not all the time). My medical team kept telling me to give it time and allow myself a year to recover. Lesson number 2: Be patient with yourself. And lesson number 3: It always takes longer than you estimate to accomplish a goal or finish a task.

And now for some of the best things you can do for yourself during the healing process. Do the stretching exercises provided by your therapist. Do them everyday. I try to do most of the exercises that I was given but if nothing else I make sure I do the stretching exercises every morning. It just helps me get going in the morning.

When your insurance company has decided that you are done with physical therapy, ask the rehabilitation facility if they offer maintenance care. For just a little more than one insurance co-pay I can use the facility twice a week for a month. Now my company has a gym facility that I can use before or after work daffodils1and accomplish the same exercises. This would require getting up earlier to use the facility or staying later at the end of the work day. You can argue that it would be better to stay after work than to run home, get changed and immediately head out to the rehab center and you are probably right. I know this is weird but it is probably a mental association with the gym and work. This leads to lesson number 4: Find what will motivate you to accomplish your goal

So, going back to the theme of spring. The days are longer, the sun is shining and I’m feeling better. Like the earth during spring time I feel renewed.

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