Friday, April 17, 2009


I'm nine hours away from my 2 week post-op appointment. I can't sleep. It's almost 4:30 AM and I'm wide awake.

I've had a painful day. I'm not sure if I over did it on the physiotherapy or moved in a way I shouldn't have but without percocet I've had that joint pain feeling pretty much on the same level as pre-op. What's more, the pain has been coming right back between doses.

All week long I've been excited and dreaming about what life will be like when my right hip no longer dictates how I live my life. today has me worried. What if this is it? What if, no more sports, no more gym, and *ugh*..... no more well..... everything in life I used to do that made it worth getting out of bed.

I had an e-chat with someone I knew from highschool today. We were talking about how now that we're in our mid-twenties we're starting to feel old. We regailed eachother with stories of 19 yearolds not understanding why we rebuff their amorous advances, and how we used to have so much more energy than we do now.

I'm not entirely certain that all of the meds I've had to take over the years haven't contributed. If nothing else I look forward to the day I won't have to medicate myself. Should that day ever come. I hope that this right hip is on the mend and that the pain is normal at this stage.

A year ago I was collecting my last pay check for teaching yoga in Lethbridge, and of course, moving to Calgary. We all know what happened next. I feel like life is on hold. That might be inaccurate. I feel like I had just finished one big chapter of life and at onset, saw this surgical patient status as an entr'acte and it's becoming its own show.

l can't get back 21-24, but I'd like to hope that it was a good trade for an awesome 25-29. Here's hoping.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Percs of Post-op Pain

Percocet is well...... a blessing and a curse.

Earlier today I was having pain. Now I hate medicating more than anyone but it's not like I can just unroll my yoga matt and and get rid of it. Besides today's was joint pain from the inner groin. AKA the part where they took some bone off (I think).

I tried fixing it with T3's like normal people but because I've had to take so many of those over the years.... The doctor asked me prior to sending me home this week if T3's did anything for me. After he found out that they don't, he gave me a prescription for the white devil that is percocet. I know that I'm taking them with legitimate cause and that I've had two this week, which hardly qualifies me for membership with the Amy Winehouse Fanclub, but I can't help but be scarred about addiction.

Maybe it's because I've seen too many episodes of Intervention while I've been home, or maybe a side effect of this lil' opiate is parnanoia. The truth is that this is the first time I've had to get one of those triplicate prescriptions and even the phramacisit was warning me that they're addictive.

So narcotics... prohibited substances? Should percocet be controlled? For your amusement, a completely non-scientific analysis is bellow. After consuming a dose of Percocet I have experienced the following:

-Crazy dreams
-Audio Halucination (hearing stuff that isn't there)
-Night Sweats
-Finding it perfectly acceptable to blog about being under the influence (aka impaired judgement)
-Delerium (Giggles)
-The overwhelming craving for chips.

Offhand, I'd say taking percocet is like smoking really good weed. I hate drugs. I hate feeling like an idiot. It's not cool for me. I hate that I've moved beyond the norm of prescription pain meds onto narcotics. What will be next? Medicinal marijuana?

No really. I want to know. I am, after all, planning a huge party to celebrate walking and make up for having to cancel my 25th b-day party for a surgery. I'm sure that info will sway half the guest list.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lazy Day

I read in the patient info I brought home that if I'm swelling more than usual, it's because I've either been sitting or walking too much. Well I'm not a doctor or anything, but I've been "walking" tonnes and can't sit up, so there's only one reason why I was so swollen I could hardly move.

Today I decided to take it a bit easier than I have been the last couple days. I had a meaningful 12 hour relationship with an icepack (in 15 minute intervals of course) and took it easy. That did the trick. It's all about balance I guess.

Speaking of balance..... I had Mom make me some grilled cheese sandwiches last night to clog the pipes. It worked. Thanks Mom!!

Now.... what's with this not being able to cross my legs? It's like hell... I can't move one of my legs but I cheat a bit by putting the heal of the operated leg between the toes of the other when I have to move. I can't lift it that well yet but I can abduct (move it to the side) like a rockstar. My bed is a tempurpedic memory foam thing. Great for my hips because im supported everywhere and sink right in... but it makes it nearly impossible to left my leg an inch off the mattress so i can move my legs apart like I'm supposed to.

Which brings me to my other beef...... This whole recovery thing is such a mixed message. Consider for a moment the following:

1) Wearing underwear is uncomfortable and inconvenient
2) I spend most of my time in bed
3) I'm under medical orders to keep my legs uncrossed
4) I am in the process of strengthening my glutes--- you know, those muscles you use for pelvic thrusting
5) I'm going to get hot and sweaty naturally, as part of healing.

What the eff?? This seems like prime time for gettin' some. Yeah I can only flex my hips to about 50 degrees.... but it's like I told this nurse the other day, "when I get to 60 you'd better lock up your daughters".

I'm going to go work on my quads now.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


So I'm home. Sorry it took so long. OK I'm not. I hate that it took so long because hospitals are effing boring.

I'm on the mend. Pretty tired.

The doctors kept me a few days extra because they thought I may have had an infection. Apparently about 50% of hip and knee patients have an increased body temperature as part of their natural healing process. I am one of them. Unfortunately a raised body temp is also a sign of an infection. The tests took two days to get back. Also they thought I might have had clots because I was fainting on Saturday. I was just really not ready to be running around on crutches. I said that, but you know... a 4-year degree in nursing makes you more knowledgeable about my body than I am. Whatever. I had great care and I'm glad to be home.

I got lots of visits,and some late-night drunken texts from a coworker. It was rad!!

They sent me home with Percocets because T3s do nothing for me anymore. I had to take too many between operations. Percs on the other hand have me relating to the casts of "Hair" or, "Across the Universe" or something. Thankfully I haven't needed to take any in awhile.

That said, laying, stretched out, perfectly still in bed starring glossy-eyed out the window at the full moon for a full 3 hours while listening to my iPod was probably the best night of my 5 days in the hospital.

So many rules about what I can and can't do. I can shower, but I can't sit on my shower stool. I learned that the hard way this aft when I had to call for my mom to lift my naked hairy leg out of the tub. Thankfully my parents have a stall that I can crutch right into in their en suite.

I can wipe my own ass. It occurred to me though that if the hospital doesn't care if I have a bowel movement or not prior to releasing me, why the eff did they load me up with stool softeners and laxatives? Don't the realize that I can't exactly rush to the pot now that all this well..... shit.... is starting to work its way out? No accidents yet but I will NOT be taking the All-Bran challenge anytime soon. I've had kolayse, which in this case is a performance enhancing drug.

I don't want to disown any of my relatives yet though I did have to tell my sister a couple times that using me to procrastinate from her studies is lame. Especially because I can do anything I need to for myself except cart stuff around and put on socks and shoes. I'm grateful for Dad and Mum taking me in while I'm on the mend, so hopefully my need of assistance won't strain our relationship, or theirs, or cause any wars or famine through the butterfly effect or whatever. I just told them the truth: I'll ask for help when I need it and be specific about what I need help doing, that way it's not a burden on you, and I still get to do stuff for myself.

So that's almost a day down. 5.5 weeks to go!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pre-op rituals

Recently I met two ladies who are beacons of inspiration for me. All of us met through a social networking site. I'm not sure if I can name it, because I didn't reallly read the terms of use.

These ladies happen to have the same surgeon, for the same reason that I do. While we each have different experiences and different journeys we've gone on to get to wellness, I really do have a renewed drive to reclaim what I've lost because of them. Like me, they're active 20-somethings who don't see a reason to stop living because they've been side-lined. It's so awesome to have friends with very similar interests beyond a common maladie.

What's even more inspiring to me is the instant bond we all had. When we first decided to get together for dinner, we spent 4 hours talking about everything from our prefered anaesthetics to our favorite hospital foods. Hells, we even dropped trow and compared scars. We all had similar stories of being 40 years younger than any other patient we had ever crossed-paths with.

Being in a place where you don't have to explain why you're walking with a cane, or why you don't workout, or why you take so many pills is such a positive experience.

I think being a patient has been so central to how I look at myself for so long that I forgot how to have fun at the same time. That's the gift the three of us have given eachother more than anything.

I have DS fests arranged with one of the gals. We also have bopp alongs while driving and listening to whatever beatz we burned that day. I have found friends who will drive to the hospital with me just so I don't have to be bored in the waiting room. Friends that can empathize and not have a problem when I say stuff like "hey, I'm in way too much pain to get together. rain check?".

We started a tradition of going for dinner the night before any of us have a surgery. I'm in the OR tomorrow, and tonight was not an exception. Anyone who has an op knows that you can't eat after midnight. I won't eat this evening (though I do wonder if I'd turn into a Gremlin if I did). I had a great dinner at Koi tonight. We totally psych eachother up for the next days events. Is it morbid that we call this tradition "The Last Supper"?

At dinner tonight we discussed our pre-op routine. The general patient stay info was clearly not written for anyone who has any idea what we go through. We all go to the hospital commando, for example.

We also believe that you should have some type of pampering before hand. Some say to relax you, but for me it's more about being practical. I had a night at the Salon last night. I just wanted to not have to come back for 6 weeks. I can't. I also needed to stock up on my salon products. My hair is looking so rad right now. The thing is, I don't think that having bones broken and reset is an excuse to not maintain some semblance of basic grooming.

I was debating whether or not to pack my flat-iron for my stay. Also... should I hold off on manscaping? How much dirt do those nurses really need on me anyway? What if there's a hot resident or something? Eff it, I'll be on a morphine drip and focusing more on getting around without bending my hip past 70 degrees, getting dressed, and taking that first morning constitutional to give a hoot about potential hotties.

It was such a great chat about the things you just learn to make happen for yourself. There's more to caring for yourself than popping pills and having operations. You have to do something that will put you in a good mood for recovery too.

It's also our last chance for any "normal" social interaction for awhile. While I'm sure the nurses are great people outside of work, I'm not sure I'd want to interact socially with the people changing my catheter :

"Hey man, good to see ya. Nice room you got in here. You're looking good today.", "Thanks. Would you mind not kicking my piss bag? It's attached."

or worse... the poor bastards that have to shave my ass so I can get fileted:

"How are you doing Michael?", "My ass is chafing", "Yeah sorry about that, I ran out of aftershave."

This surgery is going to be so much fun.

Bye Bye Work!!

Today was my last day at the office. I'm going to miss my coworkers and friends at work. They're such a great group of people. I couldn't imagine a more supportive or accomodating working environment. It's such a relief to know that I don't have to explain or worry about people not taking me seriously. People under the age of 90 with hip problems usually don't get taken seriously. Lot's of people think we're faking it, or that we're just looking to get some narcotics or whatever. I try to avoid taking meds when I don't have to. I think that's the difference between pain management and drug addiction. Mind you I did invite some coworkers to party in my hospital room "BYOP", "bring your own percocet".

I'm fairly certain people at work think I'm a work-a-holic. I'm not. I'm seriously passionate about what I do. I also think that things like a few pelvic reconstruction surgeries here and there shouldn't be a reason to keep you from enjoying all parts of your life to the fullest extent possible. Work and play.

I got asked today by a colleague if I am nervous for tomorrow's surgical dislocation on my right hip.

Not in the slightest.

I have been a hip patient for almost 4 years. It took almost 3 years to figure out what was wrong, and this is surgery #2 (the first one was in September). Coincidentally I turned 25 on Monday. That means that I've spent the better part of my 20's living with hip pain. I'm ready to just be a regular guy again.

Although the recovery is 6 weeks of not being able to sit up, I don't see that as a big deal. It has taken since October 18, 2005, two counselors, almost a dozen physiotherapists, 2 occupational therapists, four GP's, a sports med specialist, massage therapist, three orthapaedic surgeons, and countless nurses and support staff to get me this far. I know they'd tell you they're just the enablers, and that I'm the one doing all the work, and to some extent that's true. I know that I'm grateful to all of them because I simply wouldn't be in a position where I can talk about life after hip dysplasia without them.

I view this surgery as one of the last milestones on the road to complete recovery. I think of what I have already been through, and the sacrifices I've had to make in order to get this far. This surgery is not a time to be sad. To me, this surgery is a reason for celebration.