...and crocodiles and lizards too.

Check this out! It's not an alligator, or the second floor, but I still don't get it.



...and the comedy of errors.

Fat hernia. Herniated fat. No matter how many times I say it, I just can't seem to get it through my head. This is just another alligator on the second floor; another thing I don't understand. Almost a year ago I had my first THR (my left side). About a month after surgery, when everything was healing nicely, I noticed a large lump or pocket (as I began to call it) just below my newly healed incision. I wasn't quite sure what it was. Was it residual swelling? Was it infection? I logged on to my online THR support group and asked if anyone had a similar complaint. Some did but didn't worry too much about it. Others said it was probably swelling and would dissipate with time. Because it didn't cause any discomfort, I decided to wait until I saw my surgeon for my second replacement. As you know, however, when I saw my surgeon after my RTHR, I had a much more serious concern to deal with. Therefore, I did not end up mentioning my "pocket" until a month ago.

I went to see Dr. D. about a month ago as a follow up to the nerve damage (R) and my newly acquired bursitis (L). How old am I anyway, 100? But, I digress. As we were discussing my somewhat painful bursitis and my still numb baby toe, I happened to remember to mention my "pocket". I was somewhat shocked and disgusted at what I heard. Apparently, it was a hernia. A fat hernia. According to my surgeon, when they sew a person back together, they are able to sew the skin, the muscle, and the tendons. However, it is impossible to sew together fat. Well this makes complete sense. And considering my luck as of late, it also makes sense that any fat that was in my upper thigh seeped through all of the incisions and deposited itself in one lovely pocket. So attractive. And, to add insult to injury, it appeared as if the same thing was happening on the right side. However, this time, there were two smaller pockets which came together to make a little roller coaster on my outer thigh. Of course, just like the nerve damage, this was the first time my surgeon had seen such a complication. Leave it to me to break norm and show him something he had never seen before. But to be fair, as he explained, all of his other patients were "older" and not as "concerned " with their appearances. So sue me for still wearing a bikini. I'm an almost 40 year old wife and mother with two prosthetic hips but I'm not dead yet.

So, as it turns out, if I don't want to live with my pocket and roller coaster forever, my only option is plastic surgery. Dr. D. explained that, of course, because this was a complication of surgery, he would be happy to send me for a plastics consult and the resulting procedure would be covered. Well, this could be interesting. Do you think the plastic surgeon would believe me if I told him that my inner thighs were much more toned before surgery? What about my tummy? What about those fine lines around my eyes and mouth? Well, that might be pushing it just a bit. Anyway, after my experience in October, I was not chomping at the bit to go under the knife (or cannula) any time soon. So, I told Dr. D. I would think about it and get back to him. Then, three weeks ago, we went to Florida and, there I was, constantly pulling on my board shorts over my bikini in a furtive effort to hide my pocket and roller coaster. I've been home a week now and I have already contacted my surgeon's secretary and asked for that plastics consult. Yes, it's true, I am an almost 40 year old wife and mother with two prosthetic hips but I'm not dead yet.


...and the laws of attraction.

Whether it be for ourselves or for others, our innate need to feel attractive or to "look good" is very strong. Oh, there are those people who maintain the belief that they don't need to "look good" just as long as they feel good. There are also those who argue relentlessly that they will never fall into the trappings of physical beauty or the appearance of such. I am sure that there truly are people who don't care what others think of them but, on average, it is very natural to want to be appreciated for not only our inner selves, but also our outer selves.

The natural-born need to look good was never more apparent to me than after I had children. At the age of 2, Aidan had become quite insistent on picking out his own clothes in the morning. His main focus was to make sure that his outfits "matched" before leaving the house for pre-school. He had to "look good" and his favorite of such matching outfits was an orange t-shirt paired with orange sweatpants. The ensemble was never complete without his orange and black, Halloween themed, pumpkin socks (regardless of time of year). Classic. Tiny Aidan, however, had nothing on Cate. She was born wearing heels and covered in sparkles. Catie loves to "look good". Unfortunately, her definition of looking good does not always coincide with my idea of style. I think my favorite look of her's, to date, would have to be her short, silver, shiny gymnastic shorts layered on top of her argyle patterned leggings, matched with a sequined tank top and hot pink, fur vest (bought as part of a Halloween costume). I have no idea where she got the idea that such a thing could pass as an outfit and, believe me, she has never left the house in it. Nor has she left the house with makeup on her face. Oh yes, on top of her new found sense of style, Cate has also begun experimenting with makeup. The shinier and more colorful, the better. I think the best example of this new hobby was witnessed one morning during Christmas vacation. I was on my way down the stairs and could hear the kids bickering. Apparently, as Cate sat down at the table, Aidan turned to her and said, "What's wrong with you? You look like a superhero." He was absolutely right. She turned my way and I had to hide my giggles behind my hand. She had applied her new, purple eyeshadow (thank you, Aunt Rhiannon) very thickly from one eye to the other, without skipping the bridge of her nose. She looked like a purple version of the Lone Ranger. Another classic.

I have been thinking about this innate need for physical beauty and acceptance a little bit lately, ever since my surgeries. When going in for my THR's, I knew what I was getting into medically and physically. I knew what it would take to recover and heal. I also knew that my appearance would change drastically. When you enter the hospital for surgery, you not only leave your dignity at the door, you also leave your vanity. However, you never really comprehend what a 7 inch scar will look like until you are able to actually see it on your own person. Really, they are not that bad. As previously mentioned, things could always be worse. However, they are quite noticeable and will be somewhat difficult to conceal on the Floridian beaches next month. Maybe if I find myself an orange bikini, pair it with an orange pair of board shorts, and brush on a nice, sparkly, purple superhero mask, the scars won't be that noticeable after all!


...and spiritual awakenings.

I come from a small, Scottish, Roman Catholic town. Don't get me wrong, those who were not Scottish or Roman Catholic were still aloud to enter town limits. However, when I was growing up, most of the people I knew were a lot like me. We all looked the same, spoke the same language, and, above all, went to church on Sunday mornings. It was just what you did on Sunday. We got up early, complained that we didn't want to go, and got yelled at by our mothers. You had to go to church. It's what you did.

As I grew into an adult, I did so with all of the religious knowledge instilled in me at a young age. However, I also started forming my own spiritual beliefs and ideas. I believed in the importance of being a good person and surrounding myself with other good people. I believed in treating others the way that I would want to be treated. I, however, did not necessarily believe that, in order to be the kind of person I wanted to be, I had to go to church every Sunday. I believed that it didn't matter where you practiced your spirituality. I believed that it's not where you are that matters, it's what you do. For some, that means going to a place of worship. For others, it means something else.

In university, and in life, I began to question religion and spirituality. At one point, I became jaded. If there was a Supreme Being, why were there so many atrocities in the world? Why were so many innocent people tortured and killed every day? Where were the miracles I had heard so much about as a child? During this time, I met many people who believed strongly and had answers for all of my questions. However, I just had a hard time buying it.

When I was in the hospital after my second surgery, I shared a semi-private room with a lovely girl who I only met and got to know through the curtain that hung between us. She was there because she was suffering from a horrible, painful childhood disease. This was the same disease that her brother had died from as a child. She was in a lot of pain, and very ill most of the time. This is why I was so shocked when she asked me one day if she could pray for me. I thought she was so kind to be worried about me when she was much sicker than I. What was even more interesting, was that she wanted to pray out loud. That was fine, as long as I didn't have to join her. I wouldn't know what to say.

The next day, my roommate asked me if I felt any change in my foot. I did not. She then explained that she believed that she had the gift of healing but that, in order for it to really work, she had to lay her hands on me. Would I be OK with this? Now, normally, I would have just politely declined the offer. However, I was desperate and was willing to take anything I could get. I just wanted to get better and, truth be told, the church-going child of my past wanted to believe. So, I allowed this ill and pained young woman to leave her bed and sit at the foot of mine. She put her hands on my right foot and said a prayer for my complete recovery. When she was finished, she went back to her bed and we continued on as acquaintances who spoke through a curtain.

I left the hospital a few days later. I tried to put this experience out of my mind but, deep down, I was hoping for a miracle. I truly hoped that one morning I would wake up fully functional. I pictured myself jumping out of bed while yelling, "I am healed". I would have given anything for that. Of course, it didn't happen that way. But it did happen. Over the next several weeks, I did heal to the point of slowly gaining back the movement of my foot. During this time, I suffered bouts of depression and pain, but I was healing. It was true.

A couple of weeks before Christmas, my parents were at our house for a visit. We were all sitting around the table, eating supper and I was explaining my progress. Then, just out of the blue, my father mentioned that, every night since my surgery, before he went to sleep, he would wiggle his toes and foot, think of me, and wish for my recovery. This information shocked me. My father has always been like me. He's a good person who believes in kindness to others, but who has never really been outwardly spiritual. However, every night, for 2 months, he had been sending me healing thoughts and prayers. This knowledge really warmed my heart. I would even go as far as to say that my father's love for me and his willingness to pray for me has brought about a change. I would even go as far as to say that my father's love combined with the caring of a total stranger has brought about a spiritual awakening.

Yes, I am healing. It is not the "I am healed" kind of healing. It has been a slow and difficult process. Yet, I have learned from all of my research that most in my situation do not heal. Most remain paralyzed from the nerve damage and live in chronic pain. I tell people that I am very lucky. But, I know, deep down, that it's more than luck. It's a miracle.


...and other painful things.

I have always been confounded at how pain thresholds fluctuate from person to person. For example, I am continuously in awe of those women who give birth to their children, whether in a hospital or from the comfort of their own homes, and never even ask for an aspirin, let alone an epidural. When I was in labour, both times, I wasn't even through the doors of the hospital before I was demanding that little needle full of liquid gold. Once that tiny tube was taped firmly to my back, everything looked prettier; everyone seemed nicer. Even more perplexing, was how, even in one person, pain thresholds fluctuate. For example, when I get a migraine I head straight for the medicine cabinet. I can't handle headaches, not at all. However, until my THRs, I never took anything for my hip or back pain. Is it mind over matter, habit, insanity?

I have also realized that the ability to withstand high levels of pain does not discriminate by age. My son has always had a high pain threshold. Not in a freaky, research study type of way. He's just a tough kid. Of the many sports he plays, football is his favourite. Many, many times, I have witness unspeakable tackles that would make most grown men wince and all mothers weep. After such hits (whether giving or receiving), he just jumps back up and gets back in the game. Last summer, during the first day of a 3 day football camp, Aidan got injured. He was running and felt some pain in the back of his leg and was told by one of the coaches that he had just tweaked a muscle in his behind. He continued with the camp and, by the end of the last day, was in noticeable pain. As it turned out, Aidan had a torn hamstring, and spent the rest of the summer recovering and healing.

You would think that, knowing this about my son, I would clue in to the fact that, when he says he's in pain, he is in pain. Well, one day, Aidan and his sister were running around the house, having some fun. After some time of this, he came to me with tears in his eyes and said he had hit his toe on something. I looked and saw a tiny puncture at the very tip of his big toe. I followed him to the scene of the crime, scoured the carpet, and found a very small piece of metal. I told him that he must have just punctured his toe on this so we put some Polysporin on it and he went to basketball practice. After 2 hours of practice, he came home and went to bed. At 3 am the next morning, I awoke to find Aidan standing at my bedside. "Mom, my toe really hurts". "Go put some Polysporin on it and go back to bed". "OK". Well, the next morning, Aidan's toe was twice its normal size and the colour of a nice, ripe tomato. My husband and I immediately took him to the hospital. The on-call Dr. looked at the toe, said it was infected, and was prepared to send him home with a course of antibiotics. Have you ever had a moment of clarity, maybe even a moment of intuition? I did and asked for an xray. To her credit, the Dr. indulged me and ordered one. After waiting what seemed like an eternity, Aidan and I were called into a tiny, little room to look at the xray. What I saw made my knees wobbly and my stomach woozy. There was an inch-long piece of sewing needle embedded in Aidan's toe. You could even see the eye of the needle, as plain as day. All I could do was hug my son and tell him how sorry I was. We took him home and catered to his every need.

To this day, I feel a sense of guilt over what happened (occasionally afraid to answer the door in case it's Social Services). However, Aidan has quite a sense of humour about the whole situation. When he went back to school, he took the needle (which he asked for) to show all his friends and teachers. When anyone hurts themselves now, Aidan will tell them, "just put some Polysporin on it, right Mom". Every time I look at Aidan or his sister I know that I would gladly suffer any amount of pain for them. To be the Mom they deserve, I would have as many hip replacements as necessary; I would suffer the searing burn of nerve pain; I would even go back and give birth again without that liquid gold, without even an aspirin.


...and other things that could be worse.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone asks, "How are you?" and, instead of the required, perfunctory, "Good", you launch into a detailed explanation of how you really are? I realize that "How are you?" is a rhetorical question. I have once or twice found myself standing idly by, thinking about how much laundry is probably waiting for me at home, while someone stands by my side telling me how they really are. But, in their defense, sometimes you just want to get it out; to tell someone how crappy you really feel.

This being said, have you ever really needed to unburden yourself of your terrible circumstance and then find yourself in the presence of someone who can always one-up you when it comes to your sucky lot in life? You say, "I have a terrible headache". They say, "My migraine is so bad, I think I might have a tumour". You say, "My back aches". They say, "Last year, I tweaked my back so badly that I had to see my chiropractor for at least 3 weeks". You say, "I've had both of my hips replaced in the last 8 months". They say, "A couple of years ago, I cut my foot and landed in the ER for 3 hours before anyone even called my name". Yes, things could always be worse. Of course, they could. We are reminded of this everyday; every hour. We are reminded of this every time we turn on the news or read the paper. Horrible things are happening to people all over the world, everyday.

When I first returned from the hospital after my second surgery, it was a very dark time for me. I felt helpless. I was paralyzed from the shin down on my right side. Would I get better? Could I get better? What if I didn't? What would happen then? I need information and support. My mother was staying with us and just happened to mention that a girl I knew from home had had a similar experience to mine and had recovered. I called her and was given some hope and guidance. I will always remember her kindness and willingness to share her experiences with me. In one of her later emails to me, she happened to mention that there will be people who will consistently let me know that "it could be worse". She reminded me that, although I knew that this was the worse thing that was happening to me right now, those people were just trying to make me feel better, in their own way. She was right, I knew that, but I was feeling very low and sorry for myself and, in my mind, this was pretty bad.

As the days went on, I began to do what I did best; read and research. I needed to find out as much as possible about nerve damage and recovery. I found many studies and articles. I learned all of the terms necessary to wade through the labyrinth of medical jargon and jumble.
Neurapraxia, Axonotemesis, Neurotemesis, Neuropathy, Wallerian Degeneration, and on, and on. In doing my research, I was surprised to realize how many people suffered from nerve damage. More so, I was surprised to realize how little could be found about nerve damage regeneration and healing. Even the many discussion groups I found were full of people who had similar experiences but had never healed and were tortured with chronic pain. I had to keep reminding myself that I was going to heal and that others who have healed, are not bothering to spend all day online writing about how wonderful they feel. Those people were too busy living their lives. It was disappointing, however, that, no matter how many times I googled "stages of nerve damage recovery", or something of the like, I could find nothing. After several weeks, I found one little paragraph in a Lingual and Inferior Alveolar Nerve Damage Discussion Site. My nerve damage was caused by hip surgery, not dental surgery, but I would take anything I could get and I vowed that, when I felt up to it, I would document my stages of recovery for those who, like me, were furiously scouring webpages for hope.

During my days of intense hunt for information treasure, I came across a discussion website called "Neurotalk". This is a site for those with any type of neurological problem, from A to Z. I went in hoping for some insight into my own nerve palsy and came out with a great respect and heartwarming affection for all of these strangers who were living with such horrors. My little problem was nothing in comparison; nothing at all. There were those with Peripheral Neuropathy (PN), who suffered that intense searing, burning pain that I had also experienced. However, where I had experienced such horrors for 12 long days, these people suffer every day, all day, for years and years. This is the same for the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) sufferers. I had nothing on these people. Yes, things could always be worse.

When you are homebound and have access to a computer, you tend to find yourself on that computer a lot. In my case, all the time. Most of the time, I found myself on the Neurotalk website just cruising around, more like a voyeur than a participant. I told myself that it was all a part of the research; I was gathering all of the information I could in order to take control of my situation and to be as learned about my condition as possible. I have since realized, however, that at some point, I was no longer just a researcher. I was now interested in the lives of these people. I wanted to know how they were doing, how they were surviving. A week or so after Christmas, I was on the Neurotalk site, in the RSD forum, reading new posts. The most recent post was from a young woman who always contributed to the site, whether through support for others or questions of her own. The title of her new post was "Our World has Fallen Apart". I thought, oh no, her disease had spread. I knew she was a young wife and mother. I opened the post and was shocked to learn that her 3 children had been in a car accident with her sister-in-law. Her 9 year old daughter had not survived the crash. Yes, things could always be worse. Always.


...and other worldly mysteries.

So, when I last (or first) wrote, I was explaining all of the gory details of my lovely bones. As I remember, I left off just before going in for my second THR (total hip replacement, for all of you "non-hippies" out there). On October 29/09, my husband and I again found ourselves in the wonderful waiting area just outside the doors that led to the operating rooms. It was 6:30 am and I, along with several others, was naked, save for the always stylish, blue johnny shirt and housecoat (complete with paper booties). I had just been given a nice warm blanket and a little paper cup filled with tiny little pills. I was feeling fine and decided to ask my husband if he felt like having a Christmas party this year. Of course he did, we loved to entertain. I knew I would be in fine shape by December 15, or so, if my calculations served me right. A Christmas party would be fun. Soon after the decision was made, it was my turn to walk through the swinging doors and into a new life without pain and discomfort.

A couple of hours later, I began to wake up in the recovery room. It was all very similar to the first time and I felt quite comfortable and relaxed. When fully awake, the recovery nurse asked some standard questions just to make sure that I was ready to be transferred to my room. The last question was also standard, "Could you please wiggle your foot for me?". And again, "Could you please wiggle your foot for me?". Well, I thought I was wiggling my foot. Apparently not. Absolute and utter panic set in as I realized that I could not feel or move anything on my right side from mid-shin, down. I lost my mind and began to blubber uncontrollably as the nurse went to find my surgeon, Dr. D. In what seemed like seconds, he was there, by my side assuring me that everything would be OK. But how could this be OK? I had 2 kids to raise. What about them?

What follows is from an electronic journal I began shortly after the surgery. Be advised, the early stuff is somewhat drug induced and could possibly be quite cryptic. Enjoy!

RIGHT (OCT. 29, 2009)

· Woke from recovery with no feeling or movement in right foot (Stage 0).

· Right foot was freezing cold and tingly (paresthesia).

· Dr. D. said nerve damage, didn’t know how or why.

· D. estimated a 6-8 week recovery with a 95% chance.

· Ordered a CT scan to see if there were blood clots pressing on nerve.

· CT scan came back normal.

· Very slight wiggle downwards in first 3 toes.

· With eyes closed, couldn’t tell which toes were being touched.


· Saw I. (neurosurgeon).

He did prick test with needle.

I could feel needle, inside of foot more sensation than outside of foot.

I. said he agreed with Dr. D. that nerve was not cut, but rather bruised or stretched.

He estimated a 3-6 month recovery.

· I told him it would be sooner for me.

· He was reserved, and said, “no, 3-6 months”.

· He ordered an EMG, which could only be done at 3 weeks.

· EMG appt. scheduled for Monday, Nov. 23, 2009.

· Saw OT and rep. from Curwin.

· Fitted for a daytime brace and nighttime “boot”.


· Released from hospital and sent home.

· Very depressed, almost hopeless.

· Everyone tells me to be hopeful; it is difficult.


· S. notices that I can move toes a little more.

· Can move the toes upward a little and downward a little.

· No flexion in the ankles YET.

· Still freezing cold.


· Woke up in the morning in severe pain in the calf and foot.

· Could be muscular, I don’t know.


· 4 am, woke up and foot felt warm and not tingly for first time since waking from surgery.

· Changed sleeping position, tingling started to come back.

· When S. woke up, he said my foot and leg felt warm.

· Foot and leg got cold again as the day progressed.


· Foot and leg warm again last night and they still are (11:30 am).

· Still no more movement, however, in the middle of the night, heel felt somewhat normal and last 2 toes are moving a tiny bit better.

· Becoming more hopeful, still have crying jags, hope this changes when pain meds are no longer needed.

· Earlier today I saw slight movement from side to side.

· Just now, (7 pm) I saw slight movement upwards.

· It is possible that my calf muscle is helping with this, however, as of this morning, I couldn’t do this.

· I have been working very hard; it is almost like a workout at the gym.

· Just sitting there, working to see slight movement causes perspiration and fatigue.


· More dorsiflexion (Stage 2).


· Still working on the dorsiflex.

· Can’t do it while lying prone, can only do it sitting, knee bent.

· 6:30 pm, foot is still warm.

· Top of foot suddenly became very itchy.

· My mother is an amazing caregiver (just needed to add that).


· Foot remained warm until yesterday.

· Has been cold since yesterday afternoon.

· A lot of nerve pain last night; couldn’t sleep.

· Seems as if, when foot is warm with no nerve pain, there is no progress.

· Today, sitting on raised seat, foot off ground, could slightly dorsiflex up and down (Stage 3).

· S. and Aidan are home from Maine.

· I am feeling a little less depressed and more hopeful.


· Much more flexion up and down when leg is raised off ground.

· Starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.


· More flexion up and down.

· Small rotations to the left and right.

· Still having days and hours with freezing and paresthesia.

· Why do I have this sensation sometimes, but not always?

· EMG test is Monday.

· Hopeful for good results.

· S. has been wonderful and the kids are very helpful!


· More dorsiflexion, left and right rotation, side to side.

· Saw I. today; he said motor function has progressed from stage 0 to stage 3.

· Periods of warm sensation minus pins and needles have increased.

· I am hopeful.


· Not a lot of change today.

· A little less tingling, pins and needles.

· Very itchy.

· EMG tomorrow morning.


· Had EMG today.

· They didn’t tell me a lot.

· Did say that there was activity in all the nerves tested, however, it will take “a long time” for recovery.

· I don’t know what to think.

· I feel somewhat letdown and sad.

· I am also beginning to get very angry.


· Can now move big toe independently from others.

· Saw slight movement of toes upward.

· Movement seems to be increasing, however, sensation is horrific.

· Feels like I’ve had my foot in ice water for days.

· Also feel like something heavy has fallen on top of foot.

· Very tender and sore to touch.

· Everyday I stretch my achilles and calf muscle.

· Calf is very tight and sore, sometimes painful.

· Feeling better emotionally.

· Think I might attempt some Xmas shopping next week.

· Hope to put up some indoor décor this weekend.


· Big toe slightly bends at knuckle for first time.

· Went Xmas shopping for a few hours.

· Quite sore tonight.


· Severe nerve pain last night and today.


· Have been having severe nerve pain.

· Burning, sharp, searing.

· Can’t sleep at night.

· Also, yesterday, I put up the inside X-Mas décor (this is a good thing).

· However, now the hip is rockin’ with pain.

· Steve went out today and got me Neuragen.

· This is a topical solution, that is rubbed on affected area up to 5 times/day.

· Put it on at 1pm.

· The burning went away by 1:20 pm.

· It is now 2:25 and the pain is still gone.

· Lasted about 3 ½ hours.


· Severe burning, searing pain! Gone back to crutches because too painful to walk on foot.

· Motor function is progressing nicely.

· However, not able to enjoy the motor function, because it is very painful to move.

· Still haven’t heard from I. since he left the message on Tuesday.


· Heard from I. last night.

· Not much new about Emg.

· “potential” for improvement.

· Prescribed Lyrica.

· I did a lot of research, didn’t like the side effects, and the prescription was $300.00.

· Passed on the Lyrica.

· Woke up today feeling a little better, not as much searing.

· Able to go back to cane and put pressure on foot.

· Now, as evening progresses, searing is coming back.

· Strangely, freezing cold sensation is also coming back.

· Still have motor function, but hurts to move foot again.


· Still have the searing pain but not as bad as yesterday.

· Yesterday wasn’t as bad as previous day so I am hopeful for recovery.

· Steve put tree up today.

· This will be the first year that I have not been able to decorate the tree.

· I will suck it up and try to enjoy it.

· Yesterday, the pain seemed to increase as evening wore on.

· I will keep an eye on that tonight.

· Took a half a sleeping aid last night.

· Slept til 3:30 am then a couple of hours at a time after that.

· Don’t want to take a full one and be drowsy next day.

· Still on cane today.

· Disappointed at the regression.


· Searing pain seems to be receeding.

· Only in the last 3 toes now.

· Still numbness and feels as if foot is wrapped in thick plastic.

· The freezing cold feeling is back as well.

· Motor function is still only about 85%.

· Still having a difficult time sleeping.

· Today my incision area is painful and bruised.

· I wonder if, now that the swelling is going down, compression of the nerve is lessened.


· Was pain free today from 8 am – 4:30 pm.

· We were able to decorate the tree.

· Still had the weird , “saran-wrapped” sensation in the foot, but it was nice not to have the burn.

· It is back now and I’m sure will be full force tonight.

· My heel feels almost back to normal now.

· The pain and strange sensations seem to radiate from middle of the foot to end of toes.


· 6 week check up.

· Hip is doing very well.

· Referred to a manual PT.

· Burning is only in last 2 toes and side of foot.

· Tight, wrapped feeling from ball of foot up to toes.


· Went to physio.

· Definitely sciatic (peroneal) nerve palsy at L4, L5.

· Long assessment and acupuncture.

· I am still hopeful for a full recovery.


· Christmas is over.

· Some good days, some bad.

· Feeling good now.

· Calf is still tight and sore.

· Achilles is still very tight.

· PT is very good.

· About 85% motor function.

· About 75-80% sensory function.

· I think I will recover fully but the last little bit will take a while.

· Am driving now.


· Saw Dr. D. today.

· Foot has gone back to freezing cold, shocks, some burning at night.

· Dr. is concerned with the Achilles.

· Still a window of 6-12 mos. before surgery will be considered.

· I will not have surgery.

· Started wearing boot again every night regardless of burning.

· PT is going well.

· Still, not a lot of progress since last post.

· I am hopeful that now I am on the other side of the plateau and am on my way to full recovery.

...and other things I don't understand.

A few years ago, my husband, a friend, and I were sitting around, shooting the breeze when one of us (I don't remember who) brought up a news story that they had seen the previous day. A tenant of a Florida apartment complex had been walking home from work one day when an alligator fell from the sky at his feet. As it turned out, one of the other tenants had been secretly keeping the alligator as a pet in a second floor apartment. The alligator, it seems, was tired of his accommodations, and attempted to make a break for it by escaping through a window. Fortunately, the commuter who witnessed this attempt at autonomy, did survive. Unfortunately, the gator did not.

The three of us got a great kick out of this story, it seemed very silly to us. Silly as it was, to this day, I have never forgotten it. It is just one of the many things I cannot understand. Why on earth would anyone want an alligator as a pet? How on earth did none of the other tenants know the alligator was there? And, why, oh why, would you keep your pet alligator on the second floor?

As mentioned earlier, this is only one of the many things I do not understand. Life is so random, in good ways and bad. For instance, how is it that I, a fairly healthy and, virtually sane, 39 year old woman is now the proud owner of, not one, but two, prosthetic hips. It seems crazy and almost impossible, but true. Even as a child, I knew something was not quite right. In gym class or at Brownies (now I'm really dating myself) all of the other little girls could easily plop down on the floor and sit "criss-cross applesauce". I could not. All of the other little girls could do the splits and perform fantastic cartwheels on demand. I could not. I did not let it bother me much, however. I did what I could and got along quite well, thank you very much.

As I got older, I would attempt the many organized sports all of my friends were into: basketball, volleyball, baseball, badminton, running club, etc. I wasn't bad, just not great. I felt that I had potential, but there was always something holding me back. Not pain, per se, just an inability and inflexibility. As I got even older, such things did not seem so important. I went to school, moved away from home, met an amazing man, got married, and had my first child, a son. Soon after giving birth to Aidan, however, my "differences" did seem to become a little more important. The pain began. I was 27. This pain began innocuously; I had fallen down a flight of stairs at work and hurt my back. So, every once in a while, when it was really bad, I would attribute my suffering to that fall. However, by 2005, at age 35, I now had another wonderful child, a girl, and was also suffering from subluxations of both hips. For those of you who don't know (I had no idea what was happening), one or both of my hips would partially dislocate from the socket. By 2005, this would happen up to 4-5 times a day. Not fun. Not nice.

After much complaining (and believe me, no one despises a complainer more than I do), my husband finally convinced me to go to my family doctor. I did and was told that I was too young to have arthritis, therefore I should lose some weight. I had a nice 30 lbs of baby weight left from Cate (never mind that she was 2 years old). So I did. I lost the weight, began working out at the gym and became one of those annoying, healthy people who loves to eat right and work out furiously (not really). My issues did not go away. Instead, the pain and subluxations got worse. To my doctor's credit, he ordered x-rays and, after getting the results, apologized profusely. Apparently, my hip joints, and acetabulums (sockets) were seriously deformed. The ball joints were not "balls" at all. In fact, one was a triangle and the other was a rectangle. Also, and for good measure, my tailbone was fused to my spine on the left side. What fun.

To make a long story longer, I was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon. My husband and I went, quite convinced that I would be given a prescription for pain meds. and told to come back in 10 years to discuss my surgical options. We were wrong. We were, instead, told that, although it would normally be recommended that a patient of my age wait, I could not. I needed a total hip replacement of both hips. Would I like a second opinion? Oh, yeah! I was then referred to a second, much younger surgeon, who specialized in hip and knee replacement and was at the forefront of current orthopaedic surgery. My new surgeon told me much of the same and added the news that both of my femurs had now begun to twist inward, forcing both hip joints into my pelvis. I was a mess. Dr. D. and his resident were quite surprised that I was actually walking, let alone procreating and going to the gym 3-4 times a week. Wow, I knew it all along, I was a Superhero! Ha!

Fortunately, and unfortunately, there was quite a waiting list (12-18 months). This being said, I had a lot of time to think, prepare, and panic. Then, before I know it, the time had come. I went in to the hospital on May 4/09 and had my left hip replaced. The surgery went extraordinarily well. I only spent 2 nights in the hospital. I endured 6 weeks of restrictions and precautions with the help of a truly amazing husband, 2 very helpful kids, and a wonderful mother. I was back at the gym, weight training with my trainer at 12 weeks post-op. I felt really wonderful and was eager to get as strong as possible for my right replacement which was scheduled for Oct. 29/09.

October 29 came around very quickly and it was time to do it all over again. This time, however, would be much easier, physically and emotionally, because I knew what to expect. Right? Wrong!

To be continued...