Friday, March 30, 2012

Where to start?

Perhaps the better question might be, "Where does it end?"
Just a few days ago I posted about the importance of knowing one's family health history.
I mentioned a cousin of mine who had recently been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's.
If that wasn't enough for that branch of my family to deal with, earlier this week the youngest of their siblings died suddenly after suffering a massive cerebral bleed at her brain stem.
Initially, when I saw another e-mail arriving from my cousin this morning, I just assumed she was updating me on her sister's condition.  It took my breath away when I read her message telling me that her youngest sister had been taken so suddenly.
When things like this happen, I'm always left to wonder what God's plan really is for some people.
This family has had enough to deal with.
Not quite five years ago, this trio of sisters lost their mother very suddenly.
Since then, they've lost two aunts (not related to me); one to cancer, the other very suddenly.
Two months ago they learned of the middle sister's "death sentence" diagnosis.
And before they have time to digest that diagnosis, the youngest of their tight circle is taken.  She was the mother of one, grandmother of three.
I just don't get it.
Rest in peace, Judy
 1957 - 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's back to my back

You might recall that at week five of post-op, when I saw the surgeon, he told me I could start sleeping on my left side?
And I was delighted?
And I actually did sleep on my left side and had a wonderfully refreshing sleep?
Yeh, well, that didn't last long.  Perhaps two or three nights, if that.  (I wasn't actually staying on my side either, because it seems that once I was asleep, I was turning onto my back.)
I started noticing that it actually hurt to be lying on my left side, but I was hoping I was wrong.  Because, what could be hurting?  I have an artificial hip now.  But it sure felt like pressure on my hip bone!
Anyway, for the past few weeks the pain has worsened to the point that I simply could not bear lying on that side.  I was starting to worry that I would forever have this problem.  That the surgery, while it gave me back my mobility, did not give me back my ability to sleep on my side.
Yesterday, I raised the issue with my physiotherapist and she put my fears to rest.
Turns out that it IS the bone that's hurting.  The bone that holds the new hip prosthesis has not yet fully healed and when I lay on it, I'm putting pressure on a "raw wound," as it were.  Same thing with the pain that persists down my leg -- the femur was drilled to allow the rod of the new structure to be inserted.  And that bone is not yet fully healed either.
Now it makes sense.  I need not worry about never being able to sleep on my side again.  I just need to be a little more patient.  It might take another four to six weeks before those bones are fully able to bear the weight of my body while I sleep.
My physiotherapist was puzzled though, about why I was so anxious to sleep on my left side.  I do, after all, have another side.  She didn't realize that I can't sleep on my right side either, because THAT hip is bad.  It too will need to be replaced.  We just don't know how long it will be before it HAS to be replaced.
So, bottom line is, I'm back to having to sleep on my back for possibly another four to six weeks.
I hate sleeping on my back.
And I have a very difficult time going to sleep on my back.
But, I did it prior to and immediately after the surgery.
So, I will do it again.
Did I mention how tired I am today?
I feel like I haven't slept at all.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mike Won't Lie

On Monday, I was sooooooooooooo annoyed with my car dealer, I fired them!
That's right.
I've had enough of their manipulative, fabricating ways.
Last week, when I called to make an appointment to have my snow tires removed, I asked how long they would need the vehicle for.  "Twenty minutes, half hour tops," he said.
"Really?" I asked incredulously.
"Yes," he said, "at that time of day, we'll be able to get you right in and out."
So, based on that information, and trusting it to be factual (my silly mistake), I arranged with my little chickadee that we would stop there after my haircut and "quickly" have my snow tires removed.
We arrived at the dealer and he informed me that they are now charging for storage of tires (it has been free 'til now, which is why I used their service).  My little chickadee quickly went into action rearranging the contents of my car to allow the tires to be placed in my vehicle for removal from the dealer's storage facility.
I would call Mike (my friendly neighbourhood mechanic) and give him my money.  Mike is the one who otherwise services my vehicle -- and he gives me exemplary service.  He recently expanded his shop to allow storage of tires.
"We'll wait," I said to the intake guy, "I understand it will only be about a half hour?"
"Yes," he responded, "we should be able to get you right in."
So off we went to the waiting room, in all innocence, and sat down to wait a half hour.
About an hour later, Pauple called to find out what was keeping us.  "We're waiting for my Mom's car," said MLC, "she's having the snow tires removed."
"What's she driving now?" Pauple asked.  "An 18-wheeler?  How many snows are being removed?"
At the 70-minute mark, I'd had enough.  So I wandered into the intake bay and asked if they'd lost my car.
The gentleman very nicely checked the record and told me that it should take about a half hour.
"Another half hour yet?"  I kind of quietly screeched.
"No, that's how long it takes once they start," he quickly clarified, "and I think they're working on your car now.  I'll just go and make sure."
Off he went to the service area and came back with the news that they would be "another ten minutes."
I returned to the waiting room and let MLC know that we should only be ten minutes longer.
Ten minutes later, MLC called my attention to the fact that it had now been ten minutes.
I reminded her that obviously, we should always double whatever timeline the dealer offers.
Sure enough, just better than ten minutes after that, my car was finally ready.  A mere 90 minutes is all it took for an estimated half hour wait!
All they had to do was give me that time estimation right up front, and we could have made other arrangements.  We'd have  put our time to much better use than sitting in their waiting room for the duration.  I was more than a little annoyed.
Why don't they just admit that it could be a while?  In my experience with this dealer (Southbank Dodge Chrysler, in case you're wondering), they have never once dealt honestly with me.  Sales.  Service.  It doesn't matter. They don't know what honesty means.  And I've bean dealing with them for 28 years!    
I paid the bill and got out of there.
That evening, I called Mike at his home and arranged to drop my snow tires off at his shop the following morning.
My snow tires are now safely stored at Mike's shop (Cooley Automotive).
One thing's for sure.  When it's time to have those tires installed again, if Mike tells me he needs my car for half an hour, that's how long I'll wait.
How can I be so sure of that?
Because my vehicles (and I've had several -- every one a Chrysler product) have all been looked after by Mike for lots of years now.
And Mike doesn't lie!

Monday, March 26, 2012

My big foray ...

Today, I will venture into the big city for my first serious outing since my surgery.
I have physio at 1:00pm here in town, after which I will drive to Ottawa to pick up my little chickadee.
We will go to my hairdresser's place for a 2:45pm appointment, and then we'll stop at my car dealer's to have my snow tires removed (both within blocks of MLC's home).
Then we'll go back to MLC's place and I will resume my resting status.
When my striking young man arrives home from school, the playing will start (I love collecting hugs and teasing him).
Not sure what we're doing about dinner this evening but I'm certain MSYM will have plans.
I do know that MLC and I are going to watch Sarah's Key -- she told me last evening that she picked up the DVD so I'm quite looking forward to that.  The book was fabulous!
Tomorrow morning, I'll take MSYM for breakfast before delivering him to his before-school daycare.  Then I'll head off to an 8:00am doctor's appointment.  After that, it's breakfast with my good friend, RLR (that has become a ritual for us).
Some time around 10:30am or so I'll head home.
To resume normal programming.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chasing Family Health History

I had a very distressing telephone discussion with my cousin the other day.
She had left a message indicating that she had a few questions for me but apparently didn't have the correct e-mail address for me.  Would I send her the correct address, or call her please?
I did both.
Her younger sister (obviously also my cousin), has recently been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's.  Only 56 years old, C has been given 60 months ("that's how they talk to you about this") of cognitive life and about eight years of life.
The doctor has asked if there was anyone in the family with the disease.
They had established that there was no evidence of the illness on their mother's side.  Now they were investigating their father's side.
Our fathers were brothers.  Hence, the call.  She figured that since I have done so much family tree research, I might know the answer to this difficult question.  
We discussed the fact that none of the relatives on our fathers' side had lived long enough to have developed Alzheimer's.  With the exception of one paternal aunt (who lived to a ripe old age and clearly did not suffer the affliction), all our paternal line had died in their 60s of other causes.
As to our paternal grandfather's line, he came to Canada as a British Home Child, and that is where a lot of my research has been focused.  Consequently, I have "cause of death" for his line back to the early mid-1800s.
In 1841, our 4th great grandfather died aged 66 years as a result of "decay of nature."  Might that be what they called AD back then?
In 1888, our 2nd great granduncle died aged 63 of "atrophy of the brain."  I'm fairly certain that could be a description for AD.
But that’s really reaching with no other evidence of AD between then and now, isn't it?
The rest of our paternal grandfather's line all died in their 60s or earlier so we have no way of knowing if they might have developed AD, had they lived long enough.
I've checked with a few relatives on our paternal grandmother's line to see if they can offer any information.   (My records indicate that most of her line also all died in their 60s, of other causes.) To our collective knowledge, there is no previous incidence of this particular illness in our line. 
Osteoarthritis?  yes
Heart disease?  yes
Lung disorders?  yes
Cancer?  yes
But Alzheimer's?  We've simply not heard of it in our family.
The doctor is most interested to determine if my cousin is the first in the family to be affected by this most horrid of diagnoses.  Because if she is, the question then becomes, "Why did she get it?"
I asked my cousin a few questions about how the diagnosis came to be made.
Turns out that C has not been able to work for the past couple of years.  About two years ago, she started noticing that she could no longer do her job.  She would see a word and not know what it meant.  She took her concerns to her doctor.
He referred her to a neurologist.  That referral took several months.
The neurologist assessed her and referred her to the Alzheimer's program.  That referral took two years.
She is currently in a clinical trial and is doing well.  But the doctor's comment, when he finally made the diagnosis and gave the prognosis, was, "If only I had got you sooner."
If only.  Indeed.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Those damned Mack trucks

Yep, they've struck again!
After such a long absence, I'd almost forgotten about them.
But they made an appearance again last night.
I woke this morning (after spending a dreadful night trying to get some restful sleep) feeling like I'd been run over by at least twenty Mack trucks during the night.
Consequently, I've spent the day doing next to nothing.
The effort of taking my shower and drying my hair just about did me in. It was unbelievable how tired I was after that.
For most of the day, it has been a supreme challenge to put one foot in front of another.
A good part of the day was spent sleeping in fact.
I must admit, I still don't feel a whole lot better.
Sure hope there won't be too many more of these days in my future!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's official, I'm being "dumped"

Yes I am.
I saw my physiotherapist this morning.
She's "dumping" me.
There's not really much more she can offer me.
So she will see me once next week.
Then two weeks after that.
Then a month after that.
At which time she will officially "discharge" me.
In the interim, I will continue doing my exercises to strengthen my muscles.
And I will continue taking my cane with me when I go out so that I have the extra support when I get fatigued (which still happens quickly).
The only other thing I have to do is avoid falling.  She checked my ankle and determined that I tore the ligaments and it will be sore for a while.  But I should just keep doing what I've been doing:  use it as much as I can.  Eventually, it won't hurt any more.
So there you have it.
Seven weeks post op and she's declared me beyond needing her assistance.
Fine by me.  I like having free days.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Is it really only seven weeks?

This is unbelievable.
Just seven weeks since my surgery and I can walk without a cane, almost like a normal person (I'll get there!).
I didn't see the physiotherapist yesterday so I don't have her take on my status.  But I will see her tomorrow and I'm sure she will be hard-pressed to justify my continuing seeing her twice a week.
This morning, I took a shower just like a normal person, without using the tub transfer bench.  It was heaven!  And while in the shower, I tested to see if I would be able to manage shaving my legs without using the bench -- and it worked just fine.  So I think it's safe to dispense with the bench.
All that's left now is the raised toilet seat.  I'm fairly certain I can remove that now too.  I had actually removed it last week and found out that it was too soon.  But it might not be too soon now.  I seem to be able to get up from most chairs without too much trouble now.
Once I remove the raised seat from the toilet, I will have dispensed with all the aids that I had to buy for my rehabilitation.
Of course, I will have to take the cane when I go out simply because I need it for safety's sake.  Once fatigue hits I need the extra support (and fatigue hits quickly with a lot of walking).
On Sunday, the pain coming from my SI joint was indescribable. My sleep that night was especially disturbed because of the discomfort.
So I spent yesterday with the TENs machine treating my SI joint.  All day long.
The TENs treatment seems to have done the trick because I slept very well last night and today there is no pain coming from that joint.  Which is a good thing because today we have to go into the city to see our dermatologist.  This is her last day of work before she goes on maternity leave (she is due to give birth on April 2nd).
The appointment is actually John's but I'm anxious to speak to her about my scheduled MOHs surgery on April 11th (her replacement will be doing my procedure).  She will be interested to see how well I'm doing since my hip replacement too.
Seven weeks, you say?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Finally!

OK, I know this is still just Spring Training but ...
Today, I get to watch my boys on television.
I do, I do!
I'm sooooooo excited.
It will be my first glimpse of this year's team.
Thus far, I've had to settle for listening to the games on the radio (or following them on the internet with periodic score updates).
But today, this will be the real McCoy!!!!!!!
I've already called my satellite provider and turned on the HD Sports package for the season.
My boys have been doing an outstanding job during pre-season play.
Yesterday, they had a 12 - 2 record.
Then they dropped both games they played yesterday (it was a split squad and neither one managed to squeak out a win).
So now, after a ten game winning streak, they have a 12 - 4 record.
They had been in first place with their 12-2 record, but now they've dropped to being tied for second place.
Which still isn't too shabby.
If this were April, it would be an amazing record.
Too bad Spring Training games don't count on the season.
There's only a couple of weeks left of Spring Training, so not much chance for TV coverage (today's is the only game this week being broadcast).
So we'll have a peek today and then might have to wait for opening day on April 5th to see them again.
In the meantime,
GO JAYS, GO!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

It had to happen ...

Just when things were going tickety-boo.
I had even implemented extra caution to ensure that I don't stress my muscles unnecessarily. 
And then it happens.
Yesterday, as I was getting ready to take my shower before my massage therapist arrived, I kind of had an accident.
Fortunately, I didn't hurt/harm my hip.
But I sure as hell hurt my ankle.
On my left foot no less.
As I said, I was getting ready for my shower.
I walked into the washroom and balanced the cane against the wall.
Then I balanced me against the wall whilst I took my slippers off.
And as I took the slipper off my right foot, somehow my left foot went out from under me.
And down I went.
I simply crumbled.
But I must have twisted my ankle in good fashion because WOW, is it sore.
Of course, I was alone in the house at the time.
My first thought was, "Oh oh, I wonder if I'll be able to get up on my own."  But I was able to get up, the most difficult part of the exercise being the pressure on my left foot.
My next thought was, "Thank God I didn't land hard on my hip!"  (I had put my hand out to cushion the fall and I'm paying the price today with a sore wrist!)
I sat and rubbed my ankle for a bit and then I proceeded with my shower. (I was using the transfer bench because I wanted to shave my legs -- an operation I can't yet do standing up).
By the time I got out of the shower, the swelling was obvious.  But there was no discolouration.  Just a whole lot of pain, especially when I tried to walk.
When John came home, I told him we had a bit of a problem and explained what had happened.
Now what do we do?  Do we go to the hospital emergency and have it x-rayed?  Or do we wait and watch?
I didn't want to forego my massage so we were waiting until after my therapist had come and gone in any event.
My massage therapist assessed it (she has years of experience with this type of injury) as, worse case scenario, torn ligaments.  Her main concern was about my stability in the days ahead as my ankle heals.  We iced it while she worked on my back and she kept close watch on it.
By the end of my massage, there was minimal discolouration but nothing that would suggest serious injury.  Which is not to say that it won't hurt!  We decided it didn't warrant a trip to emergency unless the swelling and/or discolouration became extreme.  We would wait and watch.
It should probably be wrapped to provide extra support, but we don't have a tensor bandage.
Today, it is still sore (as I'm sure it will be for a while yet) and I'm being extra careful as I walk about the house.
And just for good measure, I'm limiting my walking -- only doing what absolutely has to be done.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oooops, Perhaps not so free

OK, I'm really not ready for prime time yet.
Yesterday, I had an excellent session with the physiotherapist -- impressed the heck out of her.
But before I even arrived at the clinic, I had to stop in at the laboratory to have some bloodwork done.  The lab had recently moved but I didn't know that.  Hence, I parked in the usual place, walked towards the normal location and noticed that the lab didn't appear to be there.
Then I noticed the sign directing people to what I guessed was the new location.
Back to the car.
I drove around to the new site and parked the car again.  (Remember, each motion of getting in and out of the car is a lot of work for me.)
The lab is now located in one of these new fangled "catch all" health centres.  A gazilion doctors, various health care professionals, all housed in one location.  One stop health care!
But of course, the lab is located in the furthermost corner of the building.
I walked and walked and walked ...
It was interesting to hear the comments of almost everyone who arrived in the waiting room.  "This could be a real problem for a lot of people who can't walk this far ...".  Ain't THAT the truth!
Once my blood was taken (three vials), I had to walk, and walk, and walk again to get back to my car (and I was now ten minutes late for my physio session).
I again got in the car, drove around the corner to the clinic, parked the car, extricated my body from the vehicle once again, and finally arrived for my physio session.  (By now, I was fairly well energy depleted.)
Then, to add insult to injury, my physiotherapist had me do several of the exercises very many times more than usual (we were yakking).
And to make matters worse still, when the session was over, rather than going directly home, I decided to make a pit stop at the grocery store.
The grocery store of all places!  Our local grocery store just happens to be one of these "super stores" where it doesn't matter how few items you might want to pick up, you walk forever by the time you get to a cash.
Now, I wasn't aware at the time that I was overdoing things.
I felt perfectly fine.
At the time.
The trouble hit last evening.
Sitting became impossible.
My hips and SI joints started screaming at me.
Then my left leg muscles got into the act.
I took a painkiller on the way to bed because I couldn't bear it any longer.
There was no way I could sleep on my side last night.
So I spent the night on my back, acutely aware all night long of the throbbing in my leg.
Today, I am very tired.
Fortunately, it is massage day so my therapist will come and whip me back into shape.
But, lesson learned I can assure you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's she to do with me?

That's essentially what my physiotherapist asked this morning.
Patients are released from therapy when they can walk without the cane (which I can now do).
However, they simply do NOT discharge patients at six weeks post op (which is what I am).
So, in order to keep me in therapy longer, she is making new "goals" for me.
Because she hasn't put me through all the paces yet.  She hasn't taught me all the exercises that form part of the strengthening program to get the patient to the point where I have already reached.
The new goals?
She will discharge me when I complete the program (which is usually at the twelve week mark).  When I can walk without the cane without showing any sign of favouring one side or the other.  (That might prove tricky for me since my right hip is already showing evidence of the stress of carrying the extra workload as the left hip heals.)
She wants to try to get me to a place where I can walk without stressing my right hip.  She understands my desire to hopefully delay the need for surgery on my right hip as long as I can.  Right now, my right hip is objecting to some of the exercises that are required of the left hip.
Easy is as easy does.
This is a situation where I need to NOT do something "just because I can."
Time to back off and use the cane, whether I need it or not.
For just a few more weeks.
In the interest of the better good.
Short term pain for longer term gain.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

FREEDOM!!!!!!

I am a free woman!
The physiotherapist was most impressed with my progress.
She always asks me how I'm doing, of course. And as we were approaching the treatment bed, she was watching me walk with the cane.  I put the cane down and sat on the bed as I whispered to her, "If you must know, the cane is slowing me down."  And she didn't even laugh at me!
She chose to test my walking first.  We went to the bars and she told me to walk the length so she could watch me.  I asked if I should do it with or without holding the bars.  She said, "Let me see you do it without assistance."  I walked the length and she was in awe.  She really could not believe the ease with which I was able to walk.
She declared that I obviously didn't need the cane for most day-to-day purposes in my home, but would still need it if I ventured out.  I should just use my judgement.  And she shook her head in amazement.
She kept exclaiming in surprise at the speed with which I've reached this point in recovery.  My fibro hasn't slowed me down one iota, in spite of the mini-flare-ups I experienced.
She also mentioned that they see many hip replacement patients in their clinic, most who have had the lateral or posterior approach surgery.  Only a few have had the anterior approach as I had.  And she doesn't understand why everyone doesn't have the anterior approach because the recovery is so much faster with it!
I explained to her all the research I had done before having my surgery and that I had sought out a surgeon who would use the anterior approach because of my fibro.  (I also waited much longer to have my surgery because of that choice.)  The very fact that my muscles would be moved rather than cut was the selling point for me.  While moving the muscles is an assault, it's not as severe an assault as cutting the muscles.  It stands to reason therefore that the recovery would be faster.  Obviously, I made the right choice for me.
But, there are only two surgeons in Ottawa who use the anterior approach, so until more surgeons are trained in it... .
Anyway, we continued with my session and she was just amazed at my ability to move my hip without pain.  We talked about the obvious benefit I am reaping from all the work I did with the stationary bike before my surgery.  I was ready and now my muscles are thanking me (not to mention what I'm doing).
She also remarked that it is now abundantly clear that what was going on with my hip had nothing to do with fibro (a point I had been making with my doctors for nigh onto ten years).
This is the week I start seeing her twice weekly so I have to go back tomorrow morning.
As I left yesterday, I said to her, "See you on Wednesday, so you can tell me again how well I'm doing and send me on my way."  She nodded her head in knowing agreement.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Six weeks post op

My how things have changed in six short weeks (although it's felt like forever to me).
I'm not using the walker at all now, not even at night.
In fact, even the cane seems to be holding me back sometimes, but I know that I will still need it for a few weeks yet.  My physiotherapist will tell me when I can abandon the cane altogether.
Some movements still cause me difficulty, a low crouch being one.  It's very difficult to get up from too low a crouch without assistance.  Last week we went to Chapters and while there, I had to go to the washroom (my famous thimble-sized bladder).  Turns out their toilets are way lower than standard (funny, I never noticed that before).  Fortunately, there's a grab bar on the wall that I was able to use to help me get up.  Otherwise, I might still be there!
On Saturday night, we went to the Awards Dinner at John's gun club (it was delayed until then so that I could attend -- a sweet gesture, I thought).  As I left the table to head to the washroom, I said to my friend, "If I'm not back in 30 minutes, it means I'm stuck on the toilet.  Come and rescue me please."  We had a good chuckle about the difficulty getting off toilets in some establishments.  (She told me about a friend of hers with bad knees who in fact was held captive in a restaurant until her friends noticed her long absence and went looking for her.)
As we were leaving that evening, a very odd exchange took place.  One of the wives, who was also walking with a cane, approached me and asked, "Do you use your cane on the side of the bad leg or the good leg?"  I did not know this woman and she did not introduce herself.
"Opposite the bad leg side," I replied. 
She went on to explain that her mother-in-law (or was it her mother?) insists on using her cane on the bad leg side.
"Dr. House deliberately uses his cane on the wrong side," I commented.
And then she walked away.
I found the whole exchange very bizarre and bordering on rude.  John couldn't understand why I was offended by it. 
I took her question to be coming from a place of  "I see you're using a cane and just want to make sure you're using it correctly."  I mean, did she seriously think that the physiotherapists would have instructed me to use the cane incorrectly?
I just figured that if she wanted to tell me about her mother-in-law's bizarre use of the cane (and I have to wonder why she wanted me to know that?), she might have opened the conversation differently.  And frankly, truth be known, in the ten years that I've been walking with a cane, I've often used it on the "bad leg side."  I can understand her mother-in-law's preference for doing so, especially if she's right handed and the left leg is her bad one.  But she has to know that she won't get proper support from the cane by using it thusly.  If that woman was looking for allies in her effort to convince her mother-in-law how to properly use a cane, the internet is full of instructional information.
Anyway, I enjoyed the evening immensely.
What a pleasure it was to be able to socialize and sit through a meal without pain!
Then I spent that night in agony.  I should have taken a painkiller on my way to bed because I suffered big time, all night long.
My hips and legs were burning almost like the old days.  Obviously, I'm not ready for prime time yet.
So yesterday was a day of R&R to recover from the abuse of the evening before.
And it must have worked.  Last night, without benefit of painkiller, I managed eight and a half hours of very restful sleep.
I'm loving this business of being able to sleep on my left side!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Just keeps getting better ...

Have you ever wondered just what impact pain can have on your body?
I don't mean in the sense of the immediate pain that you feel at the point of the injury.
I'm talking about the overall effect that pain can have on other systems of the body.
For instance, prior to having my left hip replaced, I lived and breathed pain.
I didn't know what it was not to have pain.
Everywhere.
And nothing worked.
My eyes were a particular challenge as my eye doctor struggled to provide me with corrective lenses to meet my ever changing vision.
I saw my eye doctor this morning and she is delighted.  The same prescription she gave me three months ago is actually working better for me now than it did then.
As she put it, "We're sort of doing our own mini-report here on the effect of pain on eyesight."  The only explanation she can give for the improvement is my lack of pain.
I have to agree with her.
On the drive to the appointment, John and I had discussed that very point.  He had asked me if I had noticed a decline in my eyesight again (since that had been the pattern).  When I told him that in fact the opposite was true this time, we started analysing the possible reasons for the change.
And the only thing I could think of was:  Since my hip was replaced, everything about me has improved.  I have no pain whatsoever (other than the tell-tale pain from the surgery, which will be gone altogether before too much longer). Perhaps the lack of pain is now allowing my eyes to function properly.
It would seem my eye doctor reached the same conclusion.
Because since my left hip was replaced, I have no pain.
Anywhere.
And everything works.  (For the record, I take no painkillers and have taken nothing since two weeks post op.)
Last night, I again slept on my left side.  And woke this morning after eight and a half hours of restful sleep.
Without pain.
Without stiffness.
What a joy!
In the absence of any other explanation, I have to accept that the replacement of my hip has had a profound impact on my overall health.
I'll take it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

All restrictions have been lifted

I saw my surgeon yesterday for the first follow-up since my surgery.
It was a long, albeit rewarding, day in the big city.
First, we met some good friends for lunch (may as well make the trip count!).
Then we headed off to my 1:30pm appointment and we arrived precisely on time.
"Just have a seat," the lovely clerk told me.  "It won't be long."
It wasn't long either.  At 1:45pm my name was called.  They needed X-rays so I would have to go down to the X-ray department and when I returned, I should check in again to let them know I was back.
Off we go down to X-ray where I'm told it will only be a 40 minute wait!
Fortunately, it was just 20 minutes later that my name was called.  And a mere five minutes after that I was on my way back to check in again at the original station.
"You've had your X-rays?" the clerk asks.  "OK, just have a seat and we'll call you in a few minutes."
And it was only a few minutes later that I was directed to the examination room to wait for the doctor.
My x-rays were up on the computer and oh it was neat to see my new hip on display.  What a sight to behold!
The doctor came in and asked how I was doing.
"Fine, actually remarkably well, according to my physiotherapist,"  I replied.  "Oh, and I have a love note for you from her," as I handed him the progress note my physiotherapist had given me for him.
He reviewed the document, made some notations on it, and handed it to me to take back to her.
He looked at the x-rays and announced that everything looks really good.  Did I have any questions?
"Yes," I said, "When can I start driving again?"
"You can drive any time now," he said, "assuming you could drive before."  The whole world's a stage!
We had a chuckle at his comedic skills.  Then I asked about when I could start lying flat on my tummy (I want to resume my acupuncture sessions) and when I could start sleeping on my left side.  "You can do that now,"  he said.  "All those restrictions are gone now.  You're good to go."
He wants to see me again in eight weeks and he will again want x-rays.  I asked for and received a requisition to have the x-rays done locally before that appointment.  I really don't want to go through the tedium of having to wait around for x-rays to be done at the hospital again.  That's just silliness!
But the important point is, I can sleep on my left side, finally!
That is exactly what I did last night -- and I had such a wonderful sleep.  OK, I'm up in the middle of the night. But when you go to sleep before 9:00pm, what can you expect?  I'll nap later this morning and get back on track, maybe!
And tonight, and every night after, I'll go to sleep on my left side again -- without pain!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Five weeks post-op!

Can you believe it?
Five weeks already!
I saw the physiotherapist yesterday and she is beyond delighted with my progress.
She is amazed that I am doing as well as I am.  She said that she had been quite sure that I would be "behind" in rehabbing because of the fibro.
I thought that too.  My doctor had warned me to expect a significant delay.
But it seems that although I've suffered some setbacks due to fibro flare-ups, I've bounced right back and made up for lost time.
So while the plan had been to wean me from the walker to the cane starting this week, I have been moved from the walker to the cane.
Just like that!
My therapist said there's no point delaying it -- I'm walking just fine with the aid of the cane.
Woo hoo!  What freedom!
She made me promise to continue using the walker in the evening when I'm tired just for the safety aspect.  And I must use it during the night if I get up to go to the washroom (again for safety's sake).  Makes sense to me.
I'm also to still use the walker outdoors and for long distances.  Fatigue continues to be an issue for me so she wants me to have the extra support when I get tired.
But oh the joy of walking about the house just using the cane.
And I always hated using my cane.  All those years before the surgery I would reject the cane at every opportunity.  Now, I'm delighted to be using it.
My how things change in a short period of time!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's BASEBALL Season!!!

It is. It is!!!
Yesterday, we listened to the first Jays game of the season on the radio.
OK, it was a Spring Training game but it was still a game.
And oh it was nice to spend the afternoon with my Boys of Summer.
We won the game too -- Jays 7 to Pirates 1.
The only thing that would have made it better was if we'd have had the visual.
But that's OK.
Before too much longer, the TV broadcasts will be upon us and you know where I'll be.

Go Jays Go!!!!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's Income Tax season

Yup, here it is again.
Time to let the tax man know how little money we have left after he's done with us.
It's pathetic really, how much tax we pay for how little return we actually see.
Realistically speaking, I suppose we do get a lot for our dollar.  But with our health care system in the disarray that we are all feeling, and our social programs being abused as they are, it's really difficult to want to pay taxes to support such efforts.
My personal bitch is the amount of tax seniors pay on their limited incomes.  Now that is pathetic!  I truly believe that our seniors, who have contributed to society all their lives, should be exempt from all taxes on the first $60,000.00 of income (that would take care of a good many of our senior population).  Any seniors with income over that threshold can well afford to continue paying a tax share on the income that exceeds that level.
But that's not the way Canada's taxman sees things.  And taxes we must pay.
So every year at this time, I hunker down and crunch the numbers.
I've always found tax filing fairly easy, unlike most people I know who can't get their heads around it.
For as long as I was in the work world, I always prepared income tax returns for my co-workers.  I remember at one point, it was joked that perhaps we should put a "take a number" system outside my door at tax time.
Of course, once I retired, the number of returns I prepared dwindled considerably.
But with the rise of the internet and the ease of transferring files, last year it grew again when my sister in Waterloo asked for tax advice. Before I knew it, I was filing returns for her, her husband and their daughter.  (I think this year I'm gaining another daughter's return too.)
I also still do a good friend's return, as well as her husband's.  I used to do all three of her children's returns but they've all grown and moved on.
My little chickadee mastered the task some years ago so she does her families' returns, but not without several calls to Mom to clarify situations.
I'm not sure how it came about that I garnered all the tax knowledge that I carry around in my head -- be it from my work history or just personal interest.  But tax knowledge I have.  Even stuff that has no relevance to me is filed away in my memory bank.
People used to ask me how I knew the stuff I know about our tax system and the only answer I could give them was, "I read a lot."  And truth be known, I guess that is precisely where I got the knowledge.  It seems that I migrate to any printed matter about taxation.  The subject, for whatever reason, fascinates me.
So I've become everyone's "tax expert."
As the saying goes,  "A little learning is a dangerous thing."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

MMMMM, I love Thursdays!

I do.  I really love this day of the week.
Why?
Because today is the day my massage therapist comes to my home.
And I love the fact that she comes to me, rather than I have to go to her.
It means that I can loll about the house all morning in my jammies, not showering until around the 11:30am mark.
She arrives promptly at 1:00pm to do her magic.
We lock ourselves in my sanctuary for the duration and it's just wonderful, let me tell you.
This arrangement all came about quite some time ago when she and her husband, who is her partner in the clinic, made changes to the building that houses their clinic.
The clinic is in an old Victorian style home that they used to live in, operating the clinic out of one half of the building.  Their family grew too large for that arrangement so they bought a different home but kept the clinic as it was.  Then they renovated to rent out half the building to help with the economics of the new arrangement.
The renovations involved essentially splitting the house into two sides, leaving the clinic side with no downstairs washroom (obviously, the washroom went to the tenant).
Therein lay the problem.
While I could have my massage on the main floor, I need to go the washroom both before and immediately after my treatment (that "thimble" of a bladder, you know!).  And I simply couldn't manage the long, steep staircase up to the level that houses the treatment rooms and the washroom.
She offered to come to my home.  (There is a plan to put a washroom in on the main floor but it is unclear as to when that might happen.)
Of course, since my surgery I surely can't manage those stairs yet.
So she continues to come to my home.
I'm thinking I might never be able to manage those stairs!