Lessons Learned From a New Hip

Closing in on two weeks since I had total hip replacement surgery – and before anyone asks doing really well.  There are some lessons learned from a new hip installed that are worth noting (if not sharing).

  1. “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”  This is what most people who I know who had the surgery said to me going into it.  And generally I agree – I can say there was one minor complication in the hospital, but I woke up in the recovery room and for the first time in two years, my hip wasn’t bothering me.  I think for me, the timing was right – but I can understand why people ask themselves why they didn’t do it sooner.
  2. It’s really major surgery:  My only frame of reference for surgery was my ACL surgery almost six years ago and the less invasive MCL surgery I had six months after that (opposite knee).  Don’t let anyone mislead you – hip replacement may happen a lot, but its major surgery.
  3. Not sure the pre-surgery prep was on point: The doctor and hospital did a great job explaining the procedure, the expected outcome and even the path to rehab.  What they glossed over though was the actual surgical site and the reality of where they cut (right into your glute muscle) and the impact of that.  The only pain I dealt with was from the surgical site.
  4. I finally understand the opioid crisis in this country: I try not to take meds as a rule.  And certainly won’t take any high-end pain killers unless absolutely needed.  They start pushing narcotic pain killers before surgery. I managed to get through the surgery and post-op care without taking any narcotic pain killers.  Not everyone can do that.  I used Tylenol and ice to deal with pain and discomfort.  There was one night in the hospital the nurse spent 20 minutes trying to talk me into taking morphine – because they were going to start physical therapy (PT) the next day.  My thought process was: I just had major surgery, there should be some discomfort.  How am I going to differentiate pain if I am muting it all?  It’s a problem.
  5. I have great kids and support:  It’s not easy for me to ask for or accept help.  I want to be responsible for my stuff.  There are people who really helped out and got me through those first 5 or 6 days and I am really happy about that – and that I was willing to take the help.

There are probably more lessons from the new hip – but if I can go through this experience and come away pain-free and learn something – I’m ahead of the game.

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My Summer “Off”

My Summer OffAlmost two-weeks into my summer off (at least off from being a parent) and time is going by quickly.  Last summer, while the girls were at camp I was busy doing PT two-three times a week to recover from ACL replacement.  Nothing like that this summer, it’s kind of like having my summer off.

It’s not to say nothing is getting done, it is. It’s just a different feeling than last summer, or even two summer’s ago (the girls’ first summer at camp).  Two years ago, I was just starting my job so  there was a lot to learn and lot’s of running around.  Last  year it was all the PT.  This year, it’s actually time to just take a breath.

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And coming off the year, at least the first six months of 2013 that we had, time off is not so bad.  Between my second knee surgery (and extended PT), 13.0’s Bat Mitzvah and 10.5’s break-out violin year-we did a lot.

So now I get letters 4-5 times a week from the girls, we talk once a week and we’re all able to just unwind-not so bad.

So yeah, I still have a lot of work to do.  I have a heavier travel schedule over the summer than I carry during the year and I’m still trying to get a few projects done around the house.  But in the end, so far, my summer “off” is pretty good.

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Lacing Up The Running Shoes For Cause

Cupid Undie RunWith very little “training” accomplished, I’ll be pulling on the running shoes next week, and stripping down to my undies for a one mile (or so) romp through Chelsea and the Meat Packing sections of NYC-it’s all for a good cause.  But even a mile at this point is an accomplishment.

The Cupid Undie run Run New York is a benefit run supporting the Children’s Tumor Foundation.  For me, it’s a chance with very little pressure to test out both of my knees.

By the time the run steps off next week it will be six weeks since my second knee surgery. So far, PT has been going well but I am just starting to run.  The good news about this one mile trek is that there is no clock.  I fully expect to be in the very back of the race, chugging along mostly trying not to take a bad step.

And since this is a fundraising run, I’ll invite all to make a contribution to the cause.  To start things off on my page, I’ve already donated the proceeds from my book, The Beginning of the Middle of the End of the Beginning from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the cause.

I hope you’ll contribute too (and buy my book if you haven’t already).

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Been There Done That, Again

Get Dad the Single Guy’s new book, The Beginning of the Middle of the End of the Beginning now.  Available on all readers.

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been-there-done-thatIn what until now I’ve shared on a need to know basis only-I face another knee surgery early tomorrow morning.  In scale, this one is nothing like the ACL surgery I went through in June and spent the last six months rehabbing from.

In fact, my left knee is doing incredibly well after all of that hard work.

This time, its my right knee facing the knife.  As I was amping up my rehab my of my knee, I tore a piece of the meniscus off the bone in my right knee.  Normally, this is not something that would require surgery, except the small piece that broke off is in the joint and causing me pain as I get around.

My doctor (same one who rebuilt my left knee) describes this surgery as 15 minutes and I walk out.

My last knee surgery experience was 3.5 hours on the table, and rolling out in a soft cast with crutches.

At least via description this one sounds much better.  The timeline for rehab is about two weeks for this surgery and then I’ll need another two weeks to catch up for my left knee and I should be done with PT some nine months after I started pre-habbing my left knee.

So, off to bed early I go tonight, up and out for the train tomorrow and if all goes according to plan WALKING out of the surgical center by 10 tomorrow morning.  I’m counting on it.

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Re-Starting, Re-Focusing

The good news is on August 1 I am back on schedule-modified schedule but my schedule none the less.

The downside is the modified schedule is not quite what I had in mind for the summer of 2012, but beggars can’t be choosers and being back on my schedule (even modified) means I’ve cleared a lot of hurdles since mid-May when I tore my ACL and mid-June when I had the surgery to put a new ACL into my left knee.

So out went the Tough Mudder and out went the triathlon.  In came hours of PT and a lot of time on the couch to think about whats important and goals.

With the girls away at camp-and based on the pictures the camp posts and the weekly calls I get having a great summer, it was with a clear conscience I could set about re-setting my goals not just for the summer but for beyond.

I am months away from being done with PT and resuming the active part of my life.  The girls will be home in a couple of weeks-which I am so ready for, and I’ll be able to greet them without a brace.

During the “down” time I’ve had I’ve been able to think about what is important and how to achieve it.  Health club girl has helped a lot with that, sometimes you just get lucky (as I think) or our destinies were intertwined long ago (as she believes).  EIther way though, there are positives coming out of what could have been a negative.

So, with some of the home improvement done, some of the reorganization at home done and my slowly getting back onto a regular schedule, at midpoint of the summer of 2012 things are not as originally scripted, but going alright.

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Letting No News Speak For Itself

If you were to ask me in May (at least the early part of May) what my summer looked like I had a pretty good concept for a bunch of stuff-from a Tough Mudder, to a triathlon, to a short get away and maybe even hoping to find someone to share time with.

Fast forward to the back-end of July and in this case, three out of four is not so good.  But I have accomplished one of the goals, which is really pretty good.  Perhaps everything really does happen for a reason, I’m not sure still.

However, given that the day-to-day I am doing right now is all about rehab for my knee (by the way courtesy of my friend, my bum knee even tweets) and honestly that has a whiny ring to it when I blog about that over and over…

So, no news is good news.  The knee is getting better.  It’s a long slow process, but one I am sticking with.

Overall, life is not so bad and for now nothing new to report-which is also not so bad.

July 24 update:  So, I thought this was a very positive update and kind of let folks know that despite there have been few updates the last few weeks, all is well.  Health club girl is not so sure, so you be the judge.

Is this s positive post?

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Zen and the Art of Pre-Surgery

A little like a sword of Damocles hanging out there, the day of reckoning for my busted up knee is almost upon me.  Surgery is set for Friday morning.  I should know what time I need to be there before noon tomorrow.  Then I just have to not have a cup of coffee and make my way into the city and get it done with.  But for now at least, I am Zen.

As is usually the case with me, I’ve spent a lot of time before the surgery getting ready.  This means getting the girls ready, getting things squared up at work and getting physically ready.  The big difference this time though is I don’t know what it will be like come Friday night, or Saturday morning.  It’s prepping for the great unknown.

But in getting ready, I’ve been able to keep focused on the tasks at hand, a look at the calendar for next week and keep a running list in my head of what is done, what needs attention and what will push until sometime after July 1.

On the work front, I’m expecting to be off the grid for three working days.  Maybe two.  Not a huge deal, but I’ve put together documentation that should be helpful if something comes up.  Work is ready.

Physically, I’ve embraced this concept of pre-hab.  Over three weeks, I’ve increased mobility in my injured knee to close to 85% range of motion.  The day I first saw the surgeon, range of motion in my leg was around 45%.  As the trainer said, physically I’ve done all I can to sustain the muscles around the injury.  Now I get to start all over.

I have goals in mind-which will help.  No crutches by camp visiting day (30 days post op), skiing by Christmas break (they say it’s about an 80% likelihood), so I know what I have to do.

So then comes home and the girls.  Much tougher there.  They’ve never seen me hurt, and certainly not like this.  I’m pretty sure because I do not project any worry about the actual procedure or what will come after that they are confident and going about their stuff.  And because I’ve been able to plot and plan-things from school finals for 12.0 to softball playoffs for 9.5 are taken care of.

The three of us will execute the end of school year BBQ this year and then for the girls its off to camp.  If all goes according to plan the next time they see me, I’ll be walking (hopefully pain-free).  From Friday to that Sunday in mid-July is a process filled with unknowns.

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When Two Weeks Really Aren’t

I was answering a text while walking through the supermarket tonight, and realized its two-weeks exactly until the girl’s head out to camp.  The good news is this year I feel like if I had two weeks it would not be a problem.  The bad news is, this year, I don’t have two weeks.

While there are 14 days until the girls leave, there are five days until I get my ACL replaced and end up on crutches.  There’s no telling what impact that will have on my getting things done, but I have to believe it won’t be a huge help.

So, with moderate pain, some hobbling and a little luck-I will be able to get most of the running around stuff done between now and Thursday (I do have to be in the office as well so this will be interesting).

I am still on the hook for a sendoff BBQ for the girls, that will be a week to the day after my surgery-and two days before the girls leave.  Luckily 12.0 already knows she will have to make the run to BJ’s with me to stock up for the party.

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Another Year Noted

In the hustle and bustle of the week that was another birthday in the house was passed.  My oldest daughter is now 12, and with that comes a whole new (or newer) world of stuff to manage, negotiate and handle.

Birthdays have been a vexing issue for me, and while this one was not as unmanageable as some in the recent past, still it was tough.  Add to that, with my pending surgery I am trying to be in the office as much as possible to allow for me to be out with a clear conscience and clean plate-so despite plans to make it home early on Wednesday when she had her birthday, I managed to get home a usual time.

In our house, once you get north of 10 and before bat mitzvah (11 and 12) it’s a smaller affair.  Dinner with some friends or a movie.  We planned that out a week before her birthday-tonight we are going to a local Korean BBQ place.  This is a new favorite for the kids-they like the hibachi  in the middle of the table.

The gift I got her a couple of months ago, when she “lost” her iPod Touch.  I bought her a replacement for it, instead of the bike I was going to get her.  So the gathering of the friends was taken care of and gift was solved.  Now just to make sure she felt special for the day.

I had some help there, her friends at school decorated the locker-which was really nice.  I did get a card for her and an iTunes gift card.

But as is usually the case with birthday’s a me, there comes the quality time of introspection-did I do enough.  And now the countdown is on.  Twelve months from now is her bat mitzvah, and I am already over analyzing how to handle that event.

And soon, it will be another year noted, again.

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Pre-Habbing to Make For a Better Rehabbing

With my knee surgery still about two weeks out I have been doing my best (as usual) to keep things around the house as normal as possible.  The other thing I’ve done is employ a key piece of advice I got in October 1998 when Risa was diagnosed with her brain tumor.

My cousin Bob is the unwitting author of this sage wisdom, and I remind him of it from time to time.  That pearl of wisdom is:

You can’t become a doctor reading the internet.  Do research, ask good questions and be informed, but let the doctor be the doctor.

For better or worse that worked for 13 years during Risa’s battle, and I am using it today to confront my knee surgery.

Which brings us to pre-hab.  I honestly do not know (nor do I really care) about the history of pre-hab for injuries.  For the uninitiated, pre-hab is basically going through some rehab type exercises ahead of surgery to build and sustain flexibility.  The goal is to make rehab a better process and more successful.

In my case, my legs are kind of big and stocky and losing the muscle tone in my left leg would not be good.  So I have focused my research, learning and questions less on the surgery-I saw the MRI, I saw the damage.  Instead, I’ve been focused on regaining my strength and agility quickly and safely.

To get there, I’ve decided to do three pre-habs before the surgery plus building some of the exercises into my daily gym routines.

Today’s pre-hab was pretty interesting.  They had me on the bike, I topped out at 13 MPH and managed to do 2 miles in 10 minutes.  As contrast, two weeks ago when I was really starting to push training for a triathlon, I was at 6-8 miles in 10 minutes.  My how the mighty have fallen, but it felt good.

Along with that there was some stretching and bending that I have not been doing and all in all I ended up with a pretty sore knee.

Since this happened, this is not the first time my knee has been sore-but before I was able to slow down and ice my knee, I had to be a single parent.  The girls had softball tonight. Two games, two fields a mile or so apart (oh yeah I was also late out of the office and the LIRR was more than a little hosed).

All of that made for a lot of hobbling around just to keep up.

When all was said and done I was back and forth to each game twice. Once home while the girls had dinner, I changed into shorts and went for the ice. AHHHHH.

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