Thursday, December 20, 2007

Growing Pains

Add ice skating to my list of recovered skills.

And - my leg is getting bigger! It's now only 1/2" smaller in diameter than my regular leg. (Which may have more to do with Christmas cookies than anything else, but still.) As much as my yogic perspective makes every step on the elliptical machine another notch of binding in the front of my hip that I'll have to undo later, every one-legged hamstring curl another millimeter of forward bending that I have to refind, it seems to be working. Although my butt still spasms on a daily basis. I have magnesium oil which I am supposed to rub on the area, which is supposed to take care of the situation. I have my doubts, as you can probably tell.

In any event, walking without joint pain and not having to plan my day based on how much I can handle before I have to throw in the towel and just go home is the best holiday gift I can imagine. The rest is small potatoes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Secret Jog

Halfway through my jumping routine yesterday, Gym Teacher pulled me in close, lowered her chin, and glancing around furtively, whispered, "I want you to jog."

"You want me to WHAT?" I exclaimed, blowing her cover.

"Just, try. Slowly. Walk a few steps and then build it up."

Gentle Reader, it weren't pretty, and it weren't for more than 5 steps, but I jogged. When I tried it again later that evening, it was very gimpy. Baby steps, but I'm getting somewhere.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Fitter Happier

I'm getting really good at jumping. I can jump up and down, I can jump side to side. Jumping with one foot forward and one foot backward though has proved to be my greatest challenge (the aforementioned 'pony prance') and thus the one I have to work on the most. I also get to gallop, right foot forward, in whatever setting I deem fit. Galloping, for those that were not childhood practitioners, is the same action as skipping, except without alternating legs - you just go bonkers on the one side. It's pretty fun and yesterday when I had dragged myself, worn out from several days of city-wide mad dashing featuring multiple costume changes (yoga teacher! young mom for audition! yoga teacher again! hip urban woman for audition!) to gym class and explained to Gym Teacher that I was very tired, she would have no part of it and made me start the mad jumping routine. There's not much bouncing in adult life, and it's a shame, because I definitely felt better afterwards. Perhaps I shall begin to gallop down the street to get places.

I still run like a gimp though. Did a little dash through the turnstile to the waiting subway train this morning and could immediately sense that had I galloped, I may have retained a little more dignity.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Insurance Irony

I get my insurance by doing things like this:

http://www.chocolatecomestolife.com/productnews/

As it says at the end, life is full of chocolate surprises.

Since commercials generally like people to look the same on both sides, and also successfully walk into the room to audition unaided, I was on hiatus all summer post-surgery and only recently started auditioning again. Because of this, I have not earned enough money to remain in the top tier of insurance and have been unceremoniously dropped to the second tier. Grrr. I have another employer from whom I could receive insurance, but then I run the "pre-existing condition" risk.

Further investigation required to see what this will mean for next year's surgery. There is an option to pay more with my current insurer (of course) to remain in the top tier, but (of course) it's an enormous amount per month - over $800 more (of course). Essentially, just more pain in an area that's already in spasm half the time. Also, if I work enough between now and surgery, there's a chance I would return to my former heights of insured glory.

The more laissez-faire you can be going into an audition, the greater chance you have of booking the job. Usually people are driven to get all hyped up and over-perform due to an intense desire to succeed as an actor. I just want to get the metal out of my leg. Maybe I should bring in a "Will Work For Surgery" sign.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Measurements

As a yoga teacher, one of my constant joys is watching students develop and grow - a triumphant first headstand, the click of comprehension about alignment, even the simple glow of contentment that regular yoga practice inevitably brings.

Measuring my own progress has also proved invaluable on days when I still feel gimpy, spasmy and the like. At gym class yesterday I was remembering how my wobbly initial attempt at transition from crutch to cane had to be postponed a month until I grew stronger. Now I stride through the door like someone who's there with a shoulder injury.

After several rounds of hopping and jumping (and discovering that I can now jump up and down on the spot, which hurt the first time I tried it a few weeks ago) I mentioned to Gym Teacher that my legs were, as far as I could tell, still different sizes. Out came the tape measure as she made little pen marks on my legs and wrote down circumferences. "Your right thigh is an inch smaller than your left," she confirmed, and discussion of various weight machines at the gym followed, which is a source of great pleasure to me, as I've really had it with the 5 lb ankle weights. And then of course, the inevitable:

"What if we measured your buttocks, from your coccyx to your greater trochanter, ha ha ha!" she laughed. "Ha ha ha," I agreed, which set her off even more. In the six months I have known this woman, I have never seen her let out more than a mild titter. The butt joke had her literally doubled over. I guess when it comes to anatomy humor, you take it where you can get it when it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving Thanks

In honor of the season, I'm so grateful that I live in a world where I can access the kind of surgery that makes it possible for me to walk around Central Park all afternoon on Thanksgiving, taking pictures with friends, admiring the changing leaves and only spasming a little towards the end. (Couldn't resist. At least I didn't say the other part.) Thanksgiving last year, this would not have been possible.

And not that I'm complaining, just a situational update, that running is still not in the cards. I was crossing the street today a little after the light had changed and did that little hopalong pretend run where mostly you just move your arms but it sort of looks like you're putting some effort into moving faster, which made me wonder what would happen if I did break into a little jog, so I tried it, and then after a few steps realized that was a bad idea and quickly went back to just waving my arms. Takeoff is fine, but joint still doesn't like the impact of landing. That's ok. I'm fine with not running for now. Everything else is working pretty well, and that's enough.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Spasm

I toyed with the idea of keeping this next nugget to myself. "Self," I said, "There's no need to subject people to this. Haven't you made them read enough? Didn't you show them an awful lot of upper thigh in those scar pictures? And the special toilet? Come, now. Have a little compassion."

And yet I find myself compelled to tell you, Gentle Reader, that as of late, I have ass spasms.

Walk too much, leg gets tired, butt seizes up. If you see me around town stopping short, hands on hips, admiring the ground through clenched jaw, that's what's happening. Gym Teacher threw some Latin name at me and said it's called the pain in the ass muscle.

Her solution: my latest PT advancement, which is walking backwards on the treadmill. I even have a note from her stating that I have been trained to walk backwards on the treadmill and that it is an essential part of my physical therapy, in case someone at the gym gets shirty. Evidently gyms don't like it when you do stuff on their equipment that you're not supposed to. I've yet to unveil my trained backwards walking spasming ass at the gym, but if you're lucky, it will be a non-postworthy event and you'll never see the words ass and spasm together again.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Walk It Off

The latest in my physical therapy advances: I've been upgraded from the stairclimber to the treadmill at the gym.

However, since my running skills are, shall we say, less than terrific, my job on the treadmill is to walk as fast as I can, right at that edge where you almost need to break into a run, but rather than lengthening the stride, I have to take faster steps. Supposedly this will build the hip flexor response for when I am ready to run again. All I know is, I'm the goofball going walkwalkwalkwalkwalk while other people run beside me. It feels slightly out of control like I might trip and land on my chin. Just when I was regaining a little dignity...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

You Should Be Dancing

Hip's been such a trooper, I wanted to surprise her with a fun night out, so without telling her in advance where we were going, I took her salsa dancing.

Plucky little hip totally stood up to the one hour lesson, followed by the dance club infested with slick-haired men, Latin and other, all waiting to pounce on unsuspecting newbies and wrap themselves around us. Mine was named Dante. He liked to put his hand on my waist, among other places. There was so little room on the dance floor that I pretty much just hopped in place, counting 1 2 3, 5 6 7 in my head. (That's my insider nod to all you salsafies out there).

The best was the place afterwards, which was like an underground salsa version of the scene in Dirty Dancing where Jennifer Grey goes to the staff dance party and tries to dirty dance with Patrick Swayze (and I can quote you that scene - indeed, the entire film - word-for-word. The screenwriter used to be my boss). Everyone was just there to dance, and dance incredibly well. I definitely couldn't do what they were doing, and I definitely wanted to. The great thing was I couldn't do it because I didn't know what I was doing, not because of any physical impairments.

And I was definitely limping this morning, and my feet had some serious blisters, but it rocked. I'm totally going again.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Save the Date

Party time, people.

Extraction surgery: April 24th, 2008. A year to the day.

Apparently only one night in the hospital. Although I am semi-skeptical, since last time I was told 2-3 days, and was there for 5. Details, details.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Better Days

I told Gym Teacher that I had stopped using the cane. It felt like telling my mom I wasn't a virgin anymore. However unlike my mom in that moment, Gym Teacher pumped her fist in the air several times. And I thought I was going to get in trouble. She said sometimes people find it's too much and they go back to using it.

There have definitely been days when I felt like I needed to pick up the cane again, days when I'm strolling around the park with my friend and her new baby and I'm the one that needs to stop and rest every 10 minutes. Then there are the other days, when nothing hurts, walking's a breeze, one leg doesn't feel shorter and weaker than the other. In other words, not that different from my pre-surgery, what-will-today-bring life. I'm hoping the better days will begin to dramatically outnumber the crap days. Mostly, I'm trying not to get depressed about having to go through this whole thing again in April when the hardware is removed. I try to console myself with the truth that it will be much less of a production, both because I've done it once already, and because it's literally less of a production to take it out than to put it in (4 weeks on crutches/50% weight bearing, as opposed to 6 weeks/no weight bearing).

People say, "You're so strong/ You're so disciplined/ You're so motivated, you'll do fine" when I start talking about the second surgery. But there's really nothing uplifting to say about it. The best response came from my friend who looked at me silently for a few seconds, and then started laughing really, really hard. As a fellow inhabitant of a body that's breaking down far too young, she gets it. I don't mean to sound ungrateful for all the concern and support that I'm getting - quite the opposite, I'm sure I wouldn't have made it this far without all of you, and please don't go anywhere. It's just nice to have someone to revel with in the delightful ass-kicking we're both receiving.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

How Soon They Forget

I hope you're not feeling rejected, Gentle Reader, simply because I haven't posted in over 2 weeks. (ahem)

After trying to figure out if I was remembering to remember the cane or forgetting to forget it, I finally said screw it and stopped using it completely 3 days ago. And honestly, I don't even think about it. Hip is a little stiff when I first get up in the morning or when I've been sitting for a while, but after a step or two everything starts moving as it should. I was feeling that using the cane was preventing me from using my leg enough to finally get that last 7% strength and mobility that I needed and that if I just stopped relying on it, the hip would have to man up. And man up it has.

[For legal reasons I must state here that I am not a doctor and as such cannot condone or prescribe my cane choice to any other post-operative recuperee.]

[Actually that's not true there's no legal anything I can write whatever I want. But everyone's responsible for themselves here.]

So even though it gets tired occasionally, overall I feel good about my choice. I realized I was waiting for my physical therapist to tell me when I could stop using it, as if she's the boss of me or something. Although she kind of is the boss of me... and if I'm totally honest, when I go in next, I'll probably take the cane because I don't want her to be mad... I'm going to have to work with her again after the next surgery so no reason to piss her off yet... she might make me do jumping jacks again.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Big Question

It's practically October, and I saw my first leaves falling from trees today, so I bit the bullet and asked Gym Teacher if she had an idea of when I would be able to get rid of the cane. She stared at me silently, which used to make me nervous, but which I now know is just her way of thinking out loud. "When you consistently forget it places," she said finally. But I'm consistently making myself remember to take it places, so I'm not sure how that works. Given a choice I would consistently forget it on purpose, all the time, at home. After a bit of discussion she said that the outer hip is not yet strong enough, and the hip extension in the front isn't great enough to allow me not to lurch. It's not a big lurch, but she wants me as close to perfect as possible.

Sometimes I just get tired of being in a body that doesn't work as well as it could/should/would. I know it's all a sliding scale, and I should be grateful that it's not worse, but when I see people bounding around, I come up against what my teacher calls "The Unanswerable Why". And every time I come up against it and really see that there is no answer, if I'm lucky, I find solace in the silence. If not, I just end up whiny and irritable. Working my way out of whiny and irritable as we speak.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Phony Cane

(Which could easily be the name of one of Prince's all-girl bands from the 80s)

I was on a crowded rush hour subway train a few days ago and a man who saw I had a cane got up and offered me his seat. I tried to refuse, telling him I was fine, but he insisted until I accepted. I felt like a big old phony. I can stand up no problem, really. But I'm still finding myself both looking for the person who's going to give me their seat, or mentally justifying why I'm sitting down while the other person, equally deserving of a seat, is standing ("but I have a cane!"). The occasional times when I don't have the cane with me on the train and I sit down, I try to make a facial expression that reads "ordinarily I have a cane which is why I am sitting down and you are still standing" but I'm not sure it comes across.

Meanwhile the jumping Jacks et al really kicked the crap out of my ass. Did I just write that sentence? I guess so. I was pretty sore for a significant amount of time afterwards. Gym teacher is extraordinarily cautious, so I suppose it wasn't beyond my capabilities, but still...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Leapin' Lizards

I was jumping around like a maniac in gym class yesterday. It was the gymmiest gym class I've had in a while - there were jumping Jacks, and side steppy jumps down the line and back, and jump straight up and down which was the hardest, strangely, and the 'pony prance' which I will not demonstrate you just have to use your imagination.

It was not discussed, but I get the feeling that while jumping may be a small step for the hip, it is in fact a giant leap from the cane.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Uh

Recognizing that I haven't posted in over a week, and feeling a little guilty about it, and yet scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with something relevant.

How about: I can now sleep on my surgery side again! I told Gym Teacher that today and she raised her eyebrow, which is her way of getting excited, and said "That's a huge milestone." Hooray! Huge milestone! Haven't had a huge milestone since the reappearance of my knee after surgery!

Actually, it is truly a gift not to be one-sided anymore. It really sucked, especially since it's the side I like to sleep on.

And: I keep forgetting my cane places, which apparently is also a sign that it's getting ditchable. I left it in the bank last weekend and was well down the street before I had to turn back. One time I walked out after teaching and left it in the gym.

So, good news. I am chugging along. Also apparently I am in the middle of my second 8 week cycle at the end of which great things will happen, as with the first 8 week cycle. Perhaps my life has now been tuned to cycle through 8 weeks at a time?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Old Paradigm, New Hip

My brother was in town visiting this weekend and we were walking around the city after brunch Saturday when he said he had to go back to his old apartment. "It's too far for me to walk," I replied without thinking, and then realized, actually, no it's not. Not any more. It used to be, when the cartilage wasn't lined up and my socket was wearing itself down with each step, but now, pain-free, I can walk miles at a time. It's so liberating and at the same time I have to consciously remind myself that I've been liberated. I'm actually considering going snowboarding in March (don't freak out mom) although I will be calling Dr. Buly for his opinion on whether the metal/bone combo would hold up or if I should actually wait until this whole process is done.

And my skinniest pants fit. Triumph!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Look Ma, No Hands

Yesterday I went caneless to the grocery store and carried two bags of groceries 6 blocks home.

A man said as I passed, "That's a good workout."

"You have no idea," I replied in my head.

Then on the way to gym class running late and charging down the street I had a moment where I felt like I could break into a run.

I haven't wanted to break into a run since 2002.

At gym class as I was waiting for gym teacher I remembered how on my first day there I couldn't walk without lurching violently.

I remembered how a few weeks later when she asked, "How are you doing?" I burst into frustrated, angry tears.

Yes, it's been tough at times.

Equally yes, it's entirely worth it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Close Encounters of the Insurance Kind, Part 17,083

All of my interactions with my insurance company have involved the following steps:

1. Ask them to pay something.
2. Hold breath.
3. Let breath go because 2 months have passed.
4. Procrastinate and avoid calling to hear potential bad news.
5. Finally suck it up and call to find out that something just got approved yesterday.
6. Repeat with next item (wheelchair, physical therapy, X-rays etc)

I was on step 4 of two items simultaneously (PT and anaesthesia) when I received an updated bill from Dr. Buly's office. Insurance had already paid for 70% of his bill and I was sort of hoping we could all look the other way about the rest... right? What's a few thousand dollars between friends... except a few thousand dollars...

The good news is that he has reduced the rest of his fee, the medium news is there's still a bit to pay.

Somehow this motivated me to find out exactly how much of everything else I still need to pay for, dammit... and got all ready to battle with whomever picked up the phone at the insurance company as to why they were only covering 1/3 of the anaesthesia when the plan clearly states 100%, etc... and got the nicest man on the phone who said the full anaesthesia was paid for, and extra PT was approved, and hooray!

Sometimes, occasionally, the system works. I know I'm supposed to rant and rave about how shitty health insurance is in this country, and believe me I'm not a fan, but I think I got lulled into happy-land by the words "It's all been approved."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Drop It Like It's Hot

In an ongoing attempt to remain too big for my (rain) boots, I decided yesterday that I was just going to walk around without my cane. Earlier that day I walked the 7 blocks to the bank (no problem), and 7 blocks back home, caneless. Child's play. What was I goofing around with a cane for? I clearly didn't need it anymore. All my Tuesday travel was within walking distance of my house, I reasoned, and since I'd been taking short neighborhood trips without the cane, surely I could just extend the perimeter of what I called 'neighborhood'. Of course, using that logic, I could walk to my brother's house in L.A. without my cane.

So around the beginning of rush hour time I started walking to the office where I teach a class, and suddenly remembered why I needed the cane. There was jostling, and bumping, and tourists looking up, and people trying to get home, and no-one knew that I wasn't just a regular walking person. "Careful!" I wanted to yell, "I'm new at this!" I saw a man with a cane coming the other way and watched with envy as the sea of people parted around him.

But the real indication came when I started limping. I tried to turn it into a cool gangsta walk, but since I am neither cool nor a gangsta it just looked like a white girl lurching down the street.

So it is with a sigh of resignation that I pick up the cane again. Not ready yet.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Something to Consider

Maybe it's not entirely necessary to pull down your pants in the locker room of the fancy gym where you just taught yoga class to show a student who may need labral repair the arthroscopy scar. Just maybe. Maybe her expression/repetition of the phrase "really it's ok I don't need to see it" should give cause for pause.

Separately, new exciting mini-project in the works for all you Dysplastics out there who like I was are tearing your hair out trying to find any information online about HD that doesn't refer to German Shepherds. Brilliant Lauren's idea. Semi-jealous I didn't think of it first, but excited to tag along and help where I can. All will be revealed soonish.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cane 3: In 3-D

4 weeks to the day of my last attempted outing on a Saturday night sans cane, I tried it again last night. Pleased to report that this time, I was fine. No pain, no cane (that's not even funny but I can't erase it). I'm not ditching it completely yet, but it felt really good not to be the girl at the party whose geriatric grey cane doesn't match her cute outfit. So if you're keeping score, that's 18 weeks post-op. Not too shabby.

Also this is my 100th post, which is pretty wild. From a humble birth as an attempt to record what surgery and recovery was like, Paper or Dysplastic has blossomed through a difficult adolescence into graceful young womanhood. Thank you for all your comments and feedback and support. Since I have another surgery looming (oh yes, we get to take the metal out next year) I'm going to keep going. I'm sure there will be many more surprises in store.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

America's Next Top Dysplastic

Today for the first time since surgery, I am wearing jeans.
My legs look the same as each other.
I think that's enough.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Direct Quote

from Gym Teacher:

"You may have had a funny bone, but your muscles are fantastic."

Aw, yeah.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Clickstep

Feeling strong, feeling good, teaching, not in pain, no muscles spasming (although I have a new physical therapist working with Gym Teacher whose sole job is to stretch me; I enjoy the effort-free aspect of it, but not so much the crap-that-hurts aspect. I think he's Dutch). But a new/old development - I'm clicking again. It started Saturday, I'm not sure why, and it's not all the time, but it's audible. I used to click like this, as well as the infamous "clunk" that dysplastics are all too familiar with - but it doesn't hurt or feel like anything. Mostly it just makes me self conscious, like I'm some kind of bionic robot lady with metal parts who clicks when she walks. (Wait a minute...)

In other news, insurance finally paid the surgery bill. There are still some bits and pieces unresolved (for some reason, they only want to cover 1/3 of the anaesthesia bill from surgery. Does that mean I should have been 2/3 awake? Although apparently I was) but this was the biggest chunk, and a large sigh of relief was released by all. Meaning me and probably my mom.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Wheelchair vs. Crutches vs. Cane

Pre-experience, if you had asked me which of the three would elicit the greatest sympathy from passers by, the most compassion, the strongest urge to get out of the way/give you my seat/help you with that from my fellow New Yorkers, I would have thought wheelchair, then crutches, then cane, in descending order. Turns out I was completely ass-backwards wrong.

The wheelchair, I think, falls in the 'I don't want to even think about how much is wrong with this person and I need to avert my eyes' category: our mortality has its limits, and a person in a wheelchair brings that a little too sharply into relief.

Crutches endeared me even less to those I shared the street with. They suggest skiing accident, or spelunking misadventure, which in turn implicates me as a spoiled rich girl with enough money/time to fritter away on such impracticalities that I probably deserved to get hurt. (I'm just saying.)

The cane, however. The cane has brought out the Florence Nightingale in more people than I ever would have expected. It says I'm clearly not dying, at least not yet, and I'm no longer spoiled rich girl, but somehow now plucky survivor, likely with some degenerative disease (not wrong there) but still getting along on all that pluck (such a good word I wanted to use it again) which is a quality New Yorkers adore, so let me give you my subway seat/carry your groceries/seat you for your dinner reservation before your entire party is here, and so on.

It's proven invaluable in many situations, and even more so if I protest that I'm really fine to stand up, etc (so plucky in the face of such obvious tragedy!) which I usually am anyway... as much as the cane's lingering presence in my life irritated me at first, I'm now starting to wonder if I should keep it around and perhaps pull it out for special occasions that could use a little help, like dinner reservations on a Friday night. (I'm just saying.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Full Circle and Around Again

I just realized that I walked the 2 1/2 (long avenue) blocks from the subway to my apartment in full on New York City dweller take-no-prisoners double-time speed walk. Which I may have done pre-surgery, except that by the time I got to my building I would have been limping. I didn't even realize how fast I was walking until the woman walking behind me passed as I stopped at my building and I saw how fast she was going. And she didn't lap me or anything.

And nothing hurts. At all. I feel totally fine. It's a serious miracle.

Please Use Caution Opening Overhead Bins

As some contents may have shifted during flight. Namely, the fat cells in my right leg, behind the scar. There is a mildly disturbing new formation that has caused a visible (at least to me) cellulite dimple that I now like to absentmindedly put my finger in as I walk down the street. Is it solely the fault of the metal and hence will be gone when contents are reshifted next year? Possibly, although it is also not out of the question that this is the permanent new configuration of my thigh.

Oh vanity, thou art a cruel mistress. Looks like my fashion future is squarely set in to-the-knee-or-below styles. Either that or I go commando Spencer Tunick style and let it all hang out... who's with me? Anyone? Hello?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I Teach Yoga

It's official: I am, once again, a yoga teacher. Taught my first class last night and it felt so good. The words were still there, even if I had to reach for them a little bit, students showed up for me (thank you!) and I got to do what I so love to do. Even though I still need a cane to walk long distances, I feel like I've come full circle on this whole experience. To everyone who took care of me along the way, from my nothing-less-than-heroic mom to the guy who was so good at drawing blood that he didn't hurt me, thank you.

Monday, July 30, 2007

And the Winner Is...

For Most Random Comment By A Stranger (In A Comedy):

Setting: The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (SO L.A.!!)

Sarah and Marla are trying to wrangle some chairs to sit outside with their blended coffee drinks. A seemingly drunk man is giving them a hard time about the chair next to him. Our Hero, sitting nearby, comes to their rescue:

HERO: Hey man, give them the chairs. Can't you see she has a... (searches desperately for right word)... problem?

Sarah and Marla, visibly trying not to laugh, take the chair over to their table.

HERO (cont'd): Whaddya got, Lou Gehrig's disease or something?

***
In other travel related news, the TSA was a total non-event. Nobody wanded me anywhere. At Newark the machine didn't even beep when I went through and I think the woman thought I was lying to get into the short lane with the gray haired wheelchair bound people. I waved my card at her but by that point she really didn't care. At LAX the machine went off after I told (just TOLD! Didn't have to PROVE in any way!) the man I had metal in my leg, and he was like, "Alright," and waved me along. And yet my flip flops were threatening enough that they needed to go through the X-ray...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Walking vs. Yoga Badassedness

Had dinner with my girlfriend, the brilliant and talented Kimberlee Auerbach, whose book you should all run out and buy next week when it comes out;

And we were talking about a fantastic writer she met who had difficulty walking and needed to use a cane, and so I was telling her about how I've discovered from this experience how complicated it is to walk, and how we all take it so totally for granted because we've been doing it forever, but it's much more involved than, for example, holding a pose in yoga class. Walking involves so many different muscles working in concert to create movement, smoothly and efficiently. At this point, 13 weeks post-op, I can do some serious yoga moves, pretty much everything I could do pre-surgery (which gives me no end of pleasure, to walk into class with a cane, eliciting sympathetic sideways glances from other students, and then bust out a little parivrtta surya yantrasana), but without the cane, I walk like a drunk three year-old. It's been striking me ironic that I can do the stuff that looks fancy and complicated, and yet I can't really walk.

Dr. Buly said Monday something about it taking 6 months for the muscles to fully come back; I wasn't paying much attention because it didn't sound like something I wanted to hear, like when he told me I shouldn't be practicing yoga yet when I started weight bearing, and I ignored him, because it was like telling me after 7 weeks of holding my breath that I needed to keep holding my breath... yeah, not so much.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Secret Surprise

Which was motivated by the fact that I never saw an image of what a femoral osteotomy looked like before I had one, and plus I know you're really dying to see what it looks like inside my leg:



Wherein you can totally see where the bone was cut through and how the head of the femur was rotated into the socket, and how I am so totally bionic;

And:



Which for some reason reminds me of one of those folders you keep your homework in.

But if you look at the first picture again you can see how the area where the bone was cut is getting all fuzzy, which means the bone is reknitting itself back together. Yay, bone!

Monday, July 23, 2007

13 Week Dr. Visit Update

Had a good meeting with Dr. Buly this morning. Who I still LOVE. I was in the waiting room and could hear him in the back asking a patient, "Does it hurt when you weight bear?" and just the sound of his voice made me feel so blessed that he was my surgeon. The man's amazing.

Everything's looking good, he's pleased with my progress, etc. I have to keep going to physical therapy until I can walk without the cane. I won't see him again until about a month or so before I have surgery again to take the metal out, which would be Marchish next year.

And I got this for my upcoming airport encounter/potential debacle:



And then I had an amazing session with David Murphy, who does transformative structural integration in New York. Like rolfing but you don't cry in agony, which is a bonus. He's great, I highly recommend him.

And the secret surprise I totally have lined up, just can't do it til tomorrow. You'll see.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bad Hip, Good Feet

So at least I didn't totally lose out in the structural department: the other day at gym class, Gym Teacher had me take off my sneakers to see how I walked barefoot. As I peeled a sweaty sock from my toes she said, "You have GREAT FEET!" Actually, I'm interpreting; she doesn't get very emotional so it sounded more like "you have. great feet." I asked her why but she didn't elaborate, not being an elaborate person (don't you love how words can be spelled the same and pronounced differently to be a verb or an adjective? So glad I was never an ESL) but I am taking some pride in having great feet, even if the hips don't match...

Dr. Buly Monday, and perhaps a special secret surprise for you... if I can get hold of what I want to get hold of... it's a doozy.

Note to self, don't forget to get copy of "It's not a bomb, it's a metal plate" letter from Dr's office for next Thursday's airplane ride.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cane Part 2

I brought up the "when do I get to ditch the cane" question to Gym Teacher, who said that rebuilding strength in a muscle is like growing a plant from a seed: you water it and water it and water it, and it seems like nothing is growing, but then one day a plant appears. What she doesn't know is that I am a notorious plant-killer.

Seriously though, she meant there's a period where it feels like nothing is happening, which is exactly what I'm in the middle of right now, but usually after 8 weeks of PT and rehabbing, something big happens. Which would be the first week in August. Fingers crossed. There's a strong possibility that I'm going to be teaching with a cane for a little while, but ain't nuthin I can do. Mama needs to pay the mortgage.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cane You Dig It?

Saturday early evening, I'm lying on the couch in my pjs watching My Super Ex-Girlfriend and eating baby carrots with hummus for dinner. Phone rings and my girlfriend convinces me that I need to come out to dinner with a group she's putting together last minute. I hem and haw for a few minutes - I'm pretty comfortable on the couch, but it sounds like fun - and finally decide to go. I spring into action, put on a dress and makeup and heels and feel like - yeah! I rock! I rock so much that I bet I don't even need a cane!

I'm standing on my corner waiting for their cab to come down Ninth Avenue and pick me up, and suddenly I hear "WOW." I turn and look at the man standing next to me who is shaking his head in approval. "Oh my god," I gush, "you have no idea how much that means to me I had surgery and this is my first night out without a cane and thank you so much," meanwhile his face says this is way more information than he was looking for, but I don't care. I feel great.

We go out to dinner and have a great time, but afterwards walking to the subway I'm realizing that I kind of overextended myself in the name of not being the girl with the cane on Saturday night. It was good to get out and feel regular, but by the time I get home my leg is really sore. I don't think I did any damage but I'm definitely not yet ready to go caneless. 2 different people today asked me how long I needed the cane for and it's so strange not to be able to tell anyone anything definite. I have no idea, frankly. But I discovered that walking around my apartment without the cane (5 steps here, 7 steps there) is a whole different pickle than NYC on a Saturday night. Note to self: cane is your friend, and friends don't let friends walk gimpy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Mystery of the Traveling Aches

As I rehab and get stronger (although I am sort of plateauing at the moment with the cane. Every morning, instead of a miraculous Tiny Tim moment where I wake up, throw back the covers and exclaim, "God bless us, every one!", I usually just find an odd cane blister developing on the inside of my index finger) different places are achy in different ways at different times, with no particular rhyme or reason that I can figure out. Mostly it's in the evening when the day's exertions are done and I recline on the couch and watch another movie (oh how I look forward to the time when an honest day's work is not so tiring that it can be followed by an honest evening's debauchment) and something starts pinging in my leg. Not always in the most obvious places either. I've had interesting encounters with the Back of Knee Cramp, as well as the more obvious Front of Hip Ache, Inner Thigh Throb (hey now) and Lower Back Twinge, and an odd day or two when Arch of Foot was Making Itself Known in a Unusual Manner. Sometimes Scar is Randomly Pinchy; other times Inside of Knee Heats Up, Oddly.

Gym Teacher says that traveling aches are normal and can be treated with Advil. I think perhaps she was not my gym teacher, but instead my school nurse, who believed that everything could be treated with 2 Paracetamol (I grew up in England. You can look it up later). She says as long as nothing becomes a new Lingering Pain That Doth Not Leave, it's N.B.D. Easy for her to say. I'm just adding this post to the list of evidence that points to my rapid descent into Crazy Hot Grandma Land. "Exhibit F, your honor: displays unappetizing penchant for discussing physical ailments."

Monday, July 9, 2007

Is Normal A Post?

I have this idea that something has to HAPPEN for me to post about my rehabbing. Big transitions like from the crutches to the cane, or funny stuff like driving, or big physical breakthroughs like going back to yoga class (although I have started walking around the apartment without the cane and discovered I can do short distances without lurching too badly, if I really concentrate, and if I haven't been sitting for a long time or just woken up or am not tired). See what I mean? That's kind of a non-event.

But I realized feeling normal is an event when the past 11 weeks have been anything but normal and when each day has brought unseen, never-before encountered challenges to navigate. Today I felt normal all day. Leg didn't winge. Took class and could pretty much do everything and felt strong and good. Had coffee. Came home. Not exhausted or creaky. I am officially doing well and feeling almost normal again. Which is really something worth posting about.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

10 Week Scar Update

Long overdue and much anticipated by... my mom? Scar update autophotographic self-portrait:



Lookin' gooood, Mr. Kotter...
Seriously though see how skinny it is towards the right? My scar kicks ass.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Butt is Back

I had assumed it was atrophy from misuse, and my natural proclivity towards shyness and privacy in this area had prevented me from discussing my buttocks until now (Ahem. Yes. Ha). But I woke up this morning and discovered that my butt is back!

Back up. Explain.
Post surgery, the right side (shall we say cheek?), um, deflated?

Back up. Explain.
I have (usually) something of a booty. Let's just say God was generous in this department. And then after the surgery, the surgeried side became visibly flatter, and I thought it was just from not weight bearing. But my gym teacher, who also noticed the Return of the "B" (not that she's into my butt or anything) told me that often after surgery, muscles in the area just sort of deflate on their own. "They freak out and run away like my sacrum?" I asked, which prompted more where-the-back-meets-the-legs investigation from my gym teacher. "Yes," she replied. "But then once the trauma is over the muscles come right back."

Oh my god, Becky.

I don't think you're ready for this jelly.

P.S. Be the first to name all 4 recording artists referenced in this post in order and win... respek.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Blame it on Brooklyn*

Went upstate to Ananda Ashram for a day's teaching with my guru. Carpooled with a bunch of lovely students and teachers, one of whom was going to drive (not to name names but her name is Eve) but when we got to the car rental place we discovered that because she calls Brooklyn home, there would be an extra $50 charge for her to rent the car. Apparently people in Brooklyn like to steal cars a little too much. Never mind that we weren't going anywhere near Brooklyn...

The obvious solution was arrived at, which was that the gimpster would drive the car (Mom, try not to hyperventilate). So add that to the list of things I can do at week 9-10! It was completely fine although totally hilarious to me that in a car full of women, the one with the cane was driving... leg got a little crampy in the traffic back into the city but a wonderful day out of the concrete jungle was had by all.

*title written by Eve, the Brooklynite who got us into this fine mess to begin with...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Have Had

When replying to the question "What happened to you?", two answers come to mind: "I HAVE hip dysplasia" and "I HAD hip dysplasia." I stumble through the answer because I don't know which to say. Do I still have it? Is it gone now I've been 'fixed'? Strictly technically speaking, the socket itself is still shallow, so although now I have much better coverage of the head of the femur into said shallow socket, it ain't perfect.

And so there's that word, that doggedly follows me around, just biding its time until I feel tired, or low, or depleted in some way, to whisper in my ear: "You'll be lopsided for the rest of your life. Maybe not a lot, but enough."

And to it I now reply: "Yeah? Well, can you do this?"




"Cos I did it today. Both sides."

(photo credit Swaha Yoga)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Permission Requested To Use A Cane, Sir!"

"Permission granted, private. Now listen: don't walk down Broadway at 5.30 with your cane, ok? Just practice around your block and see how it goes. And stop leaning away from the leg, you need to really put your weight on it. Let me put my hands on your tushie again and see that you're putting weight on it. Ahh, yes. Very good. Now do a little dance. What? Ehem, I mean, good luck, private, and remember: now you know, and knowing is half the battle."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Crazy Hot Grandma With A Broom

Last Saturday I was crutching through Central Park and a man on a bench said as I passed, "I like you. You're hot."

And then a few days ago another guy said to me as I was crutching down Broadway, "Even with a limp, you're sexy."

Now, granted, they were both homeless, and the second guy was brown paper baggin' it, but hey. We established a while ago, I think, that we take it where we can get it. We are not above being appreciated by drunk homeless men. Yet.

Said appreciation of being appreciated by drunk men, coupled with today's turn of events, makes me concerned that I have a dubious future ahead of me as the crazy mean old grandma who chases the neighborhood kids with a broom and has too many cats. Perhaps it was just that it was very hot today, but I suddenly decided it was time to start telling people off in a loud voice. How I know it was a loud voice is that I could hear myself over my ipod. When a woman tried to push onto the subway before I was able to get off (and in my defense, I would like to say, I have a crutch) I said in a loud voice to the air in front of me, "Let the passengers off first!"

Oy.

And then walking home, trying to negotiate a large tourist group crossing the street who were staring upwards, I said, again very loudly, and again to the air straight in front of me, "Look in the direction you are walking!"

I can't believe I'm admitting this. It's very embarrassing. I'm supposed to be a yoga teacher and, you know, one with the universe, and so on. Not crazy mean (hot) old grandma with a broom.

At least I'm aware that my behavior was not, shall we say, optimal? (She says in a small voice)

There was a woman walking down the subway stairs with two crutches and my heart went out to her. We talked a little bit and I told her she'd be onto one crutch soon. She had a lot more grace than I did today.

To quote my teacher - the journey back to the center is that much sweeter once you've been to the periphery. I think we now all know what the periphery looks like...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Puppetji.com

Puppetji was listening in and has something to say to the whiny monkey:

I've Fallen



And I can't get up.

This period of rehabilitation has been, and continues to be in many ways, more challenging than when I was on 2 crutches. At least then I could be an invalid; I was convalescing; not much was expected of me. Sitting upright got me a standing o.

Now I'm working my body and trying to unknot the tight places and strengthen the weak places and people, not to be a whiny monkey, but it hurts. I've never been a huge pill popper - before surgery when I was told to just take Advil every day for the pain I said no thank you, I'd like to keep my stomach lining please. But at night my leg cramps up - my gym teacher told me that the muscles are spasming because they're not used to being used - and I find myself getting out of bed and limping into the bathroom and tossing back a couple of 'vils. I was so delighted to stop taking the Vicodin, and I know it's like comparing apples to oranges, but it's kind of a bummer to have to medicate myself just so I can fall asleep. This too shall pass, I know, I know. Whiny whiny.

In other whiny monkey news, I think I'm going out to L.A. to visit my brother and his fiance sometime next month, which I'm totally excited about. I have to get a letter from Dr. Buly's office to the effect that no, Mr. TSA person, this is not a bomb in my leg, it's just a metal plate, please let me on the plane. That encounter's going to make for an awesome post, I have a feeling.

Friday, June 22, 2007

From Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet

And a woman spoke, saying, Tell us of Pain.

And he said:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell
that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder
at the daily miracles of your life, your pain
would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your
heart, even as you have always accepted
the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity
through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the
physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink
his remedy in silence and tranquillity:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided
by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips,
has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter
has moistened with His own sacred tears.

Anatomy 101

American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary
syn·o·vec·to·my (sn-vkt-m)
n.

Excision of part or all of the synovial membrane of a joint. Also called villusectomy.



Don't forget to study over the weekend. Finals next week.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Did

A Headstand.

Today.

La la la.

Technical Difficulties Please Stand By

For all you nerds out there, or if you're just wondering what all this fuss has been about, here's what I had done (according to Dr. Buly's bill):

Arthroscopy of Hip with Synovectomy. (that's the two little incisions. I don't know what synovectomy means. Labrum repair? Perhaps our surgeon friend can enlighten us)

Incision/Fixation of Femur. This is the one that really makes me laugh. It sounds so simple. "Yeah, so I'm just going to make an incision and fix your femur, that ok with you?" Nothing about sawing through my leg bone and removing a slice of it and sticking a metal plate in my thigh and pins into the bone. Maybe that's why I agreed to do this, I didn't know what I was getting into.

No of course that's not true. I had as educated a guess as I could as to what I was getting into, and daily life had become unbearably painful.

Lately as I feel better and stronger I have strange urges to claw through my leg and rip the plate out. Obviously I can't really do that but the scar itches a lot now and I daydream as I absentmindedly scratch it that I could just keep scratching away a little at a time like in the Shawshank Redemption and eventually reach freedom. Or metal. A friend of mine said recently that it's important to have things to look forward to. I'm already looking forward to a year from now when I can get it taken out. I'm not even bothered about having to deal with the raised toilet seat again.

This post is getting weird. I just really miss lying on my right side. It's how I used to sleep. And in yoga class at the end it's the side you roll over onto, but I can't, so now I roll left when everyone else is rolling right and I end up looking like I want to make out with the person next to me.

Someone's having a little poopy pity party. Bear with me people.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Grab Your Partner By The Hand

Yoga. Is. Kicking. My. Butt.

It's funny, we'll be working on an asana in class and each time, it's a little dance. Do we like each other? Is there chemistry? Will my leg hold, or do I need to sit this one out on the bleachers? How many blocks can a girl put under her hands before she's pretty much just standing upright? I shimmy in, and the asana either dances with me (like my 2 second crow pose today) or it says, "Babe I'm not feelin' it. I'm going to a bar with my friends. Maybe later? Gimme your number, I'll call you," (like handstand). And when something is above and beyond what I can handle right now the amazing and talented Zhenja LaRosa will come over and give me something different to do, because nobody puts Baby in the corner.

In other news I got a cane. It is not cool and does not have a skull or a claw or both, sadly. It is grey plastic and metal and geriatric. I'm only supposed to use it around the apartment and still use the crutch outside. But it is a sign that my leg is getting stronger.

It's been a Houses of the Holy kind of week. Somehow it makes me feel less gimpy walking around NYC still on a crutch when Robert Plant is wailing in my head.

Oh Oh Oh - and the most biggest dealest news of all that I keep forgetting to write - guess who was in New York Magazine's Top Doctors issue? Dr. Buly, natch. The man. Who just sent me his bill yesterday. Yikes. Do you think the insurance company will be impressed enough to pay for it?

Monday, June 18, 2007

YOGA!!

Today for the first time in 2 months I was in a yoga class. I'm taking the Anusara immersions and the first one started today. It was so incredible to be there I didn't even care that much that I wasn't able to get very far into most poses. My right leg is still very weak and couldn't handle going up into a high lunge (hands off the floor) for example. And Warrior 1 - well, not that fierce. But I was there, and it was fantastic.

I balked at the handstand. It was weird to stand and watch other people and I didn't like feeling like it was a fearful reaction. I know it was probably just sensible until my right leg is stronger and I have more control and won't land funny, but not trying at all was strange.

At the end of class after watching me grunt and groan my friend Eddie said to me, "you need a crutch to walk and you just did that class? You got a lot of guts, I'll tell you that much." I was all, yeah I kick ass!

I'm already so sore...

On the flip side of YOGA!! I realized that my plans for world domination through teaching yoga will have to wait a little longer. I was hoping to come back in July but I have no idea really when I won't need the crutch any more and frankly if I walked into a class and the teacher had a crutch, I would probably walk out pretty quickly.

So, patience. Being able to go to class makes it a whole lot easier. I felt so much gratitude to be there today. What a gift. And lying in savasana I felt high. The focus of the class was about opening to grace, and that whatever we bring, whatever condition we come in, it is enough. To come to a yoga class in my condition and to hear that I am enough was a huge gift of grace for me.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hips Don't Lie



Does this metal plate make my butt look big?

Actually today for the first time I am wearing real pants.
That looks wrong. I don't mean to imply that I've been pantless this whole time. That would be weird. What I mean is up til now it's been sweats, and cotton pants, and yoga pants, and workout shorts. Nothing you could wear to the opera.

And this morning when I was getting dressed I thought to myself, "I wonder if this hip could handle some real clothing." I haven't tried the jeans yet, I think that might be too much, but ladies and gentlemen, I am wearing khakis. Like an adult person who can dress herself. It's a proud moment.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Guess What

I love New Yorkers and how they love to guess what happened to me.
People from my neighborhood who know me say things like, "I hope the dog didn't do that!"
People that don't know me say things like, "Skiing accident?"

No one, not one single person, guesses that it's surgery.

Right, because what is an otherwise excessively healthy-looking woman doing having surgery? It must have been an snowboarding accident, a car accident. Not a genetic accident.

My favorite was the man-child behind the counter at Starbucks today. He asked why I had surgery and when I told him I had hip dysplasia, he thought for a second and said, "I think my mom had that for a while."

I gave him the only answer I could, learned at the knee of my brilliant writer friend Jennie who has perfect human pitch:

"Maybe."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Miracle

I woke up this morning and my leg looked like this:



Haha. Not. It's pretty cool though, right? I'm diggin' it.

What actually happened is a MySpace friend photoshopped it.
But I seem to recall writing something about a miracle a few days ago...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Are You Hip to Easter Island?

The Mothership left today.

It felt like that moment from childhood when your parent was running behind you holding onto the bike while you were pedaling and then suddenly you realized they had stopped holding on and you were riding the two wheeler all by yourself. Usually followed by crashing...

I'm starting the Anusara immersion on Monday and I called my gym teacher to ask her if there were any restrictions (besides the fact that there are a lot of things my body just doesn't want to do) and she told me a couple of things that made sense, and then she said, "you kinda know your body. I kinda trust you."

I kinda think that was a compliment...!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

PT Update

I got to get on the stationary bike in gym class today.
Then I got to get off it again pretty quickly but it felt good to at least pretend like I was riding a bike for 2 minutes.
And I got some Therabands which are very annoying and dusty but increase the work for the muscles, so cannot be avoided at gym class.
I also got to walk across the room with my gym teacher's hands on my butt.
I wish I was kidding.
I managed not to laugh by biting the inside of my cheek, hard.

She said I was doing very well and that often big shifts happen somewhere around 8 weeks (1 week away for me) so perhaps there will be a miraculous divine intervention and I will wake up walking...

But the coolest news is that my anatomy teacher from yoga teacher training is doing a new course and wants to develop a post-PT fitness regime for me to get me back to full yoga strength! She is the bomb and I can't believe my great good fortune that she wants to work with me. Kriota, you rock.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

4:20

Used to mean - well, you know.

(Actually it hasn't meant that to me in years, and back when it did, I had often already partaken.)

Now it means - if I'm not at home taking a nap yet, I need to get there soon, or else I will be face-planting in the middle of whatever I'm doing (drinking tea, getting a pedicure, crossing the street). Bone-tired late afternoon is the newest theme. Followed by wide awake too-early morning. Neither of which I'm particularly into.

And I realized - we haven't named the plate! If it's going to be in me for a year, it needs a name. Please submit all name ideas as comments, or if that's a hassle, just email your idea to me. I offer Mental Plate into the mix, but there's probably a better one out there. Maybe if I can figure out how to put a poll on here we'll have a vote. Otherwise it'll be a dictatorship of me making the final decision.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Walking, Waxing, Waning, Waving

So walking down the sweaty NYC street today I realized that I wasn't putting that much weight on the crutch. So I tried crutchless for one step (that looks so wrong written down but anyway) and I only lurched a very little bit! I think I'll be walking for reals in no time! Like soon!

And the scar is starting to get so thin in places that you can barely see it. What's funny is that a little section will disappear, and then reappear a few hours later. Like it's 3am and the party's winding down but you're just that much too drunk to feel like you can muster up the organization to leave and sense that you're probably crashing on the couch, again. Or something. It's really completely nothing like that.

And today Gentle Reader, we wave goodbye to our good friend Vicodin. V's been with us through thick and thin; we will miss your blue mood inducing emotional withdrawal not a whit. Take care, and don't let the door, etc. I'm ready to get my drink back on.

(Sensing a theme...)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Holy Macaroni*

Am I tired.

Suddenly again like I was right after surgery. I know since I got the go-ahead to weight bear I'm definitely moving a lot more than before, but people! What's this about?

Yesterday I walked around maybe a little too much and I was super pooped afterwards. Like entire-body-aching-sore-muscles-pooped when you get knocked down by a bunch of waves a bunch of times. And this morning we moved back into my walk-up (hobble-up) which is awesome, I'm so glad to be here, and I am pooped. And I have to go to gym class this afternoon. If she's anything like she used to be she's not taking tired for an answer. Maybe she's mellowed with age. I don't even have it in me to try and make her laugh.

But! At six weeks out I can:

Shower standing up (first one in 2 months - AAHH)

'Walk' ten blocks and get really tired (with one crutch. But I had a dream last night that I was walking. It was awesome)

Have a lot of knee and hip mobility but still can't do rotation very well

Scar seems smaller and is definitely thinner (I need to post new pics, I know, you're dying to see)

So, all is well in Munchkinland. Hopefully energy will return soon.

*UPDATE: She smiled. Twice! And fatigue is totally normal. Apparently it takes as much time as you've been out to get back to normal energy levels. Any excuse for a siesta is a good one in my book.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Your 8th Grade Gym Teacher

If you were wondering whatever happened to her, fear not. She is alive and well and administering physical therapy with her same old no-nonsense attitude. She still wears her coral shorts and modified Flock of Seagulls haircut. I think she may have been wearing nude hose (that word gives me the willies) with her tan leather walking shoes but I didn't want to stare.

And she still has that all-business way of grabbing your body without asking first, including things like your sacrum. Or perhaps that was just my gym teacher.

My default with new people is usually to try and make them laugh. But she did not crack a single smile no matter how much I soft-shoed for her. Probably because I don't even walk well, let alone dance. But still.

Anyway I see her twice a week for the next 6 weeks. Yesterday she asked "how much work do you want to do?" and I was like, "you're asking a yoga teacher who hasn't been able to move for 6 weeks if she wants to move her body...?" Basically she's added on new exercises and modified some of my current ones. I still have to use one crutch to walk so I don't develop a limp. And I had to fill out a form with my PT goals. My goal is to make her crack a smile. I think it would feel good.

Essay Question







Discuss.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Yippee

Saw Dr. Buly today and saw my leg on an X-ray. My leg is kicking leg ass.

In Dr. Buly's words "You can get really aggressive now." RRaarrrgh! (that's my aggressive noise in case it wasn't clear)

How aggressive?
So much that I can start walking on it full weight bearing!
Which is pretty funny, because the muscles are now so atrophied that I walk like a drunk person. I still need to use the crutches for the next little patch of time so that I don't fall on my face. But I can go off the Coumadin (blood thinner) and start eating green vegetables. And I can go off the Vicodin and start drinking. Two great tastes that taste great together.

Tomorrow I go to outpatient physical therapy. Will report fully.

And I'm planning on getting back into the teaching groove beginning of July.
So if you've been slacking off, you have a month to kick back into gear.
Actually I'm just hoping I remember the words.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The First Step is

Admitting you have a MyProblem.
(did I fake you out with the title?)

I like MySpace too much.

Actually, it's not that I like it, (c'mon man, I can control it, I can stop whenever I want, I just don't want to stop right now) because I still think it's a clusterf**k of a site that's horrible to look at and not at all intuitive.

(Hello, my name is Sarah, and sometimes I swear.)

But I have much better things to do right now, semi-secret things that involve deadlines, and where am I? On MySpace, looking up distant acquaintances so that we can be friends. It's bad. It may even be a problem. If anyone's dealt with this and has advice, please pass it on. Meanwhile my friend Eve is lhao because I've sworn for years that I would never have anything to do with MySpace. And now look at me. I'm a Add Friend junkie, curled up in the corner of a burnt-out warehouse in the bad part of town.

This is a cry for help, people. If I don't get back to teaching pretty soon I may never leave the house again. (Do you think this argument will work on Dr. Buly when he sees me on Monday?)

On a good note: I had enough clarity, when Second Life was passed around at the party, to just say no. Then again, you know what they say about MySpace being a gateway site.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

News You Can Use

So apparently, since I was on an amnestic rather than an anaesthetic during the operation, I was not entirely knocked out. I was awake and just don't remember it, as one would be from a 5 martini blackout, in the words of my doctor friend (feel free to weigh in if you know more on this topic). Apparently, it is both possible, and considering it's me, highly likely, that I was jabbering away the entire time. The last thing I remember: the anesthesiologist saying she was going to give me a sedative and then put in the epidural. The next thing I remember: hearing an Imogen Heap song and saying "this is a good song." The hours in between: gone. My very own Lost Weekday Morning, if you will.

In other news, apparently now I've joined MySpace...? I find it as hard to believe as you do. But it's true. Come be MyFriend? In MyDefense, it's for MySemiSecretProject and MyEventualPromotionOfSaidProject...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

One More Week

Til I go back to the doctor for another X-ray to look at the bone and see how it's doing. Best case, I'll get some sort of cane (hopefully with a skull or a claw - or a skull with a claw wrapped around it would be best. Do they have those in hospitals?) and permission to weight bear, and outpatient physical therapy. Worst case, I'll have to stay on the crutches for an undetermined period of time.

I want to be hopeful, but I'm definitely superstitious about being too cocky. I know that everything's healing incredibly well on the outside, but I have no way of knowing what the bone has been up to all these weeks. Was that bang on the crooked sidewalk in my wheelchair too rough? (Who knows! I'm medicated!) When I stepped down, yet again, by mistake, on that foot (outside of yoga, I tend towards clumsiness) did I set myself back a week? I can hear my teacher's voice telling me to surrender to what is. Ain't that the truth.

Either way, I'm moving back into my apartment soon afterwards, even if I have to hop up and down the 2 flights of stairs on crutches; I've been practicing, and while it's a little time consuming, it's not that hard.

Which also signals the imminent disappearance of my mom back to her own life, although what could be more fulfilling for her than fulfilling my every waking need, you ask yourself? I know, because I've asked myself the same question. Perhaps something could be arranged.

Of course I kid. But she does such an amazing job of moming, it's going to be hard to see her go.

In other news, I'm stepping down the meds yet again. (So many people have told me that bone pain is the worst pain there is. Somehow I've managed not to be in pain, apart from the mild twinge here and there. Is it the meds? Or am I just, as they say in England, well 'ard?) Everything's fine pain-wise, although I do feel a little melancholy. Is it possible, in the most obtuse, completely human way, that I'm loathe to leave my bucolic existence? Have I grown so accustomed to my tea and toast on a tray in the morning that I'm resistant to take my hip shelf out into the big bad world and earn an honest wage again?

One thing I do know, if I'm going to start teaching again any time soon, I need me some baggy pants.

P.S. I just noticed how many questions there are in this post. Feel free to reply with any answers you come up with.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

This is Not Me


http://www.62models.com/62_display.cfm?&modelid=151

Back when I modeled I used to have one of these. Not an online version, the early 90's weren't that high-tech, but a printed card that you gave out on your soul-stealing mindless days of city traipsing. I sure don't miss any little bit of it.

I'm curious about the part where it gives a measurement for 'neck'. Seems odd. Hers is not filled in. Missing neck?

Clearly, I'm better, and have too much time on my hands. I'm actually working on a semi-secret project and just procrastinating right now. I mean taking a break.

Hard Out Here For A Gimp

I haven't wanted to write this. I really haven't.
I believe people are good, and that we inherently want to do the right thing and take care of each other.
I hate to make blanket statements about groups of people as if the individual lacks the ability to choose otherwise.
But all that being said:

Holy crap, do New Yorkers not like to get out of the way of the crutches/walker/wheelchair.
Although there have been a few (really few) isolated incidents of people seeing me in whichever version and stepping out of the way to make my life (or my mom's if she's pushing the chair) a little easier, for the most part, I get maybe a two inch directional shift at the very last second, and often an irritated look to go with it. One woman in the movie theater elevator looked like she couldn't believe we were asking her to take a few steps backwards to fit the wheelchair.

(Saw Waitress. It's adorable.)

Now granted, I live in an area where there is a huge tourist influx, and frankly they're often so overwhelmed by this place they're just happy to be standing upright and breathing. I have no bones with them. (ha)

But I know the deal, because I am a New Yorker (and karmically, this means that I've done this to many, many people. Hopefully I'm working it all out now with this experience) and it's very important that we get wherever we're going as quickly as possible while simultaneously shuffling ipod songs, texting, and eating a sandwich.

It's made me very grateful that this is temporary. Because it's rough out there if you can't walk.

(Also please no up-in-armsing about the title. I refer only to myself.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Because They Are Calloused, And Because They Are My Palms

When I was teaching I had all kinds of random rough patches of skin, especially on my feet, from various poses, from kneeling to do adjustments, things like that. Now that I'm 'walking' around a lot more my hands are starting to get calloused from the crutches. I couldn't get the picture to not be blurry but here's what it looks like, sort of:


Yeah. I know. It's a blurry picture of a hand. But if you look closely you can see the skin at the base of my palm is darker and has actually blistered a little... it sounds like I'm trying to build a non-existent case, but it's true, I swear...

In other much more interesting news, I had my first conversation today with a woman who has been reading this blog and has to have surgery for a different but equally crippling hip problem. I have total empathy for her, and at the same time I feel glad that all my ramblings are actually helping at least one person that I know of. If there's anyone else out there who's looking down the surgery gun and feels nervous, or scared, or has a million questions like I did, or just wants to talk to someone, go to my teaching site (www.sarahcourtyoga.com) and 'sign up' for the mailing list - it's the easiest way to email me without my putting my address out there for the spammers, I won't actually put you on the list, and we can talk.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Trundle, Peas, Twitch and Freak

Did my AIDS trundle this morning, and my shoulders were so sore afterwards I had to put frozen peas on them.


Organic frozen peas, natch. Only the best for my delts.

Also I was reading about opiates and how the phrase "kick the habit" came into use because one of the symptoms of opiate withdrawal is muscle spasms and twitching. I was twitching a lot in the hospital. Even now an occasional twitch will come on.

The world's greatest massage therapist came on Friday and worked on my leg. She likes to laugh when you tell her that it hurts. But she's so good at it and afterwards my leg felt fantastic. She looked at the scar and the first thing she said was, "You're a freak!" Which she says she meant in a good way. Apparently the scar and surrounding muscle is doing outrageously well for only 3 1/2 weeks out, that ordinarily it would be much darker and the skin would be much more puckery. Hurrah for that.

Go yoga body. I hope if you're reading this and you don't yet practice yoga that it will inspire you to at least start to think about it, because I don't think anything else in my life has created the conditions for my body to recover so well. Of course there's a lifestyle that goes along with it, and I am generally pretty healthy (although lately every time I turn around I'm eating a cookie) but how quickly my flexibility is coming back I think is all about my yoga practice. I'm also probably more concerned than the next person about regaining as much flexibility as quickly as I can, so that accounts for my obsessiveness with the Fonda moves, but still. Go to class. Especially if you're a student of mine and you're reading this and thinking that when I start teaching again, because I'll be semi-gimpy, I'll give you an easy time...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Walking

Just now I got hit with a picture of myself strolling through Manhattan, covering a distance I wouldn't have dreamed of before, not wondering when I would be stopped in my tracks and forced to limp, pain-free and smiling. What a blessing to be reminded of why I did this to myself and what's on the other side. Thank you, imagination.

(This is how The Secret works, right? You just have to imagine it and it will happen? I'll start working on some bigger things once I get walking down again. Feel free to post any requests.)

Thigh Swap

When I left the hospital, after lying in bed for 5 days (apart from a twice daily attempt to take a few steps followed closely by near passing out), my left leg was visibly atrophied from disuse, while my right leg was hugely swollen, about twice the size of the other.

Now that I'm walking around a lot more and basically using my left leg to hold up my body, my left leg has become super strong (a Linda leg, if you will) and my right leg, with the swelling going down, has become the wussy leg. I don't even have to flex (Linda!), just sitting in a chair my left thigh is easily an inch higher. My friend Sarah got me a giant exercise ball which I now sit on at the computer in the hopes that it will passively strengthen my right leg. It's actually been helping my sacrum a lot as well and stops me from slumping (a terrible admission for a yoga teacher to make, but sometimes, especially at the computer, I slump).

My dad is here for the weekend keeping an eye on me so I don't revolt and run away while mom goes down to Philly to visit my 94 year-old grandmother. Dad's gatekeeping style is much more laid back. He's working on the assumption that I can do things unless I tell him otherwise, which means I'm not having things brought to me as much as I have gotten used to...

We went out to dinner last night - I crutchwalked to Ninth Avenue - which was the first time since surgery that I've been out for dinner. It was awesome. The more I go out, the less nuclear meltdown prone I feel.

Biologically interesting note about Thursday's melt: the past few weeks while meditating I would get incredibly hot, to the point of sweating (and my mom meditating with me is wrapped head to toe in a fuzzy blanket. We're a funny pair) but Friday morning I was cool as a cucumber. I guess I got it all out.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

XXX Scar Pix

Warm up pic first:


When I relax my legs now, the right leg doesn't turn out as much as the left anymore, because the surgery created more internal rotation. Was watching CNN last night and they did a piece on Asian women having eyelid surgery to make their eyes appear more open and round. Pretty soon internal rotation is going to be the hot new look. Just remember, you saw it here first.

OK.
Here it is, in full glory, no holds barred:




Next stop, Crash (the first one not the Sandra Bullock one)(which I am slightly ashamed to admit I saw in the movie theater but only because I was living in Japan at the time and desperate for anything in English).

Today is the day that I'm not holding it all together, being brave, being strong, healing quickly, or surprising the physical therapist with how well I'm doing. Today, I am doing craply, I am crying, I am pissy, and I want to throw the walker out the window.

(This may also be related to ramping down off the meds)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Scarpocalypse Now Redux

After my surgeon friend made fun of me for still having the steri-strips on the scar (what do I know? The hospital put the fear of God into me about pulling them off) I went ahead and ripped them all off. Felt gooood. It's totally fine under there, and I'll do another picture so you can see the whole thing top to toe. (Because you're dying to know, right?) It's very Rose-McGowan-with-a-machine-gun-leg looking. Sort of. Not really. More like Sarah-with-a-mental-plate looking. But I feel better if I can pretend I'm a badass. I think Mental Plate would be a great band name.

Also my latest Vicodin prescription is different - before I was taking 1000mg 3 times a day, and these new ones are 750mg. Since quartering a pill is kind of a pain (and these are the dusty crumbly kind), and it's not a huge difference, and I was going to do it pretty soon anyway, I'm going to start stepping down the meds. The sooner I can start drinking again, the better for everyone. Especially my mom.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Oh and

I've eaten 100 Vicodin.
Which is alot, but it's only half the amount that I could be eating.
Craziness.

3 Weeks Later

There's going to be a scar picture at the bottom of this post. I have no perspective any more on whether this is gross because I look at it every day... plus I find it oddly fascinating... but if you skeeve easily, perhaps you may want to avert your eyes... or go watch a zombie movie first and then this will seem like nuthin'.

OK!

Status report:

No longer nauseous (although that's the Nexium, but still, it's nice)

Don't need naps (but I still believe the siesta is one of life's greatest luxuries)

Can bathe self

Right knee and hip bend past 90 degrees

Can sit in a regular chair

Sudoku skills improved from 'Light and Easy' to 'Demanding'

Can put on pants, socks and shoes (with hands, not toes)

Can stand long enough to cook (this is not a good admission; mom will go on strike)

Have not gone completely mental yet

So all in all, doing well. I am determined that in 3 weeks when I trundle into Dr. Buly's office for the post-op check-up, I'll be walking out (even if I need a cane, it would be a huge improvement).

Ready?

Here it be:



So first of all you can see how the surgical tape is just crying out to be pulled off, right?
The two X's are where Dr. Buly repaired the labrum, which is the cartilage that rings the hip socket.
There's also a little red dot in the top right corner where the drain was after surgery (apparently bones bleed a lot), and it's still pretty lumpy with swelling. It can take as long as 6 months for the swelling to completely go down.
I'll post again when the rest of the tape comes off, but I think it looks pretty good for 3 weeks out. As long as the plate is in, I will be somewhat uneven, but I've gotten used to the idea, and it's coming out in a year anyway.

What's a little weird as well is that I can now feel the plate in my leg. It doesn't hurt, it just feels like there's something else in there with my leg when I move it - which of course there is. It's an odd sensation.

Anyway, doing well overall. Thank you all so much for your support and visits and love!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Scary Step Moment

I'm supposed to do what's called "toe-touch" with my right foot when I'm crutching or walkering along, which is your foot touches the floor but you're not really standing on it. This is the 20% weight-bearing that I'm limited to (but only 3 more weeks!)(let's hope!)(otherwise I'm going to really lose it!).

Today during my daily Plaza-with-a-side-of-Starbucks jaunt I accidentally fully stepped down onto my right foot. Which I couldn't do a few weeks ago - my knee would buckle if I put even the slightest bit of weight on it because the muscles were so confused about what was going on, so it's goodish, and the fact that I didn't realize I was doing it I think is also goodish, because it means everything's feeling goodish, but it totally scared the pants off me. Luckily I realized what I had done before taking the next step and just stepped backwards onto my left foot. I don't think I can do any serious damage, but I have a mental image of the metal plate buckling. I don't even know if that's possible, or if it's just a little paranoid fun dance for me. Please weigh in if you have any knowledge about metal plates.

(I keep typing mental plates by mistake. Perhaps I need a mental plate as well.)

AIDS Walk

Last year I did the AIDS Walk to raise money for my non-profit org in South Africa, Ubuntu Education Fund. A lot of you know about Ubuntu because I've hit you up for cash before, but if not, you can check out their website - they do incredible, life-changing work, particularly for AIDS orphaned kids and other vulnerable children. I've seen it firsthand and had the awesome opportunity to teach yoga down there a few years ago (and I want to get back down there to teach again soon!)

The AIDS Walk is this Sunday, and no, I can't really walk, but I'm still asking for sponsorship. Instead of the real walk, I will do 2 laps around the block on my crutches. It will probably take me as long as it takes the walkers to complete 6 miles...

If you're inclined, please sponsor me. Ubuntu is building a new center that will allow them to help thousands more families - this year's AIDS Walk proceeds will go towards the center.

Here's my link - it's easy as pie:
http://aidswalknewyork2007.kintera.org/sarah

And here's why you want to:

Update Tomorrow

I'll be 3 weeks post-op tomorrow, so full update on where I'm at plus scar photo...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hooray Today

My friend and brilliant yoga teacher Paisley and her husband came by and wheeled me up to Central Park, where we lay in Sheep's Meadow and she helped me figure out some ways to stop the Fonda moves from binding my hip flexors, which have been uncomfortable enough to wake me up at night;
and I rolled around in the grass and looked at all the people;
and Richard wheeled me really fast back down the hill out of the park;
and we went into a store and shopped a bit;
and got coffee;
and went back to their apartment and had lunch;
and then she wheeled me home.

It was the longest yet I've been out of the apartment.
My shoulders are sunburned.
I'm tired in the way you're tired when you've actually done something.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Downward Facing Linda

I crutch walked around the entire block today (OK, so I cut through the Plaza, but it was ALMOST a whole block). Linda Hamilton arms, here I come.

Every day I can feel my spine compacting a little more and I have a very specific yearning to get into down dog and just let it traction for a while and get a little space going in there. Obviously it's not really compacting, but I'm so used to stretching things out it that feels very odd to just sit around in my body all day.

What Would Linda Do (If Linda Was Still Doing Pullups in the Hospital at the Beginning of T2)?

"Put a chair at one end of your yoga mat, and then lower yourself from the edge of the chair down onto the mat (like those triceps exercises) and then lay down on your back, and then roll over onto your belly, and then get up onto your hands and knees, and then from there push back to down dog and just keep your right foot toe touching the ground without any pressure on it, soldier."

My thoughts exactly.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ooops

So here I am blagging on about how regularly I take my Vicodin like a good little opiate-eater... and then this afternoon I'm out on the patio (Worldwide Plaza is my new living room. Want to see me? Swing by the Plaza on an afternoon. There I be with the rest of the infirm out taking our afternoon 'walk'. I'm the one without a bored-looking nurse in tow) with my girlfriend and we're yakking up a good old ex-boyfriend-bash of a storm, and then I meander back inside and do my feel the burn routine, and not until about 7pm, after another set of friends have come by to visit and I start to feel the slightest twinge in my leg, just a mildly odd sensation, do I realize that I missed my 4pm pill-pop.

Which I think is a good thing, because a) clearly I'm not addicted if I can so casually forget;
and b) clearly the pain level is going down if my leg isn't reminding me at hour 8;
and c) clearly I don't have a c) but I felt like an a) and a b) alone were insufficient.

So, yay. Perhaps I'll be investigating a longer 'tween-pill stretch sooner than I thought. We'll see what happens tomorrow. In the meantime it is taking every ounce of discipline I possess not to rip off the surgical tape.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

8 - 4 - 12


A lot of people ask me if I'm in pain. And frankly, I'm not. I wake up sore from physical therapy every morning, plus aching ribs from the new upper body crutch challenge. And of course, my sacrum is still trying to get a divorce. But I am on a solid 8 hour Vicodin regime that does away with any meanderings down bone pain lane. I was advised not to play the bone pain game ("what happens if I wait to take my medication until I actually feel something inside my leg?") by several people, because by the time the meds ramp up again you've gone through a few hours of serious unpleasantness. And frankly, there was enough unpleasantness in the hospital. I feel no need to reenact that experience.

But it's interesting to be so medicated. First of all, I feel mildly dumb. Like my entries here aren't quite as sharp 'n' witty as they were pre-hospital. Also, I'm starting to wonder if I'm getting addicted. Around the 7 1/2 hour mark I often start to feel a little depressed, a little self-sorry, wondering if my hip is going to stick out like a shelf for the entire year that the metal plate is in, wondering if any man could possibly overlook a hip that sticks out like a shelf (I have some adorable - rather, formerly adorable - shorts with "Nantucket" across the bottom that I wear when I do my Fonda moves, and now due to my hip shelf, they say "NantucKET"), and so on. About an hour after I take my 2 Vicodin, the world is rosy again. Visiting Nurse Shannon did say that the meds would have an effect on my emotions, but she didn't say anything about it being so clockwork. In a few weeks I can start trying to space out the meds more and more; in the meantime, I guess fuzzy and emotional are where I'm at.

Scar is healing well. I still have the surgical tape on from the surgery, and I have to let it peel off as and when it desires. Definitely not allowed to pull the little strips off. However my new favorite pastime is to run my fingers along the scar and let the edges of the tape lift up like feathers. Not pulling, just encouraging. There are a few tiny spaces now where the tape lifts completely off and I can see the scar underneath. It looks like capellini. Actually what it really looks like are the intestinal worms that my dog had as a puppy. But capellini sounds better. Once the tape comes off completely, I'll post a picture. I know you're all waiting, baited. Personally I'm really curious to see what's under there.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Ow

Woke up so sore this morning from my new moves. Jane, I apologize.

My doctor friend said it's a sign you're getting better when the PT is kicking your ass. My ass is officially kicked.

The Wheelchair came and I love it. I'm going to be a speed demon. Mom looked nervous.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Let's Get Physical


My physical therapist, Ruth, came today to check on my progress. Since I am mildly obsessive and very stubborn I'm making great strides! (Also to be fair to this body, it was in very good condition thanks to a daily yoga practice). She's given me several new exercises to do in addition to the old crew that I've been doing twice daily since the hospital. It's really funny stuff - all side leg lifts and ham curls. Some of them I can do no problem, but some, like lying on my back and lifting my leg straight up in the air, just won't happen. I can engage the muscles, but we don't go anywhere. But this is how it was with several of the old moves, and after serious effort a la Uma Thurman in the back of the truck in Kill Bill, I was able to do things like lift my foot off the ground and slide my leg sideways. So I'm hoping it will be the same with these. We also discussed some very mild yoga that I want to incorporate and she gave me the green light. I think I'm one of the more entertaining people she gets to visit - she said most of her patients are between 80 and 100 and really don't want to do any silly little repetitive exercises. I'm like - it's 75 degrees outside - I'll curl my hamstring 800 times a day if it gets me out there faster.

Another new development - it looks like I'm getting a wheelchair! This may sound like backwards movement, but it would allow me to go outside for more than 20 minutes at a time. Apparently the insurance will cover most of the cost of the rental and this way I can go to the park or maybe even to the movies... very exciting. I was getting depressed thinking I was going to miss Pirates of the Caribbean: Here's Johnny, Again.

Dear visiting people - please keep visiting I love seeing you all. Come back as many times as you want. However please don't bring any more cookies with you. I have a lot of cookies now. And already a hip that sticks out sideways like a shelf. And not a lot of exercise overall apart from my Jane Fonda moves. Please come and eat the cookies that are here and don't bring any more.