Recovering from the kind of hip surgery I had is part art, part science, but mostly it is sitting still and following the doctor’s/PA’s/physio’s instructions to the letter.
For someone who a) is incredibly active; b) has run 14 marathons in four and a half years; c) is very fit, this sitting still has been a challenge. For nearly two weeks post-op, I was spending about 4 hours in this device:
And then additional time in the ice machine:
And then trying to fit in physical therapy appointments as well. It was just so…time consuming. And some of the therapies were boring. Four hours of bending? Come on! But you know what? I wasn’t in pain. For the first time in almost a year, I wasn’t in pain! It was amazing. Boring, time consuming, and amazing! I’ll take it.
I went back to work in the second week of recovery, and would come home in the evenings and have another 2-4 hours of bending and icing to deal with after working a full day. I have been marvelling this whole time about how great I feel, but also how much TIME this whole process takes.
Thankfully, my physio allowed me to substitute 20 minutes on my bike for one hour of bending, which has made the timing piece a bit easier.
Seriously, you guys. Open a new tab in your browser right now, and buy yourself a spin bike on Amazon. I got this fancy contraption for less than $300, and it’s just as nice as something you’d ride at the gym. Very sturdy; very quiet; super easy to put together. When I am fully back in the saddle, I will YouTube some spin routines, or be Sarah’s spin choreography guinea pig (it always helps to have a friend/cousin who is a group fitness instructor!). But for now, I am using a timer set for 20 minutes on the iPad, and some old episodes of AbFab — which are are just what the doctor ordered.
I cannot fathom how I went for so long being in so much pain.
I had my stitches out on Monday, and the surgical nurse showed me the photographs the doctor took during the surgery; showed me the placement of the screws in my hip joint; showed me the before-and-after of how they ground down the bone on my femoral head.
You had a lot of work done, the nurse explained, I’ve never seen quite so much inflammation in a joint before — see all that redness? That’s why it’s so important for you to keep taking the anti-inflammatories. We’re all shocked and pleased you’re in so little pain.
Not “little” pain. I’m in NO pain, I said, eyeballing the screen, surprised by the fact of it myself. I was looking at the redness on the screen; the rawness, and the things that had been hiding inside of me. I was thinking of Jacob and the angel; of me wrestling with the unknown; of being forever transformed; of what this process has changed in me.
For now, on the doctor’s orders, I am sitting still. I am taking it easy; I am asking for help; I am taking in support. I am doing all the things that I never thought I would be able to tolerate or do. I am recovering in all senses of the word.
I am not in pain and I have never felt quite so good.