I went from being extremely limited with frequent pain, but completely independent before the replacement, to not being able to dress myself or sit up on my own. In the words of my mother, ‘it is like having a newborn again’, except I can be cheeky on purpose. Since returning home on Sunday evening there has been a new development everyday and I am loving seeing the improvements.
I can now sit up straight without support, can easily manage the stairs only stepping up with my good leg and can even dress myself, despite not being able to touch any lower than my knees. Part of my ability to dress myself comes from having extremely dextrous toes. Dad and I used to compete to pick hairbands and other thing off the floor when I was little. I never thought I would rely in this weird skill, but it has been a real asset. I can pull my trousers onto my left leg using my right foot toes and even plug in the hair dryer using my feet. Little did Dad and I know we were preparing for an easier hip replacement recovery.
Showering was initially a struggle but yesterday we rented a perching stool so I can sit in the shower. While this is great for a quick rest, it is also really annoying. When you shower, you dip in and out of the water in between soaping and shampoo, on the stool, you’re in the same place, so I stand and use the stool for balance.
Another cool new toy was a brand new set of wheels, I asked for a Discovery with personal driver but had to settle for a wheelchair and Mum, not quite the same but ti will do. Mum and I decided a chair with big wheels would be best so I can move myself around, it was a very good decision. Although I am not wheelchair bound and can fully weight bear and walk VERY slowly, due to my years of compensating and developing a certain ‘swag’ in my walk as Tim likes to say, the wheelchair allows me to do more things I unlearn, and relearn, to walk correctly.
On picking up the chair, Mum and I went for an extravagant trip to Waitrose, possibly my funniest food shop ever. We discovered that Mum is a rubbish wheelchair driver and shouldn’t give up the day job. (I’m joking, I would still be stuck in bed if it weren’t for my mum so I can live with bad driving – just don’t nearly run someone over, crash me into the car or try to push with the brakes on and nearly tip me out again please).
Today has been another very good day, after my first physio session I spent the afternoon at my sister’s sports day. I went to the same school and left some 4 years earlier. A lot of my teachers were still there and many came to say hello, the wheelchair tends to draw people in out of interest, but it was still good to have a quick catch-up. Returning to your old school makes you really appreciate your teachers and there is a weird underlying friendship, rather than the person who used set you homework and lecture for an hour each week.
My sports teachers used to give me quite a hard time about my hip and never really understood until my last few years at school. I used to leave my crutches in reception, just in case, they couldn’t comprehend how I could walk up the school drive absolutely fine and then start limping half way through the sports lesson.
In one not so fond memory, my music teacher accused me of faking as I had walked ‘ok’ across the classroom to the bin, but had used my crutches for the nearly half mile walk to and from the lunch hall. Two teachers in particular began spreading awareness of my hip to the other teachers; they knew others with my DDH or had joint trouble themselves. This took a good few years and I remember crying on quite a few occasions from the pain.
Today was the first time I had physical evidence of my hip troubles and I could tell which teachers felt guilty of giving me a hard time. They surpassed the wheelchair with a simple hello, rather than those who took to the time for a proper chat.
For those of you with little ones, please make sure every teacher that needs to know, does know about your child’s DDH. My head teacher had no idea, even after spending many weeks on crutches over three years of being at the school.
This all sounds quite negative but I promise, I really did enjoy my time at school and liked the teachers that pushed me to do sport. By the end they had found the right balance and helped me lead my active life. Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am and I wouldn’t have been as sporty.
After such a good physio session today, I have no doubt that my sporting days are not too far round the corner, I just have to learn to walk correctly and not with the added ‘swag’.