Saturday, May 09, 2009

Limping Along



My confidence in my recovery has been shaken a few times this week with people commenting that I am STILL limping.

I’m never sure whether to remind them it’s been only a little over 3 months since my hip replacement or of the fact that I limped differently if not worse before the fall and subsequent surgery.

These comments from well-meaning friends have made me worry that I’m suddenly getting worse instead of better. I know my gait is a lot more uneven after I get up from sitting for a long time or when I am tired, but I wonder if it’s worse than it was 4 weeks ago? My husband says no, but he is not terribly observant.

I feel like I am doing everything in my power to strengthen my muscles and increase my endurance, but maybe it’s not enough or the right things. I do my PT exercises religiously every day. I do yoga. I do gyrotonics. I swim. I walk. I ride our stationary bike.

I have come to accept the fact that my gait will never be normal. My permanently tilted pelvis and slightly curved spine make normal an impossible goal. At this point, I will accept just reaching the point where my balance is adequate, my legs are strong, and nothing is getting worse.

But for now, it seems like I will need to have a ready answer when well-meaning people express surprise at the fact that I walk with a limp. Maybe someday they will just learn that it’s part of who I am.

13 Comments:

Blogger Terry said...

My friend who had hip replacement 3 years ago still limps a bit and probably always will, but it seems to me less and less all the time. As you say, it is most noticeable when he first gets up out of a chair. My injured foot makes me limp. My husband's bum knee makes him limp. I think it is a feature of getting older! As long as we keep moving who cares if it is not as smoothly and gracefully as we once moved. Folks who point it out are not seeing the big picture. You had a terrible injury from which you are recovering nicely, it sounds like!

2:49 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I know I told you on Thursday how impressed I am by your recovery. It hasn't been that long at all. I really do think that you're moving marvelously.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Terry -- I did notice this was the first week I could get up and down easily, as a choir member at our synagogue, without having to push off from the seat. I guess all those squats I'm doing every day are having some payoff.

Yes, I do need to be reminded that healing is such a gradual process and we simply have to accept our bodies in whatever state they are in at all times along the way.

A young girl with CP came up to the bimah in a wheel chair today, something she will never be able to leave behind. I watched her and felt lucky to be able to stand and walk on my own, even if with a limp.

Kristin -- You are my best cheerleader and I love you for it!

4:12 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

People are so weird sometimes with their unsolicited comments. You seem to be making excellent progress. So what if you "still" limp - it's been less than four months. You'll be more than twice as far along in another four months as you are now. My 86 year old mother broke her hip two years ago and was back to dancing in less than six months.(She fell on some ice after a dance.) Hang in there and feel good about how proactive you've been. You are making excellent progress. You do water yoga!

8:04 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cyndy -- Kudos to your mother! At this point dancing is on the distant horizon for me.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

I completely understand your desire for a snappy answer. One thing you could say is that your non-bionic parts keep dragging down the efficiency of your bionic parts!

I mean, really, Barbara, I know they are just expressing caring, but still!!! ::::grin::: tell them when you get the other one replaced you'll be able to run a 3 1/2 minute mile ala the bionic woman! (I always thought Lindsay Wagner was sooooo much cooler than the bionic man)

Hang in there! It's a miracle that you are up and racing around at this point! When my mom had her knees replaced, there were people who were having hip replacement and my heart always went out for them, it was such a more complicated surgery than the knees!

11:03 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Hi Barbara,
Count your blessings that you are still able to do yoga, swim, bike, walk, etc. I'm amazed at all that you do to keep yourself active, mobile and happy. So, what's a limp now and then? Even if it might be something that won't completely go away you are still so active.
It sounds like you're getting stronger all the time and making amazing progress.
Keep up the good work,

Happy Mother's Day!!!

10:08 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kellyann -- Actually it's supposed to be easier to recover from hip replacement than knee replacement!

Gewels -- I actually am grateful to be as mobile as I am.

Happy Mothers Day to you, too! Hopefully your family is treating you like a queen today.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I find it unconscionable that anyone even says anything. When I first met you I noticed your gait but assumed it was part of who you were and certainly not something I would comment on. This really bothers me that anyone would say anything, particularly those who know your history! Sigh............unkindness is so easy for some......it makes me worry for humankind.

12:57 AM  
Blogger bulletholes said...

You know, some of our most beloved characters have had a limp.
Like Chester on Gunsmoke!
everybody liked Chester. What would you rather be Barbara...a good walker...or liked by everybody?

I know what you mean theogh...I have a stray hair that grows off the top of my nose and it can get to be like a half inch long in 24 hours and it pisses me off when a certain friend of mine always thinks he needs to say somwething about it.
I think its cute.

9:29 AM  
Blogger dennis said...

Dennis is impressed by you.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember one exhausting afternoon years ago not long before my divorce, when a 6-year-old student walked in, looked me straight in the face, and said, "You have huge bags under your eyes." After a moment of surprise, I replied, "I sure do! You're observant. I'm really tired. But, I've got all kinds of goodies packed in those bags, and now I don't have to carry a purse anymore. Would you like a cookie?" We shared an oatmeal cookie (from the kitchen!).

When I start judging or feeling hurt by another's speech, I try to remember that my own speech is so often unintentionally unskillful...that my caring might come across as insensitive, or intrusive, or nosy. I hope those folks who've made those comments to you were well-meaning, and not just trying to satisfy their curiosity at your expense.

You will be my role model when I have the inevitable knee or hip surgery down the road. You've been on top of everything every step of the way, and are taking excellent care of yourself, across the board. Things could have turned out so differently for you otherwise! Hooray for you.

XO,

F.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kate -- These people were all well-meaning and not unkind. I would never hold it against them.

Bulletholes -- I loved Gunsmoke. I have an autographed picture of James Arness. I had forgotten that Chester limped.

Dennis -- I'm honored if you are impressed!

Anon -- Such a good story about the bags under your eyes and sharing the oatmeal cookie.

The 3 individuals are all dear souls. In fact one is a little older than I am. She badly broke her hip and leg last September. Her comment of "I think you're limping worse than I am" was probably her elation that she is finally getting better. I'm sure it never dawned on her that it might make me feel bad.

You're not around to know about the days I cheat on the PT exercises or sit down to read instead of taking a walk. But I will promise you that if you should ever need one of those surgeries, I will be as encouraging during your recovery as you have been during mine!

xx,
B

11:50 PM  

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