The past seven days I have reveled in the small advances I was making, whether it was climbing the stairs normally, not needing my Tylenol regularly (and then not at all), leaving both my crutches at home or taking the subway again for the first time in almost a month (funny how you can miss something like a smelly subway so much). I started to feel like the poster child for hip replacement surgery at the office and among my friends (“I can’t believe how normal you are.” Because, yes, my limp is normal). But more than anything these past seven days I looked forward to my 4-week post-op visit. The visit where, if all was going according to plan, I would be given the all clear to go back to the gym.
Well, I was given the all clear. To go back to the gym. To start using silicon patches to reduce the look of my scar. To stop taking my aspirin and to start going to PT.
I also, finally, got to hear about my surgery (maybe I heard about it before, but I was too drugged up to remember) and learn about what went where. I was relieved to know that the plastic cap standing in for my cartilage is the highly cross-linked polyethylene that others on this site have spoken.
The PA then checked my strength and my leg length and flexibility and noticed that I was strong, but tight. I asked her about yoga and she smiled and said yes, but nothing extreme. I got up and walked for her and she asked if I was limping a lot before the surgery. I answered affirmatively and she said, “sometimes it takes the brain a while to realize you don’t need to anymore. It also takes the brain a while to recognize that this metal and ceramic thing is now your hip. The PT will work on that. And work on fixing your gait for running.”
I smiled (and almost cried).
“But no marathons. Not yet anyway.”
I promised her.
“You need to look at this recovery time not as an athlete but as a patient. As an athlete, when you push yourself and it hurts, you ask is this a good pain or a bad pain? As a patient, every pain should be looked at as a bad pain. You are pushing yourself too far is you are hurting. Take it gradually.”
I promised her again.
She then said she would see me in six months.
I asked her what happens in six months and she told me that is when they lift all restrictions. Skiing. Parachuting. You name it. At six months you can do it.
“So what can’t I do in the meantime.” (I have no plans to ski or parachute in the next six months).
“But you just said I could resume normal activity.”
“Yes, but maybe give it a few weeks before you start running.”
I hate words like “few”. To me, few could be five. I feared to her “few” meant 20.
“Okay. But not six months?”
She smiled. “Maybe try cycling. Cycling is good.”
Which reminds me, in reading some of your posts, I noticed a couple of you were hesitant to get out on the road on your bike (opting for stationary bikes or trainers). May I ask why? Is there something I’m missing or was it just because it was cold/rainy/you are surrounded by ominous hills?