It’s safe to say that at week 9, I am finally getting my swagger back. . Although I still can’t run (I won’t even try until April 4th), I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Throughout this blog, I’ve tried to remain upbeat and stay positive, convincing myself that all will be well in due time. It has worked for the most part, but I haven’t had a real swagger for quite some time. Mentally, this recovery time has worn on me. Working out with the weights and swimming has been good, but nothing …….NOTHING……. compared to throwing on the running gear, stepping out into the open air, and clearing my head of all of my concerns. With less than a month to go, (according to my recovery timeline), I am happy to report, the swagger is back. Right on time with the spring sunshine. (I wonder if they are related). I’ve always been an optimist, and I will forever be an optimist, its the way I’m built. But there have been moments of doubt. Having a swagger is like being optimistic and having no doubts.
My spirits are also buoyed by two other things. First, there was a nice article written by ‘OutThere Magazine’ about the Spokane Distance Project and other running clubs in the Spokane Area. You can check out the March issue of OutThere Monthly at their website (here). Also, daylight savings time is starting in 5 days. Soon the days will be longer and sunnier. Week 9 is feeling good. The chin is up because the swagger is back.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
Today was too much for me. I had both the spin bike AND the treadmill giving me the “eye” at the Y today. My legs were so sore from Saturday’s cross-fit style workout, that I gave in to the pull of the spin bike. Sorry Dr. Tim, I know you said to wait until April 4 to ride, but if its any help…..the spinning felt FANTASTIC. Initially, I was just going to loosen up the legs on an easy setting. But by the time it was all said and done, I built up a good sweat doing jumps, hills and sprints, all while listening to some good music on my ipod. I’ll still hold off from running on the treadmill, but It’s a done deal with the bike now…..from here on forward until April 4th, the spin bike will be my choice for aerobic exercise.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
Yesterday I decided to go to a cross-fit style workout hosted by my friends Greg and Kathy. In this earlier post, Greg sat down with me and stressed to me the importance of being patient with my recovery time. I learned about this group from a friend who told me to friend the group “CFCS” on facebook. I didn’t think the workout would be difficult. After all, my new hip turned me into the bionic man. The workout for the day was a progress report type of workout for the group. There were 3 different exercises that each member had to do: Kettlebells, Dead Lifts and Thrusters. For 5 minutes each person was supposed to do as many as they could up to 100 reps. Simple enough…..not too hard….3 exercises….big Woop. Greg told me that I was only going to do half the reps with less weight than the others. Really. Me? The Bionic Man? Half the reps? Really? I only thought this in my mind, didn’t say it out loud, just agreed that I would. So I started with the wimpy workout. First with the kettlebells (picture above). It would be simple since I was only using a 35 pounder and the other guys were using 52 pound weights. Starting from a squatting position holding the kettlebell between my legs swinging it in an upward motion until it was up and over my head. 50 reps. Done! Big deal. I started sweating. That was nice. I hadn’t gotten a good sweat going during a workout in a long while. Next came the deadlifts. First I timed Greg. He worked his tail off with 135 lbs of weight. Tough workout. When it was my turn, he took me to the wimpy 95 lb bar. Really. Me? The Bionic Man? Less weight and Half the reps? C’Mon!!! 50 reps later…..ok….maybe I need to work on my technique a little more, because, that was slightly uncomfortable. Then came the thrusters. Once again Greg went first and I timed him. Picking up the bar, holding it at the chest, squatting … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
Last night was the first night I was able to do a workout with the SDP boys since I had my surgery. I was met with greetings of “Hey it’s the Bionic Man”, and “We should call him ‘The Hip’ “. It was G-R-E-A-T to meet up with all of them and participate in the workout. Fellow SDP Member Nick Ranson took us through the paces with some great pool work combined with core work on the pool deck. We had a club meeting after the workout. Many of the runners are NOT swimmers. That explains why there were twice as many people at the club meeting than there were at the workout. Our fearless leader Chris Morlan recognized every member with a certificate of appreciation that was embossed with a picture of superman underpants. I will be framing my certificate soon.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
Wow! What a huge difference 1 week can make. I think I have FINALLY turned the corner. The hip isn’t bothering me when I sleep anymore. I’m actually able to put on my clothes without needing some support. The Stryker Hip is feeling powerfully bionic. So much so in fact….I actually eyed the treadmill at the Y yesterday. But then I reminded myself to stick to the recovery timeline. So off to the elliptical machine I went. But I feel better about that April 4 target date. I am going to be ready.
My fellow hip brother Jeremy is doing even better. Here is his 6 week report:
Had my 6 week today. Doc cleared me to ride a bike (stationary) and to start doing weights in the gym. Woooooooohoooooooo. He also told me that my launch date is now March 27th.
He said I could start doing anything I want from that day forward. I must continue to be patient and go slow, BUT I cannot wait to go and do what I want.
He said no marathons. That’s fine I’ll stick to fun runs where there is more beer than sweating.
Wake boarding in April, and softball starts on the 17th. I cannot wait to be back.
That is an even more aggressive timeline than I have. Kudos to Jeremy! Tonight, I will be working out with my fellow SDP teammates. They are doing a pool workout. It is the final winter workout before they head outdoors for spring training. I am looking forward to finally working out with the group again. It is just what I need to get me through this final month of not running. Every day….things get closer and closer back to normal.
It’s late February and I was greeted to this when I woke up this morning. It’s cold and wet out there. The wind is blowing so hard the snow is sticking to the windows. In other years I would have dreaded the run today……maybe skipped it and felt guilty for the rest of the day. But today……there is no guilt……just complete satisfaction that I won’t be running in this today. I have some friends training for the Boston Marathon coming up in April. All I can say is “I feel for you man”. March is coming in like a lion…..and a few days after march ends….according to my recovery timeline……I’ll be able to test the waters and start running….let’s hope the end of March doesn’t even compare to the end of February…..
When I met up with my fellow hip brother Jeremy (see this post), he mentioned something about working with a chain saw to cut down limbs this week. It sounded like a crazy thing to do for a guy who is only 5 weeks out of hip surgery. Well …. he did it. He’s not one to be slowed down. Here’s what he had to say…..
“Saw your post. I agree about wanting to do more. I have been swimming everyday and it feels good. Now using the chain saw and cutting up a bunch of limbs and stacking the wood was not such a good use of my new hip. Lots of ice for me. Hope all is well.”
That Jeremy….he’s crazy……I’d better go home and sharpen my ax…..
I am fortunate to work close to Carrington College. One of the programs that this school offers is massage therapy. Towards the end of the program, massage therapy students practice theirs skills in the school’s massage therapy clinic. I go to this clinic on occasion to get massages. There are two things I like about this clinic. First, the students are well informed about massage technique because they are fresh out of massage therapy classes. That makes for a well informed massage. I have rarely ever had a bad massage there. The other thing I like about this clinic is that the massages are inexpensive ($25). They have a punch card program that they run during the holidays where you can by 6 massages for the price of 5. That averages out to about $21 dollars per massage. Its a sweet deal. Today I went back for the first time since the surgery. It was FANTASTIC.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
Each week I feel a little bit more progress towards my end goal of running. I am sure it is the case with many active people, that once they start feeling better, they try to “sneak” in an activity that they’ve been told to hold off on until their surgery recovery period is over. They think they are “recovered enough” to try it. I am guilty of it with past surgeries, but not with this one. I am still not ready to run. The hip still bothers me at times when I sleep. It is nearly impossible for me to get my right leg into my pants without leaning on something to give my left leg some support. I’m especially aware of this fact after I’ve worked out and showered at the gym. How embarrassing would that be to fall over in the locker room??? I’m not frustrated though….I’m happily patient. One thing I did notice was the left knee that was giving me fits prior to the surgery…and even during the first few weeks after…..is starting to feel better. In my last appointment with Dr. Tim, I had given up on the knee and said that it had issues as well. He told me to hang on and let the hip continue to heal. Good advice. So with every glimmer of improvement…my spirits are upbeat and I remain optimistic.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
My fellow hip brother Jeremy was in town last night so we met up for a beer and compared notes. In my earlier post, I explained that Jeremy had gotten his hip replaced 2 weeks after I did. It was great to catch up and finally meet him in person. Among other things, we talked about our recovery timelines for getting back to the activities that we enjoy. He’s a huge softball player and wants to be recovered before the season begins. He pitches. He has 7 different pitches. I didn’t know softballs could break. Who learns 7 different kinds of slow pitches???? VERY Impressive. Softball by spring is HIS goal. Mine is to be ready to go for Hoopfest at the end of June. I have played at every single Hoopfest. It was great to compare notes with Jeremy. We sat at a table in the corner of Jack & Dan’s and only allowed other people with hip replacements to sit at our table. That is until some mutual friends showed up. We took a vote and the restriction was lifted. It was a good visit. Especially for me….he bought the beer.
OK so I was looking at the testimonials that I posted on this blog and the first one that I posted…..titled…..”OPTIMISM” is SHOCKING TO ME. Here’s what it said……
4 years ago I had both hips replaced 7 weeks apart, my Dr. was fine with me running again so 6 weeks after my second hip I started running. It wasn’t easy but I stuck with it and last year I was able to run the Twincities Marathon. Now I run 6 miles three days a week and it’s like I never had arithritis. So Gimpy Keep running!
I’ve met my match. THIS DUDE IS C-R-A-Z-Y!!! I think my friends would say that I’m as hard core as they come, but there is NOOOOOOOO way that I would attempt to run after 6 weeks. I still feel pain. It’s still tender down there. I would be afraid I’d do more damage than good. No wonder it wasn’t easy for the guy. He was still in FREAKING pain!!! I’ll stick to Dr. Tim’s advice and wait 3 months before I test the waters. And I intend to run more than 3 days a week too! Still optimistic……..just not crazy. 🙂
I went and saw Dr. Tim today. He checked out my latest X-Rays and told me the progress looked good. I was thankful to hear it because I’ve been getting antsy with this slow slow hip recovery. He laughed at me and pointed out that the receptionists ratted me out when I ran through the doors at my 2 week appointment because I was late. “Your approach to recovery is much different than most people’s approach to recovering after hip surgery.” He was sympathetic though because he is an active guy too and knows the mental pain of being out of commission. THAT bedside manner was all I needed – a doctor who understood my plight. I wish I had 3 more hips hat he could operate on — He understood!!! So I walked out of the his office with my head up, looking forward to another couple of weeks of rest – knowing that each day will get better.
I went to the Gonzaga men’s basketball game last night and was so very happy to see them take down their nemesis – St. Mary’s. Gonzaga has had a few road losses this season, and I was beginning to worry about their chances of making it to the tournament this year. But last night’s win gave me renewed hope. So I looked at my Recovery Timeline and realized that I am late with one of my goals. I had scheduled myself to start swimming on February 3rd. It is now February 10th and I haven’t gotten near the pool. I’ve been blaming it on the fact that I lost my swim goggles, but the truth is, my swimming is about as good as my golf game – I golf once a year. In fact, my golf game might be better. But if GU can take on a formidable foe and put them in their respective place, then darn it, I can get better at swimming. So I’ll go to the Y today at 1 pm. I usually work out at noon, but today….I’m going at 1. That way most of the noontime swimmers will be done, and I won’t have to worry about kicking the guy in the lane next to me. (I told you my golf game was better). Regardless of my swimming technique….I always get a good anaerobic workout – that’s the benefit of being a lousy swimmer. I am looking forward to pushing my lungs to their limit. It’s a feeling that I often felt when I ran in road races……and it will be a good reminder about the future……and getting back on the road again. I’m optimistic about that!… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
You may recall my “2 of a kind” post a while back when I introduced my fellow “hip brother” Jeremy who received a hip replacement just 2 weeks after I did. I emailed him about a week ago asking how things were going. Jeremy contacted me today with an update. He thought he was home free after the first couple of days, but on the Saturday following the surgery he found himself in the emergency room severely dehydrated and suffering hallucinations. It turns out that his body was having a hard time regulating the pain with the pain pills.
From that moment forward I had to go through some major dark places in my recovery. I didn’t think that I would ever get better for advil wasn’t masking the pain. I thank my wife for literally holding my hand through those uneasy times.
I am happy to report that Jeremy survived that experience and on the 30th of January, he ditched the crutches and went back to work. As a matter of fact, last night was the first night that he didn’t wake up from the pain. It’s good to hear that he is progressing.
We had a vendor on site yesterday. I didn’t get to meet the guy but I talked with one of our salesmen (Joel) afterwards. The guy had a hip replacement last September. He told Joel that after 2 weeks, it was as if nothing had ever happened. The hip felt better than ever and he was back to doing his old things. 2 Weeks????? Who does he think he is? Wile E. Coyote? Now THERE’S a guy who could recover. One minute he’s being flattened by a steam roller, and the next he’s strapping himself to a rocket – often times in the SAME episode. I want to know who HIS doctor was. (No offense to Dr. Tim – he is the best hip surgeon in the region). That Wile E. Coyote. He NEVER gave up. I digress……:) It’s week 5 and I’m still getting around with a hitch-to-my-giddyup. Each day it gets a little better, but there is no way I could even ponder attempting to get back to my old running habits. I continue to be patient. I know there is a plan for me. I miss running…..a lot, but I know that I just need to be patient. I am still optimistic and hopeful, and I believe that when I do get back to running, it will be even better than before.
In my last post I talked about how I met a person (Stephen) who works for the company that manufactures the hip bionics that I received. His company is located just down the street from where I work. He invited me to come take a tour of his facility and I thought it would be very “blog” worthy to do so. The visit was enlightening as I found out exactly what happened when I was out cold during the hip replacement surgery.
Dr. Tim told me that he got to use some “Really Cool” tools during surgery, but I had no idea how cool they were. In preparing the hip, he needs to take the old ball off of the top of the femur (Chop), Prepare the femur for the replacement ball (Drill and Pound), and then prepare the hip for the cup (Drill and Grate – OUCH!). I pictured all of this happening while I was out. I’m going to try to explain this as well as I can without getting too technical. I’m hopeful that it will be understood. I also would like to add this disclaimer for future hip replacement prospects….I felt nothing.
PREPARING THE FEMUR
After the ball is lopped off, the top of part of the femur is smoothed flat. I took a picture of the tool that is used to shave the femur flat, but sorry – it was too blurry. The next step is to drill a starter hole into top of the femur.
The starter hole is then expanded using a series of drill bits that get larger and larger.
Then another tool is used to gradually form the groove that is needed for the piece of bionics that connects to the top of the femur. Each of these tools is slightly bigger than the previous.
Dr. Tim used this tool to pound those things into my hip bone. Didn’t feel a thing. So glad! I learned that the Dr. doesn’t know the size of the bionics I will need until he gets in. So he usually has about 7 different … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
After working out at the Y today, I was in the locker room packing up my things when one of the guys I know (Jeff) asked from across the locker room, “Hey how’s the hip?”. I told him that I had the surgery on January 3rd and I was feeling fine. In between the two of us was a guy named Stephen who became interested in the conversation. He asked who my doctor was. When I told him it was Dr. Tim, he smiled and said “You have one of our hips!”. It turns out that Stephen works for Stryker, the manufacturer of my hip replacement. I discovered that his office is just down the road from where I work. He invited me to come over and take a look at the product. So this afternoon I got a walk through of his company. Not only did I get to see the product, I got a fairly good description of what went on during surgery. Stephen even showed me all of the tools that were used during the surgery. All I can say is, it is a good thing I was out cold. I got pictures! I will be posting them soon. It truly is a small world.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
I remember when I was speaking with Dr. Tim prior to the surgery. He mentioned matter-of-factly that from now on whenever I go to the dentist I would need to take antibiotics one hour prior to the appointment. “Really?” I said, “For the rest of my life?”. “Yep!”, he said. “What about cleanings?” “Even Cleanings.” So today, I had a cleaning appointment clear on the other side of town and guess what I forgot? I COMPLETELY forgot about the antibiotics. But this dentist remembered me from my last visit. I had been there just prior to the surgery to get a confirmation that I had no infections in any teeth – a requirement for hip surgery. When I got there today, the first question they asked when I sat in the chair was, “Have you taken your antibiotics?”. So I have to try again next week. And you can bet that I won’t forget the antibiotics. Who’d a thunk the hip bone was connected to the jaw bone?… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
One of the great great rites of spring for me is working as the 2nd Seed Coordinator for the Bloomsday Road Race which is scheduled on the first Sunday of every May here in Spokane Washington. I enjoy talking with runners and determining if they qualify for 2nd Seeding (a special starting spot) at Bloomsday. One of my other responsibilities is to work with key people to get a 2nd seed shirt designed. Today I was able to see the design for the first time. I showed the design to Don Kardong, the race director. He finished fourth in the marathon in the 1976 Olympics. He is also one of the main reasons for Bloomsday’s success. He liked the design, with just a few minor adjustments. The shirt design and color are super secret. ESPECIALLY the color! There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that I would ever reveal it!… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
After 4 weeks the incision is pretty well sealed. I have the green light to start swimming next week. Last night I quickly dropped some stuff by my brother-in-law’s house. When I pulled up, I left my truck door open with my wallet inside. Didn’t realize my wallet was vulnerable until I was inside the house. I found myself trying to run back to the truck as quickly as possible. Well it’s safe to say, running is still out of the picture. Even though the incision is healing fine, the bionics are taking a little longer to get rooted in. I have no intention of trying to run sooner than the 3 month window that coach Tim (Dr. Tim) has given me, but last night was a reminder to be patient. (OH and by the way……my wallet is safe). 🙂