Progress in walking has been one of the most important indicators for me following hip replacement surgery.
I remember how badly I was walking before my surgery. After years of gradual decline, my gait was pretty dreadful. My limp was very pronounced, high heels became impossible, and the distance I could walk without real discomfort was minimal. To call my walking speed snail-like would be an insult to molluscs.
I’ve described in previous posts the early weeks of recovery. By about week six, I was able to walk without pain, though my style was tentative at best. Over the coming weeks, my walking definitely improved, and I was able to walk further and with growing confidence. I would highlight four occasions that signified real progress for me:
1. Hyde Park Yomp
In week 12 post-op, I decided to test out just how far things had improved when Annabel and I had to go to London. After we completed our errands, I suggested we walk to our hotel.
On the map, it did not look so far away, but after about an hour, we found ourselves in the middle of Hyde Park on a very windy, exposed day. We soldiered on (mainly because we had no alternative) and celebrated reaching the end of the park with a spree of selfies and a visit to the Mulberry handbags held captive and waiting for us in Harvey Nichols.
Eventually, we got to the hotel. I was completely shattered, but took comfort from the fact that the able-bodied 16-year-old with me seemed equally tired. I was pleased to notice no ill effects from my first big post-op hike.
2. St Cyrus Beach Cricket
Two weeks later, we were off for our annual Easter trip with our dear friends to Fettercairn in Aberdeenshire. We always enjoy our time there immensely. The fresh air and beautiful landscape are so relaxing. Even if the weather is rubbish, there is plenty to enjoy in such a picturesque place.
This year, we were lucky with the weather and enjoyed an outing on a windy but sunny day to St Cyrus beach. As usual, we enjoyed a game of beach cricket and this year added beach baseball. I stuck to batting and left the running in the sand to those still in possession of their original hips. Here is Annabel racing to score off a home run hit by Harry:
I was very pleased with my ability to traverse sand dunes and walk along the beach. My progress in similar conditions in the past few years had been pretty woeful so it was a nice surprise to be able to keep up so much better this year.
3. Edzell River Walk
On our last full day in Scotland, we decided to see how we fared on the river walk near Edzell. This is a scenic, wooded spot full of wonderful sights. The terrain is quite uneven, and there are lots of tree roots and natural hazards making it quite treacherous for the unsure of foot.
In the last few years, my walking was so compromised that I was unable to make it too far beyond point A on the map below. Last year, I remember getting only to point B and needing to turn back because the pain in my hip was so bad.
This year, I was absolutely astonished to cope so much better. It was mud rather than hip pain that forced us to turn back just before we reached the final point, the Rocks of Solitude. The best guess was that we covered about three miles in total. I was thrilled to make it so far, at a decent clip and without any pain.
- Prom Dress Shopping
And finally, the ultimate endurance test – prom dress shopping in the Trafford Centre. Last week, Annabel and I traversed this most hostile of indoor tracks for four hours in search of the perfect dress. I’m pleased to report that the new hip managed this gruelling outing with success.