Post-Op Highland Fling!

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.

A long walk and a lot of selfies in Hyde Park

A long walk and a lot of selfies in Hyde Park

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:

Baseball on St Cyrus Beach

Baseball on St Cyrus Beach

 

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.

Beautiful river walk near Edzell

Beautiful river walk near Edzell

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.

  1. 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.

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8 Responses to Post-Op Highland Fling!

  1. Well, thank you for this blog and I shall bear your comments and experience in mind… i.e. lower my expectations about how soon afterwards I’ll be walking around like “normal” again! I am having the anterior op (the surgeon’s sec reckons March now) and wasn’t sure which procedure you had. The left hip will have to be done later, too. I am widowed quite young and so my concern for afterwards is about coping alone, although my son can come and stay for the first few days to two weeks as he works online and from home anyway. I know with my bunion op, the need to keep foot raised for at least 6 weeks was a total bore and I ended up blogging about it from my recovery station on the bed! It helped – both me and others, apparently. As your blog has helped me to be realistic about it all. Cheers again, TT 🙂

  2. ElaineE says:

    Hi – your blog was the inspiration I needed to write my own blog about my hip replacement journey. I’m now 5 weeks post RTHR and writing a blog has really helped me through. My blog is hiphop1blog.wordpress.com

  3. Ramona says:

    Hi Sue,
    Today I am 12 weeks post-op and I have read and re-read your blog more times than I can count in both the weeks leading up to my surgery and the many weeks following. I have wanted to comment several times and let you know how extremely helpful your blog was for me both before and after my surgery. I would read your hip anniversary updates to gauge how I was feeling in comparison to you and so many times I would feel comforted in knowing that I was having the same issues as you. I just wanted to thank you for all your encouraging words and for helping me get through the past several months with my sanity intact!!

    Sending lots of hugs from Canada!

    • Dear Ramona
      Many thanks for your kind comments and the Canadian hugs – both very much appreciated! I am so pleased to hear that the blog was of some practical benefit to you. Hope all is well and that you have recovered well from your surgery. Apologies for the long delay before responding.
      Best wishes
      Sue

  4. Heather Proctee says:

    It was great to hear of your progress. I am due to have THR surgery and wonder if you had the standard small ball THR or the larger ball? Either way I wonder if you have any restrictions in your movement ie can you bend or squat using your hips rather that your back and do you have any restrictions regarding movement. Also did you have any leg length difference? Can you feel the implant either in your femur or pelvis?
    I look forward to hearing from you.

  5. Janet Porthouse says:

    I just wanted to say that I am 4.5 weeks post THR and your blog has been the most useful thing I have come across! I have had excellent care at a brilliant hospital. However, the fast track system has meant that all the little worries have irritated more than they should have as I was discharged less than 48 hours post op. There has been an effective orthopaedic helpline which I have used. However, your candid approach and honesty has made me feel so much more positive about my rehabilitation, I have experienced almost everything you have mentioned, and implemented some of your suggestions to great effect, not least the bin for my sticks. I look forward to the shopping with my daughter, and my walking holiday to Scotland in early October. Above all I can look forward to playing with my newly walking grandson without the mobility issues I had.
    Thank you for my new found positivity, and keep blogging!
    Jan
    xx

    • Dear Jan
      Thank you very much for your lovely, encouraging comments. I’m so pleased that you have found the blog helpful. It sounds like your recovery is going very well, and you certainly have a lot to look forward to as your mobility improves. It’s just a question of being patient with slow, steady progress. I have been remiss in not updating the blog recently, and plan to do that very soon. I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know you have found the information valuable. Wishing you all the best for your continuing recovery 🙂
      Best wishes
      Sue

    • Hope says:

      Thank you, Janet. Your blog was so helpful. I’m 2 1/2 weeks down the line, no pain and 1 stick 😊 have had two bouts of really bad sciatica but over a week since the last one so am feeling good. As you say the fatigue is still there and the small daily progress is good. With regards and I hope you are still improving.
      Hope

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