Time for a hip update

That’s an update about my hip, not an update which is bang on trend, cool or fashionable.

I went back to work after the fracture was diagnosed, asked for (and got) an occupational health referral, and the OH assessment was a telephone conversation with a nurse who actually said “You obviously know more about managing this than I do.” 🙂 But it was useful because I then had something official to use in negotiating what I could and couldn’t do. Not that my boss was being difficult, she was being very supportive, but given our sickness policy, back-up helps. So we agreed that I could do shorter days if need be, no manual handling until at least the end of Feb, and to be guided by what I felt I could and couldn’t do. The shorter days was brilliant; I didn’t take advantage of it very often, but I was very tired a lot of the time, and combined with the effects of the co-codamol, one day I actually fell asleep at my desk. I just conked out where I sat. I had to be taken home, where I went to bed and slept for several hours. Co-codamol, by the way, is horrible. I’m not going into details about the side-effects, because they were somewhat embarrassing, so let’s just say I had to go back to the GP and the treatment was suppositories.

My lovely boyfriend and I went to Skye for a few days at the end of Feb. We couldn’t do any walking or cycling because I just wasn’t up to it (and the weather was vile) but I was managing short distances without my stick by then and it was nice to just have some time away.

By the beginning of March I was doing without my stick altogether. I’d have given it up earlier but for the risk of ice; as long as it was icy I wanted the additional support. I was walking slowly, with not much power – I remember trying to walk into the wind one day and going so slowly I could have been overtaken by a glacier if there had been one nearby. But I did get back on the bike, doing very very short distances, and by mid-March I was commuting by bike a few times a week. But my hip still didn’t feel right, and in fact still doesn’t. I don’t have a full range of movement in the joint. Flexion is fine, I haven’t assessed my extension, external rotation is limited, abduction is limited and external rotation while in flexion is ridiculously limited. I had to go for a smear at about that time and I couldn’t get into the position – I had to get several pillows under my right leg to support it because my hip joint couldn’t cope at all. And sitting on the saddle of the bike didn’t feel right either – still doesn’t – the parts of me that are on the saddle that are not my ischial tuberosities, the more forward groiny parts don’t feel symmetrical on the saddle – I feel like the right side is sitting on much more prominent bones. Plus, I still have an almost continuous ache in the fracture area, and intermittent aches around the femoral head. So I referred myself to community physio. I was at my GP about something else in mid-March (possibly about the side-effects of the co-codamol, now I come to think of it) and mentioned the joint problems to her. She did a quick exam and looked at the range of movement and offered to contact the community physios and ask them to move my appointment to the community specialist ortho physio team, because she thought my symphisis pubis might be knocked out of alignment.

The Commie Pool opened again at the end of March so I started doing some yoga and pilates, thinking it would be a good way of strengthening the muscles around the joint in a controlled, non-strenuous way, and hoping it might help with any alignment issues. I don’t think it’s made things worse, but I’m not convinced it’s helped. It did make me realise just how limited the range of movement is though. I can’t sit cross-legged for more than about ten seconds, and when I do my right knee is pointing to the sky because I can’t get my hip down any further. And one day at yoga we were on our backs with our legs up the wall and then abducting our hips, widening our legs further and further apart – the difference in the movement I could do with each hip was nearly hilarious. If you imagine my legs on the wall as the hands of a clock, it was about seven minutes past nine.

So, things continued much the same while I waited for the physio appointment. I wasn’t doing more than about 4 miles at a time on the bike because it just hurts too much. My lovely boyfriend and I cycled down to Portobello last weekend and I’m not sure what the passers-by thought of me saying “ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch” along Brighton Place – when you have a sore groin on a bike, cobbles are not a good thing. I didn’t do the Pedal on Parliament either, because the thought of the entire cobbled Royal Mile was just too much.

Anyway, I had my physio appointment last week. She did a check of my range of movement on my right side and didn’t seem to think it was too bad until I said yes, but see what I can do with my left side, and then she realised how much worse my right hip is. She then said if she’d seen the referral when it came in, she wouldn’t have accepted it, because really I need to go back to the Infirmary for ortho assessment there – she thinks the fracture might not have healed. That might be the case, but given how the area feels, I think the GP’s right – I think there’s a misalignment in there somewhere. So she’s referred me back to the hospital, and I’m back to waiting.

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