Showing posts from March, 2008

Crutch and such

I never thought that at age 29, I would be shopping for mobility aids. Nevertheless, a hip kit (grabber, shoe horn, sock puller-upper and shower scrubber) and red Millennial crutches will be arriving at my apartment in about a week! I feel like a big geek because I'm actually excited about getting them and trying them out. Pretty sure that feeling will wear out quickly!

For some reason, when I was younger, I was always jealous of people who were on crutches. I sprained my ankle a number of times during my basketball and volleyball escapades and secretly wished I could use them. But I was too tough to ever go to a doctor and just limped around until the coaches would let me play again.

I find myself seeing things as a "mobility-impaired" person would see them. I look at doors of public places and wonder how I would open them while on crutches; I cringe at high curbs and steep sidewalks; and I take note of all the handicapped spots when driving around parking lots. Not that …

Buhlud Part II

My second, and last, blood donation went well today. I only lost one percentage point in my iron count as compared the three that they thought I might lose because of having my donations so close together.

The weird thing is that I'm still anemic. If I weren't taking 99 mg of elemental iron daily (suggested intake for women is 18 mg) and adding lots of spinach and red meat into my diet, and avoiding foods/drinks like dark colas and red wine that inhibit iron absorption, who knows how low my number would be. It's something I'll look into after my surgery if it's still an issue.

I was lucky that my insurance said it would pay for my donations because it's really expensive. My costs, per unit: $221.10 donation fee, $50 shipping fee, $62.50 processing fee = $333.60 per unit. Whew! And not that I want to be weak after surgery, but I kinda hope they find a reason to give me my blood back so my time and dollars aren't a waste!

I'm feeling better than I was yester…

Flattery, annoyance, exhaustion

Yesterday at work, I was asked out by a 23-year-old.

I was amused and flattered (I still got it!), but at the same time, I was also annoyed and upset because of my situation. I turned him down.

The ladies in my office harassed me a little, saying it wouldn't hurt to go out with him just once. Little do they know that it hurts just thinking about dating. Even if my time wasn't completely booked in the next three weeks before I leave for Montana, I would still have to explain to this guy that I'm going to be gone for two months and then really busy in the next few months with PT and everything else. Who would want to date me under those circumstances? And I'm truly not in a place where I can even think about dating -- my recovery is my focus. It has to be.

And then I start to feel sorry for myself, because instead of planning dates with handsome men, I'm planning a surgery. I feel like my dating life is on hold (has been since we booked surgery in November) and at 29, t…

Lucky 23

One month to go.

After I told my brother last month about my surgery date changing, he said something that I think makes lots of sense: The number 23 is lucky.

I've always liked the number, and I wore it quite a few years in basketball after my hoops hero Michael Jordan. Now it will have even more meaning to me ... so much better than the 16th! I'm really not superstitious, but I'll take all the positive thoughts I can!

I am so ready for this. Mostly because I'm tired of thoughts of surgery saturating my every waking moment.

A lot of us Hip Sisters have been talking about making our own T-shirts. I decided to make one for my "coming home" outfit. (I feel like a newborn.) My favorite site is ... a little pricey, but the apparel and design options are endless and you get these cool model photos to show you what your shirt will look like.


I've heard other women say that right before their surgeries, their hip pain got extra strong. I'll admit that I thought it had to be in their heads.

I've learned that while it may be in their heads, it's also in their hips. Mine hurt. Hurt hurt hurt. It could very well be subconscious, but it's still painful. I think it's nature's way of saying -- if nature could speak English: "Don't back out of this surgery. You're doing the right thing. See? See how much this hurts? It's only going to get worse until you fix it."

Let's fix it!

I realized today that I only have four more weekends in Colorado before I leave for Montana and then Washington. Makes me sad, mostly, to leave my home and friends behind. But I am looking forward to getting through this.


Oh yes. Yes, it is funny. And quite relevant to today's post.
I gave myself a present today that I may get to use once my surgery rolls around. One unit of beautiful, burgundy blood.
Everything went well today, with the exception that my iron count wasn't as high as it should be. I really don't know how that's possible with the supplements and extra care I've taken with my diet, so it's a little disconcerting. If a woman wants to donate for other people, her iron count needs to be 38 percent (higher for men). Autologous donations, however, only require 33 percent. My number was 37.

When I go back to donate my second unit on the 27th, I can expect to lose about 3 percent, I was told. That's too close for my comfort, so I'm going to increase the supplements a bit and be even more cautious of my diet. I feel really lightheaded today, and if I don't get my numbers up, it will be even worse next time, and I'll still be weak before the surgery, which I r…

Water water everywhere

Am writing this in between the ever-so frequent visits to the restroom tonight. 64 ounces of water equals nearly as many pit stops. But my blood donation tomorrow should go well! As long as I eat that "big breakfast" in the morning ... Hmmm. To me, a "big breakfast" is cereal and a banana. Do you think that's what they mean? Maybe I'll add some bacon and call it good!

P.S. I've decided that I don't like the sound fresh spinach makes when the leaves rub together. Blech!

All booked up

Insurance, you better come through for me. My mom and I booked our airline tickets today. Billings, Montana, to Seattle, Washington, and back.

I leave early on April 22 to make it to my CT scan at 12:15. My sister flies in from Detroit and should meet up with me by my pre-op appointment at 1 p.m. My mom will fly in on April 26 and my sister will fly back on April 27. Then me and Mom should be flying back on April 29 (unless I get out sooner, but hopefully not later!)

It's kind of a small plane, so we'll be nice and cozy on the way back. I chose the handicapped seat and requested wheelchair assistance, so I think we're set!

Moving on

A day or two before my freak-out moment, I talked to Keri from Dr. Mayo's office and got a bunch of questions answered. This train is really rolling now.

I don't need a hospital bed after all. Because I'm flying and because Dr. Mayo won't ship a hip-specific CPM (continuous passive motion) machine, I don't need the hospital bed to hook it up to. Instead, I'll be using a knee CPM, which won't give me the same movement that the hip machine would, but it will get my leg moving. And it's smaller, I guess, so I can just set it up on a regular bed.

I've been easing myself into the ferrous gluconate (iron supplements), and so far, so good. I still need to double the dose, but I think it's all going to be ok. I've also been eating more spinach, raisins, fish and steak and drinking more water. Trivia bit: Did you know that ferrous gluconate is used as a food additive when processing black olives to create a uniform jet black color?

I swapped my blood do…

Excited, scared, intense, confused

Right now, I feel exactly like Oscar did in "Armageddon" when he was about to go into space and blow up an asteroid.

"I'm great. I got that excited/scared feeling. Like 98 percent excited, 2 percent scared. Or maybe it's more. It could be ... it could be 98% scared, 2% excited, but that's what makes it so intense: it's so ... confused. I can't really figure it out."

This, too, shall pass

My freak out moment is over, thank god. I really struggled for a few days. As it is, I'm not good at making decisions; one this big really stressed me out. I'm not sure how it happened, but at one point in my near hysteria, I felt a wave of calm and knew I was ready for surgery.

And thank god for the online support group (even though it sparked my fear to begin with). Hip sister Wendy wrote in with the wisest of words: I needed to make my decision based on what I wanted, not what I feared.

I want to walk down the street without thinking about my hips. I want to stand tall and not have to hide my limp. I want to take a walk with friends without worrying if I'll be able to go the distance. I want my life back.

I know I won't question the surgery again. I'm lucky for the chance to fix what genetics messed up!

Thanks to those of you who offered unbiased advice and a kind word. My gratitude to my mom and sister is endless; I couldn't do this without them!