Friday, January 11, 2008

New Hip in Japan

Since my return to Japan on Nov 15th, it was clear that my life was going to be different, and improved.

- My daughter was more active and mobile, pushing me to push myself to keep up with her.

- I was relatively pain free (hip-wise) in my daily activities, and felt more motivated to get out and do something.

- The crutches were quickly becoming an afterthought. In fact, I gave them up at home after a week altogether, used a cane for about two weeks and since Xmas have been cane-less.

- I wasn't struggling to stand up from couch, chair, or even the floor.

- I was gaining muscle mass (and unfortunately flab), because of increased swimming and stationary biking (and unfortunately appetite).

The biggest early drawback was trying to limit myself from doing something too much too soon.

- My daughter is right on the borderline of what your are supposed to lift (20lbs).

- I found myself at times nearly running to catch trains (I should wait until April for that).

- Carrying a backpack with laptop was harder on my back than my hip.

Unfortunately, I became quite ill for 8 days from 28 November through 6 December. I had some sort of GI virus (not a flu virus) that literally kept me in bed or on the toilet for 6 straight days. The Japanese GI specialist I saw felt that my recent operation may have left my immune system a bit weaker. I ended up taking antibiotics, and some 'good bacteria' powder (biofirm) like the stuff they put in yogurt to help your gut recolonize the beneficial E. coli. I've come to realize that antibiotics (whose frequent use I oppose) may be a reality in my future because of my implant. I have to get antibiotics whenever I get dental work done or other invasive medical work.

The upshot of my stomach 'cold', as the doctor put it, was that it set my recovery back a week or more - as I couldn't do my stretching exercises, swim or bike. And I think I regressed a bit in flexibility. Worse, I had just located an American PT specialist on base, and the illness postponed my PT plans into the holidays - when I wasn't able to sign up. At this writing I still haven't set up a PT session and will have to get a new prescription to do so. My job and lab responsibilities have also increased, giving me less available free time, other than for exercises.

At present, I feel I'm close to being where I should be - my leg strength improves daily - but I'm still frustrated by my flexibility. Worse, I'm starting to feel stiffness and some soreness after sitting for long periods in a variety of chairs - finding that I limp more than I thought I did previously. I'm unsure if this is a result of poor posture, bad furniture, or just the recovery of feeling in my operated hip. It makes me want to sit less, but it also makes me question my progress and lack of initiative on signing up for PT.

So, I still have no regrets for having my hip replaced - the pain relief alone is amazing. I'm only disappointed a bit in my perceived lack of progress in rehab. Yet, I still had a mobile holiday that I could only have dreamed of a year ago.


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