The night before I gregariously pre-packed my "mammoth" of a bag; laptop, PT clothes, health food, and from the looks of it my entire closet...
The saying "Life is Good" flashed before my eyes....
Perhaps the below picture should have been a warning... instead I was amused as you can see by the candid photo
By day 3, the "mammath" of a pack was no longer cool, I hated my alarm, and seriously thought about opening the emergency drinking water in hopes that it contained super powers to get me through the week. My arse hurt no matter which way I sat, I tripped over my crutches multiple times, and trying to heat up my lunch with my water bottle clanking against the side of my crutches rated me as the most "annoying office mate" of the week.
That weekend I crashed. Thoughts of doubt seeped in...
Did I go back to early?
Am I going to physically set myself back?
Am I mentally ready?
Then week two back to work came. I packed up my thoughts and forged on....
The routine started becoming easier
I was coming home less tired and in less pain
The surgery fog was slowly lifting allowing me to think
I was actually comprehending what people were saying
and wait... I was becoming stronger? I noticed each day that I was a bit less sore, a bit more stronger, and able to do more. My confidence was building and was venturing out doing things that I was too nervous to do before.
I don't believe integrating back into life after a surgery like this will ever be easy for anyone. Some people thought I should stay home - some agreed that I should go back. But for me, and knowing my personality type, I knew that in order to get over the "hump" I had to forge through and start reintegrating back into my life; work, kids, chores, cooking, etc. I've done a few extra things each day to test the limits.. if it was too much, then I backed off and tried again when I felt better.
My recovery will continue to be a long road. The muscle damage and atrophy that occurred in my left leg because of my hip will not heal overnight. My Physical Therapists have been honest with me in that it will take time to retrain my muscles. Bone also takes time to heal and from the gaps I had that could be awhile. I continue to use Dry Needle Therapy (DNT) as a form of pain management and to assist in my rehabilitation.
And just as the bracelet below says, I will "Persevere and Overcome"... the sub-acronym for PAO which also stands for the actual surgery name Periacetabular Osteotomy
or like in Nemo "just keep swimming.. just keep swimming".....
To those out there reading this trying to decide when to integrate yourself back into life, below are the tips I have to offer:
1. Are you physically and mentally able to keep up while you are off of work... if not- then you are likely not ready to go back
2. Do you still have high pain levels? If so, then you are not ready to go back..
3. Do you have a physically demanding job? If so, then you are likely not ready to go back..
4. If you do not have help at home, are you able to manage kids, chores, errands on your own? If not, then you are definitely not ready to go back- unless you plan to have someone outside come in and help.
Likewise, if you find yourself feeling good, able to keep up with your daily tasks, off of pain meds, and can work flexible hours with work then you are likely ready to try and go back to work.
For those that have to go back due to financial or other reasons enlist help... Have friends or family help with shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Buy a seat cushion for work and whatever else you need to make it as comfortable as possible and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Most of all, the decision to go back to work is yours and yours alone. Many people will offer you their "opinion" and we should feel lucky they are offering it free of charge. But only you will know what the right decision is for you.