Thank you to those who commented on my previous post! I don’t write to get comments, but I’m happy someone is out there reading and hopefully learning from this. So without further ado…
I’ll say my two most stressful days of the week are Monday and Tuesday, as I have class on those days. Class is a little stressful because I’m still putting feelers out about how the classes are going to go – what reading to do, how to study, all the new semester stuff. Otherwise, my mobility is still questionable, so that stresses me out a lot. On Monday, I took an Uber to class (my first experience with surge pricing) and tried taking the subway home. The uptown subway requires stairs to get up and over the track, while the downtown train requires just going DOWN stairs, and that is much, much easier. (High fives for gravity.) Some classmates walked me toward the subway, and I was able to easily get down the stairs. The subway stop near my apartment as an elevator, so that was very helpful. Overall, pretty easy! I got a seat and life was good.
Since Monday went so well, I decided to try taking the subway to and from class today. I also thought I would be okay on one crutch instead of two since I’m trying to wean down, and two crutches seem like more work than help. When I felt left my building, I thought about going back for the second crutch, but I also thought I’d be okay. My right hip feels perfect, but my left hip can be a little achy in the front – feels muscular, not like tear pain. Therefore, I mostly used the crutch in my right arm to help support my left hip. The stairs up and over the subway and then up from the subway went well. Nothing fast, but I felt good. I can mostly get around the apartment without crutches, but stairs makes me nervous. I got a seat both ways, crutches for the win.
Sitting in class isn’t bad – some chairs are better than others. I don’t love the traditional desk chair, as it’s hard to get comfortable. We had rolling chairs for my class on Monday, and they were a little deeper and more comfortable. Today we were in an auditorium which cushioned seats – I love cushioned seats. I never knew I’d care about chairs so much!
Otherwise, the rest of the days seems to go as normal. On Monday morning, I had physical therapy. I didn’t get any new exercises, but my PT told me to try only using one crutch (like I did!). Otherwise, my left hip seemed great, and my hip right seemed a little more troublesome. When my PT was ranging my right hip, the slightest bit of a external rotation caused some pain in my hip. It felt kind of muscular so hopefully it was just some tight muscles. She did some massage on my quads, hamstrings, and one of the eight million muscles right in the hip/groin. I hadn’t had pain with range of motion like that before, so hopefully it was just some tight muscles. I also rode the short crank bike at PT, so that was good. Feeling more like normal motion every day.
At home, I had Eric raise the seat on my bike (which Eric set up on the trainer for me). I was able to get one and off the bike myself (hooray!), so that was good. My hips felt better with the highest seat since I don’t quite bend to 90 degrees, so I’m happy about that. With the seat higher, I can lean forward enough to hold onto the handlebars for balance instead of trying to steady myself with crutches, so big wins all around. The seat still hurts my butt, but you win some, you lose some. Fifteen minutes, check.
Highlights from the past two days include another successful shower (!!) and taking the subway successfully. Another major highlight includes using the grabber I just got – life changing in regards to putting on underwear and shorts. I also put a pair of socks on by doing a quad stretch type situation. Things are looking pretty good, all things considered.
Kids definitely love to stare at me when I walk by without crutches, but multiple adults said to me, “I hope you feel better soon.” Sometimes in the big city it can seem like no one notices you (which I like most of the time!), but I appreciate the well wishes from people.
On a note not related to my recovery – six years ago today, I started my first day on the burn unit! Time is flying, for sure. We had a few days of classroom orientation, and then on my first official day in scrubs on the unit, we had a big burn come in. As the nurses were teaching me to how to treat a burn victim, I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, we’re going to save this person!” Months and months later, the patient unfortunately died. Although we try so hard to save people, sometimes we just can’t save everyone. Tough end of life conversations are had on people who are way too young to have ever thought about this. Extremis is a Netflix original movie (YouTube trailer here) that was just released, showing some families with end of life decisions in the ICU. It reminded me of those tough conversations that are had in the hospital – decisions I hope I never have to make for anyone. End of life care and wishes are so important, and the discussions should be have long before the ventilator is ever turned on. Please watch this (it’s only 24 minutes). It’s hard but so important.
I sobbed through parts about being ready to let go, and I never know what to think when families say they’re hoping for a miracle. Please watch. Keep tissues nearby.