Surgery Date, and Vertigo

I will be having my hip replacement on April 14th.

I admit I’ve had my surgery date since right after my last post, but I didn’t want to make a post that just said my surgery date, so I’ve been procrastinating.  I’ve also been busy getting ready.  There’s really a lot to do.  Had to get blood test to make sure I’m not anemic.  If I had been I would have needed to start a drug to build that up a month before surgery.  Since I’m not, I still need to start iron supplements 2 weeks before to reduce the chances of needing a transfusion.  I’ll soon be having the post-surgical mobility people come out to help set up our home so I’ll be all set up after surgery.  For now there are certain things we know we need to do and are trying to get those things done.  (like lift a chair for me, and the bed…)  There’s just all kinds of things I have to do……

Aqua Therapy www.physiotec.ca

Aqua Therapy
www.physiotec.ca

Aqua Physical Therapy has been going well.  It is magical.  I get in the water and suddenly I can walk with no pain.  I go from not being able to put weight on my leg without excruciating pain, to no pain!  Amazing.  Some of the exercises to hurt, can’t avoid that, it’s so different than normally being in physical therapy when you feel better and better as you go along.  My pain is getting worse.  We understand why, of course, but it’s difficult.  However, I am getting stronger.  I can do more repetitions on some exercises, can walk further, I just can’t certain exercises any more, and we have to change other exercises . She has mentioned how amazed she is at how much better my balance and vertigo have been.  I noticed it too.  When I first started going to the pool I was a woobly mess; the last session, on Thursday, I walked the length of the pool without having to have her hold on to me.  That’s huge really.

On Sunday I woke up with vertigo.  Just a moment and it was gone.  I started to move and it was back.  Ughumph.  Back to my head on the pillow and it settled down.  What the?  I tried again.  Same thing.  So, I tried moving my head on my pillow….sure enough, if I moved my head a certain way the vertigo would start, fast!  Oh it was BAD!  Head back to neutral!  Positional vertigo!  I have no idea why.  Normally when I have positional vertigo it is in conjunction with a migraine.  So I took my migraine medication.  It didn’t work.  All day Sunday and Monday if I moved my head I was spinning.  My only relief was to lie on my LEFT side.  During the night on Monday it woke me up when I moved my head the wrong way in my sleep.  I almost threw up in the bed.  ughumph!  Then I woke up on Tuesday still feeling very off.  I was so cautious, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to attempt to move my head, I decided to just go to the bathroom.  I hobbled to the bathroom with the help of my walker my head tilted to the side.  In the bathroom I held on to the sink and straightened my head.  No spinning.  Good sign.  I tilted it back.  No vertigo!  Really?  I rotated it around …very…very…slowly…no vertigo.  WOW.  Yes I’m still very wonky and feel…well…off…but I’m not spinning!  thank goodness.

What would this mean if it happened right after my surgery.   Should I be thinking about this now?  Really how can I NOT?  I know I can’t change it if it happens.  So, I have to think about it, I just do!  I need to figure out a better way to handle this situation if it happens during my recovery.  The only way that I was able to really stop the vertigo was to lie on my LEFT side.  I’m having my LEFT hip replaced.  I won’t be able to lie on that side for a while, at least not constantly for two and a half days.  I’m not going to be able to figure this out right now, but I have to think about it.  Getting up and down and keeping to the “rules” on how I can bend my hip was pretty darn impossible too.  But that will have to be done.  Hopefully that will be easier when I have a chair set up for me.  Also being able to just lean to the left in the chair but not put all my weight on that side might would work better in a chair?  If I have a bad attack and I can’t tell what way is up, or down, or left, or right….I have no balance at all….really, it is VERY hard to explain…there is no way I will be able to control how I fall in a situation like that.  I’m not just dizzy, I have no clear vision at all, what I’m seeing is like a camera that is just spinning around and around as fast as it could be….and it doesn’t stop.  I can’t tell what my body is doing.  It’s not just what I’m seeing, my body feels as if things are moving too.  When you are dizzy you feel a little off-balance.  When you have vertigo at its worst you feel as if you are being tossed around.  When I tell people I get vertigo, they often think I get dizzy.  It isn’t the same thing.   It’s funny, when I haven’t had vertigo for a long time and then I have an attack I forget just how bad it is.  Not really….it is there in my mind….but my body forgets.  It has to I think, for self-preservation.  If it didn’t I think fear would control my life.

Imagine walking in your house when it looks like this, but it is moving, and you feel like everything is moving?

Imagine walking in your house when your porch looks like this, but it is moving, and you feel like everything is moving?

As it is now, my body handles it much better than it used to.  As long as I’m in a safe place, lying down.  I ride out most attacks pretty well, thanks to my mindfulness techniques, and a little help from medication.  If I’m walking….that is terrifying.  When this first started happening my head turned the wrong way when I was coming out of the bathroom and I started spinning fast!  The walls moved, the floor moved, I grabbed the wall and held on!  Luckily Stuart was right there.  (I’m so lucky that normally when I need him most he is right there.)  At this time my head tilted to the left and the world straightened.  Oh, I had my head at the wrong angle….duh.  I knew this was positional vertigo.  Remember, living one moment at a time….without judgment.

Since this happened I think it showed me I can’t wait until it happens after my surgery to think about it.  I have to think about it now.  I am going to talk to my physical therapist, and the post op physical therapist about this.  I’m lucky because my physical therapist who works with me in the pool is also a physical therapist who works with patients as soon as they come out of surgery to help them understand the right way to get up and down and stuff like that.  She has already showed me some things so I’ve been practicing.  I think that’s a great idea, that way I think I’ll be much less likely to goof up after surgery if I’m already getting up and down the way you are supposed to.

Not long now, and I will be in much less pain, but I’ll need to be careful.  A few restriction that I think will be hard to stick to.   I was talking to a new friend who had this done for the same reason a couple of years ago, and she said that it went so easily that it made it difficult to follow the rules for as long as they say….but it’s very important to do so.  I’m going to try my darndest!  I’m really good at following instructions, I think, why go through all of this and not follow the recommended instructions?  I sure don’t want to mess up and end up having surgery again.

So, this time I think there is a bit of thinking about the future to be done.  Not really thinking about it as in, worrying, or planning it out and being disappointed if it doesn’t happen….but making plans to be better prepared.  That’s all I can do.  I’m not going to fret about it.  I will try to be as prepared as I can, that’s it.  If things still happen and I end up falling and the worst happens, well then it happens.  I will know I did all I could do to prepare.  There’s a difference in living in the moment, not living in the past, not worrying about the future….that doesn’t mean you can’t make plans try to be prepared.   However, if things go south, don’t get all out of shape, you tried to prepare, that’s all you can do.  Keep being mindful.  Take one moment at a time.  Take care of yourself.  That’s all you can do.  That’s all I can do.

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20 thoughts on “Surgery Date, and Vertigo

  1. Yes, all you can do is be as prepared as you can and then that’s it. You can’t do any more than that. However things go–they go. All you can do is do your best. And they might just go swimmingly. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun–LOL!) I’m glad you have people around who support you through all this, too. That’s wonderful!! Thinking positive thoughts. hugs

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    • Rita….I’m remembering my days as a Girl Scout, Be Prepared. 🙂
      I wish I had more support in real life. I have my hubby. I’m very lucky about that.
      thank you for the positive thoughts and hugs.
      you are wonderful to think of me!!!

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  2. Perhaps there is a special pillow to cushion the “new” hip — a pillow with an indentation for the hip. That would mean you could lie on the side that doesn’t spin.
    Not as violent as vertigo, I have positional migraines and sinus headaches. For me, I think it’s pressure.
    I will mark your surgery date on my new calendar.

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    • Phylor, that’s a good thought, but don’t think it would work….will ask. They seem to be more worried about pushing it out of joint by being on that side too soon. I’ll ask. and ask. and ask another until I get a good answer. 🙂 this is important, and just an….”I don’t know”, or” you will have to be careful”, isn’t gonna cut it.

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      • Good! They should be aware of individual issues with the surgery due to other health problems.
        If not, do as you suggest — be a pest and ask, ask, scream and yell, ask, ask, breakdown (for them), ask, ask, punch ’em in the nose.
        Good luck!

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  3. Always thinking of you and what you are going through. I am happy that you will find relief and inspired by your motivation to do what you need.

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    • Lisa…..gotta take care of we girls don’t we! good to hear you are doing so well! Will catch up soon. the vertigo is still messing with me. love to you.

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    • can I change that too….”happy GOOD things are happening in your life”?? LOL
      hehehehe
      just kidding. I’m goofy right now, too much valium because of the vertigo probably.

      was good to chat with you yesterday on gmail. Sorry I got vertigo during it. curses

      I miss you my friend. I can’t believe it’s been over 2 years!!! We used to see each other so often. sigh
      I love you.
      w

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  4. I.m so glad you have a date and it’s so soon. Here, it takes months before you even find out the date and then you are waiting some more. You’re pool physical therapist sounds like a dream come true in the form of a person. And preparation is such a big key to help keep some of the stress levels down. Sending good thoughts and hugs to you.

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    • My date was either April 14th or sometime in May….at the hospital I chose. I think I had other dates if I wanted to go to a different hospital, but my insurance covers more at this hospital, the other is “out of network”. Plus, this is the hospital my husband works for, and I like them. I know how they treat their employees, what their philosophy is, and I’ve had 2 CT scans there and they were awesome. So, I’m sticking to this hospital. and the date is good.

      I know you are sending me good thoughts…..wish I had that hug in person!
      xoxo
      w

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  5. You amaze me Wendy. Staying so upbeat and planning how to handle things after the surgery….I would just be freaking out. Avascular Necrosis is a horrible thing to deal with, I have a friend who has it and has dealt with joint replacement, and is doing fine. I know you will too….you always come out on top. Love ya……mo

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    • mo….Oh wow! someone who understands how hard AVN is to deal with….now put it on top of vertigo and balance issues. yep, you got it, you know, I know you do. 🙂
      I don’t know if I come out on top all the time, but I’m not going to let it get me down! well, not often. LOL
      a joint replacement, really doesn’t sound worse than many of the things I’ve been through. hahaha.
      I hope your friend doesn’t ever have to go through it again! and me too!!
      love ya too my friend.
      wen

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  6. Wendy,
    You are such an example for me – when I moan and groan about my particular symptoms I try to do a Wendy-Think. Take it slow, take it as it comes and keep as positive as is possible given the circumstance.

    You are living in the moment in my book. preparation in the moment is a good thing – my guess is if I were able to use each moment as preparation life would be easier. Sending you prayers for successful surgery and a speedy, UNEVENTFUL recovery.

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    • Oh my dear friend – I’m praying that this surgery does what it is meant to do and that you have just a little more pain to go through before you are pain-free once more (“little” compared to a lifetime only).

      I want to address the points in the comments of @Curious to the Max.

      “Wendy-Think” – I love it – so much more appropriately descriptive than “positive thinking,” which has taken on too much la-la flavoring for me to embrace it fully. Putting it in my back pocket for my own down days.
      I also agree with her “in the moment” positioning of preparation. Living in the moment is not supposed to mean “denial in the moment” or “suppression in the moment.” Only those with tiny challenges can afford to think that way, and your challenges are not tiny. You are such an example for ALL of us – one of God’s angels on earth.

      Preparation is a flavor of what I call “Sherlocking” — thinking through with the goal of figuring out and solving — using what is happening in the moment to think through what can be done if it happens in the future. VERY different (and self-empowering) come-from, and that makes ALL the difference.

      And finally – VERTIGO. I don’t think any of us without it can ever understand the extent of that horrific experience – even ONCE, much less chronic.

      I ran across an uplifting science video on Hulu that included the technology-assisted brain-retraining of Cheryl Shultz, a woman who had completely lost her sense of balance as the result of medication side-effects. Hers was not classic vertigo, and the point of the documentary was neuroplasticity (i.e., brain-retraining), but it relates.

      Her portion was introduced with words similar to these: BALANCE – our most important sense we don’t even notice until we lose it.

      It is easier for those of us who only think we can imagine the challenges of loss of balance (of which vertigo is one) to see part of the problem in her case, because she was a self-described “wobbler.” She couldn’t even stand up straight – with help! She bobbed and weaved continually — as if she were trying to stay upright standing on the deck of a ship covered in marbles – in a choppy sea. And that doesn’t address the nausea portion AT ALL!

      It is about 7 or so minutes in on the documentary linked below – The Brain that Changes Itself – but you may have to sign up for a free Hulu account to view it. It won’t make sense unless you watch from the beginning, however. Watch it with your amazing hubby so that he can tell you what they are saying. (btw – she can now ride a bike and dance!!)

      In case “save comment” strips the link, here it is in a non-linking format: hulu . com / watch / 733519 (remove spaces and add the normal h t t p : // w w w . stuff up front)

      I know that YOU, at least, will find it fascinating – but many of your readers will probably love it as well. I’ll bet few of your doctors are even AWARE of this particular technology – it is fairly cutting edge.

      There is also a book by the same name (The Brain that Changes Itself – Norman Doidge, M.D.). If you are able to read without vertigo, it might be a good use of some recuperation time. Cheryl’s story is in chapter 1, and the possibility of changing cognitive capacity will give you great hope. Even many types of pain itself are amenable to neuroplasticity, btw – changing how your brain interprets the signals of the senses.

      xx,
      mgh
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
      – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
      “It takes a village to educate a world!”

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  7. You’re having your surgery on the day that my doctor’s note expires for my work restrictions of my spinal injury! Aqua physical therapy sounds amazing because I love the water and I feel like it’s magical. You totally seem to know what you’re doing and even though things around you are a little tipsy, you’ve got a firm grasp on reality, and I’m proud of you! Crossing my fingers for things getting 100% better.

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    • bipolarbarbieq….I’m so out of it, I didn’t know you had a spinal injury. I have to get to your blog…pronto! I hope you wrote about it! I haven’t been anywhere, so please don’t feel slighted.
      Some days are a little better than others. The vertigo has been plaguing me for over a week and a half now…finally get to see the doctor tomorrow, maybe he can help. This is not Meniere’s.
      100% better…that would be a miracle! haha I’ll take improvement so I can get around. I accept my chronic life. I just want to have better quality of life…ya know? I know, you know. 🙂 gonna hop over to your blog in a sec. ❤

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      • I have to get back to your blog too. Tonight I’m replying to comments and this week I’ll get to reading blogs and catching up. I have to do it this way or I’ll just get frustrated and overwhelmed and not want to do it at all and put myself back in the anxiety circle. Always praying for you though! You know that however. 🙂

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