Pain dreams

I am dying to know if anyone else gets pain dreams. I had one last night and it has happened maybe once before. I only remember my dreams 1-2x a year, so when I remember the details I always take note.

So this dream started with me in a big house, watching a big storm. Out the window I watched a workmates ‘favourite tree’, on an island, get struck by lightening for a 2nd time. I was amazed.

Then a teacher of mine was in a boat, we were near the island trying to save her boot which was floating nearby!! I was in the water pushing the boat and was being bitten by 2 smallish river sharks and my leg hurt. I then woke up in pain, my hip/quad/knee was hurting.

I find dreams fascinating… I wonder if it means anything or if it’s my subconscious ticking over processing a sore leg while I’m trying to sleep.

Does anyone else get dreams about being in pain to wake up in pain? Is it always the same area? Any connections to your original injury?

Reduced hours

This week I have started working reduced hours for 2months. I’m now working 8am-3.30pm taking 30mins for lunch. The plan is to make time for rehabilitation, medical appointments and ensure I pace myself re work/life balance.

Asking to cut down to 7hrs a day from 8-10hrs was a huge step for me. It required acceptance of the current situation and a change of mindset to put myself first, probably at the sacrifice of my professional reputation. And of course less pay!

It had been suggested by my GP several months ago, took a trial of 1/2 day Wednesday’s and a lot of consideration… But I did it. I am so grateful to have a companionate and supportive employer. Once I made the request management/HR has been very supportive and moved very quickly.

So far, on a practical level it’s going well, I am being forced to work more effectively and I actually think they will get more out of me productivity wise! Reducing my hours at work has forced me to adopt a better workflow which will serve me well in the future.

On an emotional level, it’s harder than it looks. I think the hardest thing to deal with is that feeling of letting the team down. I’ve never had kids or pressing commitments so used to work a lot of extra hours to do an extra good job. I am learning that you can do a good job without extra hours and the extra time you put in isn’t often appreciated anyways. Gosh… I’m getting a bit cynical in my old age.

Anyways, it was hard to leave my workmates at 3.30pm while they are busily working towards implementation. I’ve been told not to do any extra exercises other than what’s prescribed by the physio (so my swim is cancelled). I’m in quite a lot of pain thanks to the new rehab program and tired because of the lack of sleep. So I am heading home for some bed rest.

I’ve been told to expect a change in pain levels for first few weeks. This is just a rough patch, it will get easier. Especially when I start seeing progress.

The first ‘Gym Workout’ in a long time

Today I started my new rehabilitation program which has been setup by ACC and is taking place at the gym (the one I rarely go to).  The plan is to start small and get the basics before we do things like walk!  Yep, it really is starting at square one again.  Not to dissimilar to the physio therapy I had after my operation and the physio I had after I came off bed-rest last year.

It is clear that in the last several months I’ve lost a lot of strength as the pain levels have crept up and my activity level has slowly dwindled.  Its hard not to beat myself up about losing the gains I got in India doing yoga therapy.  But there is not point in beating myself up, so I will try not to.    I can’t reinvent the past, I can only move forward.

So, today’s session was 25mins supervised at the gym with a physiotherapist.   The workout went something like this:

  • 3min on stationary bike to warm up (no resistance, seat high to minimise pain in hip).  It still hurt a little.
  • 2-3 sets of quad stretch + baby squats (can’t remember how many)
  • 2 sets of bridge + clams (both sides)
  • 2 more quad stretches
  • 2.5 mins on the bike (I couldn’t hack the full 3 mins)

That was it.  I am quite a bit sorer afterwards (dull ache with occasional sharp pangs) but this is to be expected, I’m also due for my pain meds and it was my 1st day without the single crutch. So its been quite a painful day.  I’ve been advised to keep using the single crutch for a few more weeks, esp as the rehabilitation program will tire me out somewhat.

I think the hardest thing about today was being back at the gym and being so out of shape and unable to do all the things I used to do (and still want to do).   I made jokes about not being ready for boxing yet, was thinking about spin classes while on the stationary bike and actually had tears in my eyes as I waited for the bus.

We haven’t talked about specific goals but he said we should expect improvements around the 3 week mark and a big improvement in the basics by 6 weeks.  By basics I think he means sitting, standing, walking and sleeping.

Patience…  more patience.  The number of times I’ve been told to be patient in the last 2.5 years is getting beyond a joke.

You can’t always show a brave face!

It’s 12.30am and I’m tired and sore. I’ve had a tiring and emotional week and the brave face just cracked. I’ve spent the last 20mins sobbing and now my face will be puffy tomorrow. I’m so tired of this.

It’s so hard to stay positive and being on crutches leads to so many questions and conversations about my hip. I can’t even get in a taxi or order a sandwich without people asking what happened. It’s too hard to explain so I just say I hurt my hip at the gym. I get funny looks and joke about it being an uncool granny injury. I get looks when I walk down the street, but at least people offer me a seat on the bus and open doors for me.

I couldn’t go to a work party on Thursday as it was going to be too painful standing around even using the crutch. Today everyone was buzzing about the band and how much fun they had. Even if I did go, I can’t dance and I am choosing not to drink because of my meds. I would have been sitting at the edge of the room (uncomfortably), watching drunk people dance and spent the evening explaining why I’m on crutches.

Today I had my cortisone shot and had a brief window of being pain free for 2 hours. The gift of being able to move freely was almost not worth it. When the pain came back, slightly worse than normal I felt like shit. The good news is that it’s confirmation the pain is coming from the joint. But kind of redundant as I knew that anyway! I know my body fairly well now.

A few hours after the cortisone shot I went to a party at my yoga teachers new studio. I went because she’s been amazing support for me over the years and I knew there would be lovely people and some chanting. I find singing, esp chanting is very healing. 30mins into the chanting the pain was very distracting. Afterwards because of the obvious pain, I had many questions and conversations about the hip. I also had conversations about the yoga. I think that’s why I’m so upset, I miss the physical yoga practice so much. I’m trying to accept this is the way things are, for now. But it’s so hard. I cant help but feel jealous of other people. I want to dance, walk, do yoga, go rock climbing and rollerblading. I want to go back to the gym and do kickboxing and spin.

Ha ha… No wonder my hip pain won’t let up. I wouldn’t trust me either! Have I mentioned yet how rubbish I am at pacing myself?

I feel exhausted from staying positive. I always feel I have to put on a brave face. I often field well meaning opinions on my condition and suggestions on what to do next. It’s well intentioned and I know people are just trying to help, but my current pain management program is probably a bit too full. One step at a time.

The other thing is this pain is my life at the moment, I don’t do much but manage it. It’s turning me into a boring person. There isn’t actually much else to talk about. It’s time to get some new hobbies so this week I’ve started singing lessons! Im also going to do a Spanish cooking class on Sunday.

I am not going to let this beat me.

I KNOW now there are so many people living silently in pain. People tell me their pain stories all the time. So I know I’m not alone in this and it breaks my heart.

This is a fairly personal and emotional post. But I feel the need to write about it as a way to try and process and let go.

After a big cry and a vent I feel so much better. Tomorrow I will put the brave face back on and focus on the rehabilitation. I suspect I’ll be a little sore for a day or two then the cortisone should kick in. Just in time for my first session with the physio on Monday.

For anyone else reading this who is in chronic pain, please make sure you let the brave face drop every now and then. It’s a nice release to have a cry and acknowledge the emotional pain. Remember we are human, we aren’t perfect and our bodies aren’t always reliable. But it’s ok. And it’s ok to have a hissy fit and a big cry if you need to!

Cortisone shot to the hip

Today I had my cortisone shot, not my favourite thing to do on a Friday afternoon but I’m hoping for 4-6 weeks of relief while I get into my rehabilitation programme.

So the deal with getting cortisone in your hip is they do it under x-ray and the injection goes right into your joint (best not to look). I find looking at the x-ray kinda cool. I was lucky, this guy gave me a local anaesthetic first so the main injection didn’t hurt a bit. Even better, he also put a longer acting local anaesthetic in the joint with the cortisone so I got about 2hours pain free! Wow, it was sooooo nice to be without the pain. I was a little sad when it wore off, especially as it is more sore than usual tonight. Probably a mix of the injection plus the unguarded walking I did while pain free.

Normally it takes 7-10 days for it to kick in, then I get at least a few weeks relief. This time though, it’s going to be permanent! 🙂

A visit to the surgeon

I went and saw the surgeon yesterday.  Seems like my condition is still a bit of a mystery, the diagnosis seems unclear and it feels like I am back where I was last year.  But the main difference is this year I have a lot more support and I’ve got a better understanding of how far I can push myself.  I am in a much better place than last year.

The good news from the surgeons visit… he agrees the rehabilitation program is an excellent step forward, he gave the green light to a cortisone shot and its not time to consider any surgery just yet. We  had a laugh about me having a hip replacement, because I don’t have arthritis its not an option for a long time.  I’ve been reading other peoples horror hip stories online, I hope I don’t end up being someone who fights this pain for several years, have several ‘minor’ operations, only to have a hip replacement in 10-15 years time!

So… onwards with the rehabilitation program.  Starting on Monday I have 3 supervised 30min sessions at my gym with a physiotherapist.  Bring it on!!  🙂

A positive turn of events

Good news, after several months of my pain spiraling out of control I feel like I am finally getting back on track.   In the last couple of weeks many things have fallen into place, most importantly ACC (NZ Accident Corporation) has set me up with a rehabilitation program with a physiotherapist at my gym (the gym I never go to).  It looks like it will be 6 weeks in duration and will be focused on strengthening, pain management and regaining function.  I am so excited.  And so very grateful for the support.  My case manager has been brilliant, she’s helped coordinate the team of medical professionals who are working on my case to setup this new rehabilitation program. She has also approved taxis to/from treatment which will make a huge difference as I am spending a fortune on taxis while I am unable to walk far.

I’ve also contacted human resources at my work and this week I am going to ask if I can reduce my hours for a couple of months. I’ve had so many medical appointments and now I will have to fit in this rehabilitation program, I am finding it stressful and exhausting to fit it all in.    I’ve been taking a half day of annual leave on Wednesday mornings to rest, reduce hours sitting (painful) and attend appointments.  It has been fantastic but I don’t want to use all my leave up so I’d rather take a pay cut.  So a couple of months of reduced hours will be very beneficial, I suspect work will get more productivity out of me as a result because when I am at work I will be more focused and rested.

Next week I also have my appointment with the surgeon.  Last time I saw him I’d just come back from India and was doing so well, so I am a bit guttered things have deteriorated so badly.  I’m compiling a list of questions and will be asking him for a cortisone shot. In the past I’ve got 3-4 weeks of relief from a cortisone shot, so if I can have it soon it will really help with the rehabilitation program.  Then I think the idea is if I can increase my core strength then my body will protect the joint space better and pain will be reduced.  It worked when I went to India for a month of yoga therapy so I am confident it will make a positive difference to my pain levels.  The main difference between this rehabilitation program and the yoga therapy in India will be my general levels of activity… so it will be interesting to see how I go.   I think the key thing is to be positive, optimistic and do as I am told even if I don’t like it.