A weekend retreat on Somes Island

A friend of mine has recently moved onto a small island in the middle of Wellington harbor so I went to stay with him for the weekend. It was so lovely to get away from the city and enjoy some peace and quiet.  It was a pretty chilled out weekend spent exploring the island, reading and chilling in the sun.  My place has a lot of road traffic so I really liked the lack of cars, tweeting of birds and the quiet nights.

Somes Island has an interesting history so there was quite a lot to do given the small size of the island.  I saw Tuatara, Giant Weta and plenty of  birds (including a Little Blue Penguin).  I did a couple of big walks (approx 1hr each) which was manageable because I took a lot of breaks along the way, finally – I’m learning the benefits of pacing!  I was pretty sore in the evenings but the pain settled by the next day so it wasn’t a problem. My strength is improving at a steady rate, I’m really pleased with the progress I’ve made in the last month.  Hooray for progress.

Below, a photo of Tuatara.  A reptile whose family (the dinosaur) has long since died out!  I’ve never seen one roaming in the wild before:

Tuatara

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Happy healing hips

Good news, the crutches have been shoved to the back of the wardrobe and I’ve not used them for 2 weeks. Most of the time my limp is not visible and I’ve even had compliments on my walk! I think people were so used to seeing me on crutches that they expected a huge limp. Luckily I’ve had a great physio over the years who taught me how to wean off them properly. I’m really grateful for that.

I’m also really grateful to my new physio. I’ve been on the rehabilitation program for 6-7 weeks now, in the last week we’ve noticed a huge improvement in my strength. She’s done a great job. Pain levels are not fantastic but they are definitely manageable. This week I have pulled back a bit though, skipped choir practice and have had more rest days than usual.

I feel I’m now at a similar place to where I was about 6 months ago. Before things started to spiral. I guess it’s a good time to check in with myself and work out where to from here. The plan is to keep increasing my work hours, I’ll have to work out a work/life balance that helps me maintain where I’m at (or keep improving). This is going to be hard, recovery is time consuming and I don’t feel fully recovered. I guess I’ve just got to keep chipping away at it.

Anyways… It’s all going well. The meditations have really slipped in the last month and I was reminded today how important they are. So I’ve promised myself to try harder to fit them into my routine. 10-15mins a day isn’t much to ask, if I do more – it’s a bonus.

Here’s a photo I took yesterday… The sun is shining and Wellington is starting to go a little hobbit crazy as the world premiere is next week.

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Something to look forward to

I’m so happy, it’s going to cost a bomb but I’ve done it… Ive booked tickets to Thailand! Yay.

Thailand is like a second home to me as I’ve lived there and a big branch of my family is there. I’m going for 3 weeks and hoping to spend a good week of that reading books on the beach. Bliss!!

My job between now and mid December is to look after my hip (no dramas please) so I can leave the crutches at home AND walk with a backpack on. 🙂

Ooooh, It’s so nice to have something to look forward too.

Walking

It’s been 3 whole days since I last used a walking aid. I’ve had feelings of freedom and blending in. I’ve noticed my posture improve and despite the fairly significant increase of pain, I feel lighter. Being without the crutches definitely has an impact on how I’m treated and how I think about myself.

At first I was very wobbly as my balance was off, but I’m much more steady on my feet now. I’m also walking with more confidence and it’s easier to keep my head held high. There is something about being on crutches that makes me want to shrink into myself somewhat. I tend to look at the pavement a lot, I guess it’s to avoid the curious sideways looks (or blatant stares) I often get.

My illness/disability is pretty much invisible now. The downside is that I am not automatically entitled to a seat on the bus. Best of all, I no longer get the curious looks/stares!

Unfortunately it’s not as simple as just taking the crutch away, I’ve got to build up my tolerance to bearing my own weight. There’s going to be an increase in pain while I go through this process and while my body adjusts. For example today the arches of my feet are tight, my ribs are hurting, knee throbbing, thigh burning and my hip joint and muscles are sore. But its worth it. Fingers crossed things settle quickly as my body gains strength and gets used to a more centred, upright posture.

I’ve been warned by the physio and the occupational therapist that it may be a case of weaning off them. A few days on, a few days off… I kinda hope I don’t need the crutches again (ever) but I’ll need to listen to my body and be realistic using pain as my guide.

Progress and pacing

I’m making pretty good progress with the rehabilitation but I think the occupational therapist was trying to tell me perhaps I’m doing too much. She said I’m getting a lot of input (therapy) from a number of people. She also said now I’m back at work I need to be mindful of pacing myself.

Pacing sucks, it’s not generally my style but I’m getting much better at it. There’s a careful balance between pushing at the edge, and doing too much. Then there is the other extreme, not doing enough. Everyone seems to have an opinion but really only I know how much is too much. Theoretically. It’s all muddy now I’ve been in chronic pain for so long. Quite often, I really don’t know!

I skipped a concert this weekend that I was hoping to perform in, I was too tired. I also missed out on choir practice on Monday. I’m having a pretty good week energy wise, perhaps it’s because I had such a quiet weekend. Or perhaps I’m just having a good week!

I made it to choir practice tonight, our usual rehearsal hall wasn’t available so we got to practice in this lovely church instead. What a treat.

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A fairly quiet week

After writing about the stupid irrational pain I’ve had a fairly quiet week. This is a good thing, for once the pain isn’t at the forefront of my mind. What a relief.

I am now on my 3rd week back at work and am enjoying working 3hrs a day. I’ve been going to the gym/pool regularly and do my physio/hydro exercises between the supervised sessions. Except for one day when the side of my thigh (ITB) was very hot/inflamed my pain levels have been fairly good. My leg still goes a very faint purple, it comes and goes and I’m not too worried about it.

I’ve been working on my limp by trying not to drag my leg through. It’s funny, when I first started to do this I felt like my walk was highly exaggerated ie, like I was in a marching band. I felt really silly and awkward. Then one day I looked at myself in a shop window while walking without a limp, to my surprise I looked perfectly normal. Interesting how the brain works, it seems I’d normalised limping.

I’m still on one crutch while walking outdoors. I asked my physio if I could loose it and got a stern “not yet”. As part of my 10 week rehabilitation programme we are aiming to have me weaned completely off crutches and walking 20mins. I can’t wait. In the meantime I definitely need it for bigger walks, getting the bus (it gets me a seat) and walking up the hill to my house.

Not much else is happening…. I’m still doing singing lessons and am singing in a new choir. I managed to swim 30 lengths in the pool for the first time on Friday (1km). I also got stuck in a fire evacuation, so I was on a main street in the central city wearing swimsuit and towel (not a great look). I’m also watching a lot of DVDs and have read two books in the last week. So my body is getting plenty of rest.

One thing that has slipped over the last few weeks is my meditation practice, I know what a big difference it makes so I need to be mindful of the slippage.

Tonight there was a huge fireworks display in Wellington harbour. I opted to watch it from home. Here is a photo:

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