Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Orthopods Are My Primary Care Docs

I finally went back to the orthopaedist yesterday for my hip. Though my hip started hurting again early this month, I felt like I'd been in that office too many times recently, and wanted to ensure that a "more normal" amount of time had elapsed between office visits. Truthfully, my orthopaedists have become my primary care physicians. The only times I end up in a normal GP's office is when I need a pre-op evaluation. When I get sick, I end up at Urgent Care more often than not (that happens once a year or so).

Anyway, as expected, the doc couldn't give me another cortisone shot so soon after the previous one, so he prescribed physical therapy. Sometimes, I wish they could prescribe PT over the phone. I knew that was what he'd do, and I had to take the entire afternoon off of work to go to the appointment. I even got a PT appointment for last night. It was just the initial eval, so after taking measurements of strength and range of motion, all the PT did was massage, ultrasound, then stim with ice. Even with "just" that, my hip was really sore all night and for most of today.

That didn't stop me from going to the gym today, though. Last week was a very hectic week at work, with many meetings for problems on one of my satellites and also mission rehersals for the upcoming launch on the other satellite I'm working on. As such, I only got into the gym 3 times last week, and I really wanted to get this week started off right. Since I had to skip yesterday because of the doc appointment and then PT, and because I had a session with Brian, I was particularly motivated to get back into my working out ways. Today felt reasonably good, even with the hip. I warmed up with 36 minutes on the elliptical, then he had me lifting for about 50 minutes, then he stretched out my hamstrings and such.

One goal I have for this week is to try to get into the pool at least twice this week. I went to cheer on Wendy at the Hagerstown Sprint Tri on Sunday. Watching those kinds of races is always a little tough, it consistently reminds me of how much I miss that kind of thing. Don't get me wrong, I can still swim, and once I resolve the issues with my hand, I should be able to bike, but I'll never run again (and I did love that). Since the hand is on hold until after September 16th, I figure I can at least try to get back onto a regular swimming schedule. I'm not quite sure when I'll get my swims in, given that I have to leave work no later than 3:30 to guarantee getting a spot in a lane at my gym's pool. Tomorrow (Wednesday), it's looking like I'll have a meeting until at least 4, and Thursday is a Brian day, so right now I'm thinking of swimming on Friday and Sunday. We'll see how that works out.

Speaking of hands, my left thumb is feeling better. I'm still having a little bit of pain with a pinch and a wide-grip, but all in all, it's at about 90%. My right hand, though, is still hurting quite a bit. Though I've gone back to a more normal amount of usage (since my left hand isn't splinted anymore), it still seems to be irritated. I wish I knew what was wrong so I could figure out how to make it better. Right now, I'm planning on going back to the hand doctor after September 16th. The 16th is the day that I'll be going to the genetics clinic up at Hopkins, so hopefully after that, I'll know if I do in fact have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. The only reason that may change is if my ankle keeps acting up.

My ankle's been unusually sore for a prolonged period of time. Not only is it sore in ways it's been before, some of the pain/discomfort is new. In one case, I think the bone around 2 of my screws is either irritated, or the screws are trying to push out, or the bone is growing a spur over the screw heads, as it hurts to put on shoes and put pressure over the area where 2 of the screws were inserted. The other observation I have is that lately, it's been swelling up when I walk around, or after workouts at the gym. The last time it did that, I'd torn (or re-torn) the ligaments in my ankle. Given that they used my own tissue for my last reconstruction, and given that I seem to have rather poor quality soft tissue, I'm slightly concerned that the re-re-reconstruction may have come undone. I'm going to play that one by ear. If the pain over the screws becomes much worse, I'm going to make the ankle a higher priority over the hand. I don't know what can be done about the ligament, in part it will depend on the EDS diagnosis, but if the screws have to come out, they have to come out (and that should be relatively easy).

Edited to fix typos, add link to Hagerstown Tri.

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