Time flies when you're having fun or in pain. When you're in pain, nothing else matters. You can block it out, you can breathe deeply, count to ten, but in the back of your mind, you always know you're less than 100%. A few weeks after my surgery, I felt great. Of course, I pushed myself, walking for hours at a time in an attempt to regain a little fitness. Perhaps this was a mistake.
Two months have now passed. My hip is stronger and there is a greater range of motion but I am still in a fair amount of pain. Nothing new really, I've been in pain for the past three years. Anytime I sit down, I inevitably must stand up again and this is where the trouble begins. It takes me a few minutes to gather myself and enough stability to work plus a few more minutes to walk without a limp.
Originally I was under the impression I would be completely healed in 6-8 weeks. Then I started reading up on hip replacement's and here's what I found:
In the first 6 weeks after surgery, major goals include strengthening, balance, training, and progressing to walking without the use of an assistive device. In 3-6 weeks, you may be able to do most light activities and walk without a walker or crutches. Full recovery from the surgery takes about 3 to 6 months, depending on the type of surgery, your overall health, and the success of your rehabilitation. Most people can resume normal activities in three months.
I was walking without a walker or crutches in four days. My recovery plateaued and the adrenaline has worn off. Once I realized it might take me a few more months to heal, I made an appointment with my doctor and decided to temper my expectations. Those three words are important to me. TEMPER - MY - EXPECTATIONS. I have a habit of trying to do too much, usually at the same time. If I have ten things to do in a day and only get three completed, it feels like I failed. If I temper my expectations and choose thee tasks a day to complete, my success rate is higher.
When I first realized the pain was chronic, or at least seemed to be, I admit, I was worried. Life is much difference without mobility and for someone who is constantly walking, sitting around can be depressing. For a week or so, I could think of nothing but the pain in my hip and the accompanying cramps in my calf. What if I need another surgery? What if I walk with a limp for the rest of my life? What if my hip heales and I was as good as new - with pain. There's a lot I want to cram in before I die but thinking negatively helps nothing.
So I changed my mindset. I keep walking to a minimum and exercise my hip flexors with the hope this will help. I visit my doctor in Chiang Mai in two weeks. Hopefully, my healing is progressing and time and patience will be all that is necessary. If not, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
While I'd love to be up and around, galavanting all around Asia with a camera slung over my shoulder, my immobility has given me time to to curate some of my photographs and putt a little work in on my photo web site. In addition to the book on Thailand I'm attempting to publish, I'm also putting together a photo book on The Rakhine State in Myanmar. The plan is to put together a limited edition, 80 to 100-page, softcover book - somewhere between between 50 and 100 copies and if it sells well, put it on Amazon. More to come.
As many of you know, I've been running a GoFund Me campaign in an effort to get to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. My partner and I have went through the numbers again and revised the amount needed. First, I did a more intensive search of flights to the Congo. Previously, ticket prices were $2500 - $3500. Using STA Travel (www.statravel.com) I found tickets from Bangkok to the Congo from $1200 - $1500 (RT) and $1800 for the ticket from LA to the Congo. Big savings. I managed to get the budget down to $14,000 for two people, including airfare, visas, food, accommodation, fixer, filming permits and grease. It's tight but doable. The editing and production of the film is covered.
So...please check out the GoFund Me campaign at www.gofundme.com/congo or by clicking the banner below. Every little bit helps and there are rewards for each donation level.
FREE T-SHIRT DRAWING
If you remember, four weeks ago I asked for readers to send me their thoughts on what they would like to see more and less of. In return for doing so, all entries would be entered into a drawing for a free Muay Thai T-shirt. Below is the video of the drawing. Instead of one shirt, I decided to give away a shirt to two people. The winners are John Grimely and Les Freedman. Thanks for all the ideas, although most entries told me to do what I like and want to do most. So in the future there will be less question and answer and more of me going out into the field to take photos - assuming my mobility improves.