Life with a new hip

Untitled.pngHere I am with another up-date on my life as a retiree with a new hip and some ideas for all new members to the ‘Early Retirement Club’!

Three months post op and I am doing much better and getting around quite well – ache-clipart-12finally!! I still have pain climbing stairs, getting up from a sitting position and in bed at night. I also have quite a lot of discomfort when I sit for a long time and the top of my thigh is very sensitive to touch and the groin is painful when I exercise, so still a way to go yet before I feel fully recovered. I am told that this could take up to 12 months. Also, I am happy to hear now that many people who have had a hip replacement have not had an easy time of it either so that is reassuring. To those of you suffering some pain after this kind of operation, or indeed those who are going to have the op, ask for physio and hydro therapy post op. I have found that the hydro therapy has helped a great deal and I should NOT be sitting here right now writing this but should be making the effort to go to the swimming pool to do my own exercises!! Such effort!! This is what has happened to me for having had two or three yeas of pain and not being able to move much because of it. I have lost motivation. I have put on weight! Everything becomes too much of an effort. Clothes don’t look good on me anymore so I don’t bother to dress up. It’s time to act! Get my motivation back to get up and go. So how am I going to tackle this?

cooltext257186758227341  Treading the Boards. It’s back to the theatre! Nothing like a bit of escapism to enhance my daily routine, considered by Freud as a necessary element in the life of humans and I quote ‘(They) cannot subsist on the scanty satisfaction they can extort from reality’ What would you choose to do as a bit of escapism? Don’t think about it too much just go ahead and do it. The pleasure of being retired is being able to pick and choose as you wish. If you find it’s not for you, then move on. As a member of the Neath Little Theatre  I directed Steel Magnolias in March which I thoroughly enjoyed and am now looking forward to directing my next play in the near future. In the meantime I helped front of house with The Vicar of Dibley in May and will be involved with the next production in October. The October Production is Goodnight Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian.

21232021_1822669147750468_8811973861538469969_nThe book has now become a modern classic. It is an uplifting story set during the dangerous build up to the Second World War and follows a young evacuee, William Beech, who has been housed with an elderly recluse, Tom Oakley, in a an idyllic English countryside village. The two forge a remarkable and heart warming friendship and all is well until William is suddenly summoned by his mother back to London. We will be giving opportunities for our talented younger members to get on stage and strut their stuff. Break a leg to them all. Come and see the production. You will not be disappointed!


cooltext257186863838178 Lose a bit of weight. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be skinny thin and I know it is supposed to be much more difficult for women of a certain age to lose weight, but I must lose a few pounds to get back into the clothes that are hanging lifelessly and forlorn in my wardrobe. I am NOT going out to buy a new wardrobe of clothes to fit this new frame so, I am cutting out sweet things  (not alcohol, I hasten to add!) and am trying this Eight Hour Diet! Check this site out! I’m going to give it a go. I have been doing it now for 6 days and I have lost 3 lbs. I have to tell you that I am a master of diets. I have tried every diet under the sun over the years (the most memorable for people around me being the Cabbage Soup diet. Enough said)  and they have all worked in their own way. I had the best results with Slimming World and I think that’s a great way to lose weight healthily but right now I am not ready to join a group with a weekly meeting so I am going to give this 8 Hour thing a try. If you know anything about it, are doing it or have done it please let me know what you think!  Ah! I am looking at the clock and my eating window is now open. 11am now so I can eat until 7pm. Just going to make some tea and toast with peanut butter!! Excited!!!!


My breakfast for today!

I found this info about Peanut butter on toast on Interesting!!

Peanut butter spread over a slice of toast makes a healthy start to your day or a light lunch. The calories are low enough to work into your daily goals without ruining your diet. Plus peanut butter and whole-grain toast are packed with protein, fiber and nutrients.

Calories in Toast

As long as you don’t choose a higher-calorie bread, such as potato bread, most types of bread have about the same calories. One slice of toasted whole-wheat bread has 76 calories, while a slice of toasted white bread contains 79 calories. Whole-grain bread is the healthier choice because it has three times more fiber.

Peanut Butter

Most types of peanut butter — chunky, smooth, reduced fat or fortified — all contain about 188 calories in a 2-tablespoon serving. However, omega-3-enriched peanut butter has 195 calories in the same portion. Reduced-fat varieties often have more carbohydrates, which replaces the calories lost from fat.

I love peanut butter on toast! The problem is when you have trouble with mobility it is so much easier to stay in, be sedentary and move slowly and gently rather than exercise and move with some urgency. Where I used to once walk to the local shop I started taking the car. I would also decide to go for a walk and find half way into the walk, when it was equally as far to arrive at the destination as it was to get home, I would need to wait for a bus or indeed, call for a taxi to take me back home due to the pain and discomfort I felt, so it was inevitable that the weight would begin to pile on!! I’ll give any weight loss programme a go!

cooltext257395536540506exercise!!! So it’s back to the health club for me. I feel such a sense of shame when I think of that substantial amount of money leaving my account each month to pay for my health club membership which I don’t use! I keep thinking of cancelling it and then my ‘other’ self says not as I will go back again one day especially once the children have returned to school and it’s quiet there again! (I have been saying this since last Christmas, I might add here) Our health club (once Virgin now David Lloyd) has an outside poolwhich is wonderful but during the holidays and after 4pm  it can get very busy and that’s the last thing a retiree like me wants after having spent a career surrounded by active children!!  BUT this week  will see my return. A few hours in the club. I will swim, do water exercises, followed by the steam room, then tea and toast in the conservatory which has been refurbished by all accounts and home. It sounds perfect. Now to muster up the energy and motivation to do it!


And finally I am happy to say that I am once again beginning to get back into the general everyday routine  of retired life. I will resume, flower arranging classes and ukulele class, I am taking part in a Murder Mystery evening (tickets still available) next week, back to Book Club and taking strolls along the beach before a hearty lunch with friends and family! Oh! The joys of retirement are here again. Yeah!!!




The Hip-OP!

I am now in the 9th week ( it’s 12 weeks today but wrote this 3 weeks ago and didn’t post!) of recovery following a hip replacement. What can I say? Ouch. I am still in quite a bit of discomfort and pain and shouldn’t be according to the visit I paid to the lovely doctor last week! Everything has gone to plan, X-rays looks fine, I must continue to do my exercise and be patient. It is will get better. Apparently I am a slow healer. Ha!! A Slow healer. I can’t sit still. That’s the problem.

So let me look back over the last 8 weeks, which have flown by, and give a potted account of the trials and tribulations of a hip replacement! I’ll break down the process as simply as possible so if you are reading this and heading for a replacement soon, it may help you! Or not!

preopThe pre op assessment was plain sailing and included a group school tuition afternoon. My sister accompanied me to this just in case my menopausal memory was unable to retain all the important information! Unfortunately she had a bout of uncontrollable coughing that obviously irritated the gentleman sitting in front of us so, out of politeness,  she left the room!! When she came back in she hadn’t been sitting for long before the uncontrollable coughing  started again, but by now the giggles had set in and the situation became quite farcical with said gentlemen looking as if he were about to burst a blood vessel in his temple muttering words such as germs, ridiculous etc etc. I found a breath freshener spray in my bag which my sister started spraying into the back of her throat and lo and bold the coughing abated somewhat and peace was resumed. We were shown examples of the new hip, watched a video, given a step-by-step explanation of the process, information on post op recovery and an opportunity to ask any questions. We were there for 3 hours but it was all worthwhile so I would advise you to  attend joint school if you are given the opportunity, although with my sister’s absence and my limited retention ability, I forgot a lot of what was said. Fortunately you get an envelope full of info, anyway!!

big dayThe big day arrived and I was at the hospital by 7:30am again accompanied by my younger sister. We were directed to Ward A where we sat quietly for a while and where nerves began to kick in and with me wondering if I had time to change my mind.  Then a stream of individuals invaded my room (yes, not a ward, I had a room of my own on Ward A, en suite – the lot) I lose count how many times I recited my name and date of birth that morning!!  There was Josh in a dark green uniform needing to fill in a general admittance file, this being his first day he was not entirely familiar with the forms and it took a little while longer to accomplish this task but fair play to Josh, he had to deal with a stream of interruptions and was thrown out of the room each time someone came in! There was a nurse in a blue uniform first, then another in a white uniform taking bloods, then Josh came back to try to finish the admittance forms. Another doctor in light green uniform whom I believe was the registrar came next armed with the same identification questions – name and date of birth. Next the anaesthetist popped in, name and date of birth, but by now I didn’t make a note of his colour uniform. Josh reappeared but had no time to find out where he last left off before we were interrupted by another blue to take blood pressure, name and date of birth first. Then there was one more visit after my sister’s departure by yet another doctor whose opening greeting was, sorry but name and date of birth please,  then finally Josh again who managed to complete the admittance forms in peace! I had an hour to myself before my friend arrived to take my mind off the very imminent procedure!! After taking a tablet in preparation for the operation, the consultant himself arrived for a chat and to say that I would be ready to go down very soon.  There was a little bit of a respite now but the tablet started kicking in and I found it difficult to stand, walk and talk. A porter arrived with a chair and pushed me to theatre! The rest is a daze!! I went from lying on my side in a room with 4 individuals around my bed, crammed into what seems like a very small space,  with a bearded and seemingly young gentleman in a head scarf asking my life history,  to opening my eyes in an empty space and feeling all alone!! Where had everyone gone? Feeling confused and out of sorts I heard the words “Sleeping Beauty is awake.”  It was all over! I was in the recovery room and I hadn’t felt a thing and everyone was gone!! How did that happen?

post opI returned to a ward some hours later but was completely out of it, unable to keep awake and hold a conversation and make sense of anything going on around me, so my visitors all went home and I was left to sleep. I slept on and off until the very early hours  but by the morning I began to feel human again and was able to eat a little breakfast. I elected to stay in the following night again although I had been discharged that day after a brief physio session, but as there was only one other lady on the ward I stayed to keep her company ( that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) and I felt safe at the hospital!! There was a wonderous electric storm that night and as it had been such a hot and stuffy day we decided to sleep with the windows and curtains open so I had front row seats at the viewing of the storm all over the bay. It was well worth staying in for.  By 10:00 am the next  morning I went home complication-free, armed with 3 crutches and a bag of iboprufen, Omeprazole, paracetamol and codeine tablets to take every 4 hours.

Back home I was very surprised and shocked at how much care I needed!! Getting in and out of a car, getting in and out of bed, sitting down, getting up, climbing up and going down the stairs etc etc and I was constantly tired! I really felt my age. My 96-year-old mother was more nimble than I!!  However, I soon settled into a routine and I was so grateful to my sisters who rallied around to help me during those first 2 weeks. Sitting still was a very difficult for me and to be waited on hand and foot was totally out of character! I had conjured an image in my head that after a few days I would be up and about, albeit on crutches, and seeing to things as usual, but heaven forbid!! No way was that happening. I had pain, swollen legs and ankles, pains in the groin and let’s don’t mention the nights!! Now, they were the real living nightmare hours. I had no idea the pain and discomfort being in bed would cause! Sleep evaded me for the next 3 weeks. Lying on my back was the hardest part of all and didn’t help. After a few hours of lying in this  fixed position, my leg  and groin would begin to ache, then my knee and heel, and then I would be awake and have to  take tablets again to knock me out. Let me give you a tip here – ALWAYS carry a bag around with you so you have your tablets, a bottle of water and your mobile to hand. There was nothing worse than waking up at night to take a tablet and find that you had no water. Keep a water bottle handy at all times as getting in and out of bed was knife-edge pain!! After 2 weeks of constant help I was suddenly left alone to manage! My mother went away for 5 days so I didn’t have to worry about her so it was just me and my son. That was a very difficult time. Trying to get around a home and do everyday things on crutches is exhausting and especially when, 3 weeks after major surgery, the recommendation is to rest and take it easy! My friends were wonderful and I had visitors every day to help with the washing and the cooking. I thank the wonder of Tesco, Dominoes and the local Chinese Take Away for home deliveries and my young son who kept an eye out for his mother all week.

I am now at 12 weeks post-op, and only just beginning to feel a significant improvement but I will leave this next chapter until the next time!

………….to be continued!


From Hot Tub to Campervan!

So it’svan MOT time! I now have plenty of time to go nagging the doctor to check out wear and tear of this poor body that has been neglected for the past 35 years due to work commitments and that dreadful saying “I just don’t have the time to go to the doctor!”I have been having a niggling pain in my groin and hip for a few years now so it was time to sort it out! Well, it’s arthritis of the hip – also known as wear and tear – and one day I will need a hip replacement! Just keep taking the tablets in the meantime. It was a sunny day and on the way back from the hospital I had planned to go looking for an all singing, all dancing hot tub!! A present from me to me using up all my retirement money. I have no concept of money and lovvan 1e to spend it when I have it. So on the way to the show room I decided to call in and look at camper vans, as one does! It took me 25 minutes only to leave that garage having put down a deposit on a VW T4 camper van! Oh my!! I fell in love with it!!! I didn’t drive it, try it out, ask many questions – not at all. I  was a salesman’s dream come true when out tumbled those beautiful words of which I had no control – I’ll take it!!

A bit of mechanical work, an awning, camping equipment, wet suit, body board, table, chairs, CDs and a year later I can pronounce myself as one happy camper! One very happy camper! I love my van! I use it for a few night’s break or for day trips. I take anyone who dares step inside with me including my 95 year old mother and 15 year old son.






I have always wanted a camper and now I have one! Living in Wales, we are very fortunate to have some of the most beautiful scenic routes in the world and we don’t have to drive too far to find them.

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We also love to have animals block our roads for a few minutes!!

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My son and I are off to the Belgian GrandPrix at the end of the month so the old van is currently at the garage having its MOT and a service but I shall still be taking out a Relay Cover with the AA just in case and then off we go!! I shall no doubt track our journey and report back at a later date!