Getting off the good stuff.

So, Roughly 9 months to the day since my hip replacement, I took off my last patch.

Since 2009 there’s not been a period where I’ve not been on some form of opiate, be it tablet/patch/liquid. I decided pretty soon after I had my right hip replaced last year that as soon as I could, I was going to get off the opiates. By September last year i was off long acting morphine tablets, and it’s taken me since then to get off patches. Granted I’ve dislocated my shoulder and had major issues with some other joints in between, and it’s a lot harder to reduce patches because the doses linger in your system for longer so once you take off one patch, you still technically get that dose for about 12 hours afterwards. You also can only reduce them in bigger drops. Fentanyl patches come in 100, 75, 50, 25 and 12mcg/hr patches. So you have to do it much slower than you do with MST/Zomorph which I did in drops of ten a week/ten days.

I don’t think people realise just how much strong painkillers can mess with so many of your day to day activities. I didn’t realise until I was off Zomorph just how tired it had made me. I noticed I was able to stay more alert during the day and didn’t need to nap for as long as I had or as often. I decided in March though that the time was right to start reducing my patch. And although it took me longer than anticipated, it was amazing when I took my last patch off. This time last year I was on 100mcg/hr of fentanyl, 60mg of Zomorph twice a day and was taking anything between 5-20mgs of oramorph every 4 hours. It soon adds up and makes you feel rather dopey after a while! Now I’m taking between 10-20mg of oramorph at night and if I’m in pain during the day. It’s nothing in comparison and it’s a lot easier to get off oramorph than long acting painkillers because they don’t linger in your body as long.

I’m chuffed pink that I’ve finally managed it though, it’s a big deal for me and it’s taken me a long time and a lot of pain to get to this point.


Done and dusted.

Well, on the 16th July, I became the proud owner of a new left hip. To say it was tough would be an understatement(I will never see why people use ketamine for recreational purposes…) but I’m finally off crutches now, 4 weeks and 5 days after the op. It’s amazing. I’ve been on crutches permantly for over 4 years and have had my life severely limited by that for so long. It’s a great feeling to be able to walk out the front door and not need my crutch with me. I can do so much more stuff and am planning things that I’ve been waiting to be able to do. I’ve got a much more positive outlook on things now, and it’s fantastic to see the difference it’s making to my overall health. The day of my op I was standing up and using the commode and refusing to use a bedpan. Well, they made me use it one time, after that fiasco I decided it was more painful using a bedpan than pulling myself out of bed! But I’m working hard and proving everyone wrong. I can do it!

post op, day 1

I had my annual chronic disease review this morning, which was my asthma and diabetic review, and it couldn’t have gone better. I have no sign of problems with my feet, I’ve lost weight, my diabetic bloods are completely perfect and I got my personal best peak flow. All of these little things have just given me such a boost, and I’m currently riding the natural high. I’ve also finally started to reduce my painkillers, which is a huge deal. I’ve been on a massive amount of opiates for about 3 years now, and it’s taken a toll on my body. I’m always sleepy, have tummy problems and you just have a general feeling of groggyness. So the aim is to be completely off opiates by Christmas. It will be my christmas present to myself hopefully! I’m aiming to be off my long acting morphine by the end of Sept/Middle of October depending on how things go, and then I’ll be reducing my patch after that.

We also joined a gym last week, and had our first session and induction on Saturday. Both myself and Cookie have said we need to get fitter, and it’s a good way to loose weight so we’re going to try and go every few days and see how we get on. I managed 5 mins on the bike and 2mins on the cross trainer aswell as resistance work. So it’s working up from there and getting my strength and stamina back. I will get my life back in order, I’ve got the rest of my life to live for. 

Apart from that, there’s nothing huge happening in my life. I’m completely broke at the minute, so am not planning on leaving the house for the next few days. I’m meant to be in Grantham because Cookie has gone on holiday to Turkey with her family for a week and I’m not really meant to be on my own. But in true Vicky fashion I have a tummy bug, so I can’t risk my friends in Grantham getting it. I’m planning on going on Wednesday, but that’s subject to lungs/tummy etc.

I’ve given up on doing project365. I was spending too much time taking pictures of my bedroom and hospital and I was getting bored of it. Hopefully once I’m a bit more mobile and out and about I will be able to start it again, but for now it’s on hold.

Hope everyone’s doing good, and if you’re not, I send good vibes your way 🙂


New Hip

*Fair warning. This is a detailed post about my op. If you don’t like it don’t read, but it’s my way of getting rid of the anger I have over certain things*



Well as I type this, I’m lying in bed in Edinburgh with a new right hip. To say it’s been a mad month would be an understatement. From being told I had the date, to going in, then coming out again, has been completely nuts. I knew I was going to be going in for IV’s a few days early, so that wasn’t too bad. I was on my resp ward for that and had my normal staff about who knew me. It was good that they knew what was going on because they could see me having a mini meltdown over the course of the week. But being the fantastic team that they are, they all knew exactly what to say. And then the night before my op dad came up so he was staying with me during the first few days after my op, and was going to be there in the morning to go with me. 21 year old grown up adult and all that? Piss offfffff! I love my dad and I’m not afraid to say it.

Day of Op – I was nil by mouth completely from 2am. I was allowed a sip of water with my meds, but I got pissed off with my mouth being dry and had more than one sip. Dad was on the ward at about 7.15am and was sat with me while I was having my last IV Hydro before my op and when they were going through the pre-op checklisst. He had to answer most of the questions for me cause by this stage I was a shaking, terrified wreck. One of the nurses on the ward came to theatres with me. I think it was obvious by this stage I was past nervous and was just a quivvering wreck. Jayne (nurse from ward) gave me a hug and wished me good luck. Unfortunately there was no space in the area they put you in before your op so I went into recovery to have the pre oppy stuff done. (Oppy is a word, honest). Then they wheeled me to the anesthetic room which was where they had to boot dad.  I was sat on the edge of the trolley while one of the anesthetists (Yes, only I could manage 2 anesthetists, my chest cons, chest SHO and surgeon for an op) tried to get a grey cannula in me. Errrrr… No.  She managed to get a green one in after about 4 gos. I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t just use the pink one and then attack me when I was in lala land.  But anesthetist no2 started putting the epidural in about now. I remember coming out with “THAT FUCKING HURTTTTS!” and then telling him he was a sadist. But after that all I knew was my left leg was going numb and there seemed to be a strange urgency to get me onto the trolley. It was very weird then because all of a sudden there was about 10 people in the room and someone was putting an oxygen mask on me and trying to get a neb going. But I’d put my iPod in and closed my eyes so I didn’t care.  I can remember them rolling me about and getting my leg onto a strange contraption and me telling them I was going to sleep and to leave me alone, and then them saying they were taking me into theatre, but that was about it. I woke up just coming out of surgery and I think the first thing I said was “Is it over? Where’s dad?” and pretty much demanding they got dad for about 15mins straight until he came. Then I decided I was freezing and ended up with a bairhugger blanket. Google it. They’re amazing.  Then I was taken to ICU and dad and Irene came to see me. The next 24 hours are a bit of a blur. I can remember being in some shit ass pain that I can’t even begin to describe and telling them if they didn’t sort it out I was going to scream. Then being told I had to use a bedpan. Now that was just the straw that broke the camels back. I threw a complete tantrum and told them that under no circumstances was I using a bedpan. To which I was told that it was either that or I just went in the bed. Anyone who knows me will know that things like that just piss me off. I had to use the bedpan. And it was one of the most horrible experiences ever. I was in so much pain that trying to get on it was agony, then I was so upset at using it that I couldn’t go. Then when I did manage  to go, I’d been waiting so long I was so full that it overflowed and I had to have everything changed. I’m 21. I shouldn’t be having a hip replacement, never mind having to use a bedpan, and then miss. I felt completely empty. I know it wasn’t the nurses faults, because I wasn’t in any fit state to use a commode, but from what I’ve heard now, I should’ve been catherterised in theatre to avoid anything like that happening. But after all that was over, and I’d cried myself into a mini splatt because nobody thought to sort my painkillers out and I was in agony, I finally managed to get some IV morphine and then a morphine PCA. Once we’d managed to get my pain reasonably controlled I was finally able to get some sleep.

Day 2 – They always say the first 24-48hrs after any operation is the worst, and I’ll stand testiment to that. With my chest the way it was, we couldn’t stop the infusion I was on to keep my chest well. But the ward I was meant to be going to wouldn’t have me on it because they “weren’t equipped to handle it” which was met with expletives from me, dad, my ICU nurse, Irene and my chest cons. So we changed some IV’s around and I was given a different medication and told that ICU outreach would take care of it. Luckily they did and I was able to get to the ward about 7ish. When I got there, I was finally able to stand up to get to a commode. When I was told they had to log roll me to check for bed sores, I was so tired I agreed. Dad went to sit in the hall while they did all that, but when they rolled me, they grabbed my hip. I honestly thought at that point I’d pass out. I screamed in pain. Dad said he never wants to hear a sound like it. But I promptly told them to get out and let me sleep at that point. I was beyond pissed off. They knew where the incision on my leg was and they just pulled it as if it wasn’t there. Unfortunately because I’d come from ICU, and I was scoring on the MEWS (Don’t start me, it’s evil.) I ended up on hourly observations. And then in true Vicky style decided to spike a temp of about 39degrees. Cue panic of bleep every SHO they could bloody think of. I had the anesthetic SHO, Chest SHO, Ortho SHO and Medical SHO poking me all in the space of an hour trying to figure out why I was spiking a temp. I was just in a really bad mood and wanted everyone to leave me alone. It was the first time I’d managed to get any sleep and they were fecking with me. I ended up having bloods done (which when done by dr’s take more than one go. Useless bunch of twats. I did tell them to bleep the Night pracs!), a chest x-ray, bloody hrly neuro obs, my dressing changed at 3am to check for signs of infection and I was threatened with a lumbar puncture. Thank God it didn’t come to that. The quacks came to the conclusion that it was my bodies way of getting over the operation, but that I was to remain on hrly neuro and normal obs for 24hrs and that they wanted bloods done again in the morning. All I wanted was sleeeeeeep!

Day 3 – They say a picture tells a thousand words, so I’ll show you the picture dad got of me taking my first steps after my op.

Sheer grit and determination. I will get there.

Sheer grit and determination. I will get there.

The next two days were filled with trying to get up and about as much as I could. I’d set myself goals each day, and each day I’d hit them and astound the physios. Technically speaking I was still meant to be in ICU.  And today should still be in hospital. Don’t get me wrong, It’s sore. It’s hard work and when I was in ICU I was seriously wondering why I was putting myself through it, but every day I’m managing to do even more. Tonight I managed to lift my bad leg up off the bed 5x and did it twice. I couldn’t do that before my op.

I wouldn’t have been able to do it though if it hadn’t have been for some very special people. I’m not going to list them, but they know who they are. I couldn’t have done it without you all. You gave me a reason to smile, came to visit me, brought me drinks when I was dehydrated and kept me company in ICU when I was scared. These are the people who I know will always be there for me, and they didn’t leave me at the hardest points.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’
Eleanor Roosevelt


Freaking out.

So two weeks from today, I’m being admitted to hospital to start IV’s in preparation for my operation on the 5th.  I’m going in for IV Aminophylline. A medication I usually take orally, but when taken IV, it can be a lot more effective for a lot of people. Some people don’t find it helpful, but I do, and it’s saved my skin more times than I care to count. I’m hoping that by going in a bit early for IV’s, it will stop my chest from becoming an issue during my operation, and in the post-operative period.

Since I found out on Wednesday about my op, I’ve been getting more and more anxious. It got to the stage that I had a panic attack on Friday in the hospital. I was up with Cookie because she was having some injections and had to hang around for a few hours after to make sure that she didn’t react. When we were sitting in the waiting area, I started completely freaking out. I was very lucky I managed to get myself out of it, but it was scary and I really don’t want it to happen again. I’m having nightmares about it and all sorts. I know the things I’m scared of are silly things, but in my head they’re real. I think the biggest one is the block being ineffective and half way through the op me being able to feel absolutely everything that’s going on. Either that or it not working at all. As well as that I don’t want them to under-sedate me because they’re worried about my chest. I really don’t want to be aware of what’s going on. I’m going to make sure I have my iPod on me and that it’s on a playlist of songs that I like.  I’ve spoken to a lot of people who’ve had sedation and they’ve said they don’t remember a thing about it. And my chest consultant told me that when he went for a three hour procedure, he had it done under a spinal block with sedation and that it only felt like 10mins to him. But dad’s going to be here for it, and he’s said he would go into the anesthetic room with me while they’re sedating me and stuff, so I won’t be on my own when it’s all starting. And I don’t want to leave the room until I’m asleep/dopey enough not to care. But I’m really glad dad’s going to be here, cause I think it’s what’s stopping me from completely loosing it and freaking out. I’m going to have him there to hold my hand.

Hopefully I can manage to hold it together until then, but I’m going to go and see my GP this week and see if she suggests anything.  14 days to go.


What an admission.

Ok, so you go to bed on a Thursday night feeling completely fine, and wake up feeling shite on Friday morning. How does that make any kind of sense? I ended up in A&E on Friday evening feeling absolutely shite. Usual rigmarole of IV’s, blood tests and prodding doctors began, again and I prepared myself for spending another weekend in hospital. Adding into the countless number of weekends I’ve already spent this year.  But I got out this afternoon, and when I was sitting in the discharge lounge, I started chasing up my hip op date. I rang the booking office at 14.25 and was told that I hadn’t even been put on the waiting list yet because my consultant and the anesthetist hadn’t spoken to each other about it yet and hadn’t discussed if they were ready to even consider operating on me. So anyway, I asked if they’d give me a ring when they’d decided whether they were going to operate on me and when I’d be on the list. They reckoned that it would be at least July because of the length of the waiting list and the fact I needed to be in HDU/ICU after. So I’d pretty much accepted that when at 14.55 (I checked the times on my phone because I couldn’t quite believe my luck) I got a phonecall telling me there had been a cancellation and did I want to go in on the 5th June? Of course I said yes! I don’t even think I thought it through properly!

So they’re now going to do my op on the 5th June. I need to go into hospital a few days before for IV’s on my resp ward, then onto the ortho ward the morning of my surgery/go straight to theatre from the resp ward. I’m really bloody nervous. There’s so much other stuff going on at the minute that I’m not sure whether I’m coming or going. We got offered a flat the other day, all be it not ground floor and not in our area, but it shows that we are very close to the top of the list. So how the hell are we going to manage if they decide to move us smack bang in the middle of me recovering. Shit. Freak out central.  I’ve to go to the hospital tomorrow for an appointment with my chest consultant, so while I’m there I’m going to sort out my admission to the ward, speak to consultant about after the op and where I’m going and when I’m getting to Wilson after. (I don’t want to be left to the mercy of the Ortho ward if my chest goes off). Dad’s said he’s going to come up for it aswell, and hopefully Irene can come down to see me aswell. So I’ll not be on my own in the anesthetic room. The thing that’s scaring me is being on my own when they’re putting the spinal and sedation in. It’s stupid. I’m 21 and have had more needles shoved in me, bloods taken and scared enough to make me have nightmares about it. But this is something pretty new for me. I’m going to load my iPod with music, and make sure that I’m allowed to listen to it constantly and in recovery and ICU. 

So if anyone has any tips on how to prepare and what to bring into hospital? I’m pretty new to all of this!

5th of June, here I come!


Back in England.

Well I got back to England yesterday. I’d managed to be a complete goon and get my dates mixed up. I thought I was due to come back on the 29th, and it wasn’t until I went to check in online that I realised it was actually the 30th. Unfortunately it mucked up many plans I’d made and plans others had made aswell. Incredibly annoying. But I’m back now, and can try and get back into some sort of routine.

While I was home, I was able to chill out alot, which was exactly what I needed. I spent two weeks doing very little and when I did do things, I wasn’t doing things that could’ve waited. I was doing stuff I had to do. But I’m very pleased with myself. I got my first pair of Converse Chuck Taylor Hi’s while I was away, and my first Monaghan GAA jersey. I’ve been after both of these for a very long time and I happened to be very lucky that the GAA jerseys were reduced from €60 to €20. I managed to buy the wrong size the day I bought it, so I sent mum in the next day to change it. They tried telling her they’d increased the price back to €60 but they hadn’t removed it from the sale rack or changed the tag on it, so in all fairness they could bugger off with their “It’s not €20 anymore”. Mwahahaha.

It was also really good to see some of my best mates while I was home. I got to see Michelle and Chris. Both of whom I don’t get to see anywhere near as much as I want. Chris lives in Belfast and came down for the day, but it got to 17.15 and we were still in town and hadn’t eaten, and his bus was at 1800, so we made a spontanious decision to find out if he could stay over. So he was able to stay over with me for the night which meant I got to see even more of him. It was great being able to spend some proper time with him. We might not be going out anymore, but we’re still best friends.

Then Michelle came round for a bit. Michelle was in my year at school and we have been friends since I was in 2nd year. She was always there when I needed someone to chat to about things at home and to this day is one of the kindest, caring people I know.  She’s going to Romania for 2 months to work in a camp for English speaking kids. She had no music or anything on her phone, and no decent headphones, so I put a shedload of music on my 4GB micro SD card so she had music on it, and then had the 2GB one she had as back up. She had no headphones either, and me being me had about 3 pairs going spare so gave her my spare skullcandy’s and one of the mini capsule speakers I had.  So hopefully now she’ll have enough music to listen to while she’s gone. I’m expecting her to take lots of pictures! She got me a slinky and a knitted bag kinda thing. But tbh, I’ve ended up using it as my snuggle (yes, at 21 years old I still use a comforter…) cause it’s really soft and reminds me of her.

Today’s being spent primarily in bed. My joints are giving hell after sitting down for most of yesterday so I’m trying to lie at about a 30-45degree angle in bed. It seems to be the most comfortable spot I can find. I’ve an appointment on Friday at the doctors, and I want to get them to sort my painkillers out and give me something for the eczema on my scalp. The shampoo has helped it scab and stop being as raw, but it’s still there and itchy something shocking. So I’m hoping the Dr will be able to give me something to help it. I’ve got my pre-operation assessment on the 9th May. I’m semi terrified. On one hand I want it over and done with, but on the other I’m dreading them saying I’m not fit enough for surgery. I also want to try and put my point across of wanting a General Anesthetic. I don’t think anyone understands just how scared I am of this. I’m having horrendous nightmares about it and all sorts. I understand why they’re reluctant, but hopefully they can see my side.

It’s good being back. I think. I get to see Cookie a bit more now, I wasn’t really able to spend much time with her when she was home for the few days before I went to Ireland and it was a bit tense because she knew she had to go back to her Nana’s and wasn’t able to stay in the flat. But now I’m hoping to be able to stay at home for a bit, until my op at least. So she can get a bit settled again in her flat. On Friday we’re initiating the bed swap, so that’ll be interesting to see how it goes. I’m hoping it goes smoothly and there’s no arguments. I don’t think there will be though, Cookie understands why I need her bed and knows I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t in serious trouble with my joints. As it is I think they’ve gotten significantly worse while I was in Ireland. Now any sort of movement is agony.

But for the rest of the week I’m planning on chilling. Apart from an appointment at my GP surgery tomorrow for bloods and then the dr’s appointment on Friday, and our support worker coming round on Friday afternoon, it’s a relatively quiet week. Normally there’s appointments left, right and center. But I’m getting a bit of a break 🙂  Might use my free time to finally finish Super Mario Bros 2 and Lego Lord of the Rings for my 3DS.

Till next time! x



Getting somewhere…

Finally, after many, many moons, I’m actually getting somewhere with my life in general. My chest and hip are, for the best part, behaving themselves. I’m at home with my family, the sun is shining and I’m not feeling too bad. OK, I have a head covered in infected, scabbed eczema which is driving me crackers, but this is my life and nothing ever works the way it’s meant to, and something always goes wrong. But at least infected eczema isn’t going to put me in hospital at a moments notice. 

I’m really enjoying being at home. I’ve not seen my family since Christmas, and it’s probably going to be a while before I see them again because I’m not allowed to fly for 3 months after my op. I may be able to get back in August by boat for Lorraine’s wedding(One of my oldest friends) when dad comes back too. So that’ll be fantastic. Hopefully I’ll be able to see both of them without having to get to Tenerife to do it. I got to sit and do TJ’s homework with him the other day, and we spent nearly 2 hours teaching each other long division. I couldn’t remember how to do it, so had to teach myself again, and TJ was just really struggling with it, so he was teaching me what he knew. It was fantastic being able to do it. It makes you feel like you’re actually achieving something and helping someone you love. I love TJ to bits and I know how much he struggles with his homework, so when he was able to do the sums on his own, I was chuffed pink. These things are the reasons I love coming home. 

I’m coming back to Manchester on the 29th April. I don’t know whether I’m excited, nervous, worried, happy, what? I know what I have to do when I get back. I have my pre-op appointment for my operation and I’m really nervous of what they’re going to say. Whether or not I’m going to be allowed to have a general anesthetic or not, or even if they’re prepared to do the operation. It’s going to be a difficult day. But hopefully at the end of it I’ll have some answers to a lot of the questions that’s been on my mind about my hip for a long time. So despite the fact I’m scared shitless, I know that good things will come out of this appointment if I am positive towards it. 

Hopefully I’ll be able to report good news after it. But between now and them I hope I’ll remember/be bothered/find something to write again soon. 🙂

Until next time!