One of the first post-THR people I spoke to gave me a print out from the Internet of this account by the former athlete and current Director of the Women's Sports Foundation, Donna Lopiano. I read it several times before my surgery and I found it enormously helpful.
(Thanks to Molly Vaux, who first gave me this article.) -NR
The Total Hip Adventure
By Donna Lopiano, Ph.D.
Women's Sports Foundation
At the suggestion of several friends and medical personnel, I have attempted a record of the experience of my hip replacement surgery so that others following in my footsteps would have a better idea of what they will be facing. Others suggested that I commemorate the experience for the amusement of my friends and colleagues. So, I am killing two birds with one stone. I take no responsibility for the spelling of any medical or anatomical term. Names and titles have been removed to protect the innocent. However, I would like to express thanks to the great folks at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan - real pros, real people. Medicine is truly amazing when you can walk into a hospital one day, have them give you a new hip joint, and four days later, walk out with barely the assistance of a cane.
December, 1993. I was taking a walk with my sister on a cold clear night in Easton, Connecticut. We were admiring the Christmas decorations of houses on a street close to my family home. It was about 15 degrees. We were more than adequately dressed for the weather and feeling quite chipper when we came upon a long sheet of black ice on the side of the road. It was about 5 feet wide and 20 feet long and an "attractive nuisance" if I ever saw one. I immediately announced that I was going to try to slide its length as I leaped into an aggressive running start. A grin on my face, red nose and cheeks, legs pumping (an obvious regression to being a 10 year old), I leapt onto the ice with knees bent, right foot leading, arms out to the side for balance and began a beautiful stride. In the middle of the ice, I felt a "catch" in my left groin accompanied by a sharp pain (from a groin pull I had been unable to shake) and involuntarily pulled up in a reflex reaction. Of course, this was all I needed to lose my balance. Both feet flew out in front of me and time appeared to stand still as I looked up into the starry sky, spread eagled, parallel to the earth. Everything in slow motion. There was no fighting it. I remember smiling and saying to myself, "There's nothing you can do to stop this, just relax and tuck your chin on your chest to see if you can avoid landing on your head." At the peak of my flight, I remember the conversation with myself continuing, "You jerk, what made you think of doing something like this at the age of 47?" I was laughing on the way down over the absurdity of what was happening. CRASH. I landed on my back and my head snapped back, shattering the ice and creating a beautiful fractured spiderweb design. At least there was some "give" because of the water under the ice, as opposed to hard asphalt!
I lay there laughing as my sister rushed to my aid. I could not believe that I did what I did and suffered what should have been a predictable consequence. She could not believe I was laughing. I was truly tickled by the slow motion experience....no broken bones or injuries of any kind other than a little bit of a knot on my skull. Good hard head. Last time I'm going to try something like that!
During an annual physical with my internist just a week or two later, I complained of that groin pull that I couldn't seem to get rid of. He correctly diagnosed arthritis of the hip (didn't know my groin was anywhere near my hip!) and sent me off to a specialist. The orthopedic diagnosis was crystal clear: "Let's try to keep that joint moving as much as we can... but you can expect a hip replacement operation one day as the arthritis results in a gradual loss of range of motion. At some point the combination of pain and the inability to tie shoes or put on socks will make it clear that surgery is the best choice. It's up to you. See you then." Since I was 47 and hip replacements weren't projected to last more than 15 years or so, he suggested l wait as long as possible. He also made it clear that hip surgery was serious stuff and should not be taken as likely as arthroscopic knee surgery.
There's no question that my condition was the result of many years of being a championship level softball pitcher. My left leg was my landing leg which had to tolerate the considerable forces involved in throwing a bail at pretty high speeds. Ten years previously, I had arthroscopic surgery on my left knee to clean up the result of sports overuse and abuse. But the fun of having been able to play softball at the international level was well worth it! So the diagnosis was no surprise.
The Decision to Have Surgery
Aggressive physical therapy proved to be a problem in that I was regularly throwing out my sacroiliac (lower back). I gradually lost the ability to play tennis or work out on my treadmill without pain. My ilial-tibial band (the musculature that runs up the side of your leg - ankle to hip) would often seize up in a cramp-like way, hurting from hip to ankle. Whenever rain came I knew it first by the deep aching that would start in my left buttock. This hip arthritis thing was no fun. l was unaware that it had actually changed my gait. People would ask me why I was limping and 1didn't even realize I was. I was trying to compensate in ways that simply weren't healthy - a limp, putting my back out of line, putting too much pressure on my right, good knee. All of this was happening in small increments - my body trying to make adjustments because my hip wasn't able to move in the ways it was supposed to. I would guess that most people who knew me weren't aware of any of this. I probably moved as quickly as I ever did.
After being very active and athletic all of my life, my exercise routine was limited to walking (often with a limp) and kayaking. I couldn't even play golf using a cart, without hitting a pain barrier by the 10' or 11' hole. While I loved discovering the new sport of paddling and the joy of being outdoors with good friends in beautiful country (no whitewater please...just quiet water and great scenery), it became obvious that my hip made it incredibly difficult to get myself in and out of a kayak. Folding one's body requires hip flexion. 1 also had that unpredictable "catch" in my groin that was probably the result of an arthritic spur twanging on adjacent muscle. I could just imagine it producing an unlucky fall. I travel a lot and sitting in planes for long periods was a painful experience as was the result of an all-out run to make a flight. Daily life activities were becoming progressively "not fun".
The decrease in the range of motion of my hip joint was particularly depressing. I simply could not bring my foot up to tie my shoe, put on a sock or clip my toe nails without grabbing onto my ankle and painfully tugging my foot upward and trying to keep it there so I could barely manipulate a sock or shoe on. It was a 3-4 minute painful ordeal every morning and the same at night trying to get my shoes off.
So, almost five years to the day of my original diagnosis, I made the decision to have surgery. It wasn't the pain. I could have tolerated that for a few more years I think. It was more the realization that I was getting more and more out of line, skeletally, and was probably going to run into a significant back or opposite knee problem. I had definitely reached the point where I could not continue to play sports and be physically active. It was also a quality of life decision. I am an Italian who loves to eat. Limiting food intake to control weight and offset exercise limitations was simply not an option. I figured that surgery was preferable to becoming a whale or denying myself good food.
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Being a career woman with a heavy travel and meeting schedule, I had to clear out at least four to five weeks on my calendar of absolutely no travel and three to four weeks being out of the office. I felt that December 15 to January 15 was perfect. There were two weeks in there where I wouldn't normally travel and holidays took up a bunch of time. I had plenty of vacation time coming. So, on December 1 I went to my surgeon and said, let's do it. We found a good surgery date (December 15) in my window and I was off!
I didn't realize how much preparation there was to having major surgery. First, the matter of blood - realizing that I would be losing a bunch of it before, during and after the operation. From people taking it out of you for tests to losing it from the surgeon slicing into me. The hip is a really deep thing. Under all that rear end muscle and fat, way down in there is that ball and socket joint. There was going to be a lot of cutting to get to where the surgeon needed to be and I was told that the loss of one to two pints was normal. I was instructed to go to a blood bank and to give two units so my own blood could be used during surgery. I said, "Like two units all at once?" I was told that I could give one unit one week and one unit the next but that there was a new way to give blood that would allow me to do it in one trip. I was fascinated by the thought. Sign me up! Let me see this!
Let me say this, if you don't like people taking blood from you, don't do surgery. Pin prick 01 was part of filling out the blood bank papers. Just a little finger tip prick with a little implement that sounded like a stapler. No pain. Pretty easy. They had to see if my hemoglobin levels were high enough. Then the old rubber tube around the arm, squeeze your fist a few times and stick a needle in the crook of my arm for a few tubes of blood for testing. Did I say a few? Like four tubes worth. I found out that I had great veins. Technicians were very impressed. They would say, "Ohh, what great veins you have." (like Little Red Riding Hood to the big bad wolf, Ohh, what big teeth you have." Same inflection.) From that point on, whenever anyone came to my room to take blood, I would say, "No sweat, you are really going to love my veins." ... and they did!
Then I was invited to enjoy the blood bank's recliner for the actual blood donation. It was a really incredible experience. First, I offered the great vein of my other arm for the needle. They took the first unit - deep maroon. Out it would go into a box-like machine with bags hanging all over and a spaghetti-like mountain of clear plastic tubing. They explained that blood emptied into a centrifuge where all the platelets and red blood cells (the heavy stuff) was spun out into a collection bag, leaving just plasma (the watery pink stuff) behind. Then the machine reversed and pumped the plasma (light pink) back into my veins. The sensation of plasma returning was "cold." It had obviously cooled off once it left my body. Then they took another unit and the process was repeated. So I gave two units worth of red blood cells and platelets but they gave me back the equivalent of one unit of plasma. Amazing. Before pulling the tubes out, the technician poured some more blood into three test tubes.
Then the best part, as much orange juice and cookies as I wanted. Not bad, a couple of units of blood for a snack!
When I returned to work, my co-workers said I looked pale. But I felt fine.
Had to take day off from work for more preoperative stuff. I had a complete physical, gave more blood, filled out no less than four medical questionnaires (all of which asked the same questions), had chest x-rays and went to a class on recovery. Wherever I went, a person would ask, "What hip are you having replaced." Must have had that question 15 times.
The two-hour class for patients who were about to have their hips replaced was really very good. There was a lot of time spent on the "don'ts" until we were sufficiently scared about getting our new hips into compromising positions. It wasn't hard to understand. "Your knee must remain below the level of your hip. Don't get into 90 degree flexion of the hip (as in a normal sitting position) or you might dislocate your hip." Forget about bending over at the waist to pick up anything from the floor. Lean back when you are sitting. Sit on a high chair (or put some pillows on your seat or get a special chair). Don't cross your legs! Don't move your operated leg past the midline of your body! If you do, you risk dislocation." I got it!!! Real quick.
Nurses and physical therapists explained the gifts we would receive after surgery:
· the "seat" - a toilet seat that sits on top of a regular toilet seat, raising it about 6-8 inches...to make sure you don't sit down into that 90 degree angle.
· the "claw" - a three foot long contraption with a gun-like handle at one end and a claw at the other. Do you remember going to the local grocery store and using a long stick with a grabber at one end to get a can off a high shelf? Same thing. Very handy. My 5 year old nephew loved it.
· the "horn"... a 3 foot long shoe horn to help get in and out of shoes
· elastic shoelaces - so you would never have to untie or tie your shoes...just lift the tongue of the shoe with your claw and slip your foot in...makes any tie shoe a loafer! Hint for putting on shoes: Grab the tongue of your shoe with your claw and place the shoehorn in the heel simultaneously. Then slip your toe in under the claw and slide your heel down the shoe horn.
· the "sock-putter-oner"... a plastic sheet with two strings tied to each comer....roll up the sheet into a cylinder, thread your sock over it... drop the sock cylinder to the floor holding on to the two strings... put your foot in the cylinder and pull back with the strings to slip the plastic cylinder out of the sock. Ingenious. But three hints: (1) don't put the heel of the sock over the edge of the cylinder because you won't be able to pull the cylinder out and (2) after threading the sock on, put a little powder in it to help your foot slide in and, (3) before stepping into the cylinder, widen it as much as you can so your foot easily slips in.
Where were all of these aids when I couldn't tie my shoes before the operation?????
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Monday, Dec. 14, Preoperative Torture
I could only eat liquids the day before surgery and nothing after 12 midnight. Enough said.
Tuesday, Dec. 15, The Operation
Walked into the hospital the day of surgery. Gave up my clothes for that cute little hospital gown that doesn't close where it should. They gave my hip a shave. Took more blood. Taped a big sign on my right hip, "NOT THIS HIP and wrote NO with a ball point pen just in case the sign came off...to make sure the surgeon did the right one (which was the left one!). I thought this was a good precaution.
Met my anesthesiologist who asked me my druthers re: sleeping through surgery or staying awake. I told her I would like to hear everything and be aware of what was going on but l also wanted to feel totally unconcerned and happy. She said, "sure thing!"
And then I was carted away into this ice cold operating room...b-r-r-r-r-r...where they lay me on my side and spent close to 30 minutes getting me into the right positions and tying me down. I had a seat belt! I must have slept for 10 minutes (a sedative) and didn't feel the epidural at all (the needle in the spine through which they put the anesthesia so you are numb from the waist down). I was elated that there would be no "general anesthesia," which what really makes you sick after surgery. About 5 minutes into the operation I was fully conscious but a little dazed...not real sharp...slurring my words a little as I tried to carry on a conversation with the anesthesiologist.
I couldn't see a thing because there was a big blue drape between me and the operating team. So, I just asked the anesthesiologist what was going on and she gave me a play-by-play. I had absolutely no sensation of movement below the waist. I thought I was in a fetal position the entire time when I'm sure they were twisting the heck out of the leg they were operating on. It was very peaceful and no longer cold. I had a nice warm blanket over my shoulders. Very cozy.
The sounds were very interesting. It sounded just like a dentist's office... like the dentist was preparing a tooth to receive a filling. The only other sound was when they hammered the titanium ball into my femur which was like a metal hammer banging on metal. I could feel vibrations coming up my spine but no pain at all. Very comfy cozy. I asked the anesthesiologist what they were doing and she said they were gluing something in...and sure enough, I smelled super glue!
The operation itself only took one hour from first cut to close. I was really glad l stayed awake. As time wore on, I got less and less fuzzy and better able to communicate. The anesthesiologist and I agreed that this was really the way to go. I felt absolutely no pain at all. Nothing.
They tossed me onto the gurney after the operation - not really...they carefully transferred me!!!... and rolled me off to the recovery room where they took a hip x-ray while I was lying there. My surgeon walked in and told me everything went fine and showed me the x-ray. I told him it was beautiful (but what did I know?). They brought me a phone and I spoke to my sister who was in the waiting room. Told her I was fine and in no pain and that I'd see her in my room in an hour or so. It was incredibly efficient. My sister couldn't believe how normal I sounded and I couldn't believe how well I felt. I was tired but not in any pain at all
Got up to my room. Told my sister I was fine and that I'd call her the next day. Picked up the phone and called my parents and told them "no sweat ...easy stuff... amazing.
Started working out by simply flexing and extending my feet 20 times/once an hour. Very easy. Tightening my buttocks 10 times once and hour and pressing knees to the bed 10 times once an hour. I would do these exercises throughout my stay and none of them caused pain.
Wednesday, Dec. 16, Worst Day
Everyone kept asking me to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest. Everyone was into pain not being good. For this I was grateful. On day 1, my answers were all 0 . On Day 2, I went from the intravenous pain medicine (through the spinal tube) to pain medicine by pill. During this transition was the only time I really felt pain and it was really pain by choice. I got off the intravenous and waited to take the pain pill because I didn't want to take a pain pill on an empty stomach and risk getting nauseated. I had to wait till my stomach gurgled enough to make everyone comfortable about me eating crackers. So, I got up to 5 on that pain scale. None of it was really acute pain. It was more an aching soreness. Once I got to the pain pills, all pain was totally controllable and l never got above a 1 or 2 on the pain scale. Not bad if you ask me. No pain after they make a foot long slice into your buttocks, dislocate your hip by yanking your leg out, saw off the knob of your femur, carve Up the socket on your pelvis to the specifications of the new cup they will insert, pop that old leg back in and then sew you up layer by layer until they put those 28 staples on the outside so you'll look appealing to Frankenstein. Unbelievable.
Day 2 was significant in that moved from a jello/tea/juice liquid diet for breakfast and lunch to soft foods for dinner. Big deal...now I could have yogurt, custard, oatmeal and soup. Hey... but anything was better than the jello!
Stayed with the in-bed exercises. By this time I was really tired of being on my back for two days. So I asked the nurses to turn me on my side and it was such a relief. One lifted my leg as I rolled over. That was a bit painful, but no more than a 3. Had to keep two pillows between my legs of course and there was a real sensation of tightness across my operated hip and down to my knee and a bit of pain... but nothing to offset the relief of being on my back. Pleasure comes from such little things. Slept like a baby for 2 hours.
Day 2 was disappointing because I felt great lying down and wanted to get up. However, when the physical therapist came with the walker and I sat up, l got dizzy and had to lay down again. l tried again, sitting and dangling feet...still felt dizzy, stood and took one step with a walker before deciding that the better part of valor was to lay down again. Pain level = 1...no pain at all in hip. All the soreness is muscular....upper thigh and hamstrings. Just that damn dizziness. I was very disappointed that I could not get Up.
So, I did a lot of experimenting with that operated leg instead...just seeing to what extent I could move it. It felt like it weighed 150 lbs. and that there was no way I could lift it. But with a little effort, I could prop myself up on my elbows and slide my heel to the edge of the bed. Definitely sore muscles that wanted to cramp on the outside of the operated leg. But once you got past that initial realization, moving it wasn't any more painful than getting the slide started.
Having upper body strength was a tremendous advantageous when in came to getting out of bed myself, changing my position in bed, etc. Because my leg felt so heavy and I couldn't lift it, I was really pushing my body around with my arms. I'd really recommend upper body strength exercises for all hip surgery prospects.
Thursday, Dec. 17, Walker Woman
Day 3 was significant in that I moved from the soft food diet to regular meals (turkey with stuffing for lunch was especially good). It was also the day I turned the comer physically. No dizziness at all. I figured out how to get out of bed with the least possible soreness (lots of sliding and pushing your body around with your arms) and I could go anywhere I wanted on a walker, getting out of bed myself whenever I wanted to...pain =1...sore muscles only...the kind of pain you need an aspirin for...went to the bathroom myself (no catheter)...brushed my teeth and gave myself a spongebath at the sink...just felt all around capable again. I roamed the halls with my walker and was ready to go home, but knew I couldn't leave until I was on a cane and managing stairs.
That's not to say there were no side effects from surgery. Every time I did walk, it was totally exhausting. But I felt that I could walk around home and be totally exhausted as easily as I could do it in the hospital. However, they want to keep you around a bit because they like you. Only kidding. They're worried about things like blood clots and fever (sign of infection) and need time to get enough tests done to make sure there are no complications.
It's amazing that my appetite wasn't very good thoughout my hospital stay. I don't think I finished one meal and it wasn't a statement about the quality of the food. Rather, I think my body wasn't really interested in food. I was sluggish enough. I did a lot of sleeping and dozing and felt that mentally I wasn't very sharp. I tired easily. Didn't want to do a lot of thinking. I wanted to be sharper intellectually and really couldn't shake this feeling of exhaustion. It's amazing how much surgery must take out of you simply by virtue of shocking the system.
Friday, Dec. 18, D-Day!
I was really excited about how good my hip felt. twas fully weight-bearing on my left leg. Could walk with a close to normal gait with my cane. Learned how to go up and down stairs...no pain at all walking...only the muscles they pulled and tugged at were sore. The toughest thing I did that day was to try to find the doctor to sign my discharge papers after the physical therapist told me I could go home as far as she was concerned.
But, by 8 pm I was packed and signed out. It was an adventure figuring out how to get into a car without getting your hips into that prohibited 90 degree angle. Here's the solution. Put the passenger seat back down, put a couple of pillows on the seat and stand with your back to the side of the passenger seat. Step up with your good leg.
With your arms in back of you propping you up, lean back like you are going to do a back dive into the driver's seat and drag your buttocks across the seat and into the car. While you are doing this, ask someone to hold up the left (operated side) leg you can't lift because it weighs 150 lbs. Then have someone reach between your legs (preferably someone you know) to pull the pillows back under you that you pushed off the passenger seat during the back dive to the driver's seat. Now you are on top of the pillows, squarely on the seat with your legs hanging out the passenger door, operated leg held by a good friend. Now the challenge is to turn to face the front of the car. Push up with your arms, raising your buttocks as the person holding your left leg bends it and places it on the passenger side floor as you rotate to face the front of the car. Your are sweating from the effort, but feeling very accomplished. Lean back and fall asleep during the drive home.
It is much easier getting out than in. The first time is the worst because you have to figure out how to do it. I think someone should put this description in our Total Hip Replacement manual. Practice wouldn't hurt! Then again, you are so anxious to leave the hospital, there's no doubt you can figure it out!
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All in all, it took five more days (10 total) to get my head back on my shoulders to the point where I could concentrate enough to write this. Thank God my focus came back!!!! It's not good writing but I'll take an A+ for persistence. It was also pretty amazing to me to realize how tired walking and exercise made me...and therefore made thinking and working on the computer more difficult. It is a good three weeks before everything feels back to normal.
Physical therapy is not hard. It just requires stick-to-it-ness - period, end of story. You can't procrastinate. Treat it like a team practice. I have practice at 10 am and 3 pm and if I'm late I have to do pushups which I really hate to do. You realize that if you do as much as you can every day, each successive time you are able to do more. I particularly liked making circles with my ankles (this is really one of the exercises!). I particularly hated leg lifts of any kind (because of that 150 lb. leg). In order to guard again the inevitable muscle soreness from exercise, I was friendly with my pain pills. I hate pain and believe it is totally non-functional. Sore muscles = pain. So, 1 hour before each exercise bout, I'll take a pain pill and will take it with food (such a good excuse to eat).
I'm doing two PT sessions a day and really don't need anyone to watch over me because I'm an honest counter (really!) You don't like it. You just do it.
About 16 days after surgery, I started to do a walk outside immediately after my morning PT. I found that walking was the best exercise in that it involved so many more muscle groups and was very fatiguing. I was so cautious that I am sure the fatigue was caused by tightening more muscle groups than I needed to. But the walk was such a good workout and so totally exhausting, that I really must recommend it. Don't kill yourself. Walk until you recognize you are tired, then head back. Stop whenever you want to relax your tight and tense muscles. Then ice down as soon as you get back inside.
Hint: You really need two 8" x 14" ice gel packs. After each exercise bout, sit on one and put one over your incision and wrap it onto your upper thigh. Drop the gel pack in a pillow case before you put it near your skin...because they are very cold!!!! Then wrap yourself in a blanket and drink a cup of tea to keep warm. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr for 20-30 minutes. Cookies go well with tea!
Night shirts are a must...flannel if its winter...with a cotton t-shirt underneath. Forget about underwear...too much trouble to get in and out of...and why bother? You aren't really going anywhere. For outdoor walks, you need underwear and a pair of cotton sweatpants with an elastic waistband. Wear a pair of men's boxer undershorts instead of taping gauze over your incision. It works just as well and is nicer on your skin.
Sitting is very uncomfortable for the first two weeks because you can't sit normally. If you sit in a high chair or on top of pillows, your bad leg is dangling or you are leaning back (so you can avoid the prohibited 90 degree deal). I also didn't like sitting because if fluid is going to collect in your legs after exercise, it'll do it if you are sitting or standing still - especially around the knees and ankles. Neither do you want to be in bed all day - very boring and not good for circulation. I felt like I had plenty of time on my back. So, I spent most of my time in a recliner (i.e. lazyboy). Push back and your legs are level, supported and very comfortable...yet you aren't lying flat. Put a pillow on the recliner so you are sitting on it and when you go to get up you aren't at 90 degrees.
Make sure you get up every hour and do walking laps around the house. It's okay to pass the refrigerator or the dishes of holiday cookies on this route.
Sleeping in the recliner is fine. I alternated between bed and the recliner every night just for a change of pace and scenery. I didn't sleep through the night until day 15... but it's not a matter of pain - rather being uncomfortable because of lack of choices over sleeping positions. No problem though. Since I'm home recuperating, I can snooze anytime I want to. So there is no sense in getting upset about not being able to sleep the entire night. Keep a good book by the reading lamp. Sleep when you are tired.
Sore muscle groups seemed to change every couple of days. Top of the thighs one day. Soon as the theraband resistance exercises where added, the buttocks and outside of the thigh were focal points. Walking was definitely the center of your buttocks to the outside of your buttocks. As one muscle group tires, an adjacent one picks up the slack. So, don't be surprised as the muscle tightness or soreness changes as your recovery moves along. It's important to pay attention to what your body is telling you. It's one thing to let a muscle get a little crampy because it is overtired. Pain is a very different feeling. If a muscle does get a little cramp in it, stop immediately and let it relax. It'll go away in an instant...don't try to push through it. Rest it and give it time to recover. Pain is a no-no. Stop trying to do that exercise if you have pain...go back to it the next day and do it first when you are all rested.
Most women don't like letting their legs get hairy. Don't let a friend help with a razor and shaving gel. Blood is not good! Get an electric razor and let the friend help! Then you can relax during the process!
One of the things I wanted initially was for someone to massage my thigh muscle above the knee. It was sore. Fluid had accumulated a little. It just seemed that having someone rub it with a little oil would feel totally wonderful. Well, this is really a no-no because you don't want to knock loose any blood clots.
All in all... not a terrible experience. It was very interesting, as a matter of fact. Thanks to all of you for your help and good wishes. Hope you enjoyed this rendition of the trials and tribulations of a new bionic woman...
Reprinted by permission of Dr. Lopiano.
Donna Lopiano is currently the Executive Director of the Women's Sports Foundation. According to The Sporting News, she is listed as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in Sports." She received her Bachelor's degree from Southern Connecticut State University and her Master's and Doctoral degrees from the University of Southern California. She has been a college coach of men's and women's volleyball, and women's basketball, and softball.
As an athlete, she participated in 26 national championships in four sports and was a nine-time All-American at four different positions in softball, a sport in which she played on six national championship teams. She is a member of the National Sports Hall of Fame, the National Softball Hall of Fame and the Texas Women's Hall of Fame among others.
Dr. Lopiano previously served as the University of Texas Director of Women's Athletics (17 years), and the President of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. She is currently a member of the United States Olympic Committees Executive Board. (1/01)
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