Postcard from Skiathos

I’ve just returned from a week on the lovely island of Skiathos in Greece. It’s been three years since my first visit and I’ve always wanted to go back. You can see why. But the stunning scenery is just one of the island’s attractions. The Greek people are incredibly warm, generous, passionate and full of good-humour.

Glorious SkiathosSkiathos with boatIt turned out to be an interesting trip.

I’d checked the weather before I went and saw that thunderstorms were forecast. Concerned that the steel rod in my thigh might turn out to be the perfect lightning conductor, I thought I’d better be prepared. So I googled ‘surviving a lightning storm’ and found some great advice from the US military, which I’ve paraphrased below.

Step 1 – Take cover (really?).

Step 2 – If you can’t find cover, crouch down on the balls of your feet, put your head between your knees, cover your ears and hold your breath. (Ha! See – I knew all that kung fu training would come in handy for something.)

Step 3 – If you feel a prickling sensation on the back of your neck, see (2) and pray (better make it short).

Day one – cue thunderstorm. Eager as ever to make the most of every minute on holiday, I decided to visit a monastery in the mountains. When I emerged, I was horrified to see that the steep stony slope down to the bus had morphed into a slick, fast-flowing stream. I’d trained for a lightning strike but the prospect of sliding down the hill on my (half-new) backside left me rooted to the spot like Bambi.

The bus driver, bless him, took my caution for fear of getting my hair wet and promptly ran up the slope to me carrying an UMBRELLA! I could almost hear the collective groan of the US military. Nonetheless, his supportive arm was very reassuring.

Having survived the storm unscathed, I decided to visit a great fish restaurant overlooking Skiathos harbour.

“I bring lamp, just for you,” growled the waiter.

That’s nice, I thought.

Only when I glanced round to see other people dining in the semi-darkness did alarm bells began to ring. Oh God, here we go.

45 minutes later, having bolted down an excellent grilled octopus, I managed to make my escape, having reassured whatever-his-name-was that no, I was not cold (I’m from England, for God’s sake) and no, I did not need to borrow his jacket, and no, I did not need a lift back to the hotel on the back of his bloody moped. I really thought these sorts of shenanigans were way behind me, along with my youth. I put it down to end-of-season desperation.

But sometimes things can go too far. I feel duty bound to warn women who decide to visit the gorgeous Agia Eleni beach to avoid the cafe there. The man who runs it is predatory, persistent and, according to a local woman I spoke to,  ‘dangerous’. I believe her. This unpleasant encounter was the first time I’ve ever found myself wondering what the Greek police would consider to be ‘reasonable force’. By all means visit this beautiful beach, ladies. Just remember to take a picnic…

There was one nut I was determined to crack before leaving Skiathos. I suppose I can’t really blame the bus conductor for being grumpy – she must have endured a long season listening to foreign visitors speaking to her slowly and loudly in their own languages. She did, though, take grouchy to a whole new level. After an early feeble effort to explain where I wanted to go, which resulted in me being dropped well away from my destination, I was determined not to be beaten. I studied the phrase book and, as luck would have it, she was on shift for my last bus trip of the holiday. Resplendent in yellow and green, her face a picture of world-weary misery, she stalked up the aisle perfecting her scowl with every step. But I was poised. I was ready. She stopped and cast me a bored,cursory glance.

“Yes?”

“Ee-STAHssee EEkosee PEHNdeh pahrahkahLO!” I trumpeted.

I swear the old Gorgon almost almost cracked a smile.

Signed off

A year after my operation and I was back at the Derby Royal Hospital (now immortalised by the  BBC in ‘Superhospital’) for an x-ray and a chat with one of the consulting team. The doctor asked how I’d been.

I thought he’d want details so I told him that my foot is more prone to swelling, my balance is a bit off, it’s uncomfortable to lie on my side on hard surfaces (as I discovered while trying to paint a skirting board) and there is some swelling in my hip. This had actually been my biggest concern – there is no visible swelling externally, but things definitely feel a bit ‘off’ on the inside, if you get my drift.

I didn’t bother telling him that I pick my way around uneven pavements like Bambi, that I can now spot a pothole from 100 metres, or that I have a whole new paranoia about kids on bikes and scooters. The doctor is a busy orthopaedics specialist, after all, not a shrink. He was also starting to glaze over.

He said that without examining me he couldn’t make a comment about the swelling, but that if there was an infection, I’d know about it. For a fleeting moment, I thought about inviting him to examine me. But it was late, and hot, and neither of us was really in the mood. Besides, none of these minor niggles prevent me from doing anything I really want to do. The only side-effect I’d have been seriously worried about was if I had emerged from surgery with my legs at different lengths. While an extra six inches on both legs would have been nice, that would have been a different procedure altogether.

The doctor explained that sometimes, during the operation, “the muscles don’t go back in quite the same way” but he agreed with my hopeful suggestion that things can settle down in time, especially as the muscles continue to develop through exercise. All the other minor side-effects I described are perfectly normal. I assured him I wasn’t complaining. I am, after all, truly grateful for being given my life back.

“It says on your notes that you want to go back to ‘gentle’ kung fu,” he said. I told him that (with the consultant’s permission) I’d been back in training for some months. He gave me a long look.

“We don’t really like people to do high-impact exercise,” he said. I assured him that my days of trying to master the jumping spinning kick were far behind me. Besides, as any close observer of martial arts films will know, a determined kick to the knee and a well-place elbow almost anywhere (my personal favourite) will usually get the job done

elbow strike

Having broken the news that I’m also back in Salsa and Argentine Tango classes, I asked if there is anything I definitely shouldn’t be doing. “Well, I’d prefer it if you didn’t take up marathon running if you haven’t done it before,” he said.

It is in the end, as he explained, a trade-off. The surgeons understandably want people to take care of their new hips (which I’ve been very careful to do) but the whole point of the operation is to provide a better quality of life than before the surgery. After all, he pointed out philosophically, you could leave the hospital today, only to get hit by a bus. “But I’m sure we could fix you if that happened.” I think he was starting to warm to me.

I took a deep breath: “So, it’s OK if I have a go at abseiling?”

Another long look.

“Just don’t fall off.”

Abseil

And that’s it for the next four years, unless there are any complications. But having just completed a three mile walk on a wet bank holiday weekend, with little more than a ‘good’ ache, I’m hopeful things are going to be OK.

From Bramcote to Buenos Aires

As we walked into Bramcote Memorial Hall in Nottinghamshire, it was hard to see how this was to be the dance venue for a night of Argentine tango. The bright lights and cold white walls were not exactly conducive to recreating the steamy, moody fleshpots of old Buenos Aires.

My partner and I had said we would help the instructors set up the room for the evening, before we had a private lesson. The instructors only come to Nottingham once a month from London, so we feel very privileged to have them. I’m not sure they feel quite the same way about us…

Back to the room. I would never have thought it possible to conjure atmosphere from the contents of a few bags and boxes but, in less than an hour, the blinding white lights were muted with orange fabric; tables and chairs had been arranged, complete with purple and cerise tablecloths, candles and flowers; standard lamps had been erected, lights were dimmed and music was playing. Time for the lesson.

My partner and I were separated and I was taken under the wing of our charismatic female instructor, Cidinha. She told me I was going to learn to walk. Brilliant. A walking lesson. Obviously I’m not yet ready for all the fancy kicks and flicks you see on Strictly Come Dancing.

Still, we all have to start somewhere and (frankly) what Cidinha says, goes. A tiny, elegant, bird-like Brazilian, she manages to be fierce, funny, and warm all at the same time. Most of all, she’s  passionate about the tango. With Cidinha, you don’t just learn the steps – you start to get to the real magic of the dance.

Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of magic in my walk, at least not in the way Cidinha demonstrated it. I like to think there was a little artistic license in her impersonation but I was still a bit put out to see an image of a docker with a hangover stomping towards me.

I spent the next half hour walking up and down the hall, in tango hold, with Cidinha, who first demonstrated the kind of walk she wanted. She looked like an exotic big cat, stalking its prey. so I got into ‘stalk’ mode and, let me tell you, it’s not easy. We started (pretty obviously) with my legs, as I practised propelling myself from the back leg, straightening both legs, then bringing the back leg to the front one, sweeping the floor gently with the toe, then bending both knees slightly before starting the next step (without bobbing up and down). If you think it sounds simple – try it.

Now try doing it very slowly and in perfect balance. My weakened, atrophied muscles were starting to protest and the problem I’m having with balance kicked in again as I wobbled and was forced to hang on to a table. Very cat-like. What a work-out.

Then there’s the body. “Lengthen that lovely neck,” says Cidinha. (Whose? Mine?) Straighten the back, lower the shoulders, and move forwards with intent. “Always intent.”

“You dance from the heart, and you can’t dance if your heart is….” (she searched for the word, rubbing her fingers against her thumb). ”

“Pinched?” I offered.

“Yes!”

So I walked with intent, and as I stretched my spine and opened my chest I felt, just for a moment, elegant.

“Yes! YES!” she said.

My moment didn’t last long, but it was a start. Then my partner came over, fresh from his walking lesson with the male instructor.

“That looked brilliant!” he said. “But you were walking forwards.”

“So?”

“When you’re dancing,” he pointed out, “you’ll have to walk backwards!”

Every silver lining…

Confidence for life

I’m finally back into black sash training, which is brilliant, but daunting, as I now have to re-learn everything I’ve forgotten while I’ve been out of action for the past couple of years. 

The syllabus for my next grade includes the Chinese broadsword. This has never been my favourite weapon (I prefer knives) and I immediately have a sense of deja vu as my wrist starts aching with the effort of trying to rotate the sword while keeping it close to my body, but without lopping my own ear off.

And then there are the kicks. At this stage, many of the kicks are done in a low stance, which means doing them as if you’re sitting on a very low stool (if only!). The idea is to strengthen the legs while delivering crippling kicks to the opponent’s knees. Very sneaky. And very effective when it’s done properly. The kicks also have to be delivered with artistry and a bit of elegance, of course. It all requires precision, power and – balance. Unfortunately I am somewhat deficient in the balance department since I had the new hip, as I’ve mentioned before.

Chinese Kongfu

Trust me when I tell you it’s really difficult to show precision and power when you’re prone to a bit of a wobble. I’m fast reaching the conclusion that, while my strength, muscle definition and fitness are all improving really well, regaining my sense of balance is going to take a lot of time, work and patience.  

Apparently, this is all to do with something called proprioception. Basically (with apologies to any medics who may be reading) this means that, when the damaged bits of the hip are removed, so are some nerves, or receptors, which effectively tell the brain where the hip is and what it’s doing. As my hip is now essentially a nerve-free zone, my brain and shiny new prosthetic are going to have to learn how to get in sync again.  I don’t notice it much at all in my daily life – just when practising kung fu or dancing. It’s a bit frustrating, but a very small price to pay indeed for getting my life back. 

And, after all, you don’t have to be able to perform low kicks and twirl a sword to be effective at kung fu. My club’s motto is ‘confidence for life’ – and that’s exactly what martial arts gives people. Before I had to start walking with a stick I had genuine confidence while out and about because I knew I could take care of myself.

I once had what you might call a ‘frank exchange of views’ with a builder who was trying to insist on payment before a job was finished. Apparently he was off for a weekend in Amsterdam with the lads (make of that what you will). The man was so big he practically filled my tiny kitchen. Now I didn’t begrudge the chap his fun but I wasn’t daft enough to pay for a job before it was finished just because he needed beer money (at least I think it was beer, but I could be wrong – this was Amsterdam he was talking about, after all). So I made him wait for his money – of course he didn’t know that I knew exactly where to hit him if things got a bit nasty, but I did. I also knew I could, and would, do it if I had to. Inner confidence from learning the skills of self-defence is a very heady brew indeed. 

That confidence took a huge knock when I couldn’t move properly. I felt especially vulnerable on my walks after the operation, when I was still using a crutch and when my ‘minder’ couldn’t be with me. I found myself working out how I could turn the crutch into a weapon. Then I practised doing just that with my minder when he was around. I think I was going through a bit of a Jackie Chan phase.    

It’s great to have all that behind me now, and I would urge anyone to learn kung fu – or any martial art – because it gives you a physical and mental confidence you can’t get any other way, right from the day you start. Kung fu is for anyone, no matter what age you are, no matter whether you’re tall, short, fat, thin, balletic, or completely unco-ordinated. Every physical challenge can be overcome with training – even a major operation.

Go on – give it a go. I dare you!  

Sticks and stones…

I’m now on my fourth kung fu class since my operation and things are improving – slightly. I’m now managing to kick to knee height (heady days) and doing better in the warm-ups. But my muscles are still weak and I can tell balance is going to be a problem for quite a while. I’m also cursed with an over-active imagination. It has a habit of painting all manner of unpleasant pictures in my mind which can really knock my confidence.

“What happens if you stretch too much and dislocate your nice shiny new hip?” asks my imagination.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” I mutter (to myself, of course).

“OK – what happens if you try to spin on the carpet in your training shoes and your dodgey leg gets stuck and you dislocate your nice shiny new hip?” my imagination taunts.

“Just SHUT it!” I reply.

But the image lingers and, apparently, this can actually be a bit of an issue when you’re recovering from a hip operation. It happens when your shoes have too much of a grip on the floor. The rest of your body moves but you kind of leave your hip behind. You wouldn’t notice doing it under normal circumstances, but because the hip’s still weak, it can be pretty uncomfortable. I normally prefer to train bare-foot, but it’s still a bit cold and I’m wimping out in my martial arts shoes. So now, instead of turning by spinning, I turn round using tiny little baby steps. A bit like a clockwork toy. Very elegant.

I need a confidence boost. Cue our resident female instructor: a short, strong, pensioner – and very scary. “Fancy doing a bit of stick defence?” she asks. I think about it. No spinning required – just the satisfying ‘thwack’ of wood on wood (if you get it right). It’s a no-brainer.

We each grab a six-foot oak pole from the weapons stand. It’s been a while since I’ve done this so Jean re-teaches me the technique. It looks pretty simple if you’ve never done it, but it’s deceptive. The key is to ‘feed’ the stick through your hands so you can reach your opponent without getting too close and being battered around the head. But although Jean has a magnificently intimidating glare, she’s infintely patient if she’s knows you’re trying. We go backwards and forwards, taking it in turns to attack and defend.

“Just relax and remember to FEED THE STICK!” she reminds me. Relax. Feed the stick. OK. Thwack, thwack. We’re not Robin Hood and Little John, but this is starting to feel good.

After a while of practise, we notice that I’m starting to anticipate the strikes, so Jean mixes it up a bit. Strike one, strike two, strike three – then an unanticipated pause. What’s she doing? Then three quick flurries which really test my reflexes.

“You didn’t anticipate THAT, did you?!”

I’m unbruised. That’ll do for now.

47 Steps

“The muscles in your buttock have atrophied,” announces my osteopath. Charming.

“Can you give me any exercises for that?” I ask.

“Ever heard of kung fu?”

Yep. It’s time to get back in the game. I’ve done a little tentative training in private but need to re-join regular classes. So I find myself, on a bitterly cold Sunday morning when anyone with any sense is still hibernating, hauling my kit bag up the 47 steps to the training hall at Derby Martial Arts Centre. I counted them. You’d think that  47 steps would be enough of a warm-up but, as usual, it’s colder in the building than it is outside.

It’s been 18 months since I did any serious training because of the pain from my hip. It’s been over a year since I did any training at all and I miss it. I especially miss my playing with my butterfly knives. First things first, though, I think as I get changed – better get through this beginners’ class. I pull on the neoprene knee supports, which make me look like a two-legged race-horse. Then comes the neoprene wrist support (my creaky bits are many and varied) and I try to remember in what order everything else goes on.

I can see the breath in front of my face as I go into the training hall, and feel I’ve come home. We start with the obligatory warm-up and I make a mental note to thank the instructor for forgetting to include star jumps (never a good look for me). I manage a bit of jogging/shuffling on the spot and, as I attempt a few press-ups I start to wonder what else has atrophied. My strength has always been in my legs rather than my upper body but this palsied trembling in my arms is a whole new experience. The beginners are running rings around me. I manage better with the stomach crunches – until it’s time to stand up. God, this floor is hard.

“Everyone else can jog on the spot until Lorraine manages to get up,” calls our merciless instructor. He follows with a killer line delivered in a tremulous, pseudo-centenarian voice: “Need a hand, there, Ethel?”

We form up into lines for the traditional walks backwards and forwards up and down the hall. With every step there’s a punch, or some other strike, all of which demand impetus from the hip to produce any power, and I’m doing OK so far. Then we start practising some basic kicks and suddenly, my legs just won’t play the game. My strength has gone, and my balance is shot, which is a bit of problem when you have to stand on one leg and kick with the other. Remember ‘Daniel san’ practising his one-legged crane stance in Karate Kid – the one against which ‘no can defend’? I have to face the fact that right now I couldn’t defend myself against a bunch of geriatric pygmies. What used to be a poised, balanced and pretty effective kick to the ribs has now degenerated into a precarious and somewhat feeble nudge to the ankle.

Still, I have to (re)start somewhere, and to be exercising again with a group of like-minded people, is actually pretty exhilarating. This is what the hip replacement operation was all about. This class is all about me starting to get my life back. That, and re-building the atrophied muscles, of course. It’s good to be back, even if the heady days of training for my black sash grading seem a very long time ago.

Onwards and upwards – there’s a lot of work to be done.

Strange sensations

Before I left hospital, I’d had instruction on how to do pretty much everything, from getting in and out of a chair, to getting up and down stairs to personal hygiene and getting dressed. Once I was home, all the big stuff was actually pretty straightforward, although it was easy sometimes to forget the number one rule: to avoid getting into positions where the hip is bent by more than 90 degress (because of the risk of dislocation). Leaning forward while seated was the hardest habit to break. It really was like learning to move all over again. Of course, there were other things which were completely unexpected, ranging from the irritating to the positively alarming, and you can’t keep ringing the GP or the hospital, so I thought it might be helpful to record some of them here, in case these things happen to you:

  • weakness – my operated leg was so weak that I sometimes had to lift it with my hands if I wanted to put my feet up on the sofa. Even now, nearly six (fairly active) months later there’s still a noticeable lack of muscle-tone in both legs which wasn’t there before;
  • for about two weeks I felt as if I was sitting on a cricket ball. My consultant was unfazed. “I wondered where I’d put that,” he said at my follow up appointment. Apparently ‘strange sensations’ are to be expected for up to a year after surgery (lucky me);
  • my knees recovered less slowly than my hip. When I went back to work (part-time) after six weeks I still couldn’t walk up and down stairs normally, because my knees were weak and painful. Imagine my delight when, within an hour of getting up the stairs to my desk on my first day, some wag arranged a fire drill. If it had been for real, I’d have been incinerated before I could have left the building;
  • I still limped, even when using both crutches and when I wasn’t in pain. I’d literally learned to limp during the months before my surgery and had to re-learn how to walk properly. My ‘minder’ took to walking behind me and calling out instructions (‘lean this way’; ‘stand up straight’);
  • the post-surgery socks – these super-tight, bottle green monstrosities have to be worn on both legs for six weeks after the operation. There is no escape, unless you’re in the shower, and there’s no way you can get them on and off yourself so a willing volunteer has to be found. I found them uncomfortable, itchy and so drying my legs looked like they belonged to a lizard by the time I was told that yes, it was now OK to ritually burn them.

It was strange how improvement came really quickly immediately after leaving hospital and then slowed down. My strength and fitness would just plateau for a while but, provided I kept working at it I’d see a sudden improvement – usually in two-week intervals. The nicest thing of all was the endless queue of people who kept asking how they could help, and meaning it. I live alone and am fiercely independent so this was a difficult thing for me to deal with. In the end I decided that, if I didn’t want the grass to be three feet high before I could get to mow it, if I wanted to still be able to see through my windows, and if I didn’t want to be covered in cobwebs like a latter-day Miss Haversham, I’d have to accept help. Sometimes it even became competitive, as people scrambled to get my chores done, so I had to create jobs to keep the peace. Besides, it would have been churlish to throw such enthusiasm back in people’s faces. In the end, I started to enjoy it a bit too much. It was quite a shock to the system when everyone (including me) realised it was time I got back to work.

My posse

At the end of my last blog, I said that if your surgeon says you can walk – walk. And that’s exactly what I did. My first walk took me around the end of the cul-de-sac in my street in about three, exhausting minutes. Of course, I took a sturdy minder with me – those little dips in the pavement can feel like mountains and ravines when you’re walking on two crutches. It was a really hot summer day and I must have cut quite a dash in my shorts and green post-surgical stockings.

As I continued my daily walks I soon realised I wasn’t alone. It was the summer holidays and the kids were off school and playing outside a lot of the time. Now, I don’t really ‘do’ kids. I just don’t understand them and haven’t a clue how to talk to them. But I do have a soft spot for the kids who play at the end of my road. They’re great entertainment – bright, lively and (just) the right side of cheeky. For some reason, I seemed to constitute a substantial part of their entertainment this summer. They took to following me almost every time I left the house. My own private posse. Except instead of firing bullets, they fired questions. Endlessly.

The youngest (who we will call Bobby) is just five. I still remember the barrage:

(Bobby): “Are you broken?”

(Me): “Yes, but I’m getting mended.”

(Bobby): “Why do you keep walking round in circles? Why don’t you walk up the hill?”

(Me, through gritted teeth): “Because I can’t quite manage that far yet.”

(Bobby): “Why have you got those sticks – can’t you afford nice ones?”

(Me – speechless).

(Bobby): “If you fall over, will you die?”

(Me – dumfounded. Where do kids get these ideas?)

As time went on, I walked a little further and a little faster every day. Judging how far and how fast was the tricky part. Every time I asked a medic how much I should be doing, I was told “your body will tell you”. Unfortunately there were times when my body wasn’t that talkative and it was easy to get it wrong. There’s no doubt though that, at least for me, the combination of walking, fresh air and rest really worked in terms of speeding up my recovery, even if I did accidentally overdo the exercise at times.

The distance I walked didn’t do much to deter my posse – they just pursued me on their bikes. It got to the point when fielding questions grew more exhausting than the exercise and I’d check the coast was clear before leaving the house. Eventually, though, they lost interest, as kids do, and went back to their play-fighting, squealing and generally getting themselves into trouble. Bless ’em.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be prepared! Top tips for recovering from a hip replacement operation

It’s been just over four months since my hip replacement operation. There’s so much hype about this kind of surgery that when a nurse said to me beforehand “you’ll be dancing out of the hospital in no time” I almost believed her. Of course, it wasn’t quite as straightforward as all that (it is, after all, a major operation) but there are things which you can do to make life easier for yourself post-surgery. Of course, every operation is different and everyone’s recovery is different. The golden rule is, if in doubt, consult your doctor. In the meantime, it helps to be prepared. These are just some of the things that helped me during the first weeks of recovery:

  • A few weeks before the operation, start to take note of how you move around your home: if you find yourself bending, crouching or kneeling to get things out of cupboards, move things around a bit. You don’t have to re-arrange the whole house. Just make sure the things you use regularly are easily accessible without bending or crouching;
  • You’ll probably have to sleep on your back for a while after the surgery. If you’re not used to it this can be really tricky, and simply creating barriers on either side of your body with pillows doesn’t really work. I found it helped to use a V-shaped pillow behind my head to create stability, and use it to build a framework of pillows to help stop me moving around. I slept in a more upright position as a result but I personally found this more comfortable – and it works;
  • Getting on and off chairs and beds can be difficult if they are very low – if your hospital offers you devices to help you, take them! That raised loo seat surrounded by scaffolding may be a bit of an eyesore but it really helps (trust me on this one);
  • Get hold of a mechanical ‘helping hand’ – this is a bit like a glorified litter-picker and really comes in handy. The custom-made ones with a magnet on the end are really great, and cost about a fiver to buy;
  • When getting into a car as a passenger, put a plastic bag on the seat to help you swivel into the seat while keeping your knees together (your physio will show you how to get into a car but may not know about the plastic bag tip). Don’t forget to remove it once you’re in or you may end up head-butting the windscreen if the driver has to do an emergency stop. For some reason, M&S bags seem to work the best;
  • Try to make sure you understand your medication and wound care advice before leaving hospital. This may be difficult if you’re on medication at the time, so try to have a friend or relative on hand to help. Don’t be afraid to ask your GP for a review of your medication once you get home. Special sub-divided medicine boxes/dispensers can be really helpful for keeping track of what you’ve taken and if you’re likely to run out of anything;
  • If your surgeon or physio tells you it’s OK for you to walk – walk! It really does make a difference to your recovery. Just build it up gradually.

From hip-op to kung fu panda – welcome to my new blog!

Hello, and welcome to my new blog – I hope you’ll be patient with the newbie.

I’m the relatively youthful recipient of a brand new hip. I know there are a lot of people out there facing hip replacement surgery with trepidation. I also know there are a lot of myths about the whole thing. So I thought I would start a blog to share my journey from surgery to what I hope will be a triumphant return to my great passion – kung fu.

There will undoubtedly be digressions along the way. Having never married or had kids I’ve developed a habit of trying new things and learning new skills whenever the mood grabs me. I’ve no intention of letting the recovery process stop me developing new passions, so I’ll probably be blogging about those as well in due course.

Coming up in a few days – some hints and tips to help with getting over a hip replacement operation.