Resilience, what a concept!

Hi everyone,

X-ray of my corrected hips after surgery

It’s been almost two months since I had my hip displacement surgery. As expected I was allowed to leave the hospital 7 days after my operation. The X-rays showed that the surgery had gone well and I was allowed to recover at home in the good care of my family.

So I traded my hospital bed in UZ Leuven for a hospital bed in my own living room. My toys within grasp and my television just a few feet away. And there I lay still, both my legs strapped in warm leg stretchers and still drowsy from the pain medication. Knowing how addictive these things are mom and dad decided to quickly reduce the diazepam and I must say, some nights were excruciating but I managed. My throat was still sore from the intubation that was placed in my throat during the operation and when I coughed it hurt. The aerosol brought some momentary relief but all and all, the first two weeks were awful.

Confined to my hospital bed in my own living room
finding our way in the catacombs of the UZ Leuven hospital - covid19 proof!

After these two first week we needed to drive up to the hospital in Leuven again for a check-up. As this is over a 120 kilometre drive it was quite heavy. Luckily, due to the unfortunate Covid19 pandemic, traffic was light and we didn’t have any traffic jams. On our way to the hospital dad called the doctors office to find out where we had to park the car. As I had to be moved lying down it was quite the endeavor. The nurse on the phone wasn’t sure as they have just recently moved the orthopedic practice from one hospital to another so we ended up driving from the visitors parking to the emergency room entrance and then finally back to ambulance parking. There my dad confiscated a stretcher and we found ourselves roaming through the catacombs of the hospital before we finally made it to the doctors practice.

The surgeon was pleased with my progress and congratulated my mother on the great care she had given me these past two weeks. He almost hired her as a nurse but dad protested that she was already taken. The doctor called for two nurses from the orthopedic ward to come down to the practice to clean my wounds and take out some of the stitches. It was great to see the nurses again and I am so grateful to live in a country with such a great quality healthcare. The doctors and nurses are such a great and dedicated professionals here, I didn’t need a Corona crisis to recognize that.

After the check-up I was sent home for another two weeks of recovery in my own living room. Moving me to my own bed upstairs was still not allowed as I had to be kept as still as possible. This usually meant mom had to get up once or twice every night to come down and take care of me, give a me drink, loosen my leg stretchers and tuck me in again.


I slowly started to eat more warm meals… after living on yogurt and painkillers, I gradually started to get my taste back and the sore throat was getting better. When the weather was good mam and dad rolled my bed out on the terrace allowing me to soak in some of those essential Vitamin D’s. Not being able to move was a real drag but the love and care around me compensated for the boredom.

Taking in those vitamin D's

Gradually I started sitting straight up again. Mom and dad told me not to but I’m as stubborn as a mule so there was no stopping me. I felt my own body and I knew my limits… sitting back up and being able to look at my surroundings sure beat looking at the sealing all day.

Dad's MacGyver Ambulance

The two weeks past slowly and it was time for another check-up at the hospital. The drive to the hospital in dad’s “MacGyver ambulance” became less of a burden… I guess practice makes perfect!

When we arrived at the hospital we first went for new X-rays. When we got to the doctor he was really pleased with my progress. Although mom and dad were a bit worried because of my sitting up straight, the x-rays showed a excellent rate of calcification on my bones and that meant my hips were strong enough to start carrying some weight. My wounds were cleaned again and the final stitches were removed. Man did I scream… actually, it was not taking out the stitches that hurt the most, it was removing the post-operative dressings. 3M surely makes stuff that sticks…

But it was worth it to be honest. Finally being able to soak in a real bath again after over a month of hospital bed baths was surely a relief. We often tend to forget how great the simple things in life really are don’t we. We take stuff like that for granted until we lose the ability to enjoy them and then regain our appreciation for them. Happiness really is all about being able to appreciate the little things in life. Like a bath.

Finally, relaxing in a real bathtub again...

So with that final “thumbs up” from the surgeon we were off for the next phase of my recovery. The rehabilitation!


I guess this is the fourth time I’ll be learning how to walk again in my 15 years on this earth. Resilience is a wonderful thing isn’t it… although I must say it’s not something you are gifted or born with, it’s something you learn. Human perseverance is amazing isn’t it? The wonderful combination of self confidence and having a clear goal usually results in an incredible tenacity. I don’t have much to teach yet people but believe me on resilience, every scar on my body is a reminder of my own resilience.

Getting weight on my hips again.... getting vertical at 10° per week

With the wonderful support to two great physiotherapists I’m gradually starting to put more and more weight on my hips. Gradually, at a rate of 10° per week in my standing apparatus, I’m gaining the necessary muscle strength to carry my own weight again. Soon I’ll be able to stand fully straight again and that will be the first step in getting back on my own two feet.

So that’s where I’m at today… almost 2 months after having both my hips surgically reset it also felt like a reset of life itself. Appreciating the simple things, being grateful for the love and the support of my family, the professional help of an amazing and truly gifted surgeon and his wonderful staff, the assistance of two excellent physiotherapists and so much more.

Like the hikes we’ve been taking lately. Mom and dad strap me on their back in my custom made carrier and that has been amazing for me. Going for walks through the woods are fantastic!

Going hiking on mom's back... the woman is amazing!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’ll walk again, no doubt about it. My goal is clear and my self confidence is high… after all, I still have so much of the world to see! So many places to visit, so many wonderful people to meet! So brace yourself world… here I come!


I hope you have enjoyed my blog and feel free to like, comment or share – I hope I can be an inspiration for many of you out there – if life knocks you down, don’t despair… get up and try again, you’ll be amazed by what you can achieve if you put your mind and heart to it!


Until next time!


Stay tuned.


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