Friday, 13 January 2012

Friday Five:Mini Steps to Recovery

Six weeks ago I ruptured my medial head gastrocnemius playing football. Apparently it is a textbook injury (I prefer the word 'textbook' to 'common') and the rheabilitation period is twelve weeks, made in incremental steps.

I spent two weeks in a cast with my leg totally immobilised, and hobbling around on crutches, and no, sadly, I didn't look anywhere near as good as Emily Blunt. I am going to the physio two or three times a week and doing stretching and strengthening exercises for about two hours a day. It's getting better slowly and steadily, but it will be another six weeks before I am allowed to run again (and I'm not sure if and/or when football will be permitted again).

Yesterday I returned the crutches to the hospital with a great sense of satifaction, and it led me to think about injuries and recovery and the things we (or certainly, I) take for granted.

5 Mini Steps to Recovery:
  1. Being able to carry stuff, particularly drinks, particularly hot drinks - have you any idea how long it takes to move a cup of coffee from room to room by putting it on a surface, picking up the crutches, hopping forward a step, putting down the crutches, moving the cup forward a few inches, picking up the crutches, hopping forward a step, etc? About twenty minutes. Of course, I could just lean in the kitchen and drink it standing up, but that somewhat defeats the purpose.
  2. Being able to stand up - hopping around art galleries or racing through airport terminals is simply not possible so although most of the time crutches are manageable, there were occasions when I needed to be in a wheelchair. Although some of my friends enjoyed pushing me around for a change (you know who you are), it is not pleasant to be at groin level with the general public - especially those who insist on exposing midriffs and bumcracks. Please put it away - I don't want to look and when I am at this height, I really haven't got a choice!
  3. Having a bath - sitting on a garden chair in the shower with a plastic bag wrapped around your leg just isn't the same.
  4. Driving a car - it's my left leg, so if I drove an automatic it wouldn't be a problem, but I don't and so it is. The pressure you need to apply to depress the clutch and change gears has been beyond me for the last month and a half. Appreciative as I am of Him Outdoors dropping me off and picking me up from places, the nature of his job means he is on-call and his timekeeping is fluid if a call comes through that he must attend. Being given the all clear to drive last week has returned much of my freedom and independence - hurrah!
  5. Exercise - I never thought I'd miss it. Times have been tough over the last couple of months and I realise that I like to get out and go for a jog or a bike ride in the fresh air to clear my head and stop things getting me down mentally. As this has been impossible I have been sitting in the sweltering heat with my leg elevated and my mind churning over depressing thoughts. Yesterday I went for my first bike ride in the outdoors (only twenty minutes around the block, but so much better than the stationary bike in the garage) and it felt good.
This is not part of the recovery five, but I have noticed the amazing kindness and generosity of many of my friends, from holding doors open for me, to patiently waiting while I hobble slowly, sitting doing nothing but drinking cups of tea or glasses of wine, and even coming round to hang out my washing when I was incapable. Thank you all - you're great and I appreciate all your friendship and support.

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