One legged man, plus nine weeks

Nine weeks down and my Leg is still in the Zimmer boot.  But, progress has been made.  Didn’t say it was going to be quick.

Nine weeks down, what’s changed?

Well, a fair bit has changed.  t’s all good change.

Back in the Office

From about week two, I’ve been working from Home.  Armed with a couch, laptop and mobile phone, I’ve been very productive.  But, it never replaces the face-to-face contact with your peers.  Especially in my line of work, where conversations with others are critical.

Day 1, back in the Office. Laptop, Coffee and Crutches.

Day 1, back in the Office. Laptop, Coffee, and Crutches. Leg was feeling fine.

I won’t lie; the first few days back were tough on the body.  Perhaps I thought it would be easier, or perhaps I was too mentally excited to remember how hard it is on the body.  After my first day, I nearly fell asleep in the car on the way home.  I slept well that night and was flat the next day.

Now, I’m much smarter at planning my days.  I typically hold meetings on the same floor/building, limit my movements on campus, and use tools such as Skype for quick chats.  I plan most of my face-to-face meet on my Office days, and only need to run a few remote meetings.

What I don’t do is use my situation as an excuse.  I’m still happy to travel around the Office for Meetings; I just give myself more time to get there.

Naturally, there are a lot of people who are willing to help.  One of my team members offers to make me a coffee every morning.  Others are happy to buy lunch for me.  Some just come up and say hi.  I don’t seek the help, but I don’t refuse either.

Being back is good.

Exercise time

After nearly six weeks of no work on my leg, I finally began to rebuild.

Before you get too excited, it’s just some simple flexibility work.  But, it’s better than nothing.  Besides, I’m getting real tired of looking at my toothpick leg.

The First thing was to lay flat on the bed, no brace, and raise my leg up.  Doesn’t seem like much, but after six weeks of not activity, it has the same cathartic effect as personal best in the Gym.

Raising the leg up, without a brace.

Raising the leg up, without a brace.

The next thing is to lay flat on the bed, and bend my knee to a 40-degree angle.  Same effect on me as above.

Bending my knee at a 45deg angle.

Bending my knee at a 45deg angle.

Helping my confidence, I was allowed to adjust the angle in my Zimmer boot to a huge 40 degrees.  It’s probably the biggest change for me over the last month.  The extra flex has been the catalyst to a lot of change.  It’s pushed me to walk more (with the aid of crutches), and therefore become more mobile.  In fact, with the extra weight, I find that I’m not as tired every day.

So I'm not setting the fashion world on fire, but this is comfortable.

So I’m not setting the fashion world on fire, but this is comfortable.

I know I’m not setting any fashion statements, but it;s more comfortable.  Besides, I make runners and jeans look good.

The beard

I made myself a deal; while you’re on crutches, you can have a beard.  Typically, I only grow a beard when I’m on holidays.  So, why would I grow one when I’m still working, at home.  Well, I’d already started to grow one, and I’d never grown a decent one before.  Clearly, my holidays weren’t long enough to grow a good one.  It also felt theraupetic, some small comfort whilst I go through recovery.

Below is a progress pic a few weeks ago.  It’s had a small trim, along with a freshly shaved head.

My attempt at a re beard. Not bad, eh?

My attempt at a beard. Not bad, eh?

And no, the wife does not like it.

Back to the Surgeon.

So after nine weeks, I was booked to see the surgeon.  It’s been four weeks since my last visit, and I was a little nervous, and a little excited to see the doc.  I’m hoping my progress may turn into something good.  They physio took me through a few scenarios; no lock on the Zimmer frame, no crutches, a smaller leg brace, or even a combination of those items.  Best to go into the session with no expectations, but with a little bit of hope.

I spent the morning like all the others; breakfast, shower, and exercises.  Worked for a few hours in the morning, got ready to go, and waited for my driver (Dad).  Getting a little nervous.

I arrived at the Doctors’s, checked in, and sat down to be called.  Last time it wait was over 90min (it was busy), so Dad offered to get a Coffee.  Much to my surprise, the Doctor called my name after only a few minutes.  A good start.

With my new walking strut and my crutches, I strolled into the Surgeon.  He looked impressed that I could with only some help from the crutches.  I hopped up on the bed, took the brace off, and showed him my stretching moves.  He checked the knee for any swelling and made sure I could stretch my leg out.

The surgeon then asked “so, have you been walking on your Leg without crutches yet?”.

Um, what?

I said I wasn’t sure if I could, and I wanted to check with him before I did.  He said that my healing was good, I had good flex in my knee, and it would help my recovery to start walking without crutches.  He set my boot to a 90deg lock, and sent me on my way.

Cue happy dance.

My first steps

Armed with this good news, made my way back out to the waiting room to find my now very confused Dad.  He’d returned from the Coffee run, less one son.  We sat down and had our coffee, shared the good news, then made our way to the car.  On the way, I thought I’d give this whole walking without crutches thing a go.

Made three steps, rest.  Made ten steps, then rest.  Still feeling good.  More happy dance.

I rang Kate on the way home and share her the good news.  I imagined this would be her mood at the time.

We got home from the Doctor and showed off my new walking moves to Kate.  I even walked my Dad down the hallway, just to show off a little.  I never thought I’d miss walking this much, but I did.  It feels so damn good to be off crutches.

Won’t be needing these anymore.

I'll just leave these here.

I’ll just leave these here.

Now, for the next six weeks of walking with this splint, and then…

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