Saturday, 24 January 2015

Frustrated and powerless

I'm in no man's land.

After getting the plaster cast off a week early, I was feeling positive about recovery from the ATFL surgery.  I ditched the crutches on day two and then got quicker at walking after a few days of determined stomping about.  At the end of week 1 I was supposed to have a supervised physio session with the consultant and physio together, but when I got to the clinic I was told I was seeing the physio only.

The physio didn't know whether I was allowed to stand barefoot or not and a whole host of other things, so all I got from her was a progression from the range of motion exercises the consultant gave me.  She also commented that we couldn't do much until my calves were evened up again - like that's even vaguely possible with zero weight bearing without the boot; it took months of dedicated gym work to get my calves both to a very strong state and no amount of limited to zero resistance will get that left calf anywhere near the right!

Then no follow up.  From anyone.  The receptionist said she'd check and email me.  But after a week... nothing.  I emailed the consultant after a few days to ask the questions I have about things like "can I go swimming now?", "can I use a static bike now?" but I've had nothing back.  And the times I ask the receptionist to find out or get the consultant to call me I get nothing back.  I have no idea when I next see anyone, no idea if I can do anything to get the calf muscle on the road to recovery, no idea if I can swim or use a turbo/gym bike, no idea when I transition out of the air boot.  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

So, I'm now 7 weeks post-operative and zero exercise done.  In fact, it's been 8 weeks without any swim, bike or run as I lost the drive in the week of the surgery.  I'm getting further and further back towards it being as if I'd never done any endurance work at all.  I'm getting closer to having to start from absolutely zero again.  And that is really upsetting for me.  And I'm getting more and more worried about the longer it being before I get started getting fit again, the longer it will take to get fit again and the relationship isn't linear.

(All of this is also on top of the medical insurer making a total pig's ear of things which adds to the overall stress about it.)

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

This Girl Can



"We just come as we are. We don't *look* at each other. We might have our rough days. We don't mind that. We don't see that." [Netball lady in Behind The Scenes]

This has to be one of the most powerful and appropriate campaigns to get more women into sport.  It hits on the head one of the main contributors preventing women getting into sport: the fear of judgement/what other people think.

I'd say almost all women have thought or still do think a combination of the following when they consider doing sport either at all, or if they already do sport, when they get their kit on to do it (there's only one on the list I *haven't* thought myself):-
  • I look lumpy/like a bag of sausages
  • My boobs are uneven
  • My belly is huge
  • My back spills out around my bra straps/my belly/sides spills out of the top of my shorts/tights
  • My arms/thighs/boobs/belly will wobble
  • My knees are fat
  • Someone will see my stretch marks
  • I can't do $particular_movement elegantly
  • I'll go red and blotchy/get sweaty patches in embarrassing places
  • My makeup will run
  • I might fall over/off (my bike/scooter/horse/treadmill/stepper...)
  • I'll come last
And it either results in putting women off starting to do sport (or sometimes starving themselves if they already do do sport).  The thing is... none of that list matters, nobody will actually care and nobody will point and laugh at you.  Most people are in their own little world, most people are thinking those things themselves and focusing on their own difficulties and the rest are enjoying themselves.

This campaign focuses on the fact that most of us aren't perfect, most of us do have blemishes and jiggly bits (even elite and professional athletes, trust me) and that's OK 'cause you can enjoy yourself, push yourself physically, have your own "you" time when you're not just a label (wife, mother, carer etc.) and how you look doing it, compared with a fantasy ideal, doesn't matter.

This is me (below) after a triathlon last year.  I would usually pick a photo where I look muscular, slim and have no visible bulges and lumps, but this is how I looked on the day.  I wasn't quick, I didn't look slinky, I had lumps, jiggly bits and dimply legs, my boobs were wonky and spilled out under my arm-pits.  But I had fun!  I enjoyed it!  And nobody at all laughed or pointed at me.


So, watch the film and pass it on.  (Cry a bit, like I did.  It's OK.)  And watch the behind the scenes clip too... I love the first quote, "We just come as we are. We don't *look* at each other. We might have our rough days. We don't mind that. We don't see that."

And go do some sport!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Freedom!

I got the plaster cast removed on Friday and my air boot fitted.  I need to wear the boot to walk, but it doesn't need to be on apart from that.  I have exercises for my ankle, to be done hourly, to get mobility back on track and I am to massage the ankle and the scar (at least) once a day.


The scar looks like an upside down cartoon smiley and my ankle and foot are still quite puffy - there's no definition around bones and tendons.  This is normal and will take a few months to get back to how it should be.


My calf muscle is impressively atrophied, but thanks to Ben at Athletic Edge I now have a Neuro-Muscular stimulation machine and some programs to run through it to get that muscle working again.  Next weekend, I get a supervised physio session to start rehabilitating the muscle with calf raises etc. so that will be the real start of proper rehabilitation of those muscles.

The best bit right now, though, is this boot...


In the evening on Friday, we went for a walk to the local bistro for dinner - half a mile there and half a mile back and I walked it (with crutch assistance for balance etc.); no hopping.  On Saturday afternoon, we went for a 2.5 mile walk (and we took turns carrying my crutches).  Afterwards I felt great.  The sub-conscious boost was huge!  I can get around, independently and without a huge amount of physical effort.  In the evening, even after having done my tax return (for once I owe money rather than the other way around), I felt mentally great.

Yes, it takes a couple of minutes to get the boot on and done up, but it is my freedom.  I am no longer pretty much trapped in the house.  I don't care that the weather is terrible, I'm going out!

Friday, 9 January 2015

It looks like I've been a very good girl

This morning was a scheduled check-up on the ankle and maybe, if I was good, I'd get out of the plaster cast and into an air boot, but definitely no weight bearing still.


So here's the air boot; I must have been good.  Complete with a lovely sock and integrated pump to add air should it be needed and a valve to let air out.

But it doesn't stop there!

I must have been very good indeed.  Once the boot was adjusted to fit and on, and I'd been shown the exercises I need to do and the massaging around the ankle and over the cut, I was told to get off the couch and walk to reception!  OK, with crutches, and it'll take 7-10 days to wean off the crutches and then I'll likely be good get started on rehabilitation exercises.

But still.

I'm on my feet again!

(Yeahhh, the air boot has a much thicker sole than my shoes, so I'm gonna be wonky ;o))

Friday, 26 December 2014

Speed of muscle wastage is alarming

50% through the non-weight bearing phase of recovery and as I'm allowed take off my cast, I am doing that every couple of days for comfort's sake.

This is what's underneath the cast now though.


And as you can see from the incorrect proportion between upper and lower leg, there's quite dramatic muscle wastage even in only 3 weeks.  I dread to think what it is going to be like after 6 weeks and I don't think there's a damned thing I can do about it as I'm not allowed bear weight on that foot at all.  Any way of exercising that calf requires putting pressure through the sole of the foot.  So it's not allowed.

So when I am allowed put weight on it, with the help of an air boot at first, I'm going to be weak as all hell and it's going to take a while to get any semblance of strength and support out of that calf to help stabilise my ankle and I'm finding that worryingly circular.  It's going to take a very long time to get to a normal walking gait and confident at being able to start running again.