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.

Friday 19 December 2014

Apparently I *might* be trusted...

...enough to have the cast off a tiny bit early and the air-boot on.  Maaaaybe on 9th January at my next check-up.  (And apparently the cast is only there to protect things if I fall over!  Seriously!)

So I went to have check-up number two today on the ankle; make sure the wound looks good etc.  And the etc. was the best bit.  All of the dressing came off, my leg and foot got a goos wash and a massage with moisturiser.  Oh *man* did it feel good to have air on the skin, and then the cool cleansing spray and a good ol' massage with E45.  The silicone wound cover is also gone and replaced with a more normal steri-pad thing and the excess thread and knots on the stitches have been cut off and the remaining thread will dissolve over time.

What was a bit unpleasant was when I noticed that, because the joint has been immobile for two weeks, it's really hard to control it and my toes too.  I can crudely wiggle my toes, but I used to be able to pick things up with them, point my big toe and spread them all out wide.  Can't do any of that any more and that's only after two weeks!  (Just have a look down the right side of this at the pictures of my right foot - the OK one.  I can do none of these movements with my left foot one at the moment.)

It was also really hard to move the ankle joint.  You know when you do a completely new movement with a joint in the gym and it's kind of juddery?  That's how my ankle is now when I simply flex or extend it.  Which I'm trying not to think too hard about as that will lead to feeling down about it all again.  And that's really not what I need.

On top of the cleaning, moisturising and massage was a bit of (really quite gentle) joint manipulation which felt weird and uncomfortable.

It was really hard to move my ankle in any direction at all.  It felt odd, uncomfortable, difficult, weird.  I thought it'd feel nice to be able to move but it was just difficult which was disappointing.

Anyway, given that I bothered to ask as there's no way I'd've been told had I not asked, I've now got slightly more of an idea of what the next steps are.  Because, apparently, I seem like I can be trusted I may be allowed to have the cast off before the 6 weeks are up and have an air boot for convenience and comfort as long as I don't walk on it - I'm even allowed take the cast off as long as we're OK to get it back on again ourselves, so I may do that every coupe of days or so, just to wiggle the joint a bit.  But then at the 6 week mark I'll be allowed to start walking with the air boot (likely with crutches too) and it'll take a while to get back to normal walking, via physio and cycling and stuff.

It'd just be nice to have it laid out in a plan with rough time-scales so I know what's going on.  This is one of the things I noticed the last time (when I had my collar bone done) is the utter lack of anyone telling you what's going on or what's supposed to happen and in what order and here we are again.  Hey ho, it's not like it's a life-threatening situation.  But I do kinda need to know to organise myself and my life.  I've already postponed starting my new job so it's after the cast comes off, except I don't actually have a date for that other than "six weeks after surgery".  And after what the consultant said today, it looks like I'll still be relying on a rucksack for a good few weeks to carry anything around if I'm still on crutches even if only for a bit of support, but at least I'll be a lot steadier and able to put both feet on the floor.

So I'm back in on 9th January and fingers-crossed that the consultant will be in a good mood and on the side of letting me have the cast off on that day.  It's only a week early but it'd be awesome.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

10 days on (it's quite whiney, sorry)

10 days on from the surgery and I'm riding the rollercoaster of emotion.  Well, not a proper rollercoaster as it's mostly feeling null or down.  Adding to the blue feelings is a bit of a cold which is the shit icing on the shit cake.

Thanks to MrTOTKat for the cheerful pot-cover for my cast.
You'd think being at home all day, not being able to get around much would be all like this...

You can't quite see the pool of dribble Charley has kindly left for me
But it's just miserable really.

Seeing as I can't put any weight on my left foot, and that it is encased in a lump of heavy plaster, getting around and doing anything at all is a pain and tiring.  Of course, the less I do now, the more I lose strength and fitness overall.  I'm being good-ish with my knee-pumping and toe-wiggling exercises, but not exactly doing them once an hour, every single hour.  I guess it's handy that my bedroom is on the 2nd floor, the loo on the 1st and 2nd floor and I'm mostly stationed on the ground floor of the house.  It means I do have to go up and down stairs a few times a day, which is some exercise (especially in going up on crutches and trying not to topple over backwards in the process).

The consultant gave me a bit of false hope straight after the operation, in that she said I might be able to have the cast off after 4 weeks and an air-boot to actually touch down on the floor with.  That would have made the first couple of weeks at my new job actually do-able in terms of getting around with confidence.  But she blew that hope away at the check-up appointment by saying that that's the theory, but she doesn't like to do it in case it's too soon for the repair to take that sort of load.

So, in the 10 days since the operation, I've been out of the house twice so far.  Once to get to the check-up appointment (and then on to dinner afterwards, which was bloody nice and gave MrTOTKat a break from all the cooking for one meal at least) and then once today to go for soup at the local cafe.  I hate feeling like I have no confidence in doing even the simplest and most basic thing at the moment; like going down the road all of 100m, or putting washing on (carrying a basket or anything remotely heavy while on crutches? *bzzzt*!), or carrying a cup of tea anywhere (has to be something with a sealed lid and then in a bag), or standing up for a couple of minutes (try standing on one leg with a 5kg weight around one ankle and that foot not allowed to touch the floor, and then try doing something like chopping vegetables at the same time) to do anything useful around the house, or picking up something smallish from the floor without falling over.  And I've got another 31 days of it to go before this cast comes off.  I can't say I'm looking forward to it.

It will be over soon though, in the grand scheme of things.  I just have to forget about getting gradually less and less fit and less and less strong and slowly putting on pound after pound as I've decided it's mentally less stressful to give in to things I fancy where I'd normally not, and then obviously fancy them more as I un-adapt from a very low carbohydrate diet.  And there will be a lot of work to do once this stage is finished.  And a lot of having to suck up starting from practically zero again with sport (I'll be allowed use a static bike once the cast is off), and then running after the 3 months from surgery is up.

[Yes, I do know there are many many people who are in far worse situations than me, but that does not invalidate my frustration and feeling blue for the reasons I am doing.]

[Ohgod, I've just realised I'll be able to have a proper bath in 31 days rather than sitting on a plastic stool in the shower - I can't bloody wait!]

Saturday 6 December 2014

All done!

ATFL repair and retinaculum reinforcement all done.  Under a local.  Apparently I'm not a great candidate for local anaesthesia.  Aside from scaring the poop out of people by my BP dropping to 80/50 with severe nausea, tinnitus, dizziness and muscle spasms after the injection, it turns out I'm a bit jumpy when people are poking about my innards, twanging bits of ligament and screwing bits of metal into bones.  So we won't do that again.

As you can see, I have a ridiculous cast on my leg.  It's lumpy and weighs a ton, but I guess there's no point making it neat as it'll come off again on Friday so the consultant can check the progress of the wound healing, and I'll get a new one put on.  And the same deal again the following week.

Instructions are; "Bed rest for 3 days. No weight bearing at all for 4 weeks and you absolutely must not get the cast wet.".  This means crutches all of the time and not even standing other than on the other foot only.  I'm really hoping that the consultant lets me have an air boot for a couple of weeks after that rather than continue with the cast, because then I'll be able to be a bit more mobile and that'll make getting to work at the new job a bit easier.  In the mean time, I have some exercises to do to keep the bloody flowing and the knee mobile, but that calf (and probably the thigh as well as I can't use the leg for any weight bearing) will be as weak as a kitten after that.  And I'll be bored witless. And unfit.

Monday 1 December 2014

Race cancellation spree

I've been on a race cancellation spree this morning.  Everything between now and about June next year.  So, no Dorset half marathon this week, no Country to Capital or Pilgrim Challenge in January and no Rotterdam Marathon in April (I'll have been allowed to run for only 6 weeks before this, so it'd be really thick to even think about trying to do it and risk messing up the repairs).

It turns out that I need surgery to reconstruct a couple of ligaments in my ankle.  This means 6 weeks in a cast afterwards, with no weight bearing allowed, and a total of 12 weeks of no running allowed at all.

I'm glad this has been brought forward from 9th Jan to 5th Dec, as it means I'll be 4 weeks into recovery by the time I start my new job and really handy on crutches by then.  It does mean that I'll be sitting on my backside at home for 4 weeks going more than a little nuts though.  It'll be bloody good to have things fixed though, so the likelihood of turning that ankle is reduced way below where it is at the moment.

Bring it on!

And I fully intend to go ahead with Ring O' Fire in September!