Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Update: Six Months Post ACL Reconstruction (Very Much Back at Work...)

It’s been a long time since I wrote something here. There are many reasons for this. One is that I'm working hard, have just moved houses, and I'm quite busy. Another is that I don’t think about my knee as much as I used to, which is a positive sign. Probably the biggest reason though, is that I'm lazy.

Really, really, lazy.

In my defence writing a blog post requires at least twenty minutes of solid concentration. When you factor in time for proof reading, time distracted by other things (right now 10003 Google tabs are open on my computer, none of them on the same topic), a food break, a toilet break, a quick lie down, a mental refreshment break, making iced coffee and waiting for it to chill, and then time spent re-reading what’s already written (but processing none of it), then the time to write one blog is at least 5.5 days. I haven’t had 5.5 spare days. I'm sorry. Medium sorry. Now I'm on Christmas break for 3 weeks so there are no excuses.

It’s been about six months since my ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair. I can't begin to describe how much that simple fact freaks me out. Unlike at other points in my life, my life right now is completely different to six months ago. I'm in a new house (with less numerous roaches, but freakishly larger ones), am no longer with my old partner and have started a new job which has led to me meeting a whole new group of people.

Back to the knee...

My leg six months after my ACL
reconstruction and meniscus repair. 
I can now hop on my reconstructed knee (an act I often show people to gain some sort of sick, perverted, joy from watching them grimace because they assume it hurts me). I can run. I can cross my legs (so I can behave like a lady at the dinner table). I even feel comfortable going down speedy watersides and climbing steep sand dunes. I do still have a bit of swelling, not in the knee itself but just above, but it’s not something I notice very much. Overall I feel better about my knee now than I did before the surgery.

Unfortunately my knee no longer provides a valid excuse to stop be from having to work away. I was getting quite acclimatised to a life of luxury; working in the office, dressing nicely for work, spending time with my soul mate (aka Mr Coffee Machine), slowly working my way towards a caffeine induced heart attack. Now I'm working a FIFO job on a mine site on a 2 week on, 1 week off roster and get to model high visibility clothing AND have lost my lovely coffee machine. The coffee in the yard where I work is what I describe as “drinkable”. I know that coffee has to be ground, but that’s no excuse for it tasting LIKE ground. I did find it hard to adjust to being away from home so much, but despite work days being longer, they fly by much faster. It’s also nice to get away from working with spread sheets in the office (although it was much easier to excel at my job then).

The first few weeks I spent at work my knee protested. Thankfully not verbally, or I’d be questioning what kind of procedure was really performed on my knee (also my knee is part of me I’d probably end up chopping it off due to its never ending whining). No, it protested in an achy fashion, never quite enough to stop me working, but enough to make sure you knew it wasn't a happy chap. Days started at 6.30 and were mostly spent standing. The tricky part for me was the large amount of side to side stepping, something I hadn't advanced to in physiotherapy yet. Every day was a bit easier though, and now I reach the end of most days without thinking about my knee at all, something very refreshing after the last few years.

Anyway that’s basically it since my last post. Work. Holidays start now! Holidays are a risky time for knees, especially with all the fun holiday activities like mini golf (the not-so-heroic story of how I hurt my knee). I’ll be being very careful. Hopefully I won’t have another ACL tear to report after Christmas. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

ACL Reconstruction Recovery: Personal (not so useful) Tips

Doing your physiotherapy properly speeds up your recovery dramatically, so DO IT! (That yelling is mostly at my own lazy arse). The downside is that doing your physiotherapy properly sometimes seems about as possible as building one of those ships in a bottle...impossible. However once you google the secret you realise its not so bad (and all your childhood admiration is shattered to pieces). Here are a couple of things that have helped me shoo away my inner sloth.

Not my work place and not a draft
entry of this blog on my computer. 
Exercise at work: I currently have an office job therefore part of the job description is procrastination. Sometimes I go to start something productive (that I said I’d do days ago) and then realise I’m connected to the internet, and then suddenly I’m looking up barnacle penises. Now I try to tunnel that procrastination energy into my knee recovery.  I often go into an empty room, close the door, and do my exercises. Work is very understanding, and it’s a good break from mind numbing boredom (and barnacle porn, barnacles have HUGE penises, relatively speaking).

Incidental exercise: Part of my physiotherapy involves steps, so I take steps to do them. There is no reason why you can’t accomplish this day to day by taking the stairs (when you’re confident enough). In the early stages simply getting full extension back in your knee is crucial. I would lie with a pillow under my ankle and leg straight and just read a book. If the book is good enough you just forget the achy pull in your knee. If you’re a guy you could read a different kind of book and concentrate on a different kind of pull. Ewww gross! I can't believe you just thought that! 

Exercise in the shower: I’m not sure I should recommend this, because it might be a safety hazard, but I quite like doing my squats in the shower. It’s also an excuse to stay in the shower longer.

Go camping: I realised as I was typing “doing my squats in the shower”, that squatting in the bush to go to the toilet is both necessary to not pee on your legs (unless you have a funnel), and strengthens your muscles! Doing a “number two” can be quite an endurance challenge, although its probably best not to challenge anybody else to this. They might look at you weirdly, or worse, accept your challenge, and then let's face it, you would probably loose, because you've just had an ACL reconstruction. 

Think of the future: It’s easy to forget just why you have to take time out of your day to do your knee exercises. When you picture yourself hiking a volcano, skiing down a slope or boarding down a sand dune things get a bit easier. Unless you’re like me that is, and you picture yourself tearing your ACL again, (actually probably both ACL’s) then rolling down the slope in searing agony, until you’re stuck paralysed at the bottom crying out for help... but instead of a rescue team a wild animal wanders your way... and eats you.

Listen to music: Everybody knows music makes it easier to perform otherwise mundane tasks. I find that One Direction really motivates me. 

"You're insecure, don't know what for, your knee won't buckle when you walk through 
the do-o-ooor". 

It really sums up the surprise I feel about my new knees stability and the mental barrier of being able to trust it again. 

Make it routine: This one is a bluff. I’ve never ever been able to fit my physiotherapy into a neat timeslot that I achieve every day, but I’ve read that it works for some people.

Think of other benefits: You may be doing these exercises for your knee, but if you’re like me and you’re trying to lose weight but it keeps on finding you, then remember that your exercises also help you get in shape (and not the round one). 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Snot Feeling So Great

What's left of a tissue box after being
ripped up by dogs and violated
with my nose. 
I feel like I have been sick for my whole life. I'm coughing so much that I might end up IN a coffin and I keep waking up with a pillow covered in slobber, or drenched in sweat. I blow my nose with the force of a tornado and within two minutes it is blocked again. What does normal breathing feel like? *Sniff*. Occasionally I get those tiny moments where your heart flutters and you feel warmth within your soul...simply because ONE of your lousy nostrils has temporarily cleared and fate has allowed you one single welcome sniff of air.  I'm willing to bet I’m not the only person who’s been sick like this, but I'm also willing to bet I’m not the only one to whine about it (and at least I'm not ironically whinging about people who whinge).

I am a whiny little bitch. I’ll walk past Bianca’s room, pause outside her door, then throw my head back and fake cry in a horribly nasal voice that only somebody with genuinely blocked sinuses can pull off, and I do it all just so she is 100% aware that I still feel crap. Do I feel guilty about it? No, because I got the bug off her in the first place and she just fake cries right back. There is little to feel great about when you’re sick, so super-flu-ous whinging is the nearest best thing. I feel like every time I complain to Bianca about being sick, I am eliminating a tiny bit of sickness, so naturally I want to complain as much as possible. It’s a cure! I value that I can whinge so much to her. Anybody else would slap me. Actually Bianca probably wants to slap me by now and if I had less blocked ears and could hear the whinging I was doing I’d probably slap myself too.

Anyway this relates to my knee because I haven’t been doing my exercises. The moral of this story is that sometimes there are setbacks to your recovery and you just have to stay positive. I’ll just do my exercises extra good next week...if I’m still alive *sniff*

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

NOT a knee-fail!

The dog bowl of DEATH
 (except pleasantly not). 
Today I looked in the fridge for something to eat for dinner, and was disappointed by the lack of beetroot. There was a container with some beetroot juice in it, but the container distinctly lacked the slices of crimson coloured heaven. I had been craving a salad wrap, but decided that without beetroot it just wasn’t going to satisfy the deep desire I had... So instead I settled on noodles, a meal with very little nutrition, but that gives instant satisfaction. The noodles were stored up high. I reached up to get them, then took a step backwards, stepping into a dog bowl. My leg slid a good half meter along the ground putting my knee in an awful position. Don’t feel bad for me yet though, because despite being in a position that before the surgery my knee would have definitely given way and hurt for the day, I felt no pain at all! I stepped out of the dog bowl and cooked noodles like a happy knee-fixed chap. What a good moment for my confidence!

On a side note, today on the train I was sitting behind a man. He had blonde slightly curly hair, and was wearing reflective safety “worker man” type clothing. He was fit looking, muscular and neatly groomed, with an even layer of stubble that you could tell was on purpose. The seat next to him was vacant, so he had stretched out a bit, and he had his work boots up slightly on the chair in front of him with an attitude of “I’m a man and I’ll do whatever I want”. Part of what I love about the train is just watching people, so I sat there in the seat behind him (like a total creep, possibly even grinning) and watched him flip through his...woman’s fitness magazine!

The train beeped to signal arrival at the next station. An old stern looking business man took the seat next to my dear friend, and his eyes instantly flickered to the “tips on how to correctly do a squat” article open next to him. I have never seen somebody discreetly shut a magazine and stuff it in a bag so fast, while developing some rosy red cheeks. To complete it all, once the woman’s magazine was stored neatly away, he rummaged back through his bag and pulled out a men’s muscle building magazine, did a slight awkward cough, and flicked through the pages of bulging muscle. 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

ACL Reconstruction: Recovery Time

I thought I might for once attempt to write a post that people who are heading into an ACL reconstruction might find useful. I'm a bit over 9 weeks post surgery now and I can't even remember life pre-surgery! The swelling has dramatically decreased, the wound is healed, and I'm currently focussed on regaining strength in my hamstring. Here is a breakdown of my recovery time.
Left knee 9 weeks after ACL reconstruction
and meniscus repair. 

Weight bearing: The morning after the surgery my nurse made me attempt to walk to the toilet clutching her shoulder. Not only did it hurt, but I nearly killed her because my leg was still just a numb uncontrollable blob and I was really busting! Nevertheless I was relieved to avoid the potty they pressured me to use the night before. Making a grown woman do that is just plain cruel! Especially when her friend, in the bed adjacent to her, gets free wheelchair rides to the big girl toilet! Anyway the point is you can weight bear as tolerated fairly soon after surgery, but that’s just my opinion; don’t bear too much weight on it.

Showering: You can shower from day one, but you can't get your dressings wet. Just sit on a chair in the shower and cover your leg with glad wrap or a plastic bag; I’d be “glad” to show you how. I got my dressings off at 2 weeks.

Walking: I could hobble adequately at 2 weeks, but only trusted myself for short distances around the house and looked absolutely ridiculous (smash all mirrors in your house). It got exponentially easier and I could walk fairly confidently by 3 weeks. It helped that my friend Bianca had undergone the surgery too, because it became a competition to see who could walk first. While this helped my recovery I don't advise purposely tearing your friends ACL.

Work: I went to work at my office job 2 weeks after my surgery. If I'm really honest though, by one week post surgery, I was skipping work just simply because I could get away with it, and I really wanted to sleep in and cook eggs with cheese for breakfast every morning (I really love eggs, despite feeling like they're basically bird period, and I'm actually in a relationship with cheese). I still can't go back into my field based position at work that involves standing all day, uneven terrain and heavy lifting.

Brace: I got my brace off at six weeks. Up until this point I wore it every second of my life, including while sleeping. As a matter of fact it was most critical while sleeping; because it’s easy to accidently contort your body into strange positions during the night (I filmed myself once and convinced myself I was possessed). My friend Bianca had her ACL reconstructed and no meniscus repair and she didn't wear a brace at all.

Bending: I had a meniscus repair and wore a knee brace that restricted the bend of my knee to 60° for the first 6 weeks. Within the week after I got my brace removed I had full range of motion back in my knee, including 5° or so of hyperextension. This is important. Get good range of motion as quickly as you can and make sure you can fully extend your leg (I hope you're reading this Bianca!!) It helped me a lot to lie in bed with a good book and a pillow under my ankle. 

Stationary bike: I was riding stationary bike at 6 weeks, once my brace was taken off. This particular phase of my recovery really annoys me, I just feel like I'm going nowhere. Riding an actual bike still makes me nervous because that is how my friend Bianca tore her ACL in the first place. 

Jogging: I'm still not at the stage where I'm allowed to jog...not that I did it all that much before. I always wanted to exercise, but it just didn't work out. I almost wish I was a pig (the animal, I'm debatably a bit piggish in a descriptive way now), so that when I say “I can’t run, I have a problem with my hamstring”, it's a funny (?) pun.

Carrying hot coffee to your room: Do not try this when on crutches, or even in the early stages of walking when you're limping like a zombie with one leg broken and dragging behind it. Just trust me.

House chores: You'll never be able to do them again, so make sure you train up your house mates... I'm actually a bit of a neat freak though, and love cleaning my room. I had a minor private hissy fit while cleaning just yesterday as a result of how much the vacuum sucked, or... how much it didn't suck. Luckily somebody unblocked it and I can go about my obsessive room perfection as usual.

Me on my 6 week spirit raising trip. 
Drinking: You obviously shouldn't mix strong painkillers with alcohol, which means you can't drink alcohol in the period right after your surgery. The real challenge is after 6 weeks when your knee is beginning to feel stronger again, because the graft itself is actually losing strength while it establishes a blood supply, and you are starting to get thirsty.  This means that if you're sensible you have to avoid the “pint of no return”, where you stop caring about your knee. I understand that you're spirits may get a bit down sometimes, and by that I mean vodka, tequila and rum, but pull through! Having said that... I took a trip to celebrate getting my brace off at 6 weeks and let’s just say it helped raise my spirits.

P.S Bianca just walked into my room and glanced at the draft of this post and said “that looks a bit serious, not funny at all!” So I thought I'd include something I know she finds quite funny: 

My physio diagram for squats. Nobody has walked into
my room without laughing at it. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

Bottoms up!

Bianca and I have been given a new exercise program from our physiotherapists. Part of it is easy. There is a step exercise, which I achieve just by taking the stairs to and from work. I’m not exactly having a love affair with squats and lunges, but I can do them, and I can ride a stationary bike adequately too. Other exercises are not so easy. There is one exercise where you lie on the floor with your knees bent, and lift your bum up off the floor. My physio asked me to do this with one leg. It was alright...when that one leg was my right leg. When I tried with my left leg (my reconstructed ACL knee), to the outside world it looked like I wasn’t even trying. My bum stayed stubbornly on the floor. If my bum could talk it would be saying, in a cheeky voice “I love you from the bottom of my heart, butt... I just can’t be arsed”. My hamstring just doesn't have the strength yet.

Our physiotherapists had yet another discussion about how ridiculous it is that we are going through this recovery process together, and how sad it would be if we ever had to have separate physiotherapy appointments. While Bianca and I were standing a mere 2 meters apart my physio burst out with “That would be horrible. I'm surprised the umbilical cord is stretching this far”... then I got to thinking...if I could have a cord that exchanged nutrients with Bianca I definitely would. We suffer from a rare condition where we get clinically jealous when the other person is consuming something delicious, resulting in a physical need to consume such things ourselves, regardless of how full we are. We've tried very hard to overcome our disorder, but it’s increasingly obvious the better solution is to somehow join our bodies. Umbilical cords are like 50 whole cm long. Why would I ever need to be that far away from Bianca? I can't see any downsides to this. The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

My big step

I took a big step the other day. Many of them actually. As 80% of the train station population took the escalator I bravely tackled the stairs. I was getting so many weird stares as I climbed the stairs in my brace, but it was actually very satisfying. I couldn't help looking at the zombie people standing limp and still, waiting for the escalator to creep its way to the top, thinking:

“you’re pretty damn awesome Eliza for putting in all this effort, when it’s clearly much harder for you to take the stairs than those lazy people”. 

Another thing worth saying is that despite just before when I said the escalator was “creeping” up... this was NOT how I felt a week or two ago. Back then it felt like it was going 100km an hour, relative to how slow I have to move around with my brace on. I could feel the wind in my hair when I rode one. I would get a temporary rush of relief when I was safely on a step, but then I would get nervous again because I couldn't handle the stress of how quickly the end was approaching. I would start to doubt the fact that it’s impossible that you can travel faster than the speed of light... BECAUSE I WAS! The speed of the escalator was ten times faster than my walking pace (which is apparently now one tenth of the speed of light), so I couldn't understand how to safely make the step off. If anybody else knew this was going on in my brain I'm sure I'd be admitted into psychiatric care by now.   

The art of standing on one leg in the
grossest bathroom in  the world...
highly relevant to my blog.
Another big step I have made is going out with the girls again, wearing my knee brace. Last night a man asked Bianca and I to dance.  He couldn't have picked two worse people to pull off something that requires as much style, confidence, coordination and knee function as dancing. We got up, and I pointed at my brace, but he wasn't discouraged, and eventually I was FORCED to consume more alcohol and jump around (note the lack of the word dance, because I'm far too clumsy for that) to the music.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

I can't think of a-knee-more good titles :(

I read an article today about the difference between a man and a woman in terms of humour. Apart from the typical “woman want funny men, men want a woman who will laugh at their jokes”, it also commented on the style of humour the two genders tend to employ. Apparently female humour tends to be more anecdotal and self depreciating than that of males. Basically, girls tell stories about things that happen to them that actually totally suck, but make them funny, I guess so other girls feel a bit “ohhh, we've been there!”

Initially I thought something along the lines of “pffffffttttt” then started mentally planning my next blog entry about the bus driver who didn’t put down the ramp when I was still on crutches and watched me hop up into the bus....them BAM! My whole blog is self depreciating! I've even gone as far as to show my disgusting, thoroughly unattractive peeling leg, something no normal female would put on public display. So I thought, screw it. Here is another self depreciative thing that has been bugging me....

Shaving hurts. Even now after 5 weeks, my leg is still swollen, and it hurts to run a blade over a swollen lump. As a result I admit to letting that part of my shower routine slip. I’ll lift up my pants and look away, because I just can’t “bear” to look, because I am not a human, I’m a hairy beast. A friend of mine in high school once shaved his legs. Yes, his. He was quite happy about it, and exclaimed “my legs are more feminine than yours!!” very proudly. I was hurt at the implication that I have masculine legs, but have to admit his legs did look pretty damn sexy. Truly though, not being able to shave bothered me. It was especially excruciating during the first few weeks when I had to shower sitting on a chair. Let’s just say that there are certain bits of me that I like to keep tidy that are hard to access when you’re...sitting on them. Now it’s got to the point that I don’t even know if I ever want to shave again....the hairs kind of growing on me. 

Monday, 16 July 2012

My wound looks like a penis (apparently).

The sign to the Physiotherapy department, with extra helpful
instructions on the most efficient route to take there. 
Today was my second big physio check up and marks nearly four and a half weeks since I had my ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair...which means I get to take my brace off in less than two weeks, which makes me happier than I imagine the double rainbow guy would be if he saw a quadruple rainbow.(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI)

I also took the remaining dressings off my wound. It’s still a bit bruised and the incisions themselves are purple, but there are not even any scabs left. I'm unsure if I secretly want a cool scar or not (but the fact I just typed “cool scar” suggests I obviously do). My housemate insists that the wound looks like a penis. I just don't see it and mostly just feel sorry for her new boyfriend.  

ACL Reconstruction scar: My disappointing non lightning bolt shaped wound. 
My exercises have progressed. I’m doing squats and I can stand on my operated knee while bending it, and then rise up again, and I can hamstring curl until my brace stops me. I can also physically bend to 90° degrees now (but I don’t, because of my meniscus repair).There are still exercises I struggle with though (i.e. they make me want to cry). For example: 

Physiotherapy exercises after an ACL reconstruction, also
 useful for seduction.
I struggle with the bottom one about 50% due to finding it physically hard, then 50% because the guy in the picture looks like he’s about to get lucky and it’s simply too comedic...then when I perform the top one I seem to end up suffocating myself.

My physiotherapist noticed that I walk with my knee bent, something I didn’t pick up on, so now I put conscious effort into properly extending my leg with every step. The thing about conscious effort though, is that it means I forget how to walk in general... what the HELL do my arms do when I walk??? Should my hands be flopping so loosely below my arms? Does my foot normally hit the ground at that angle? Does my left leg go in front of my right leg or are you just trying to trick me you sneaky brain? Then it just spirals out of control. Shit, do I normally have my mouth slightly open when I walk around? HOW DO I BREATHE!?! Thank God I have no conscious control over my heart beating or I’d definitely be dead by now. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

My Day of Good Fortune.

On my way to the train from work yesterday I had to cross a fairly busy road. It was raining and freezing cold, and I was about a meter away from successfully crossing the road, when I realised that the last meter of road consisted of one giant puddle. I couldn't physically leap across a puddle of such large magnitude. My brain was panicking, because there was a car speeding towards me, so I did the only thing I could do... I stepped right into the puddle, submerging my whole left foot. I tried to be positive as I slugged on to the train. Yes, my foot was cold, but I wasn’t violently squished into the road by that oncoming car.

Then I was minding my own business, relaxing, reading my book on the train ride home, when an old lady boarded with a large suitcase. Without warning...OUCH! She had slammed her suitcase against my toes. My knee was already bent to 60° and my brace wouldn’t let me bend it any more to escape the wrath of the suitcase, so I just sat there, as a one million tonne suitcase lifted up onto my foot. I thought that the lady was an undercover bricklayer and also the Hulk, because I didn’t understand why her case was so heavy, or how she was pulling it with her frail needle arms. The lady didn’t even look at me, let alone utter a sorry. Nursing a sore toe and a wounded heart, I stared out of the window in front of me, as the lady took a seat directly next to me.

Five minutes later, she bursts out “I thought you were a bitch!” I didn’t even respond, because...what!? She then murmured something along the lines of “I didn’t see that thing on your leg, and didn’t understand why you wouldn’t move your stupid leg”. I’m really not sure what the world is coming to when somebody thinks you’re a bitch for sitting in priority seating for disabled people, with a clear leg injury (and a wet foot!), then not bending it past your physical limits, so that somebody returning from a holiday doesn’t have to walk one step around you. Either way, I’m a tiny bit glad these things happened to me, because I was starting to wonder what to write about, and my left shoe needed a bit of a cleaning anyway. 

Monday, 9 July 2012

3.5 weeks after ACL Reconstruction: Recovery Update

It’s been three and a half weeks since my surgery. I've been at work for over a week, I can walk confidently at a reasonably fast pace, and I can bend my knee to 60°, which is the maximum allowed until the six week mark. Even more thrilling is that I can skip! I learnt this by accident when I had a few drinks and something made me feel a bit...giddy. I suspect it was the prospect of another drink (one more isn't going tequila, so wine not go for it).  My knee didn't hurt at all, so I thank alcohol for helping me overcome that mental confidence barrier.... OR I thank alcohol for not telling my brain that my skip actually did hurt my knee.

I'm used to wearing my knee brace now. It’s not too annoying. To the contrary my leg feels weird without it on, like it’s somehow lost all its powers. There are many positives of wearing a brace. For instance you can use the lifts at the train station without feeling ashamed.  I guess there’s also that your knee is restricted to 60° flexion so you don’t screw up your meniscus repair, but that takes a back seat to being lazy in the lift.

Sometimes when attempting exercises my knee still just doesn't want to work. When this happens I trick myself into thinking the exercise may just not be possible and will attempt it with my good leg just to prove this to myself. It’s heartbreaking every time when my good knee carries out the tasks with zero effort at all. All in all though, everything has been unbelievably easier this past week. I can walk to my room with a hot cut of coffee. I can stand in the shower and shave both my legs properly. I can even put on pants with minimal effort, which believe it or not comes in handy for venturing out in public. The best bit of all though is that I can play mini-golf... when I wear safety glasses and steal cap boots, cover my body in pillows and brace all of my joints... (see how I hurt my knee).

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

I'm peeling pretty good!

The last few days my leg has been peeling. A lot. As in...so much that when I take off my pants my leg is half the size because it has flaked off and shed into my pants...  I’m worried that if my leg keeps shedding at such a rate, that within the next week I’ll only have a bone, my substitute ACL will have flaked off, and my surgery will have been for nothing. The thing is that, yes, I am exaggerating, but not by THAT much. It would seem that the top layer of my skin has been poisoned to death by whatever antiseptic it is they put on it during my surgery.

I really couldn’t decide if I wanted to put up a picture of my leg in this state or not. I was thinking “yes, it’s disgusting! Post a picture!” Then I would think “no, it’s disgusting! Don’t post a picture!” Then I would hover at “yes! It’s disgusting! Maybe post a picture!” Then I remembered a time in high school when a friend had eaten so many salt and vinegar chips that his tongue was peeling from acid burn. I didn’t even realise a tongue could peel, let alone with the magnitude that his was. I’m surprised the skin peeling off his tongue didn’t clog his throat and choke him to death that’s how gross it was. My point is... I still get amusement thinking of his peeling tongue. So here:

Very a-peeling leg.  
Flakes on my leggings...
P.S: Don’t google “peeling tongue”. There are surprising amounts of results about how to prepare pig tongues, by peeling them, for eating. I don’t care how tender a piece of meat that is, it’s like the extreme version of tonguing a pig. Gross. 

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Brace yourself for another crap pun

Just showing how much I value honesty in
medical forms, and answer medical questions
with honesty. It also shows I have trouble figuring
 out which knee is my left knee....

Today we went together for our first proper physiotherapy appointment at Fremantle hospital, two weeks and one day after the surgery. It seems ridiculously obvious in hindsight, but we both wore leggings (that couldn’t be rolled up over our knees) and had to strip behind curtains. When the physiotherapist asked if I had been wearing a brace (I haven’t), I knew right away that I was going to receive one.

He left, and waltzed back in with a huge monkey grin and an expression of “look what you get/have to wear!” He really missed a golden opportunity though. He should have walked in with the brace behind his back, and said “brace yourself for this”. If he’s anything like me he might appreciate if I inform him of this at the next appointment. I think I will. 

It turns out I should have had a brace all along. We knew this. It was in bold writing in some of the paper work we received at the hospital, but when I asked for one (repeatedly) they would say that the doctor said it wasn’t necessary. However, the “doctor” wasn’t OUR doctor, as he left for a holiday the night of my surgery. The final call went to the registrar, who got it wrong. No harm done though, as at the moment I can’t physically bend my knee to 60° anyway.  
Wearing a knee brace dramatically changes your appearance to the general public, and not just due to the fact that you look part robot. Bianca has expressed her intense jealousy that she doesn’t get to wear one, which (meanly) makes me even happier that I now have one. Before the knee brace came into my life, just wearing a tiny standard compression bandage, it looked like we were just two ditsy girls who wanted attention (and maybe even a lolly pop). I could hear inside people’s heads as we crutched past them... “Urgh, you don’t need crutches for that, just put a band aid on”, or “they probably just have a bit of a knee graze”, probably mostly because I'm a terribly judgemental person when it comes to this myself. As a matter of fact I found myself wearing shorts and conveniently forgetting my compression bandage just so that people could glimpse at the dressings on my wound, to prove that I did, in fact, have a legitimate injury. 

Ironically now that my knee feels much better, it appears much more severely hurt. I love this. Recovery is all about seeing the positives!

My knee brace after my ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair. A.k.a my robot leg :) 
Incidentally if you would like to know how to fake a limp:

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Taking off my dress(-ings)

My legs are still different sizes, but the
 swelling is significantly less than before.
It's going swell!  
Today we made the drive back down to the hospital for our two week follow up appointment. I can walk now, although I admit I look a bit like I’m coming to eat your flesh and suck out your brains when I slowly hobble towards you. This is especially true if its morning time and my hair is poking everywhere at angles that I literally couldn’t achieve if I wanted to with the strongest hold gel.

It turns out it was the biggest waste of time ever.  More than digging a huge hole at the beach with your hands, just to fill it back up again, because at least in that situation you get the satisfaction of sitting in your hole and waiting for a wave to come crashing towards you. We spent a total of ten minutes at the hospital in which a doctor took off our dressings, said vaguely “that looks ok” and, well, there is no and, that was completely it.

The plus side is I got to take a picture of my cuts! They’re grosser than I was expecting, which was actually a relief. If they’d taken off the dressings and I had completely healed it would have been a massive let down, and I would have had to take a photo of a neat sealed scabby line instead of a scabby line with an open gash in it (way cooler, so much so that it deserves italics).

The wound after my ACL reconstruction, done mostly arthroscopically. It's really very impressive that surgery can be done through such limited incisions. 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Exercises smectercises.... (a.k.a physiotherapy)

We have a set of exercises we’ve been instructed to do 3-4 times a day. If you take the amount of times I did my exercise sets a day during the first 5 days, and multiply them by 3-4, then you would have an answer of 3-4 times per day...or less. I’m much better at actually doing my exercises now. Even as I write this I am exercising... my right to do my exercises in half an hour instead of right now. They take time and can be hard at first, but there are many things in life that are harder than fitting in a few stretches. Like... deciding how to paint your nails or drinking tequila and remembering it in the morning.

The simplest of the exercises involves having your leg out in front of you and pushing down on your heel and knee to contract your hamstring and quadriceps respectively. The first time I tried this it just didn’t happen. If my hamstring was yelling really loudly at me to inform me it was contracting, its voice was muffled by a gigantic swollen lump of leg. It was disheartening, as was moving my leg around by lifting it with my arms, because I couldn't seem to control it otherwise.

I can’t stress enough how important the exercises are though. After doing them it’s a lot easier to walk around (with crutches), and I relish that feeling of less pain and more freedom with the same intensity as if I was running through a field of daisies towards my lover on a perfect summers day. Oh, and I mean a lover I'm really passionate about who will throw me down onto a cushion of white daisies and roll around with me with our lips entwined, then he'll pick one of the daisies and gently push it behind my ear, brushing the hair from my face while magically staring into my eyes... AND the daisies are magical daisies that won’t even give me hay fever. That’s how much I mean it. Do the exercises.