Sunday, 23 August 2009

Week 9 - Feet on the Ground

It's now just over 8 weeks since I ruptured my Achilles Tendon whilst dancing. As of last weekend I have decided to walk without the boot, i.e. in bare feet or shoes, when indoors. I can feel the tendon getting stronger and can do heel raises (but not on the injured leg only). I'm being very careful of course and I am limping/walking oddly but I feel that it's the right strategy, in order to build up the calf muscle and stretch the tendon slightly. Fortunately I don't have any stairs to negotiate, just a single step. I'm looking forward to giving back the crutches and boot, but I'm not seeing the consultant (if I ever get to meet him anyway, see below) and physio for the first time on September 1st.

On a different note, I hope the NHS cleans up and reuses the crutches/boot, or passes them on to a country that can't afford new ones. I'm going to ask them what they do with them when I next visit the hospital.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Not Unicycling


As of yesterday, I can now bicycle again - Yay! I cycled the 3 miles through town to my mother's home and felt fine. Had to remember to put my right foot down instead of my left when stopping at junctions though, but even then it didn't really hurt. I even clumped round Lidl (supermarket) on the way back. So am feeling a lot more mobile, though I wouldn't want to walk too far outside without my crutches - it's too slow. However, for going to see friends/relatives it's a great solution. I couldn't afford another taxi anyway the last bus back is too early in the evening.

Friday, 14 August 2009

The Big Chill

On Sunday I went with my partner and two friends to The Big Chill Festival at Eastnor Castle near Ledbury. I had wanted to go this year in order to see Gong, now reformed with early 1970s guitar god Steve Hillage. The Big Chill Company had advertised in my magazine, Gloucestershire Connections, in return for two tickets. It was a long walk from the car park (I had chosen the wrong one for my partner to park in) to the festival.

No doubt my elusive consultant would have tut-tutted, but I earnt plaudits (and a flirtation from a half-naked stranger!) for getting up and dancing in the afternoon sunshine. Great fun. Gong were far out, and had the same cosmic humour they had in the early 1970s. The only blot on the (beautiful, complete with lake and, of course, castle) landscape was the mile-long walk, mostly uphill, in the dark, back to the car park at midnight.

All in all, I walked about 4 miles, but the leg felt fine the next day, albeit slightly more swollen than usual. The tendon is definitely getting stronger, and I can stretch my foot upwards the whole way now. I am also doing foot-raises each morning, using my foot whilst standing up to lift the weight of my leg. There's no way I can walk preoperly yet though. Another few weeks to go. Insallah.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Physio Delay

I had a call from a physio admin at the hospital yesterday morning to book an appointment on the 17th, two weeks after having first supposed to have seen the physiotherapist. Would that be OK? Well no, actually. I'm self-employed and I need to be fully mobile a.s.a.p. given the economic situation.

So yesterday afternoon a young-sounding physio actually called me and explained a lot of things. He said that taking the non-surgical route adds a fortnight to the healing time, and that physio shouldn't really begin for another two weeks anyway. However, he said that at that stage all I would be told to do was move my foot up and down, bootless of course, which I have been doing for some weeks anyway. He said 'let pain be your guide' which seems eminently sensible. I didn't tell him I had just walked a mile from town on crutches and felt fine. We finished by saying that I would seem him in three weeks immediately after my next appointment with the consultant.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Getting Stronger

After two weeks wearing the boot, I had another appointment with the consultant, A Mr Brown. Yet again there was a long wait in the swine flu incubator - sorry, waiting room, this time one hour twenty minutes. The previous three times it was 'only' 45 minutes. As usual the room was stuffy, crowded and airless, with nothing provided for patients to put their feet up on, even though many of us need to keepo our leg elevated. Oh, and we were treated to ten minutes of screeching fire alarms. A nurse reassured us that everything was ok and I could just about hear her say something about workmen at the other end of the corridor and that we would be all right if we kept the fire doors shut(!).

Also as usual, Mr Brown didn't make an appearance. Maybe he doesn't actually exist. Presumably he's extremely busy. As was the physiotherapist, who I was due to see for the first time as well but he/she/they were apparently too ovewhelmed to see any more patients. Anyway, the guy who did see me felt my tendon and seemed confident that it was healing well. He said I could remove three of the wedges in the boot. Afterwards, I decided to walk the half a mile home rather than take another expensive taxi. It was great to have some fresh air (or as fresh as it gets on the Bath road anyway) and exercise.

I can now almost lift my foot nearly 90 degrees, and as of earlier this week I can now stand up in the shower. I can't walk yet and certainky can't lift myself up on my injured foot. But the tendon feels stronger all the time, so hopefully in 4 weeks time when I say goodbye to the boot I'll be walking normally again.