Monday, 28 April 2008

Daily Living - Progress Report (3)

Its 4 weeks since my discharge from hospital and about 5 1/2 weeks since the operation.

I am able to manouvre with a greater degree of flexibility as each week passes. My right leg still twists around 45 degrees from straight ahead when left to dangle. I experience much less popping of ligaments and only have a muscle spasm about twice a week and then only when I move too quickly. I am able to use the crutches to reach areas inaccessible to my powerchair and hardly ever use the zimmer frame now. I am able to stand up directly from the chair on one leg with relative ease and this is now my preferred method of relieving myself when the need arises - no more use of an improvised urine bottle. I still wash over the sink while seated in the chair but have managed one steam shower.

I think all sutures have now either dissolved or been removed (it took 3 attempts on different days - probably due to the tight stitches being covered by swollen tissue which gradually resolved and caused their reappearance.) En-route one stubborn clear suture seems to have caused superficial infection which was worrying given the possibility of a return of the sepsis that has troubled me for the last 4 1/4 years. That all now seems under control and the District Nurses finally "discharged" me from their care on Friday evening.

Having crossed the final threshold on Saturday, and managed to scooter my way around our front and back gardens, I returned to the attempt to "climb" the stairs leading up to our converted loft area yesterday evening.

A little like NASA's careful attempts to land a man on the moon my approach was to test each step on the way before committing to the final attempt. So with my wife ready at the top of the stairs I made my way up by sitting down and levering my way up one step at a time. As I approached the top we faced the problem of how I would stand up without taking any weight through my filleted right leg.

In the event the adjustable height shower stool bought 4 years earlier came to the rescue.

I could not manage to lever my way up to the seat at its usual (highest) setting but by reducing it to its lowest height I could just manage to haul my way up backwards to sit on it. Then by twisting slightly I was able to move through 90 degrees and stand up. At this stage that was all I wanted to prove so after a brief rest we attempted the "re-entry".

I was able to stand at the top of the stairs and experimented with which step I should aim my right foot at ready for my left to join it after a brief transfer of weight. I was able to stand with my weight on the banister to my left which was horizontal and some of my weight on the right hand (sloping banister). I needed to feel confident that my right hand on the 30 degree sloping banister would not give way and once I did I was able to support my weight and hop through with my left leg onto the 3rd step down. I could then resume a seated position and begin bumping my way back down to the ground floor.

I am still not able to do these things unaided but it is quite an achievement nonetheless to have resumed a greater degree of normality.

The next goal will be to sit in my car as a passenger and escape briefly into the nearby Peak District. If I can manage this then I might be in a position to cancel the ambulance that is booked to take me to the follow up out patient clinic in just over 2 weeks time.

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