Thursday, 17 April 2008

Nice and Kneesy does it (some of the time)

Over the last few nights I have managed to manoeuvre around in bed with relative ease - a sure sign that my filleted right leg is slowly returning to some usefulness!

As the swelling continues to recede and the ligaments seem to strengthen I get far less muscle spasm then before. I seem better able to hold my right leg in an upright position instead of it flopping over to the right so I guess that my adductor muscles are getting "stronger" ( less weak would be more accurate!).

As a result of this my confidence increased to the extent that I experimented with drawing both knees up while sat in bed. This transferred pressure areas so was a relief after spending an hour or two in one position flat on my back. Although I did not manage to sleep in this position I was able to gradually let my body roll to my left and was able to get into a foetal position in bed. Not surprisingly that is a position in which I can manage to get to sleep.

One adjunct of this increased maneuverability is that I am now able to slide my right leg down the bed from the bent knee position and reposition it so it is upright while flat on my back.

This in turn has contributed to a greater degree of flexibility in ankle rotation and also to a greater ability when sitting and standing to raise my right foot a greater distance from the ground. This is important because I now feel that I can manage to lift ,what was a dead weight of a right leg, a few inches off the ground and if well enough balanced on a zimmer frame could manage to cross a threshold or two.

My wife was sufficiently buoyed up by this to experiment with the zimmer frame and demonstrate how I could manage to negotiate the front doors. This "piloting" proved that it was technically feasible if I was able to hop a little. However I was at pains to point out that I also needed to feel secure enough to trust that I would not stumble. A case of one small step for a woman - a giant leap (of faith) for a one hip wonder. Fortunately my wife could see the sense of this temerity on my part.

A day later however I thought I might be able to manoeuvre into the steam shower we have in our bathroom. In the space that was previously taken up by a bath in its own enclosure we have for the last 18 months had a large walk in shower with a bench seat at one end. The cubicle was roofed and fully enclosed so we could plumb in the necessary equipment for a steam outlet.

This has been a great asset much appreciated by the family. As well as a steam room we can add oils to a small recess on the steam outlet and create a relaxing turkish bath. As I am unable to stand I will need to use a plastic stool in the shower for normal use. Up to now however I have drawn my power chair up to the large sink in the bathroom, which fortunately overhangs the cabinet by about half its depth and so is ideal for a wheelchair user, and washed while seated using flannel and towels.

This morning, with my wife ready to assist in the event of any problem, I tried transferring from wheel chair to zimmer frame (positioned inside the shower cubicle). The shower tray has slightly sloping sides so the zimmer frame could not be positioned as close to the wheelchair as I would prefer and required too great a leap of faith for me to try to walk into to the shower so we gave up that first attempt.

However on reflection I think that for the next attempt I will try to "walk" into the cubicle backwards. The outside slope of the shower tray is perpendicular so can be closer to where I need to step with my good leg. By positioning the shower stool ( which we bought and used 4 years ago when the right hip was initially revised) inside the cubicle I believe I will be able to back onto it and then either close the door and start the steamer or transfer from it to the bench seat as in normal use.

In a way - even though I have no formal rehabilitation programme worked out pending clarification about the extent of weight bearing that I should aim for - the ability to draw both knees up while in bed has proved a major milestone for me. It has enabled other movements and in passing has strengthened under used muscles. The physiotherapist who saw me at the start of the week did take a sympathetic approach to my rehab by saying that things would improve naturally as I felt more able to do things and so it has proven.

In conclusion its almost, but not quite, a case of "nice and easy does it all the time" (with apologies to Nordon and Muir!)

1 comment:

But Why? said...

Superb progress, and I am thrilled to have graduated to the status of "family" from that of "visiting laptop user"...!