Saturday, April 18, 2009

April 18 - Caught in a shower

No, I haven't been steekin' up the joint, I've had in situ baths to avoid being cordoned off as hazardous waste but this morning I had a real shower utilizing a shower stool, shampoo, and was able to shave the stubble from around my beard. No Geico caveman commercials for me, that bums me a little but maybe my brother will want to be my stand-in.

I'm now dressed and waiting for pain meds then's been 6 hours since the meds so that is good. I did have some strong spasms in the calf muscle near the stump while I sat at the sink, but fortunately this went away after a few 'gotcha sucka.'

My first PT session was targeted at preventing things from tightening up and limiting motion. For example I am keeping the back of the knee flat on the bed instead of on a pillow or otherwise flexed. As a runner I should be flexible enough to kick my own butt with my heel although in practice I don't . The extra range of motion makes the gait cycle easier over the miles. I should mention when I stopped running in 2007 that I could only occasionally kick my own butt. Coach Luc didn't mind picking up the slack.

We did a sort of modified downward facing dog as I had to hang my stump over the edge of the trainer's table at the distal end where the stitches are located. This is so I didn't put any strain on the sutures. For the next exercise I laid on my left side and did some straight right leg lifts, and finally laid on my back an pulled my right leg toward my chest.

I used a walker to hop to the session one but came back under my own power in a wheelchair. I have been pushed in one before, but it's fun learning how to drive it like a tank. I think any athlete could benefit from a good wheelchair upper body workout; still I have a hard time imagining them used for this purpose unless some race-winning benefit could be found.

After about an hour break I headed back for session two. This was mostly light weight lifting...I'm rolled into a weight machine designed to accommodate a wheelchair. I did upward and downward presses designed to build upper body strength. The young woman who guided me to the gym was an 8oom runner in HS, same as moi. Several of the PTs either ran or talked about running and shoes and mileage oh my! Of course I was most happy to talk about my sport and tried to temper my enthusiasm to avoid the glaze of death. But they seemed very enthusiastic which was contagious. Hard to believe I wasn't running yesterday...I think in some part of my brain it believes the same thing. It does believe we will run again.

After a nice lunch I had PT session three which was touring the hallway with the walker while trying to mimic a somewhat natural gate cycle, I tended to walk as if I was stepping over a barrel or overstriding as a runner as opposed to putting my foot straight down.

The leg has been pretty good all day with the exception of the spasms this morning; I have been noticing some swelling about the shrinker. The rehab doc pulled it off to check the the stump before I left my prior hospital room, but when he put it back on it was below the kneecap; before it was over the knee a bit. As soon as my nurse comes by I am going to ask about it and have emailed my prosthetist too. Things have gone too well to let a little detail cause any setback...I am righteously spoiled by the success so far.

Speaking of said nurse, she just stopped by and fixed the shrinker. She said they always put the shrinker over the knee (baring some other concern) and my prosthetist concurred. A little disappointing but in the spirit of being your own best advocate, speak up!

These pics were taken on my Blackberry from my hospital bed. I plan to go home tomorrow unless there is some problem getting discharged. Yippie yi yaaaaay!

I am definitely having more swelling but I hope it is just a transitional thing due the low shrinker and the fact I was using the stump down more at PT. There was no direct pressure on the stump at therapy, and it's only been since Tuesday that it was reconstructed to what you see here:

Dr. Ohlson's Artwork
TADA! My new right limb - note the Blackberry
(pic by Larry Wiley, CP, April 16, 2009)

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