Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Get ready for surgery: Update #1

Here's an update on what's going on behind the scenes, on my "get ready for surgery" journey

For the last 15 months my focus has been entirely on losing a lot of weight getting fit for surgery - i.e. being able to move on one leg without falling over! I'm nudging towards nearly six stone lost to date.  

In the last 10 days I've switched to spending a lot of money on new kit, updates for existing furniture and other essentials for what's going to be a challenging recovery period.

To date I have ordered and received my new knee walker - behold below! 

This is what will be playing a big part of getting me about for my three months (plus??) of mobilising on one leg after the operation on my ankle while I grow lots of new bone. My right ankle will be 100% non-weight bearing for a long time.

I'd just assembled the Strideon knee walker at this point - but still needed to raise the handle to make it safer.  

Me and my new Strideon knee walker

It's currently parked - with parking brake - next to my new rollator. I expect you may eventually see me at exhibitions with this - but it's much heavier and weighs 13kg and will be much more difficult to get up and down the stairs on the tube compared to my 5kg carbon fibre rollator

Plus I've also got an iWalk which is a hands free crutch which provides me with a peg leg with a ledge for my calf.  That's quite a lot of fuss to get on and off so will be used sometime after the operation when I need to be on a my feet for a while.


Then there's the boring bits - like what you need for sanitary ware. Try standing up from being seated using only one leg and you'll see why! 

So this is my new raised loo seat. But I also need to sort out rails either side to help with being safe when getting up as well.

Raising up my ablutions - this is the 6 inch version

Plus last week I ordered a Riser Recliner - which gets me from being seated to vertical and helps with elevation to keep swelling to a minimum. 

Plus a new sofa with a much higher firm seat - on which I can lie with my leg up on the big wedge cushion to do my very necessary  "nose to toe" elevation while working my way through all the tv series I've never watched....  Elevation is apparently the key to making bone grow and keeping pain and swelling to a minimum.

I'm now working out how to manouvre around my home and what needs moving to enable me to move easily.  The knee walker comes with a cup holder - but I've still got to work out how I move a meal from the kitchen to where I eat....

Plus I'm decluttering like mad!

Still need to work out 
  • which crutches to get which help with the osteoarthritis in my shoulder!
  • where to get hold of cast socks to keep my toes warm - and 
  • what sort of icing machine to get....
BTW None of this is explained to you by the hospital! 
Thank goodness for Facebook Groups (Ankle Fusion and Ankle Replacement) where I've learned everything I need to know about what it's really like afterwards, what kit I'll need and what sort of approach to recovery works best.

PS I piled on weight after numerous falls from 1994 onwards, ligament tears and a VERY challenging torn meniscus in my left knee in 2016 - after which all my weight went through my right ankle - which is now the problem. 

I'd recommend to anybody who has osteoarthritis and/or has had traumatic breaks of bone and faces surgery to remedy problems with joints to focus on getting their weight down first. It makes a HUGE difference to mobility - and also helps with arthritis.

PPS I've never broken a bone but was amazed to find out that osteoarthritis is very likely if you break a bone. Apparently post-traumatic arthritis accounts for about 12% of osteoarthritis cases. Why do people only find this out after they've had a break?


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