Monday, August 02, 2021

Getting fit and ready for surgery

A quick note just to say that during August, there won't be so many blog posts. What's currently way more important than blogging is resolving my severe ankle arthritis problem i.e. remove the pain and the scope to grind to a halt when walking!

So I need to:

  1. Get fit for surgery on my ankle (see Ever so slightly distracted) - which I've been doing for weeks already - hence the dropping off of blog posts
  2. Source / ordering / practising with all the aids I'll need - which is ratcheting up right now
  3. Organise my home differently to make moving around a lot easier - lots of measuring coming up - plus moving furniture around and clutter out the door! Which must be done in August!

Which might sound a bit over the top if you don't know I'm facing 
  • up to a minimum of six weeks and maybe three months or more on ONE LEG! 
  • Absolutely 100% non weight-bearing on right ankle for 6 weeks minimum.
  • Plus elevation ("Nose to toe") of operated ankle for weeks (and weeks) on end.  

Absolutely no cartilage left in my right ankle
This is what bone grinding on bone looks like!

I'm having either an ankle replacement or an ankle fusion (not decided yet) are both way, way more difficult and challenging than knee replacements or hip replacements.

If I have the ankle fusion I need to keep the ankle completely immobile while it grows bone to fuse the ankle so I have no movement - and no pain!

Unfortunately the left leg which has to move me around is also a leg which has had a major injury (I tore the meniscus in 2016) and that has taken ages to get anywhere back to normal so getting fit for surgery is a really, really serious matter for me.

That said I've lost 36kg so far (or 5.7 stone in "real money") in the last 13 months in order to try and make life easier.  There's a really huge incentive to lose weight when you realise you can't move a muscle when using crutches!

(Did I mention my severe osteoarthritis means I also need a shoulder replacement!!)

This is what the new slimline me looks like. I'm getting friends saying they hardly recognise me

The new slimline me - photographed giving a talk by Zoom in June 2021

My priorities right now

My pre-surgery assessment interview is at the beginning of September when some BIG decisions get made. So I need to 
  • get my left leg strong enough to cope with hopping around to move when I've one leg permanently off the ground for weeks and weeks - and weeks! Which is easier said than done given my mobility is severely compromised by the reason for the ankle replacement / ankle fusion (whichever is the final decision) i.e. severe bone on bone osteoarthritis
  • work out what's the best way of moving around AND being able to move things with me - like plates of food or cups of tea - and PRACTICE practice practice while I can still put my foot down if I get it wrong!
  • train myself to move up and down stairs - with a shoulder which also needs replacing - which is very far from easy - and may well be impossible
  • get kit for the postoperative period - and the kit is a VERY VERY long list. I want everything in place before I hit the hospital and within the scope of what I know I can and cannot do. I'm certainly not waiting to see what's available / I get given immediately after surgery or hoping everything is going to be OK!!!
I spend hours at the moment with my head buried in disability aids catalogues. Thank goodness for online shopping!

So that's what I will be doing instead of blogging 

....and tomorrow I'm ordering a new riser recliner for the weeks of feet up - once I manage to get out of bed!

What I will do instead is post links to some "golden oldie" blog posts from the last 15 years. The sort that never go out of fashion!

I've also worked out what I'll blog about when "toe to nose" post surgery - and that's read a lot of art books and then review them!

Plus maybe some Zoom talks once the pain becomes manageable!

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