Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rehab Week 1 / Dr William Tan

Well after finally making it up to the rehab ward, it’s been a case of hurry up and slow down. My large leg closure wound is all but healed, with one stubborn patch taking its time so I have to be patient, exercise needs to be moderate while I’m still healing.

Pain killers are still on the agenda too, although dosages have been wound right back, I still get plenty of reminders of the nerves in action. Think overactive pins and needles sensations and short little jolts that make you jump unintentionally. Not really painful, just weird. Occasional breakthrough painkillers are needed to settle down the “noise” which is enough to keep you awake. I reckon it’s just the leg’s nerves re-wiring themselves.

It’s probably just as well that exercise needs to be moderate, with all the changes recently, I found that even with the limited amount of exercise along with all the recent changes to medication and change of location really flattened me during the week and I spent a couple of days pretty well completely exhausted. Being very physically tired also lowered my emotional state for a while but this is just a bump along the way and I’m sure there will be a few more speed humps to drive over.

Anyway, I’ve had a few days of going easy, light gym sessions and short walks and extra sleeps during the day and have ended the week in reasonable shape.

On Friday I attended a talk by Dr William Tan. What an inspirational guy. Diagnosed with polio as a child and growing up in a poor family, Will fought against the odds to go on to become a Medical Doctor and an endurance wheelchair athlete, holding world records and competing at Paralympics. But the story he told was about his attempt to complete 10 marathons in 7 continents in 65 days, all part of a fundraising drive. The marathon on Antarctica and the non-continent at the North Pole was pretty amazing. Here’s a link for interest:

Nice work Dr Tan.

‘til next time.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Rehab - here I come

Today's the day. I move to the Rehab ward. Yahoo! Only took 10 weeks.

All my wound sutures were removed this morning although the wound still hasn't fully healed, it is a long way there and the Doctors are very happy with its progress. A couple of stubborn parts that need some time to close up properly.

Over last couple of days I've been exercising more, with longer walks on the crutches (like once round the ward, so not far) and some work in the gym on my leg balance, strength and flexibility. Yesterday I climbed a full flight of the fire stairs and back down again. Then up in the rehab ward I had a funny little obstacle course to negotiate on the crutches, bit like the show dogs and how they weave in and out between the poles. If I do that again I think I'll bark and ask for a biscuit.

Endurance is low but improving. Just like on the bike, I have to introduce progressive overload in order to promote the physiological adaptations I want. I do have a small dilemma in that the Docs want me to be a little conservative with the exercise as the wound is still delicate. Don't want it accidentally opening up again, do we?

The move upstairs will come with some logistical challenges, might need removallists for all the stuff I seem to have collected over the past weeks.

Anyway, I'll miss the staff here in the Orthopaedic ward, they have been fantastic. I'll be sure to leave behind some treats for them all to enjoy.

'til next time, keep riding

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pumping Iron

Today I hit the gym for the first time. This is no ordinary gym, it's part of the hospital rehab unit and has all those things you see sometimes on TV, the hip high parallel bars for learning to stand, balance and walk, stairs to practice on and some basic weight equipment. So while starting rehab like activity, I'm not yet actually in rehab. Wound is still healing.

So being the first time in the gym, I was pretty conservative, really just doing enough to get a feel for the exercises set by the rehab physio. It comprises a set of leg balancing, stretch and strength work between the parallel bars, walking up/down the stairs on my crutches and some arm exercises with the ropes/pulleys, working mostly my triceps. A whopping 7.5lbs each side!! Apart from that I have a walk on the crutches, and try to gradually increase the distance each time.

Earlier I had some stitches removed from the stump wound, just a halfdozen that were looking like they were about to bury themselves. Doesn't hurt, just a little sting at most. Most of the rest will likely come out on Friday.

So now the gym is a daily part of the routine and I'm on my way. I'll be intrested to see how quickly/slowly I adapt to the training. After 9 weeks in bed I have lost a lot of condition and have a long way to go. Only way is up!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Nearly in Rehab

Just an update report on my progress:

I'm going OK, feeling much better and making progress. Walking on crutches (a short distance - still weak), reading books, watching TV, have a portable DVD player now to watch all sorts of stuff. Spending quite a bit of time on the laptop typing emails and chatting on my bike training forums. All stuff I couldn't do a few weeks ago.

The bad jokes/cartoons I send out to friends are a sign of boredom.

Unless Doc says otherwise, my sutures should come out this week and I move to rehab. I feel like I've been saying that for ever. 9 weeks now, tomorrow I start week 10. I have a few more yet to go before I can go home.

Anyway, that's basically where I'm at, still positive about the future but knowing I have a tough few months in front of me. I will get an interim prosthetic leg while in rehab and I should learn to walk while there. I can't wait to get back on the bike again - I'll need a special leg for that but they exist, just need to measure me up!

I'll be back, better than ever - just think Six Million Dollar Man.... we can rebuild him, better, stronger, faster.!!

lots a brotherly love

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