Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hurry up and wait

So, what's new in the world of Alex?

After all the fun and games of my bad back, trips to the hospital and a false start at work, I was finally upright again and able to do a few things. While I gradually gained confidence in walking around again, it was very clear that my ill fitting prosthetic, otherwise known as "Schooner", was causing some difficulty, discomfort and frequent pain. Anything more than a short walk was too much.

This frustrating period when I am able to do less than I could several months ago, is actually a sign of progress. While my stump has shrunk and it no longer fits my existing prosthetic, it simply means that I need a new and more permanent leg.

I visited my prosthetics specialist George last week, and we've decided on what equipment we will use for my new leg. It was quite interesting actually to listen to George explain all the various components, types of fittings and which would be best suited for the application that I'm interested in, especially something suitable for cycling.

George then took that away to prepare a quote which I received the other day. It will cost me nearly $5,000. Ouch! Still, it's a necessity and its value is far beyond its price. I visit the clinic again next week, where a cast will be taken of my stump and other key measurements made.

I really can't wait as it will be so much more comfortable and functional, and I will be able to make forward progress instead of being in limbo as I am now.

My Dad visited this weekend. He had a good time, and we took the opportunity to have a good catch up.

I went out to Dunc Gray Velodrome last week to watch the Masters national track championships and provide some support for my buddies that were racing in the individual pursuit. There were some great performances, and it was good to see my buddies do well. Congratulations to all on a successful championships. My leg was very sore after that.

See you next time!

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Friday, April 11, 2008

bon anniversaire

11 April 2008.

Exactly one year since my accident.

Not that I'm being overly reflective about it all but I thought I'd at least mark the date with a post. It's been a hell of a ride since then but I have much to be grateful for and so much good stuff in life out in front of me. Roll on 2008.

So what else is new (or old)?

Well last week I had a little set back (pun intended - you'll see). On Monday afternoon before last, doing nothing more than leaning forward a little, I had the most hideous back spasm in my lower left back. Not having suffered anything like it before I wasn't quite sure what was going on. All I knew was that it took my breath away, was intensely painful and I needed to lie down, which in itself was a challenge just getting the few metres to my bedroom.

I experienced the spasm another five times that afternoon and evening and each one was more painful than the last and the pain lasted longer afterwards. I was stuck! Fortunately my good neighbour Cisco was about when I called and he came over to help out, as did my friend Tanya. Some OTC pain relief and inflammation drugs were purchased for me. Thanks guys!

The next morning I spoke with my GP and he insisted on a trip to the hospital, so later that morning the ambulance guys came to collect me (I was stuck in bed and was scared to move) and they took me up to RPA (yep the same hospital that features in the famous Aussie real life TV show).

They were very busy so by the time I was checked out by a Doctor it was late afternoon. They administered an analgesic and a muscle relaxant and decided to keep me in overnight given the pain levels. I thought I'd done my time in hospital but it seems I had one more night in me. Jay visited to keep me company for a while and bought me a nice sandwich and piece of chocolate cake (which fixes everything - well almost - Jay's chocolate chip cookies fix everything).

I was in the EMU* for the night and shared the ward with the usual assortment I suppose. The alcoholic who'd had a particularly bad binge drinking session, the 92 year old who was sedentary and talked in his sleep all night repeating the same phrase over and over ad naeseum, something in Italian but I couldn't make out what it meant, the paraplegic who looked like a bit of a druggie, had some serious attention issues and was probably coming down off something, the guy with the slipped disk in his back who sat up to take a pee in the middle of the night, fainted and fell heavily on the floor which caused all sorts of excitement amongst the staff (as you can imagine) and a poor woman who was suffering from a bad gastric problem.

The breakfast the next morning was good. I was checked by another Doctor and found I was able to stand and walk (albeit gingerly) and was discharged with some analgesics and given a lift home by another friend of mine that happens to work at RPA. Thanks Frankie!

Assessment: muscle spasms, no spinal or nerve problems. So an acute problem only.

Two days lying down and resting and several vigourous massages from super soigneur John now has me back up and about with only a bit of residual pain.

My theory is that my still relatively weak back and core muscles have struggled, especially as my prosthetic has become no longer functionally viable, or in other words - it doesn't fit properly anymore and the large number of socks I have to use to pad it out has actually made my left leg a centimetre or so (about half an inch) longer than my right leg. So all that lop-sided walking and standing took its toll and my back went on strike! I must chat with that union boss, Workchoices has been revoked I thought!!

The irony of course was my appointment to start the process of getting my new leg was last week and I couldn't make it, so it's been delayed by two weeks. I am sure looking forward to getting a functional and comfortable leg to stand on and eventually, ride on.

Yibbida yibbida, that's all folks!
Catch you next time.

* - the Emergency Medical Unit and not the bird featured on that century old stamp shown at the top of this post

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