they tried to make me go to rehab, I said AAAIIIGHHH

Post-op day 2. SQUICK WARNING still in effect.

I learned the hard way how essential painkillers are going to be to making a full recovery. The physiotherapist came in this morning with some crutches for me to train with; I was already tired and cranky after feeling like I had my ankle in a vise the whole previous night. It turned out that my toe had been pointed when going into the boot, so that the ankle wasn’t adequately supported across its whole length, so the physio took my foot out of the velcro boot and re-seated it. I might describe the sounds I made at first as “gasps”, but they were rapidly heading towards “scream” territory before we were done, and I nearly left my breakfast all over the floor.

Why don’t you take some painkillers and I’ll come back in half an hour, the physio conceded.

Yep, sounds like a good idea to me. By the end of this time my ankle was still throbbing and stinging with great displeasure. The physicians have said that the joint is not supposed to bear any weight for three months, but if there is any play in the boot, my ankle necessarily ends up supporting part of the boot’s weight. With each faltering hop on the crutches I felt that same familiar vise-grip sensation pinching the injured joint, and that same nausea swimming continually upwards through my throat. It was all I could do to avoid simply collapsing on the bed again after returning — we did, after all, have to negotiate the heavy boot back to a horizontal position. My left hip flexor and right quad, both nominally strong, healthy muscles trained up from cycling in weeks gone by, were about to give out.

Total distance covered: about 10 meters round trip.

Not to mention the fact that, although my left arm has improved, it is still not able to fully support even half the weight of my body. We returned to this later in the afternoon session, where I pointedly skipped lunch until after the ordeal. The physio found a new crutch for me, a “gutter crutch”, which transfers my weight up to my shoulder through my elbow. This allows me to use my left arm properly, but it doesn’t have the leverage for control that a normal crutch has, and so it is harder to keep balance on them. After twenty meters round trip I was again completely exhausted.

After that I asked for oxycodone as often as I was allowed, and spent the rest of the afternoon in bed relaxing and in good spirits with no pain whatsoever. I’ve noted some interesting sensations and I wonder whether all of these are common to opiate highs. Two notable feelings, when lying with my eyes closed: first, a sense that my legs are actually in a different position relative to the rest of my body than they are in (and have been in); second, a keen interest in the positions of floaters in my field of vision, which in a brief stint of lying formed a vivid lava-lamp display against my eyelids.

Also an inability for my fingers to find the right keys. Naptime here.

p.s.: I’m also getting good at this shooting-myself-up-with-Clexane thing; the nurses started making me do that back on Monday night. Didn’t mention that I’d get my own sharps container, did I? Dude, this is going to be awesome.


About Richard

I'm an American scientist who is building a new life in Australia. This space will contain words about science and math, but also philosophy, policy, literature, my travels, occasional rants, all sorts of things I find strange and awesome. The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employer at the time (currently University of Sydney), though personally, I think they should.
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